Housing inspector learns more from residents than council

Over the past couple of weeks I have been reading in the Clitheroe Advertiser, residents’ letters, the “As I See It” column by Mr Steve Rush and articles by Couns Terry Hill and Stuart Hirst regarding the Core Strategy and planning.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 13th March 2014, 1:32 pm

Coun. Hill has stirred up a hornets’ nest, apparent by the letters in last week’s Clitheroe Advertiser, by attacking Mr Rush who has spoken up on the housing issue right from day one. Coun. Hill appears ignorant of residents’ strong views and feelings on planning and the debacle which is the Core Strategy.

When residents are calling for resignations due to the council’s “incompetence”, surely the penny will drop with the council as to the depth of feeling in the Valley.

The council’s legal advisors urged it not to defend the Waddow View appeal, recently won by a small group of residents. You have to question the advice given at the time.

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I have responded to the Core Strategy throughout the entire process, with yet another six-week consultation period imminent, for a plan which is basically out of date and redundant. The recent Core Stategy examination sessions were well attended when discussions about housing numbers were being discussed. In fact it was a free-for-all, with every developer and his dog being there, all arguing for the housing numbers to be increased to suit their own agendas.

I attended the infrastructure session; the turnout then was a different matter, only one small independent developer from Longridge. Obviously infrastructure is of no interest to developers. After all, once they have built the houses, it’s the poor residents left to cope.

Why has it taken so long for the Core Strategy to get to the current stage, you wonder?

When the Inspector says he has learnt more about infrastructure issues in the Valley from presentations made by residents, than from reading the council’s Infrastructure Plan running concurrently with the Core Strategy, alarm bells start to ring.

No wonder we have a Core Strategy started in 2006 and eight years later is still not complete.

Coun. Hill himself admits that prior to the public examination the Inspector asked the Core Strategy’s evidence base to be updated, as he considered some of it out of date. Why on earth was old data being used at such a crucial point in the Core Strategy, when the council knows the importance of the protection it will offer, or so we are told and led to believe.

Being a sceptic, I doubt it will offer any protection at all.

J. Higgins,

by email