Public inquiry on Whalley homes begins

COUNCIL chiefs moved to protect the historic centre of Whalley in a public inquiry into a proposed controversial housing development.

Developers, The Co-operative Group, went head to head with council bosses at the two-day inquiry in the Ribble Valley council chambers yesterday.

The inquiry centred on an appeal lodged by the development firm against a council decision to reject a housing plan for up to 80 new homes on land near Riddings Lane.

Council officer's defended their decision claiming that development would be 'harmful to the character and appearance' of the village.

Adrian Dowd, principal planning officer at the council, said: "Whalley Abbey is one of the prime heriatge assets in the country and we have to do all we can to retain its' tranquil atmospehere.

"Increased traffic has a negative impact on what is a important historic environment and we do not wish to exacerbate that problem."

The large-scale housing development was thrown out after it attracted almost 200 letters of objection.

Paul Tucker QC, representing the Co-operative Group, said: "In January officers at the council unequivocally recommended this proposal for approval.

"However, members took a radically different view to their officers. They did not just disagree with officers they threw the metaphorical book at the scheme."

The inquiry heard that villagers and councillors had raised concerns about over-development, the limited school spaces, the increased traffic and inadequate drainage for the new homes as well as a 'detrimental impact' on local heritage sites."

But Mr Tucker, argued there was no “proper base” for the refusal of the appeal.

He said: "On heritage, this is probably the weakest case that one could legitimately imagine. It is asserted that because traffic already has an unacceptable effect upon the heart of the conservation area, then any further traffic would be unacceptable."

Today the inquiry overseen by government planning inspector, Harold Stephens, will hear evidence from seven local residents and a member of Whalley parish Council.

Comments (2)

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8:04am Fri 5 Aug 11

shytalk says...

Looks like another 80 executive homes for Whalley then.
Whats the point of a public enquiry when large construction companies can afford barristers, and democracy goes straight out of the window when these planning applications are submitted?
Looks like another 80 executive homes for Whalley then. Whats the point of a public enquiry when large construction companies can afford barristers, and democracy goes straight out of the window when these planning applications are submitted? shytalk

3:57pm Fri 5 Aug 11

djm236 says...

Housing in the Ribble Valley. Whalley is just the beginning. The next battle to ward off the land owners and developer's from vandalising our open country side and make massive profits will begin post the closure date (August 12th) for choosing the Ribble Valley Alternative Core Strategy Development Option. I urge all residents in the Ribble Valley (particularly Clitheroe residents) to obtain a form (Ribble Valley Alternative Core Strategy Development Option) and make your thought's known. Form's can be obtained by down loading from the Response@ribblevalle
y.gov.uk web site alternatively go to the council offices in Clitheroe and ask for a form. Residents action is required if we are to stop this open vandalism on our country side. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED act before the 12th August or lose your country side to profit!!!
Housing in the Ribble Valley. Whalley is just the beginning. The next battle to ward off the land owners and developer's from vandalising our open country side and make massive profits will begin post the closure date (August 12th) for choosing the Ribble Valley Alternative Core Strategy Development Option. I urge all residents in the Ribble Valley (particularly Clitheroe residents) to obtain a form (Ribble Valley Alternative Core Strategy Development Option) and make your thought's known. Form's can be obtained by down loading from the Response@ribblevalle y.gov.uk web site alternatively go to the council offices in Clitheroe and ask for a form. Residents action is required if we are to stop this open vandalism on our country side. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED act before the 12th August or lose your country side to profit!!! djm236

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