BARROW residents are calling for council chiefs to resign over a controversial housing development.

At a meeting on Wednesday residents called for council leader Stuart Hirst, planning committee chairman Terry Hill and chief planning officer John Macholc to step down.

Residents vowed to gather signatures for a petition across the Ribble Valley after accusing them of ‘failing the community’.

The 504-house plan was passed by the Planning Inspectorate last week.

The group will contact the councillors and officer and are seeking support from other community groups in the borough.

Meeting chairman Sarah Parry said: “Officials have completely failed the community. I don’t know how they sleep at night.

“The whole process has been a massive mismanagement. It’s time for new people to take over.

“We elected Coun Hirst and Coun Hill to represent us and fight for us but they have failed in their job.”

David Birtwistle was one of 18 residents at the meeting. He said: “The difference between Clitheroe and Barrow after all the houses are built that already have planning permission will be a matter of a few hundred yards.

“It’s an unacceptable situation for us, thousands of people will be affected by this.”

Coun Hirst said: “I am bitterly disappointed with the inspector’s conclusions and have every sympathy with the residents.

“That view is, I know, shared by elected members, the planning chair Coun Hill and our MP Nigel Evans who has written to the secretary of state in the strongest terms seeking an early meeting.

“Often the council finds itself in an impossible situation which is not of its making.

“The planning committee will be meeting soon to consider the full implications of this highly regrettable decision.”

Ribble Valley Borough Council chief executive Marshal Scott said: “It is disappointing that there seems to be a campaign to blame the council for the planning inspector's decision. While I understand the anger of residents it is very disappointing to see calls for the resignation of officers and councillors, who seem increasingly only able to play a minor role in local planning decisions.”

Coun Hill said he shared the ‘bitter disappointment’ with Coun Hirst about the decision.