Villagers threat to derail plans for 650 Ribble Valley homes

10:34am Tuesday 28th June 2011

By Nazia Parveen

VILLAGERS are threatening to disrupt a multi-million pound housing development.

The small rural community of Whittingham, near Longridge, has a population of around 2,000.

But it could be set for a massive expansion after detailed plans for 650 new homes were unveiled.

However a stand-off has broken out after Whittingham and Goosnargh Sports and Community Association vowed to derail housing giant Taylor Wimpey’s proposals for the former Whittingham Hospital site.

Outline plans were first submitted in 2003, with proposals for houses on the hospital site, bowling green and adjacent football pitch.

And agreements were also brokered to ensure the developers provided community and sports facilities elsewhere.

But this week full plans have been submitted and trustees of the sports and social club, which is based in the hospital grounds, said community and sports facilities had now been ‘overlooked’.

They have vowed to remain at the site – blocking the development – until ‘better’ facilities are included in the proposals.

Stan Hunter, chairman of the club and Whittingham Parish Council, said the community was being ‘short- changed’.

He said “The club won’t be moving and will stop where it is – and you might find it will stop the development.

“I have said what about the people who are going to live in the 650 dwellings? Our concern is that there is an awful lack of community facilities being proposed.

“Our small community and the infrastructure won’t be able to cope.”

The 60-hectare area, near Goosnargh, is one of the largest in English Partnerships’ Hospital Sites Programme to transform former NHS sites into new communities.

Planning permission already existed for up to 584 homes on the site and, in 2008, this was increased to 650 homes.

No-one was available to comment from Taylor Wimpey.

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