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U-turn on over 55s Clitheroe homes plan

The extra provision for affordable housing turned a thumbs down from planners into a thumbs up.
The extra provision for affordable housing turned a thumbs down from planners into a thumbs up.
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Controversial plans to build 34 bungalows in Clitheroe for the over 55s which planning chiefs said they were minded to refuse have been given the go-ahead after the developer increased the amount of affordable housing included in the application.

During a recent meeting of Ribble Valley Borough Council’s planning and development committee, the applicant offered to increase its affordable housing contribution by one bungalow thereby invalidating the original reason – a lack of affordable housing – cited for why the plans should be refused.

Plans for a mix of one, two and three bedroomed bungalows, four of which were originally being offered as “affordable”, were discussed at a meeting of RVBC’s planning and development committee last month.

And a petition signed by 90 people and 16 letters of objection were submitted regarding this original application for the site off Peel Park Avenue.

Clitheroe Town Councillors also strongly objected to the proposals on the grounds that the application would be “over intensification” of the site, which is owned by the Trustees of Clitheroe Royal Grammar School Foundation, and that there is poor access to it.

In a report to the planning and development committee’s September meeting, it was explained that vehicle access to the development would be provided via a new access point off Peel Park Avenue facilitated by the demolition of number 30 Peel Park Avenue.

It was also stated that an off site sport and recreation contribution of £14,000 and an ecology contribution had been promised by the applicant.

However, in that report it said that RVBC’s own Housing Strategy Officer did not support the plans as it under delivered in relation to affordable housing providing only 10 rather than the minimum 20% affordable housing.

And during a meeting of RVBC’s planning and development committee on September 6th, Littlemoor ward councillor, Coun. Sue Knox, proposed that the application was refused on the grounds of affordable housing.

However, following the meeting, the applicant subsequently offered to increase its affordable housing contribution by one bungalow and last Thursday, during a meeting of the council's planning and development committee, it was agreed that the application should be approved.

A spokesman for the trustees of CRGS Foundation, a registered charity, previously explained that “following two generations of a tenancy on the site at Goosebutts, the local farmer retired recently and the trustees of the Foundation were advised by RVBC that the site could be developed for bungalows with occupation by the over 55s, an identified need in the Ribble Valley”.

He added: “Taking into consideration their legal obligation to maximise the assets of the charity for the benefit of pupils at the school, the local need for more bungalows, and the fact that the land is no longer ideal for agricultural use, surrounded as it is by residential development, the trustees granted Applethwaite Homes an option to purchase the site to achieve a planning consent for development of bungalows.”