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MP speaks to Secretary of State for Housing

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans.
Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans.
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Ribble Valley Nigel Evans has asked the Secretary of State for Housing, James Brokenshire, to make changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which would provide protections to rural areas and give more control to local councils.

In recent weeks, Mr Evans wrote to all members of the Ribble Valley Borough Council’s planning and development committee calling for action to slow down the number of housing developments being passed in Clitheroe and surrounding areas.

Lib. Dem. Coun. Sue Knox.

Lib. Dem. Coun. Sue Knox.

Mr Evans said: “There is a drastic need for housing in the UK, I am not arguing with that fact, but this does not mean there is drastic need in the Ribble Valley. Each week it seems a new development is underway in Clitheroe, the area is absolutely saturated with new build homes. Clitheroe, Barrow and Whalley have more than played their part in easing the national housing crisis.

“The National Planning Policy Framework is a vital tool to ensure that the Government is on track to deliver much-needed homes, but there is little provision to protect areas like the Ribble Valley that have already been flooded with new developments. If building carries on at this level Barrow will become a continuation of Clitheroe.”

Mr Evans added: “The Housing Secretary urgently needs to address the guidelines set by the NPPF, it currently provides ‘one-size-fits-all’ policies which fail to address that housing need in the Ribble Valley is different to housing need in London and the South.

“I have invited James Brokenshire to visit the Ribble Valley and see first-hand the sheer number of developments and show him plots that are still vacant months after completion.”

Responding to the letter she received from Mr Evans prior to his latest statement, Ribble Valley Borough Councillor Sue Knox said: “Mr Evans, of all people, should know that any planning refusals must be based on planning law, which originates from Westminster. Is he suggesting that we do not follow the law, and that we spend tens of thousands of council tax pounds paying developers for lost planning appeals?

"I strongly advise that rather than write ill-informed letters, Mr. Evans admits to his constituents that planning policy comes directly from his Conservative Government and the Core Strategy voted in by the Conservative Ribble Valley Borough Council. This is the Core Strategy which included allowing 1,040 houses on Standen, with only a pitiful 30% of affordable housing to be provided by developers. As a Conservative MP serving in a Conservative Government Mr Evans can change planning law and policy at Westminster.

"I urge the Member to get his facts straight, to go to see the Planning Minister today, and to lobby to protect the Ribble Valley.

"In the meantime I shall continue to use current planning law to resist developments that we do not need, and to ensure that developers pay for infrastructure, whilst campaigning for much needed affordable housing to be built in our towns and villages.”