I HAVE attended two meetings over recent weeks, regarding the core strategy consultation document and the ongoing demands for high-cost housing here in the Ribble Valley.
The first meeting was a meeting sponsored by the Conservative Party, with our MP chairing it on behalf of the St Mary’s councillors. This meeting was supposed to help alleviate the fears of the St Mary’s residents, regarding the onslaught of developers wanting to build high-cost housing, not only in the area of the St Mary’s ward, but across the rest of the Clitheroe area.
I attended this meeting due to the fact there is a possibility that more than 1,000 houses could be built in my area of Clitheroe, the Low Moor/Edisford area.
I came away from that meeting somewhat disillusioned. It came across that the meeting was held to make the Conservative councillors and Mr Evans look good in the eyes of the electorate, with regards to this mammoth housing development that will take place in the Ribble Valley. To this end, it failed miserably. Nothing was said to alleviate the fears of the populace of Clitheroe and the Ribble Valley.
The other meeting was one held by RVBC, to explain and take public views on the so-called core strategy policy.
Again, it came across to me and a few others that attended the meeting, as another waste of public time and money. The indoctrination on why it is deemed essential to have 3,000 stated high-cost homes (current figures indicate as high as 5,000) was openly the priority of the presentations on display. When you discussed the position with representatives from RVBC, there was no alternative dialogue on why we needed this excessive amount of high-cost housing.
What conclusions have I formed from these meetings and others I have attended? Well, I am utterly convinced the present standing Ribble Valley councillors will (apart form the brave few) vote for this massive extension of high-cost housing, come what may.
They will quote that their hands are tied by central government policies and the current directives from this government that most support. The areas of Chatburn, Clitheroe and Whalley, through to Blackburn will be built on and will become a blot on the countryside.
The carrot of low-cost affordable housing will be a myth with local people unable to afford to buy, relying on renting only.
The favoured villages in Downham, Dunsop Bridge and Bolton-by-Bowland areas will look on with a praise of “thank you so very much”, for not having to share the burden the Chatburn to Blackburn corridor will have to make.