Ribble Valley snail farm and holiday lodge development gets go-ahead

Plans for a snail farm and holiday lodges on the otuskirts of a Ribble valley village have been approved - despite numerous protests from local residents.

By Fiona Finch
Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 1:05 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 1:06 pm
Mark Hanscomb and Dr Sheila Cromie, who are objecting to the proposals, pictured in front of the field where the development will take place.
Mark Hanscomb and Dr Sheila Cromie, who are objecting to the proposals, pictured in front of the field where the development will take place.

It was the third time an application for the development off Preston Road, Ribchester, had been submitted by applicants L'Escargotiere (Ribble Valley) Ltd of Inglewhite Road, Longridge.

The first application was withdrawn and the second refused, but a resubmitted application which included a new location on the green field site for the lodges, was approved by Ribble Valley Borough Council.

Now the local Parish Council has said it hopes to appeal following a recent Government ruling that all planning applications made in flood risk areas must be referred to ministers for approval. The planning committee had approved the development by eleven votes to one.

The development, which includes approval for six three bedroomed lodges, was given the go-ahead with 20 conditions. These included provision that no development commence until a surface water drainage scheme has been submitted to and approved in writing by the council. Each holiday unit must not be let to or occupied by the owner or any individual or group for a combined total period exceeding 28 days in any calendar year and lodges must not be used for permanent accommodation.

The chairman of Ribchester Parish Council Coun Carol Milne said: "We are very disappointed. Obviously the whole village is concerned because it does have an impact on flooding ...The land does flood."

She added that land belonging to the owner of a property at the side of the proposed access road flooded regularly. She said: "We would like to appeal but obviously the residents need to be fully on board with this."

Coun Milne said they would await further reaction from residents but hoped there were grounds to challenge the permission and noted some borough councillors had said they were voting to approve the development "with a heavy heart" .

Local resident Mark Hanscomb, whose garden overlooks the proposed site and who spoke at the meeting, said: "The developer commissioned a survey of the land drainage which pointed out that there was minimum risk of flooding from Boyce's Brook. This is called fluvial drainage and is quite accurate. What it ignored was the pluvial drainage issue caused by the heavy rain causing groundwater flooding which is extremely difficult to tackle. As the water table rises, there is very little you can do to alleviate this kind of problem. Once the field floods after heavy rain, gravity causes the excess water to flow downhill into Ribchester causing the lower areas of the village to flood...This is our main concern. The basic problem is that as climate change brings about wetter winters, the groundwater flooding issue will get worse."

He continued: "All we can do now is ask for the decision to be referred by (our MP) Nigel Evans to the Secretary of State for the Environment and request Ribble Valley Borough Council be overruled because of their failure to act strategically in the best interests of Ribchester. This decision will not make Ribchester more resilient against flooding."

One exasperated resident had written to Ribble Valley Council saying:

"For the third time I object strongly to the proposed waste of a greenfield site for a snailfarm and log cabins. These are not needed, there is ample accommodation nearby. Access to the site will be dangerous on a busy road. If the proposed sewage system fails there will be appalling consequences for the whole village and for wild life. This area has badgers, newts, bats, deer, rabbits, hare and numnerous avian and aquatic species, all of which will be harmed, as will the whole RURAL nature of the area with its attractive flowers and trees.. Houses around will be disturbed and lose market value. The Ribble Valley is becoming a suburb rather than an area of countryside. Traffic and noise pollution are increasing with the constant thoughtless granting of planning applications which overload the infrastructure and services. Enough is enough. Does every quiet piece of countryside have to be built on?"

Concerns had also been raised by residents about highway safety and the council stipulated that the proposed access to the off road development, which also includes accommodation for education courses about heliciculture (snail farming), must be a minimum of seven metres wide, maintained for 10 metres.

David Liversidge of Burnley based David Liversidge Design who acted as the agent for L'Escargotiere (Ribble Valley) Ltd in the planning application process declined to comment. The Post is seeking comment from Ribble Valley Borough Council.