Core strategy: goalposts have been moved

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At last the Core Strategy is ready for its public examination, a process which has already taken more than three years to fulfil.

It is still to be completed. However, we must be grateful for any scrap of protection we can find from the avaricious acquisition of our rural valley by developers out to make millions for their balance sheets and for landowners who are selling the valley’s heritage in order to line their own pockets.

The question is, will it? Will the Core Strategy (Local Plan), if approved, offer any protection?

In your article last week on the announcement of the details of the examination, Coun. Hirst tries to put an optimistic note on the thing, but we have become more and more sceptical of the process over time. Endless consultations have shown that local opinions are ignored even though we have been encouraged to voice those opinions, especially if they can be backed up with evidence.

Has there been one measure adopted or changed as a result of a response from anyone who isn’t a developer, landowner or the agent of either of those?

No, there has not, in the same way that those opinions have had no effect on any of the large scale development proposals submitted over the last three years. This was most evident when the application was made to build 500 houses in Barrow. The developers did not even bother to consult the community.

Goal posts have been moved, definitions changed, targets arbitrarily increased, realities ignored and now, an agent of the Government is going to sit for more than a week to decide whether the plan should be approved.

What on earth can he find to talk about for so long?

There is only one question which needs to be decided: are we to have four, five or six thousand or more houses foisted on us?

Nick Walker

Chairman of Save Whalley Village