LETTER: Fears that school will not be built on Whalley homes site

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I AM writing with regard to the article in the Clitheroe Advertiser on February 17th headlined “Plans for new primary school and 300 homes in Whalley”.

I would like to put the record straight, as CEG’s proposal is very misleading with regard to the provision of a 210-place primary school, but it makes a great headline.

Any readers who have taken the challenge of reading CEG’s planning application, currently on Ribble Valley Borough Council’s website, are brave to say the least. I gave up. The transport assessment alone is 300 pages long and comes to the conclusion there are no traffic or parking problems in the village. What, dear readers, do you make of that?

So onto the school issue – in the small print it says, and I quote: “The timing of the delivery of the school will be determined by LCC as local education authority but the S106 agreement will ensure the land with a financial contribution is available at an appropriate time to meet the needs of the development.”

An S106, by the way, is an agreement regulating development or use of land. It is a legally binding agreement between the council, developer and any other parties with an interest in the site to be developed.

It does not say the land with a 210-place primary school already built on it will be available, as LCC will have to fund the difference. I have heard the financial contribution will be a very large sum, but is not going to build a school and what about the running costs, staffing etc.

The fact LCC has to make public spending cuts of £179m. over the next three years does not instil any confidence a school will be built. Memories of Calderstones Park and the school that got built there come to mind ... oh yes it never got built and it had a S106 agreement.

The fact the two exact sites identified in the Core Strategy, Riddings Lane and Lawsonsteads, have had planning applications submitted, by the Co-op and CEG, makes a mockery of the Core Strategy, which has not even been fully consulted upon or adopted.

I posed the question as to how this was allowed to happen. The response from RVBC is they cannot stop a developer submitting a planning application. No wonder that up and down the country there are planning applications galore being submitted before the new Localism Bill comes in.

Developers must be rubbing their greedy hands together, because the councils have saved them money and time by identifying possible parcels of land for possible development. I wonder how much of taxpayers’ money has been and will be spent on the finalisation of the Core Strategy, which now seems redundant.