Ken Hind Longridge Councillor and Vice Chairman of the Ribble Valley Conservative Association, has called for public support to stop developers from attempting to get round the public planning consultation on housing and planning for the next 15 years in the Ribble Valley.
The Council is consulting the public on proposals limiting the construction of houses to 1500 in addition to those which already have planning permission. Developers are attempting to get round the proposals by making pre-planning enquiries or planning applications on sites subject to consultation, before the process is completed, to make sure that their development site is included in the future plans of the council. ''
''The solution to this problem is for the Ribble Valley Council and other councils from all over the country is to lobby Eric Pickles MP, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government , to introduce into the Localism Bill, currently about to be considered by Parliament ,a clause preventing applications on land subject to public consultation until the council finalises it's policy .''
''The people of the Ribble Valley should use the democratic process to oppose applications which attempt to get round the consultation . It is too late when opposition is reduced to lying down in front of bulldozers.''
'In Longridge ,the 'Dilworth Triangle' site, which would be at the heart of the potential 450 dwelling satellite village, in Dilworth Lane and Lower Lane was subject to a pre-planning enquiry with the Ribble Valley Borough Council, only 2 days after the public meeting in Longridge to discuss the core strategy consultation . At this meeting a number of members of the public spoke out strongly against building on the Dilworth Triangle.
Fox Strategic Land and Development Limited have confirmed that they are making application to build 260 homes Whittingham Lane, Longridge ,which is in the part of the town in the City of Preston an authority carrying out the same procedure as Ribble Valley. Fox are in partnership with Gladman Developments who have already made a planning application for 80 houses at Henthorn Road, Clitheroe . Two other developers, are in the process of applying for large housing developments in Whalley .The council have not yet decided if any of these sites will form part of their Local Government framework plan for housing over the next 15 years. This process will take another 12 to 18 months.
Companies like Fox and Gladman are driven by the need to make profits, whereas the council need to consider the views of the communities where it is suggested houses are to be built.
''For owners of land, getting development status for their land is like winning the lottery .They volunteer their land to Councils as potential development sites. Land values of greenfield sites on receipt of development status, can rise from £7000 an acre to as much as £500,000. Landowners hire the likes of Fox Land and Property and Gladman Developments to push their land for development status,package their planning applications and ultimately find builders to construct the houses ''
Recently Fox failed in a public enquiry to obtain planning permission to build 500 dwellings in Failand , North Somerset. The company is involved in a 3000 houses application in Loughborough .They are acting with another landowner by making representations to Castle Point Council in Essex as part of their Core Strategy consultation . ''
''Attempts made to get round the views of the public subverts the democratic process and brings the system into disrepute. Those who are anxious to make their land available for part of the 1500 new homes proposed to be built in the next 15 years, should be made top wait until the public consultation is complete.