Council should have stood by decision over new homes

editorial image

I write with regard to the recent decision by Ribble Valley Borough Council to withdraw from the appeal process of its decision to turn down the outline planning application “Waddow View” for 345 homes off Waddington Road.

You may recall Ribble Valley Borough Council’s planning committee refused this application in February. The applicant decided then to appeal the decision. The entire council was thereby led to believe this appeal would be defended by the council. However, unknown to many councillors, several weeks ago an emergency meeting was called by the chief executive and council leader who, along with a couple of other councillors, took the decision to withdraw from the process on the grounds of the council being exposed to high legal costs, should it lose the appeal.

The first I knew of this U-turn was when I was informed by the local press.

As ward councillor I immediately asked our leader to bring forward our group meeting so our entire group could question the basis and logic of such a decision. He agreed and a robust and frank meeting took place.

I still hold the view that we took, as a council, the wrong decision. I understand the high cost implications of defending such appeals, but on balance we should and must reflect the public mood with regards to town-changing developments. Until our core strategy is implemented there will be further difficult times ahead.

I will continue to call for our council to represent our residents’ views; the price of democracy is expensive, and sometimes it is a price worth paying.

Coun. Kevin Horkin,

Ribble Valley Borough Councillor