LETTER: Planning application timed to catch us off guard?

ON the Thursday before Christmas I received a letter from Ribble Valley Borough Council announcing the receipt of an outline planning application for a development of up to 140 houses on land off Henthorn Road.

This site is adjacent to the existing houses beyond Kenilworth Drive and nearly opposite the Henthorn Farm site, which already has outline permission for up to 270 houses. The letter, dated December 19th, gives a 21-day deadline for representations about this proposal and so on Friday December 28th – the first working day I had free after receipt of the letter – I went to the council offices hoping to look at the plans and raise a couple of queries with planning staff.

However, I found that the council offices were closed until Wednesday January 2nd 2013. In fact, including weekends, these plans are not available to view at the council offices for 13 days of the statutory 21-day period. I recognise that, in common with many businesses, the council saves money by closing its premises completely over the Christmas period. I am sure that the applicants are well aware of this and suggest that the timing of the application was calculated to lessen the likely number of written objections.

There surely will be objections from many of those who opposed the Gladman proposals for the Henthorn Farm site in relation to the amenity and safety issues of increased traffic on Henthorn Road, and along the already congested onward routes, especially the Thorn Street/Eshton Terrace/Woone Lane/Whalley Road route out of town. Clearly, any further development on Henthorn Road would worsen those problems.

It seems to me that the submission of these plans just before the seasonal closure is yet another example of the cynical manipulation of the consultation and statutory survey processes by developers eager to push through these opportunistic developments. I do hope that, despite the short time now available, people will be able to put these concerns in writing to the council before the consultation period ends on Wednesday January 9th.

MAUREEN FENTON,

Henthorn Road, Clitheroe