LETTER: Why build more home in Clitheroe, our jewel in the crown?

I AGREE with Liberal Democrat Councillor Sue Knox’s objection to Ribble Valley Council’s Planning and Development Committee’s wish to build 1,040 new homes on agricultural land at Standen at the Southern edge of Clitheroe.

Clitheroe, with its Norman Castle and surrounding country including Pendle Hill, is the jewel in Ribble Valley’s Crown so why place a disproportionate percentage of new required building there?

The owners of any estate have to manage it for future generations, but a distinction must be made between a residential estate and commercial one. If Downham was swamped with 1,000 new houses in the park and village the owners of the estate would have destroyed what they preserve so well. It is often the professional advisers of a family, who may also be their trustees, who gain the most by the sale of an estate in the fees they receive.

When a confirmation of arms was made to John Aspinall in 1748 the College of Arms record states “he and his ancestors have been possessed of a considerable freehold estate at Standen for above five hundred years”. Thomas Pennant (1726-1798), the greatest Welsh travel writer of his age, came through Lancashire as recounted in his “Tour from Downing to Alston Moor” (1801). He writes: “From Clithero I paid my respects to John Aspinal esq of Standen Hall, about a mile south of the town, to whose hospitality and attention I think myself highly indebted ... I had the pleasure of attending him, on a very pleasant ride down the vale, and for a considerable way along a Roman road that runs, very visibly elevated, from Clithero Moor, through the fields of Standen Hey ...”.

Captain Boycott, whose treatment of Irish tenantry was so harsh the ostracisim he brought down on himself added a word to the English language, was a Land Agent, not a Proprietor. Limited development may be necessary in many places, but for a small town of 6,737 households another 1,040 is too many even if it brings the households up to the magic number of 7,777. This is a development which, if it goes through to the extent of over 1,000 new houses, will change the character of Clitheroe to the detriment of both its inhabitants and visitors and Welshmen in the 21st century, whether scholars or prospective Members of Parliament, viewing the new development will rush past on the A59 and avoid stopping at either Standen Hall or Clitheroe.