Local residents who campaigned against the siting of a specialist home for young people on the outskirts of Longridge have expressed relief after a planning application was withdrawn.
The move came as a group of residents challenged the need for such a facility at Roall Garth, currently a private residence on Hesketh Lane, a few miles from the centre of Chipping and claimed the application contained “misleading” information.
They sought the help of Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans stressing that their protest against an application for change of use from residential to residential care premises was motivated by doubts about the level of local demand for such a facility and its isolated location..
Spokesman Kev Davidson said: “None of it was nimbyism (not in my back yard)...Is there a need for it in Ribble Valley here? The answer is no. There is no need for any more children’s homes in Lancashire and the North West.”
Applicants CareTech Community Services T/A ROC North West stated the property would accommodate up to five children and young people aged eight to 18 with social, emotion and mental health (SEMH) difficulties.
Its application stated: “This type of accommodation is much needed in the area. The local authority (Ribble Valley) are very keen on ROC opening this site as they will be able to keep local young people within their locality.”
The company withdrew the application before it was due to be discussed at the council’s planning committee.
Kev continued: “The group they were trying to bring were really high dependancy children. What we were trying to do with Ribble Valley (council) was to put a bit of pressure on Ribble Valley planning to say can you have a really good look at this.”
Roall Garth owner Bruce Pickering of Bruce Pickering Joinery said the property is back on the market, adding: “It got withdrawn...It was all going quite well until the beginning of January.”
Chipping parish council had initially supported the application, but had asked for Ribble Valley Council to defer considering the application following the raising of concerns by residents.
The company had addressed the parish council at a meeting attended by residents.
It was here, said Kev, that it became apparent there was not demand for such a facility within Ribble Valley. He added: “We still don’t know why they’ve withdrawn it. We feel relieved.”
Noone was available for comment at CareTech T/A ROC North West.
*ROC North West has another facility in Ribble Valley, Mountwood Academy at Ribchester.