Barratts need more feedback on Higson site

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Developers proposing up to 500 new homes in Longridge attracted around 100 people to an exhibition of their plans for green fields at Higson Brook off Chipping Lane.

Barratt Homes executives met with borough and town councillors before the firm’s display last Friday at the Old Station, when members of the Save Longridge group, lobbying against the plans, gained almost 100 new supporters to their campaign.

Barratt’s senior land manager Andrew Brown said: “We welcomed the opportunity to speak with all those who attended. Engaging with the local community is really important to us, as we want to ensure our plans respond to local needs.”

He requested further feedback online or via 0844 5563002, comments to be reviewed “before finalising the plans ahead of submitting the planning applications in the next few weeks.”

However, local councillors’ concerns following the pre-exhibition meeting with Barratts have been set out by Coun Ken Hind. He said: “We asked a number of pointed questions. The answers revealed Barratts will go ahead irrespective of the Longridge Neighbourhood Plan, will utilise the new planning laws and the loopholes and weaknesses of Ribble Valley Development Plan or Core Strategy.

“They will argue in their application and on appeal that they are helping to provide what they claim is a shortfall in our available development land over the next five years to justify the building of homes on their site.”

There were no plans in the first phase for new arterial roads to relieve the traffic congestion, no bungalows or sheltered accommodation for the elderly or one bedroom flats for young people, no plans for a health centre, job creation measures, school or play area for 1,200 on the site,.

“Barratts are encouraging us to be a dormitory ‘drive out to work’ community,” said Coun Hind.

Ward councillors and Save Longridge campaigners are now planning a public meeting. Coun Hind added “We are not against housing but we want to meet local needs, address infrastructure needs and be proportionate.”