RIBBLE Valley MP Nigel Evans has urged ministers to offer firms cash incentives to build in Blackburn, Pendle, and Burnley instead of on green fields in his constituency.

The Tory backbencher won a promise his proposal to exempt housing developments and renovation in urban areas from 20 per cent VAT would be taken to Chancellor George Osborne.

Mr Evans used the summer adjournment debate in the House of Commons to make his plea for action to protect rural areas from house building.

He said: “I live and represent an area in the Ribble Valley that is under siege from developers.”

Mr Evans gave Commons deputy leader Tom Brake a list of towns and village facing the threat of being swamped by new houses, including: Clitheroe, 1,040 more; Waddow, 275; Langho, 900; Chipping, 50; Sabden, 200; Barrow, 200 and Longridge, 1,700 new homes.

Mr Evans called for measures to give residents and councillors views more weight when government inspectors consider appeals by developers against refusal of planning permission.

The MP said: “We need to look at other areas, such as around Ribble Valley – Pendle, Burnley and Blackburn – where money could be spent on regeneration, which is far better than building on greenfield sites.

“We should look at charging no VAT on regeneration of housing stock to bring it back into use. We need more protection for areas that are struggling. There should be no presumption in favour of building.”

Commons deputy leader Tom Brake said: “You said it was important to consider the issue of VAT on housing renovation. That is an idea which, although not government policy, I have some sympathy with.”