By Melissa Hilton

CONTROVERSIAL work to build housing and a supermarket has been delayed.

Work on 113 new Prospect Homes properties in Whittingham Road, Longridge, has encountered ‘major’ technical difficulties.

The busy main road was closed when work on the housing development started on June 26.

It was due to reopen on December 18 but has now been delayed as contractors say the work will take 10 weeks longer than anticipated.

Whittingham Road is now expected to reopen on February 28, before work starts on the next phase of the development.

Developers say work on the overall project is ‘progressing as planned’.

A spokesman from M Igoe Ltd said: “It is always disappointing when unforeseen difficulties cause works to take longer than originally planned.

“However we have managed to, throughout the process, incorporate additional works into the current scheme meaning that we can avoid having to carry this work out in the future. We must stress that every effort is being made to maintain the access for residents and to keep any disruption to a minimum.

“Following comments from the local residents we will limit Sunday working to 10am.”

The closure of Whittingham Road is causing delays and inconvenience for families living in the area.

Resident Deborah Jackson said: “All this disruption to Longridge and not a penny of the financial benefits will go into local funds.

“All the houses being built down Whittingham Road are in the Preston district so all council taxes, etc, will go to the city council rather than the Ribble Valley.”

Paul Hilton, 51, said: “It’s disgraceful now it’s dragged on so long. They should’ve opened the road when they said they were going to”

Ena Watson, 74, said: “Everyone’s always held up for ages, we haven’t had any real answers as to why.

“I was stuck on Half Penny Lane for 25 minutes when it should only take five minutes because of the closure. It’s a real nuisance”

Chris Wilkinson, 51 said: “It’s disgraceful. How can something take so long in this day and age with the advanced technology they have their hands on.”

Sharon Watson, 48, said: “What should only be a 20-minute journey home has now doubled due to traffic caused by that road being closed.”

“I’m not happy”.

As well as bringing new properties to the town, the development – named The Ridings to pay homage to its prior use as W & J Riding’s depot – will include an Aldi supermarket, 2.5 acres of public open space and an on-site play area.

Of the 113 new homes being built on the site, 34 properties will be provided as affordable housing.

Christine Kynaston, sales and marketing director for Prospect Homes, said when the development was announced: “The Ridings is an exciting development for Longridge which will breathe new life into a brownfield site which has fallen into disrepair.

“Building work has begun on-site and we are looking forward to seeing the development take shape. We will shortly be able to welcome visitors to Whittingham Road when our sales team moves onto the site in the near future.

“The Ridings will provide much-needed new freehold houses in Longridge, create new jobs at the supermarket and support the wider regeneration of an under-utilised area of the town.

“And with the recent news that first-time buyers will not pay any stamp duty on properties worth up to £300,000, We’re expecting the development to be popular with those looking to take their first step on the property ladder.”