THE Prime Minister has agreed to look ‘very carefully’ at planning inspectorate’s decision to approve a controversial housing development in the Ribble Valley.

David Cameron gave the undertaking during Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday after Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans raised the issue.

The planning Inspectorate approved the plan for 504 houses in Barrow last month.

Mr Evans said: “Will my right honourable friend look again at the working of the planning inspectorate to ensure that from now on the planning inspector puts the wishes of the local people at the heart of the Localism Act as he intended.”

Mr Cameron said: “I will look very carefully at the specific incidents that the honourable member brings to the house.

“Under the Localism Act local authorities are able to produce a local plan and get that agreed which will give local people greater control over what is built and where.

“In the meantime things are judged against the national policy framework which does have protections for green belt; it does insist on going ahead with brown field developments and it does take into account pre-existing local plans. If that needs to be clarified, then clarify it we will.”

Barrow resident Sarah Briggs said: “The Prime Minister made the point that with a valid core strategy, the local authority would have more chance of refusing these monstrous developments. I’m not saying the 504 houses would have been refused by the secretary of state had we had a core strategy in place, but we’d have been in a much stronger position.”

Barrow resident David Birtwhistle also said: “The fact that we don’t have a core strategy here in the Ribble Valley is not down to the people of Barrow, but his government's legislation.”