Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans and local councillors have spoken of their frustration over the housing and development issues in the borough.
As reported in last week’s Advertiser and Times, Ribble Valley Borough Council announced it could not continue to oppose plans for 345 new homes on land off Waddington Road after being advised that it had no realistic chance of successfully defending an appeal against the proposal’s earlier refusal.
The announcement has angered a lot of Valley residents and local politicians who feel the current planning policy is not working and that the council should fight over development in Clitheroe.
Mr Evans has also spoken of his concerns. He said: “Residents are understandably upset and indeed confused at the current situation. I am too and I feel incredibly frustrated that more protection is not being afforded to local authorities such as Ribble Valley.
“It does seem that there is a never ending number of large and small scale developments being proposed across our area and, simply put, the situation cannot go on.
“I do believe that the council needs better protection from central government against speculative applications which, at the moment, seem to ride roughshod over the wishes of councillors and residents alike. Fundamentally, planning is a local issue and communities should have a say, and a weighty one at that, in how their local area is developed.”
Similar views were expressed by town and borough councillor Allan Knox, who was on the Planning and Development Committee in February when the controversial plans for the 345 new homes by the Huntroyde Estate were turned down.
He said: “I was shocked when I heard that legal experts had advised the council not to fight the appeal. The report that was submitted to the emergency committee meeting on July 1st is now available to the public on the council’s website. The residents of Clitheroe feel let down by central government and I feel Ribble Valley Borough Council should not give up and instead fight on to change government planning policies.”