TWO controversial applications which when combined would see almost 650 new homes built in Barrow and Whalley have been submitted to Ribble Valley planning chiefs – to the horror of local residents.
The first set of plans to build just over 500 homes on land west of Whalley Road, Barrow – the biggest single homes plan in the Ribble Valley for almost two decades – has sparked a storm of protest.
Coun. Michael Ranson, leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council, has called the plans “ludicrous”, a view supported by Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans.
Coun Ranson said: “It just seems a ludicrous number of houses. It just seems extraordinary to me.
“The Ribble Valley has been inundated in the last 12 months.
“Any development on the Ribble valley should be proportionate and it is very clear from this application that virtually doubling the size of a village cannot in any circumstances be regarded as proportionate.”
Meanwhile, Tony Bracewell, chairman of the Barrow Community Action Group, has called the application which has been submitted by the Barrow Lands Company Ltd “horrendous”.
“We are under siege by landowners who are just trying to get as much in as they can while the planning framework is not finalised and the core strategy is not finalised. It will ruin the Ribble Valley.
“We are not objecting to small developments, but to put 504 new houses in a village is just ludicrous.
“We are all just ordinary residents and our lives have been shattered by these applications. We feel we have to make a stand.
“The key thing is appropriateness and this is absolutely inappropriate.”
Coun. Joyce Holgate told the Advertiser and Times that the plans were the biggest single application that she has seen in her 17 years on the council.
Coun. Holgate and Coun. Terry Hill were keen to reassure residents that all the major issues relating to this application, such as highways, schools and local infrastructure, would be thoroughly investigated by planning chiefs.
The councillors, who both sit on the borough council’s planning committee, added: “This application is in the very early stages of the planning process and has only just appeared on the council’s weekly list.
“This is a very complex application which will be fully and seriously considered when, in due course, it comes before the planning committee.
“The emerging core strategy will also have to be taken into account.”
Duncan Chadwick, of Milton Keynes-based town planners David Lock Associates acting for the developer, explained in a letter to John Macholc, the head of the borough’s planning services, why the outline application would be beneficial to the local area.
“The proposal would not only deliver up to 504 new market and affordable homes it would support the role of Barrow Enterprise Park as the borough’s principal strategic location for employment and investment,” he stated
“This would support the local economy, reduce both inward and outward commuting, lower carbon emissions and produce an attractive, high quality, sustainable development.”
Two further smaller planning applications have also been submitted for land around Barrow, one for seven homes at land off Clitheroe Road, and 23 houses in Old Row.
A separate application by David Wilson Homes which seeks permission to build 137 homes on land at Mitton Road, Whalley, has received a similar reaction from the local community.
Mike Harper, of local action group Save Whalley Village, said: “We are disappointed, but not surprised that David Wilson Homes has ignored local opinion and gone ahead with this application.
“The development will be in open countryside and directly adjacent to the conservation area.
“Traffic from the site, and from the massive development in Barrow, will empty onto the local network via the centre of the village – King Street and its two already congested roundabouts.
“We also have concerns about the safety of the proposed access to the site. We would urge residents to write to the council with their objections, and we will of course be fighting this every step of the way.
“Anyone wanting more information or who wishes to help stop this development can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org”