Time to do honourable thing and resign

The Entrance to Clitheroe Town hall where the Planning Committee meeting to discuss plans for 1,040 new homes in Clitheroe is taking place 12.12.13

The Entrance to Clitheroe Town hall where the Planning Committee meeting to discuss plans for 1,040 new homes in Clitheroe is taking place 12.12.13

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I write to express my absolute disgust with RVBC Planning Department following a series of events that show its complete ineptitude.

Firstly, the council’s decision not to contest the Waddow View appeal following “expert legal advice” that suggested it could not win. It was indeed won by a small group of determined residents who could not sit back and let such a huge and inappropriately placed (and unwanted) development go forward. These were local people, without “expert” advice on hand, but who felt so strongly about the proposals they could not sit back and do nothing, as RVBC did.

Why did nobody at RVBC realise the severity of the junction at Castle View, which was the main reason for the Secretary of State dismissing the appeal? Alarm bells should have been ringing the moment Lancashire Highways Authority rescinded its initial objection. An investigation into how LHA could offer such flawed advice should have been instigated the minute it happened, not months later when the appeal had been won by Clitheroe residents and left RVBC looking incompetent.

Secondly, yet again, RVBC have failed to have their Core Strategy accepted. Had this been a school having its School Development Plan scrutinised by OFSTED inspectors, and had it returned twice, the school would now be in Special Measures and at risk of closure.

This repeated failure is simply not good enough, and indeed completely unacceptable, for it leaves the Ribble Valley at the mercy of greedy developers and the Secretary of State, when deciding upon further housing developments.

How much money has it cost already? How much will the failure to have a CS in place for appeals, cost local residents in terms of being able to enjoy local green spaces, being able to drive in the town without being held up in constant gridlock, being able to park to support our shops and to see a doctor quickly or get their child into a local school?

The cost is already too high – when the unnecessary developments at Low Moor and Henthorn are completed, and Standen if given the green light, the cost will be much greater.

The people of Clitheroe have repeatedly stated our town should not have, and cannot cope with almost 50% of the initial CS figures, and the Planning Inspector who scrutinised the revised CS a matter of weeks ago, has agreed.

When will the Planning Department start listening to the people who live here, and know the implications all these developments will have?

Finally, their abject failure to have a CS in place has cost the people of Barrow and Whalley dearly, with the news the Secretary of State has allowed 504 new homes to be built in Barrow, as well as the 100+ homes RVBC Planning Committee decided to allow last week.

The 2011 census figures show Barrow had 646 residents – how many thousands of residents will it have in future censuses?

Barrow was a tiny village and totally unsuitable for the amount of housing that has been dumped upon it, as was Whalley.

Is it really so difficult to find suitable housing sites in other RV villages?

These catastrophic failures by RVBC Planning Dept. have destroyed Clitheroe, Barrow and Whalley. It is not fit for purpose and, as a result, John Macholc, Colin Hirst and Couns Stuart Hirst and Simon Hore, as Leader and Deputy Leader of RVBC, effectively in overall charge of the Planning Dept, and Marshal Scott, the Chief Executive, should do the honourable thing and resign.

Sarah Briggs,

Kirkmoor Road, Clitheroe