500 homes were needed ‘like a hole in the head’

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The Barratt Homes application for 105 homes on the Longridge Cricket Club club site was unanimously rejected by the borough’s planning committee last week.

Ribble Valley council’s public gallery in Clitheroe was filled with Save Longridge campaigners. Speakers against the plans – part of a 500-homes strategic site application at Higgin Brook – included councillors Ken Hind and David Smith plus Jeff Seel for the campaigners. All Longridge councillors supported the decision with Conservative Councillor Stuart Carefoot seconding the proposal to reject.

In his three-minutes to planners, Jeff Seel felt the issues of prematurity and housing number should be reason enough to reject the application but he highlighted two main flaws in the plans.

First, the proximity of over 400 new homes approved at Halfpenny Lane, a site officially in Preston but part of Longridge, would utilise its infrastructure, services and amenities. And secondly, the drainage of surface water and sewerage.

“These problems have been well documented in letters submitted by local residents to all interested parties beginning in 1995 and still continuing today,” Mr Seel told the committee.

Coun Ken Hind said that another strategic site of 500 homes in the Ribble Valley was needed “like a hole in the head” and Longridge could not cope with such a volume of growth. There were concerns about cricket club activities being impeded and Barratts’ refusal to help towards road improvement costs and lack of bungalows and flats.

Ribble Valley’s five reasons for refusing the application were the proximity of the cricket club, noise disturbances and possible injury or damage from cricket balls; the adverse effect on the character and appearance of the area contrary the National Planning Policy Framework and the Core Strategy; no assurance there would not be a detrimental impact on European protected species; the highway safety of pedestrians and vehicles not being demonstrated – and noise disturbance and overlooking at 76 Inglewhite Road.