OPINION: Merging Whalley and Barrow to make one town makes housing sense ...

The Census is a means of assessing how many people are in the UK at a given point. It also provides information, which allows us to plan for the future. The 2011 Census tells us the Ribble Valley needs 2,100 new houses by 2028.

Thursday, 25th October 2012, 2:02 pm

Ribble Valley Borough Council (RVBC) has used expensive consultants to arrive at its figure of 4,000 houses. But in the same month that the Core Strategy was officially submitted, the free Census information tells us we require almost half that figure.

Action groups backed by local communities have repeatedly informed RVBC its assessment of new housing numbers is far too high. Now its official.

I think the article in RVBC’s own newspaper and last week’s Advertiser and Times, headlined “Housing strategy for next 15 years” should read as follows:

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Council sets out its policy to destroy borough

Ribble Valley Borough Council has agreed and submitted its Core Strategy, to overdevelop the borough by 2028.

The strategy builds on widespread consultation with developers. Local communities have also expressed their views but the council seems uninterested in listening to them, after all, consultation only occurs so a box can be ticked!

In April a special meeting of the planning committee agreed 4,000 houses were right for the borough and 1,700 should be dumped in Clitheroe.

Information on the number of houses still to be built cannot be provided. Unfortunately the new build figure, where permission has already been granted, is currently unknown. This situation should be rectified before its too late.

Someone said: “Residents are concerned future development will destroy the outstanding natural beauty of the Ribble Valley and that is true. The 1,040-house development at Standen Estates is bound to be an eyesore.

“Concern surrounding roads, sewerage, education, medical facilities and car parking is a concern for many people. Reading the infrastructure document I’m not surprised, as none of these issues have been addressed.

“The figure of 4,000 comes from our very expensive consultants who are experts in their field. We are committed to merging Whalley with Barrow. Replacing two villages with one town makes sense. Suggestions of names for this new town can be sent to the Beano.

“We have taken no notice of the recent Census results, which indicate the Ribble Valley only needs to build 2,100 houses, as that is a Government initiative and has nothing to do with increasing developers’ profits.

“The 4,000 houses contained in the Core Strategy is a minimum number. Any application submitted once this figure has been reached, will still have to be judged on its merit. The Ribble Valley could end up with 6,478 new houses by 2028.”

Now wouldn’t that make a refreshing change? A statement containing the truth!

I must point out the above is purely my work and has not had any input from any member of RVBC. But then I think you probably worked that one out!

By Steve Rush, Clitheroe Residents’ Action Group