Housing minister invited to Ribble Valley to see homes opposition
8:39am Sunday 13th January 2013 in News
ANGRY East Lancashire Conservative councillor Kevin Horkin is demanding planning minister Nick Boles MP visit the Ribble Valley to see how the borough faces being swamped by housing development.
The Clitheroe deputy mayor has accused the MP of trivialising the fears of local residents and attempting to bribe them.
Coun Horkin described the offer of money to silence protests against new housing as ‘outrageous and out-of-touch’.
Mr Boles has proposed rewarding communities which embrace new housing with cash to spend as they wish.
Coun Horkin has now written to his Westminster Conservative colleague inviting him to Clitheroe and the Ribble Valley to judge public opinion for himself.
He said: “I want him to come here and face the music. We don’t want a bribe in exchange for turning a blind eye to housing development on our greenbelt, instead we want to be listened to.
“This area has specific problems; a lack of roads, schools, doctors and dentists surgeries, which means any large scale housing development will have a devastating impact.”
Referring to a recent TV interview, when Mr Boles defended rewarding communities which supported housing developments with grant cash, coun Horkin said: “How dare the Planning Minister be so trivial and cavalier about the whole thing?
“The Ribble Valley is at the centre of the kingdom and right now it is at the centre of monumental changes in planning and housing legislation.
“The quaint market town of Clitheroe and the surrounding area is being swamped with applications from developers who see it as the perfect place to build. Not surprisingly local people are extremely worried about the future and their concerns need to heard.”
He added: “I accept that we need future housing provision, something Ribble Valley Borough Council is diligently working towards. We need a strategic plan which works not outrageous and unhelpful comments from a planning minister who is clearly out of touch.”
No-one from Mr Boles’s Whitehall department for communities and local government was able to provide a comment before the Lancashire Telegraph went to press.