“It makes a total and utter mockery of the village.”
That was just one of the damning comments made about ambitious plans to build 50 houses on a village field which has a long held tradtion as a civil war battleground.
An official planning application to build the homes on the land between Whalley Road and George Lane, Read, has now been submitted to Ribble Valley Borough Council.
The development includes family and affordable homes with associated roads for access, public open space and a pond. There will also be 30 bungalows aimed at the over 55s which meets Ribble Valley’s policy to create more homes for that age group in Read and Simonstone.
Villagers have already expressed opposition to the scheme and a banner with the slogan “Save our village from the Hammond ground development” has been erected in a field at the entrance to the village.
The agent for the development took the unusual step of holding a public consultation before the plans were submitted earlier this year. Residents were asked for their views and there were many strong ojections raised to it.
One resident said: “We fundamentally object to the propsosal and dislike all of it.”
Many felt that where they development was being built, on Whalley Road, was a busy road with a high volume of traffic particularly at rush hour periods with cars travelling at up to 40mph close to the proposed entrance of the site.
Another residdent said if the development went ahead a by-pass would have to be built to cope with the extra traffic. One resident commented: “We object to the plan and we can see no reason for Read to be overloaded with unnecessary buildings. I have lived in the village for 75 years and definitely feel we have no support for such a proposition.”
Objectors have also said that Read’s infrastructure would not cope as there is only one primary school and no GP surgery. And recent cuts at Lancashire County Council mean the village now has a reduced bus service.
Protestors are hoping that one of the major factors against the scheme is the fact that, according to history, the land contains the remains of soldiers who fought in the civil war, mine shafts and also the remains of soldiers who fought in the Battle of Old Read Bridge in 1643.
Although covered by the landscape character assessment, the site lies just outside the Forest of Bowland which is an Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty. Hammond Ground is part of the larger Read Estate.
This is the first time the land has been made the subject of a planning application although in 2010 there was discussion about a possible development of a retirement village
of 64 units, but no application was made.
The plans can be viewed at Ribble Valley Council’s planning offices in Church Walk, Clitheroe or online. Objections and comments need to be made by Friday, June 10th.