Three new sites not originally earmarked for development in the borough council’s blueprint for housing have been put forward, to the dismay of local residents.
The date of the examination for Ribble Valley Borough Council’s housing and economic development plan has been delayed until November after the Government’s Planning Inspector became ill.
A special planning and development committee was subsequently set up by the council with members meeting to re-visit the original plans.
The original plan earmarked sites for housing in Chatburn and Wilpshire, but at the special meeting, councillors from those two areas argued these sites are no longer suitable for consideration and the other committee members agreed.
Three more sites were subsequently put forward which will be used to build up to 180 new houses.
Land at Highmoor Farm is earmarked to accommodate 100 houses, a further 40 houses on Chatburn Road and 40 more houses on land off Hawthorne Place.
Steve Rush, chairman of Clitheroe Residents’ Action Group, said: “I’m not sure how anyone will get on to the A59 in future. With Standen Estates emptying onto Pendle Road and now cars from Highmoor Farm doing the same – gridlock springs to mind.”
If this plan is passed Clitheroe’s new houses will reach almost 3,000 with no sign of infrastructure improvements.”
Two other sites outside of Clitheroe were also put forward – 10 new homes on a site to the south of Laycocks Farm, Langho, and 20 new homes on a site at Haugh Head, Whins Lane, Read and Simonstone.
The largest site at Highmoor Farm is owned by Clitheroe Royal Grammar School Foundation and was given by Queen Mary I. It is adjacent to a site where 1,050 are being built on the Standen Estate. It is believed the Foundation has offered to sell the land for development if so required.
Ribble Valley Borough Council is obliged to reconsider the amount of land designated for housing and part of the farm land nearest the town has been earmarked in its revised proposals. No decision has been made to sell the land and no offers have been received, but the Foundation is a registered charity, and as such the trustees are legally obliged to maximise the assets which were endowed in 1554 for the benefit of the school and its pupils. The playing fields at High Moor are not included in the council’s provisional allocation.
A spokesman for Highmoor Park residents said: “Highmoor Park residents are very concerned at the proposal which, if approved, will increase further the already excessive development by another 100 houses. Clitheroe is already becoming overcrowded and congested. The nature of our small town is being destroyed.”
Responding to the concerns, the leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council, Coun. Ken Hind, said: “This is purely and simply a consultation exercise in relation to the sites and I would urge the public to express their objections.
“We have been informed of new housing rules after the Government announced changes to the National Planning Policy Framework.
“The new rules will enable us, in certain circumstances, to resist inappropriate developments.
“Under the Core Strategy, the Government expected us to build 280 houses a year, however, under the NPPF, this number could drop to 172 houses a year as demand for new housing is greater in other parts of the country, particularly the south.”
Residents have the opportunity to have their say on the revised plan by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org before September 7th.
Alternatively, post comments to Pmods, Forward Planning Team, Ribble Valley Borough Council, Council Offices, Church Walk, Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 2RA.