LETTER: Ribble Valley’s core strategy on housing is flawed

I HAVE, over the past few weeks, looked at the document Local Housing Requirements Survey Nov 2011.

I have noted some items that need clarification:

Item 1. A statement in this booklet states the government requires the local authority to identify land to provide an adequate supply of housing. I have asked and no one can inform me on what type of housing are they referring to.

Item 2. It also states that if they produced a NIL forecast, it was predicted the Government would not approve the local plan as being sound. Again when asked what document shows this, none was available, and the question which stated this would be the case, was again answered in the negative mode.

Item 3. It was stated housing forecast must be provided to take into account the influx of people requiring housing to work in the Ribble Valley. Again this statement is flawed. If you look at where the main workforce is in the Ribble Valley you will see it is in two main areas, Simonstone and Samlesbury.

On both of these sites the majority of the workforce employed there live outside the Ribble Valley and near the sites themselves. That is, Salmlesbury site (BAe Systems) employs about 90% from the Preston/Bolton/Manchester areas. The Simonstone one employs again about 90% from the Padiham/Burnley/Hyndburn areas. To say we must provide housing for a future workforce in this area is somewhat misleading.

Surely if there is any future employment in this area, that should be given first to the unemployed of the Ribble Valley, not outsiders, and there is no need to have housing built to house outsiders who, on all accounts, prefer to live outside the high cost Ribble Valley Residential area.

Item 4. The statement by Ribble Valley Borough Council that the only way to provide so-called affordable housing is to allow the building on a massive scale of high cost housing is again a misleading statement. I have not seen any conclusive proof there will not be any low cost housing built if no high cost housing is built at the same time. Over the years the trend in housing sales indicates there are more houses for sale than buyers. So what reasons are there to provide more?

Item 5. It is stated there will be a movement of people into the Ribble Valley of 559 a year over the next 10 years or so. This again is a mystery as to where these figures come from, (certainly not from past trends show in the Ribble Valley area). The average housing build over the past 50 years are about 2,000 mainly in the high to medium cost. With an average of 100 rental housing needs, mainly the old council housing. That works out at about 40/50 a year, not the 559 a year as stated.

There are other statements in the RVBC documents that don’t add up:

Why is it stated the main areas of Clitheroe, Whalley and Longridge should bear the brunt of all the high cost development?

Why are the villages in Dunsop Bridge and Slaidburn area and the villages around the Bolton-by-Bowland and Downham areas not taking some of the allotted housing development?

What about the development of Read and Simonstone which lies nearer the main business developments of the valley?

What about the Mellor area, that is closer to the main businesses of Blackburn and Preston?

Should we not be looking also on the A59 corridor at Sawley and Gisburn areas, with their better access to the road network?

Why is it that it’s always the Clitheroe and Whalley areas that are used to build, creating congestion, schooling problems?

The core strategy on housing is totally flawed and needs scrapping and a new one to be introduced with more input from the public required, and less input from these highly paid business companies that are being used at the moment.

R. J. M. LOEBELL,

Edisford Road,

Clitheroe