RESIDENTS have accused a council of leaving them to fight a ‘David versus Goliath’ battle to stop a 345-home estate alone.

Back Commons Action Group in Clitheroe last week prevented the scheme at Waddow View going ahead.

This was despite Ribble Valley Council declining to defend its own refusal of planning permission for the development.

Its leader Stuart Hirst responded by accusing highways authority Lancashire County Council of giving ‘flawed advice’ .

A government inspector dismissed Waddow View plan after a consortium of landowners appealed Ribble Valley’s decision to refuse it last year. The borough council withdrew from fighting the appeal, leading to the formation of the Back Commons Action Group.

Its spokeswoman Liz Parkinson said: “We were delighted planning permission for the Waddow View development has been refused on appeal.

“The group was pleased when Ribble Valley council refused permission.

“Never in a million years did we envisage the council would not defend their decision. That is exactly what they did three weeks before the appeal hearings were due.

“We decided to fight.This was a David versus Goliath situation. The borough and county councils let local residents down.”

Coun Hirst said: "The Planning Inspectorate dismissed the Waddow View appeal due to highways problems.

“This is a challenge to advice given by the Lancashire Highways Authority that such problems would be minimal.

“The fact it withdrew its objections at the last minute left our planning committee in the difficult position of being unable to include traffic congestion in its reasons.

“The refusal was on far less robust grounds and it is unsurprising subsequent legal advice suggested that defending the appeal might prove costly and unsuccessful.

“I’ve asked the chairman of planning Terry Hill to investigate how such a flawed piece of advice was given to this council by the Highways Authority.”

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

Lancashire County Council declined to comment.