LETTER: Housing desire does not equal housing need
Does the Ribble Valley need additional housing development?
On sound socio-economic grounds the answer is undoubtedly yes. Does the Ribble Valley need the amount of development being proposed? On equally sound grounds, the answer is an emphatic no.
There is little doubt many people would like to live in the towns and villages of the Ribble Valley, but many of those who would wish to live here do not have a need to do so. Desire over necessity, coupled with government policies that encourage land owners to see an opportunity to sell their holdings at developmental rather than agricultural value, has brought us to the current situation, in which proposals for additional housing are coming thick and fast.
Turning to Clitheroe, we have seen a number of sensible developments making use of brown-field sites, though the former Primrose Nursery still ‘lies fallow’. What concerns me is the scale of the three largest proposals, Edisford/Henthorn, Standen and now Waddow View.
If the planners were starting from scratch, the proximity to the town centre of this latest proposal would seem to make it the one from which residents would be the most likely to walk into town and its smaller size would put less pressure on the town’s infrastructure than the other two.
Unfortunately they are not starting from scratch, as a government planning inspector has already allowed the appeal by the developers of the far larger Edisford/Henthorn site, naively stating the residents would mainly walk or cycle into town, despite it being so much further away.
Given the fact Eshton Terrace and Bawdlands, the only two routes into town from the Edisford/Henthorn development, are already congested and will become more so, the proposed access to the southern half of the Waddow View development seems sheer lunacy.
The glossy presentations to illustrate the proposals, which were displayed at the consultation held at the St Mary’s centre, stated access will be via Kirkmoor Road, carefully omitting from both the wording and accompanying map, any mention of Castle View and Bawdlands, or the sharp turn onto the railway bridge between them. The access from the northern half onto Waddington Road seems less contentious, though others may disagree.
To prevent a rat run between Bawdlands and Waddington Road, there is to be no vehicular connection between the two halves of the estate. Oh, I forgot, a shuttle bus will connect them, or so they say. If a bus can get through then …
Are we going to see pop-up bollards like those in the centre of Manchester?
One of the presentations showed on a map and stated, that doctors are located at a number of sites all over town. I spoke to two of the consultant’s representatives and neither was aware of this error. If the consultants do not even know all the doctors work from one Health Centre, how much faith can we have in the rest of their work?
A sheet was provided on which those attending the consultation could express their views. One section requested respondents to say yes or no to a number of ideas.
I do hope the consultants will not assume that because some, like myself, were in favour of affordable housing, more accomodation for the elderly, provision of allotments etc., that this implied approval for their proposals. Nor should they think we are so naïve as to believe that because these items were included in the questionnaire, the developers actually intend to provide them.
With the present government’s views on development and a supine planning inspectorate, I do not hold out any great hopes, but trust our local planners and councillors will do all in their power to prevent this excessive development in both Clitheroe and the rest of the borough.
ANTHONY A. COOPER,
Peel Park Avenue,