Councillors revolt over market plans

Ribble Valley Lib Dem councillor Allan Knox and Mary Robinson in the grounds of Clitheroe Market
Ribble Valley Lib Dem councillor Allan Knox and Mary Robinson in the grounds of Clitheroe Market
Share this article

Opposition councillors are determined to force a re-think of a decision by the Tory-led council for plans surrounding the town’s multi-millon pound market development.

hhA confidential report on a revised design for the £9m. redevelopment of Clitheroe Market was discussed by members of Ribble Valley Borough Council’s Policy and Finance Committee last week.

However, Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors have now used the “call in” procedure, which forces the council to review key decisions.

The move has been slammed by council leader Coun. Ken Hind, who claims the opposition councillors are trying to “derail” plans for the new scheme.

He said: “This is the fourth attempt in 20 years to regenerate the centre of Clitheroe. This decision has been carefully thought out and follows the approval of a tender from Barnfield Developments, who are providing investment estimated to be £9m.

“This investment could be put in danger by the actions of opposition parties. The impact of the ‘call in’ is to suspend any progress and perpetuate uncertainty for market traders, shopkeepers and the public.”

Lib Dem Coun. Allan Knox, the leading signatory of the “call in”, feels the plans discussed at the meeting totally contradict the public consultation.

He explained: “I have always argued that to improve the market we need evolution not revolution and that the 800-year-old market belongs to everyone, not just Ribble Valley council who are the current custodians.

“The council’s call-in procedure allows councillors who are dissatisfied with a decision, to refer it to Full Council for further reflection and debate.”

Coun. Hind argued the investment is for the people of the Ribble Valley and should not be turned into a political issue: “This project is not just about rebuilding the market. It is about regeneration of Clitheroe town centre with facilities to attract greater footfall from customers and halt the march of charity shops.

“To deal with this problem, as Leader of the Council, I have called an emergency committee of the council for today to see if we can resolve this issue. If we cannot, it will go to the full council meeting on July 10th, when a decision will be taken. Following this, we hope to be able to unveil the outline of the plan first to the market traders, the Chamber of Trade and then to the public for all to see.”

“This is a community project for the benefit of Clitheroe and whole of Ribble Valley and should not be turned into a political issue despite the late conversion of the opposition parties to rejecting it.”