LETTER: Act now to stop Whalley becoming an urban sprawl

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When will someone in power stand up and admit that mass development of areas doesn’t work?

Those of us who are old enough can remember when high rise flats were the answer to everything. Look what happened to them. Now, apparently, the only way to get affordable housing is to let developers build a massive housing estate and fit in a few less expensive houses.

I think we are all suspicious about what “Affordable housing” actually means. Does it mean for the people who live here? For the younger generation who want to stay living in the community and bring up a family of their own? Or does it mean for people who would like to live here, but can’t afford to?

How does Ribble Valley identify the housing need? Again I believe they invited opinions not only from residents of Whalley, but also from family and friends of residents who currently live outside Whalley. Doesn’t this mean these people may be counted again and again? They may answer the same for Clitheroe, for Chatburn, Gisburn, they may just want to live in the Ribble Valley and so get on every survey. Maybe I’m being simplistic, but it seems the Housing Needs Survey is also simplistic and not scientific.

We have just beaten one planning application for 80 houses off Hayhurst Road, but don’t think have gone away. They could still appeal the decision. Now we have another for 300 houses, a school and nursing home on Lawstonsteads. Of course the school and nursing home are just carrots, the developers aren’t actually building them, just offering the land and, in the case of the school, a bit towards the multi-million pound cost, which LCC doesn’t have any intention of spending.

Also please note the school is a single form entry school, so will take no more children than our current school. This means the cost of running two schools, two lots of headteachers, two lots of property costs, two lots of everything. Then to fill the new school they will need children from outside Whalley, more traffic as parents drive them in.

I could go on. Everyone who has thought this through, looked beyond the sales pitch, is horrified at the prospect, surely it couldn’t happen? Well it could and we need to stand up and stop it.

Get your voice heard now. Write to Ribble valley Borough Council. Lobby your local councillor. Join the fighting group Save Whalley Village (www.savewhalleyvillage.org.uk), add your name to the ever growing numbers of members and keep up to date with the news.

Whatever you do, do something, because if we don’t act Whalley will be just another urban sprawl.


Woodlands Drive Whalle