Snail farm and holiday lodge development at Ribchester in Ribble Valley sparks new planning controversy

A controversial snail farm and holiday lodge development in the Ribble Valley village of Ribchester is at the centre of a new planning controversy.

By Fiona Finch
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 4:29 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th May 2022, 2:41 pm

Concerns have been raised about two recent applications to discharge and to change planning conditions for the site. Planning permission was granted on appeal last September for what was deemed a controversial development locally.

But now two new applications have been made by site owners L'Escargotierre (Ribble Valley) Ltd of Longridge relating to five planning conditions.

Local residents and the parish council say they fear if approved the changes will alter the location of two of six holiday lodges, change drainage plans significantly and potentially remove an educational /tourism facility which was part and parcel of the approved plan.

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Sheila Cromie who is protesting about applications to remove and alter some of the planning conditions at the Ribchester snail farm and holiday lodge development site which is pictured in the background of the photo Photo Neil Cross

They believe new plans indicate that the planned educational/tourism space linked to the snail farm could be being replaced by office accommodation, in the grandly named Boadicea House.

Work has been progressing in recent months on the development which is sited on what was formerly a green field site off Preston Road in the Ribble Valley village, near Longridge.

Local resident Dr Sheila Cromie said: “I’m concerned that it’s no longer a disabled friendly tourist attraction and seems to be morphing into an office block which is not really in keeping with this building. They’ve got the first part of the planning permission. Now they are just changing things.”

The development site off Preston Road, Ribchester, neighbours residential housing Photo Neil Cross

She noted that two of the three bedroomed lodges were now detailed as two bedroomed lodges and that the site appeared to have been levelled. She added: “Now the site’s levelled godness knows what will happen when the next heavy rains come.”

Meanwhile Ribchester Parish Council has submitted an objection letter to planning authority Ribble Valley Borough Council detailing its concerns. The development was discussed at a recent meeting. In its letter the Council said: "The original plans submitted show a ‘proposed building’ which allegedly was to be used for offices, snail farming and rooms for ‘demonstrations and tutorials together with ancillary accommodations, thus creating a countryside attraction’. This now appears on the current plan as ‘Boadicea House’ how much of which is likely to be used as a ‘countryside attraction’ is unclear.”

The council raised concerns that: “The building itself ... now appears to be nothing more than a small industrial unit.”

The council also queried the proposed discharge of conditions to allow the use of soakaways for some surface drainage noting previous advice that

Publicity signs outside the development site off Preston Road, Ribchester Photo Neil Cross

‘Soakaways are not a viable option due to ground conditions’.

It also complained about a change of colour scheme.

Abnother resident raised concerns about flooding downstream of the site. Local resident and environmentalist Paul Yates said he is concerned about water being channelled into nearby Boyce’s Brook.

The Environment Agency said it had no objection to the discharge of two of the conditions but offered guidance re the relocation of the two cabins. The Lead Local Flooding Authority Lancashire County Council also said it had no comments to make re. discharge of planning conditions relating to drainage.

The Post was unable to contact the developer’s agent David Liversidge of DVL Properties Ltd who had made the application on behalf of applicant David Ball and L'Escargotiere (Ribble Valley) Ltd.