I rise today to present a petition from the residents of Longridge and Whittingham, and other residents of the Ribble Valley. There has been a deluge of planning applications to build thousands of houses in my area, and in neighbouring areas under Preston council control but affecting Longridge in the Ribble Valley. Whalley has had several hundred houses foisted upon it on appeal. Clitheroe is the same. Barrow will be transformed—at the moment, it is a small village of about 300 houses—to take 504 more houses on appeal, with 65 other houses approved and further applications in the pipeline. Other villages are suffering planning pressures.
Councillors are exasperated and council officers are overrun with work. The public are frustrated that their voice is thwarted by planning inspectors. The council is strapped for cash defending expensive appeals. Their cry is simply this: enough is enough. I back them 100%. This is their plea to the Government today via a petition signed by 1,065 local residents.
The petition states:
The Petition of the residents of Longridge, Whittingham and the Ribble Valley Parliamentary Constituency,
Declares that the small rural towns and villages like Longridge, Clitheroe and Whalley up and down the country are under siege from housing developers seeking to build excessive numbers of homes to encourage people to migrate from industrial towns and cities to rural communities.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons recognises the problems of these communities like Longridge where developers are seeking to build 2,300 houses and amend the National Planning Policy Framework to:
(a) Suspend the operation of clauses 14 and 49 of the National Planning Policy Forum until 90% of local authorities have an approved local development plan so there is no presumption in favour of planning consent where a local authority does not have an approved Local Development Plan or 5 years of development land and
(b) Allow local communities divided by a local government boundary to be treated as one entity for planning purposes.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.