LETTER: If Clitheroe homes are abandoned, Barrow will suffer

Having read your front page article (Clitheroe Advertiser and Times, February 16th), concerning local opposition to the proposed development on Standen Estates, I was delighted to read about the strength of feeling aroused and the success of the petition which was started.

However, I do wonder if those involved have thought about some of the wider consequences if local councillors decide to change their minds over their decision on the Core Strategy? One of the original proposals residents were asked to consider and decide upon was a development of around 2,000 houses at Barrow. If the Standen scheme was abandoned or watered down, would we residents of Barrow find ourselves saddled with an enormous dormitory suburb?

Before any decisions on the Core Strategy had been taken, some of the residents of Barrow and Wiswell got together and formed Barrow Action Group, with a view to fighting our own corner if necessary. We are, of course, quite unable to muster the level of support the CRAG group has been able to obtain and many of the smaller settlements in the valley will be in the same boat if they have to cope with increased numbers of people, traffic, demand for schools and other facilities.

I would also point out that if housing is switched from Standen to other areas, such as Barrow, the problems outlined recently in your letters column will not be much alleviated. Standen is not much further from the centre of Clitheroe than, for example, Barrow, and people will still need to travel there for shops, schools, medical facilities and leisure.

Already, there is a rumour the owners of the land at Barrow have written to the council suggesting now would be a good time to build some more houses at Barrow and they would be prepared to put traffic calming measures and so on in the village. With several hundred more houses, such measures would certainly be needed and also in Whalley and also, perhaps, Wiswell! One advantage of the Standen Hall site is, of course, the fact traffic can access the A59 bypass directly, without passing through local villages, an important factor given that most of the residents will have to leave the valley every day to go to work.

When the decision about the Core Strategy and future housing in the Ribble Valley was announced, the councillors involved were accused of “nimbyism”, but in situations such as this, everyone feels entitled to fight their own corner. I was interested to read the article by Coun. Hirst in the paper today (February 23rd), which gave a very concise insight into some of the problems faced in dealing with the Core Strategy and the government thinking behind it.

I am delighted to read of the commitment to preserving, as far as possible, the rural nature of the valley and hope this will continue to be an important factor in any decision making. Finally, better to have a credible plan in place so the council will have more “clout” in any negotiations with developers in future than an unregulated free for all.

ARNOLD BETTESS,

Barrow Action Group