Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans and a leading Conservative councillor have voiced their disappointment after a plea to housing minister Brandon Lewis to “call in” a major, controversial housing application in Longridge was rejected.
Mr Evans had asked the minister of state for housing and planning to re-look at the Barratt Homes application for the Longridge Cricket Club site on Chipping Lane.
We wanted the minister to step in and reflect the reality that Ribble Valley and Preston should have to plan together for the future of LongridgeCoun. Ken Hind
The plans, which have been approved by Ribble Valley Council, include provision for a new cricket club and a primary school as well as 363 new homes.
Mr Evans said: “The minister decided the local authority were best placed to decide on this application and did not think it appropriate to call it in.”
Mr Evans continued: “I am very disappointed this is the case as I have, alongside local councillors and residents, consistently argued against the over-development of Longridge and the wider Ribble Valley.
“Longridge is in a very unfortunate position in that it has the boundaries of both the Ribble Valley and Preston and therefore, there must be more cooperation between the two authorities in planning matters.”
He said he would be continuing to argue against large-scale unwanted developments in Longridge and the rest of the Ribble Valley, making sure residents’ views were heard in Parliament.
Chairman of Longridge Conservatives and Ribble Valley councillor Ken Hind, who represents Dilworth, said they were all disappointed by the refusal.
Within days of the planning committee voting in favour – by a narrow vote – of the development, Coun Hind discussed the matter with Mr Evans, requesting he consider approaching the minister and asking him to “call in” the application and the papers were drafted and submitted.
He said: “The main thrust of our request was to get the minister to consider the planning rules concerning communities where two different local authorities were granting planning consents on either side of a boundary, as is happening in Longridge.
“We wanted the minister to step in and reflect the reality that Ribble Valley and Preston should have to plan together for the future of Longridge.”