Hundreds turn out for homes campaign

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Campaigners concerned about housing in Longridge turned out in force to protest against “excessive development” in the town.

Hundreds of residents attended the annual town council meeting to express fears about the development of more than 1,700 new homes.

And leaders said they were delighted with the “magnificent” turnout, after leaflets from the Save Longridge group were handed out across the area.

Coun Ken Hind, who represents Dilworth ward, said: “It makes us realise the public are aware of the problems that we as a council are facing and the need to protect the community.”

He said 400 residents turned up to express their views on homes proposed by developers Barratt Homes, Taylor Wimpey, Miller Homes, Gladman and Fox Strategic Land and Property.

Coun Hind said: “Speaker after speaker expressed their concerns about these proposals.

“The government must listen to the feelings and concerns of residents in small towns and villages up and down the country about development proposals by major developers to build on greenfields, but not in the large towns where the need is greater.

“Greater powers should be given to local councils like Ribble Valley and the city of Preston to direct what type and where new housing is built.”

He said large, family houses were being proposed, rather than addressing the needs of an ageing population or young people starting on the housing ladder.

Coun Hind said: “The town council and the borough council are in the process of creating a Longridge neighbourhood plan to try to play our part in planning.”

He added: “We are not anti-development and recognise the need to create new homes, but directed by the community not the developers.

“We need to get behind Save Longridge as a community and protest against these planning applications which will inevitably be put before the planning committee.”

Planning and development manager at Gladman and associated company Fox, Tim Dean, said Preston had a need for new homes and a shortage of affordable homes, and the proposals provided both.

He said the scheme provided public open space and connections to schools and amenities, and contributions would be made to local facilities and also the Broughton bypass.

A spokesman for Miller Homes said they were granted planning permission in September for 58 high quality family homes on the outskirts of Longridge.

He said: “Work on site is now well underway and the sales centre was launched recently.”

A spokesman for Barratt Homes said they believed their Higgins Brook development in Longridge is the “right place”, and can also provide homes for those struggling to get on the property ladder.