LETTER: Henthorn Road housing plan is affront to natural justice

Regarding the plans for development on land off Henthorn Road, I was somewhat surprised on attending the planning committee meeting on July 14th that the members decided the development for this area should not be rejected outright.

This opportunist application from a speculative development company is nothing less than the rape of an area of beauty and a crime against the environment which could have a seriously damaging effect upon our community.

This development is probably the biggest one of its kind to be discussed in recent years, with many valid reasons for refusal. Just because the council cannot demonstrate it has a five-year housing supply the instruction is the application must be approved, with all other material considerations having to be ignored. It is an affront to natural justice.

Planning guidance states a development site should have a close relationship to the primary route network, yet this site is three miles from the A59, along a tortuous route which already suffers congestion. We are looking at a development of some 270 properties which will no doubt produce many extra vehicles.

Development applications were turned down 30 years ago because the roads could not take more traffic, yet the LCC highways officer seems quite content that our roads can take even more traffic now.

The site for development is outside the current settlement boundary. Surely it should remain so until the new Core Strategy has been agreed upon. A doctors’ surgery is to be provided, but no mention of a pharmacist! The shops likely to be used are all in town apart from one in Henthorn Road and the potentially relocated Spar shop at the former Perry’s Garage, each a considerable distance from the development site.

There is no guarantee our local schools will be able to cope. Residents are to be encouraged to use cycles or walk or use an existing bus service that may be extended. While this idea is commendable we have to be realistic and accept most residents will continue to use their cars.

Other developers have plans for sites near the A59, to be provided with a proper built-in infrastructure for roads, education and community facilities. The emerging Core Strategy identifies these as suitable, sustainable development areas.

It cannot be overemphasised that should this development be given approval it will open the floodgates to many subsequent attempts to swamp Clitheroe, Longridge, Whalley and, without a doubt, other smaller settlements with developments which lie outside the Core Strategy’s chosen sites.

The community of Ribble Valley have a lot to lose if we stumble and fall at this early hurdle.

COUN. ALAN YEARING

(Edisford and Low Moor Ward)