Prime Minister will study controversial Barrow homes plan

Prime Minister David Cameron
Prime Minister David Cameron

The Prime Minister has agreed to look “very carefully” at the planning inspectorate’s decision to approve a controversial housing development in the Ribble Valley.

Mr David Cameron gave the undertaking during Prime Minister’s Questions last week after Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans raised the issue following the approval of 504 houses in Barrow. Mr Evans was appalled by the government’s planning inspector’s decision.

Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Evans said: “The village of Barrow in the Ribble Valley has fewer than 300 houses. The local authority has given permission for just over 100 new houses there, but the planning inspector has overturned a refusal of the local authority and will impose 504 more houses on that village against the wishes of the local MP, the local authority and the local people. Will my right hon. Friend look again at the workings of the Planning Inspectorate to ensure that from now on the planning inspector puts the wishes of local people at the heart of the Localism Act 2011 as he intended?”

The Prime Minister replied: “I will look carefully at the specific incidents that the hon. Gentleman brings to the House. Under the Localism Act, local authorities are able to produce a local plan and get that agreed, which will give local people greater control over what is built and where. In the meantime, things are judged against the national planning policy framework, which does have protections for green belt; it does insist on going ahead with brownfield developments and it does take into account pre-existing local plans. If that needs to be clarified, then clarify it we will.

Speaking after leaving the Chamber, Mr Evans said: “I know how important this issue is to residents in the Ribble Valley and indeed to people across the UK.

“It does need resolving and I will continue to play my part in doing just that.”