Ribble Valley controversial housing blueprint finished

A controversial planning blueprint for housing that details how the Ribble Valley should grow up to 2028 is finally set to be submitted to the Government having undergone a series of crucial modifications.

The Ribble Valley Core Strategy – the borough’s long-term development plan up until 2028 – was considered at a meeting of the Planning and Development Committee meeting last night (Thursday) before being sent to the Government inspector for his final approval.

It sets out plans to build an annual average of 280 homes a year until 2028.

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As we reported earlier this year, planning inspector Simon Berkeley, who was examining the strategy documents, asked the council to look again at seven issues. He reached the “firm view” that further changes were necessary for “soundness”.

In a letter to the council’s head of regeneration and housing, Mr Colin Hirst, the inspector raised points on housing levels, how houses were distributed, the treatment of villages and land allocation. As a result, Mr Hirst outlined a programme of work, including establishing a sustainability criteria to be applied, an accessibility assessment for defined settlements, reviewing the capacity for growth, identifying key constraints such as the Green Belt and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, determining what needs to be allocated, drafting modifications and give a sustainability appraisal.

These modifications have now been detailed in a new submission document by Mr Hirst, which states: “In allocating development, the council will have regard to the AONB, Green Belt and similar designations when establishing the scale, extent and form of development.

“A key change is the need to work to the higher housing requirement of 280 dwellings per year, which is based upon our existing evidence base provided by the previous housing requirement review considered by members.”

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The report adds: “Employment development will be directed towards the main settlements of Clitheroe, Whalley and Longridge as the preferred locations to accommodate employment growth, together with land at Barrow Enterprise Site, the Lancashire Enterprise Zone at Samlesbury and locations well-related to the A59 corridor. The Core Strategy will be subject to a monitoring process to ensure its policies are addressing the aims and objectives of the plan and also it is kept up-to-date with regard to any implications of changes to the underlying evidence base or legislative or national policy framework.”