I was among those who sat glum-faced in the public gallery l as the planning committee granted approval for CEG to build another 260 houses in our lovely village (at Lawsonsteads, Whalley).
Several councillors made the point there was no valid planning reason they could think of which would warrant refusal. Of course there wasn’t; the Government’s planning rules are skewed so heavily in favour of developers that although resistance might make us feel better, it is almost futile.
Some assured us this latest Lawsonsteads application is somehow better than the previous ones – in rather the same way as someone might describe diphtheria as being better than tuberculosis.
Vociferous local opposition to the building of over 600 new houses on Whalley’s green fields counts for nothing. The greater say in local planning decisions we were promised by politicians has failed to materialise.
The Government has spoiled Whalley, just as it is spoiling hundreds of other attractive villages throughout the country. That any political party would choose to alienate such vast numbers of its natural supporters truly beggars belief.
Of course, this is not the end. Sniffing along the trail of the extra 600 houses, 1,300 cars and two thousand people will come yet more slithery, objectionable opportunists from far away. Planning officers will tell us there are no valid reasons to refuse consent for a supermarket and some bland national identikit retail chain outlets. Ironically though, they will have to provide car parking.
Those of us who have known and loved Whalley village before its ruination will survey the sprawl with seething indignation.
Blinking back the tears, we might be heard to whisper: “When I first lived here, these were all fields.”
King Street, Whalley