HUNDREDS of sites across rural Ribble Valley have been earmarked for new housing developments.

Council bosses have drawn up a list of more than 300 possible locations in a bid to hit housebuilding targets and help solve the borough’s affordable housing crisis.

The sites are mostly on greenfield land, which has not yet been developed.

They range from small patches of land that could host a handful of new dwellings to large-sale complexes creating hundreds of new homes.

A public consultation into the proposals has begun but planners insist not all sites on the list will be built on.

However, the sites have already been approved for possible development by council officers, making it more likely planning permission would be granted.

The borough has been told to build 2,000 homes over the next 20 years, but last year the Government more than tripled its annual target to 160.

Locations and possible capacities include: -Wiswell, almost 696 homes; Whalley Read, Read, 702 homes; Fields off the A59 at Langho, 908 homes.

Ribble Valley council leader Michael Ranson said: “The key thing is we want any new development to be sympathetic to the area.

“There’s no point building 200 houses in a small village. That’s why it’s gone out to consultation.”

But despite Coun Ranson’s assurance, the plans show that small villages could be swamped by huge housing developments.

For instance, land off Grindleton Brow in his ward of Grindleton is listed as being capable of accomodating over 122 new homes.

Other villages that could be hit are Whalley, which is earmarked for the possibiilty of 583 homes built at Lawsonsteads Farm; 242 homes in Wipshire and 696 on land in Barrow.

Colin Hirst, Ribble Valley Council’s forward planning manager, said most of the new development would be centred around the key areas of Clitheroe, Whalley and Longridge.

He said: “The fact that a piece of land is in there means we will certainly look at it in terms of determining where development will take place.

“But in reality, some of these sites are clearly going to translate into development in the future. We are not establishing definitive times, that’s part of the planning process.”

The list of sites would cater for about 10,000 new homes, meaning about 20 per cent of the locations would need to be built on to hit targets.

Ribble Valley towns and villages on the list for potential developments include: Barrow, Bashall Eaves, Billington, Bolton-by-Bowland, Chatburn, Chipping, Clitheroe, Copster Green, Downham, Dunsop Bridge, Gisburn, Grindleton, Holden, Hurst Green, Longridge, Mellor, Mellor Brook, Newton-in-Bowland, Osbaldeston, Pendleton, Read, Ribchester, Rimington, Sabden, Slaidburn, Tosside, Waddington, West Bradford, Whalley, Wilpshire, Wiswell, Worston.