CLITHEROE residents are celebrating after defeating plans to construct 345 houses following a 15-month battle.

A government inspector dismissed the plans after a consortium of landowners appealed Ribble Valley Borough Council’s decision to refuse the original application last year.

A residents group formed to contest the appeal, which was held in Clitheroe late last year, after the borough council withdrew following legal advice.

The applicants, which included The Huntroyde Estate and Clitheroe Auction Mart Co Ltd, have six weeks to appeal against the decision to the High Court.

In a report detailing the inspector’s decision, which was published yesterday, a spokesman for the department for communities and local government, said: “The experience for those using and viewing the area would be devalued by the proposed development.

“There would be unresolved highway and flooding issues in relation to the Waddington Road access.

“The adverse impacts of allowing the appeal proposal would significantly and demonstratively outweigh the benefits.”

Clitheroe town councillor, Kevin Horkin, said: “This is a fantastic victory for people power and the residents have done a great job in getting this appeal dismissed.

“The borough council must now sit up and listen to the people and if in the future they believe that there is case to be fought then to defend their decisions.

“It’s embarrassing for them that they pulled out of defending their original decision and the residents have done a tremendous job.”

Roland Hailwood, who was one of the members of the Back Commons Action Group who spoke at the appeal, said: “There is going to be a big party tonight because this is fantastic news.

“Every member really worked hard and did their homework ahead of the appeal.

“Common sense has prevailed and it’s great that the residents of Clitheroe have won a victory against the developers.”