We have to live with planning decisions

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As someone who has lived in Barrow now for almost 50 years I found the letter and photo from your correspondent particularly poignant.

Before it was left as a pleasant and useful open space for residents, and others, the land was farmed and used for grazing sheep and cattle. I have pleasant memories of helping to gather in hay crops on summer evenings and rounding up sheep to help take them to market and, on one particularly exciting occasion, helping at the birth of a bull calf.

It is extremely sad to see the destruction of such a pleasant meadow for all time. However, to describe it as council sanctioned is not entirely correct. Planning permission was originally refused by the council and the planning officers, but was granted by a planning inspector on appeal, as has happened in so many of the cases which have been granted locally. In most cases the fault lies with the Government and its mad dash to build houses at whatever the cost to local communities and, however much it appears to fly in the face of any sort of local democracy. Your correspondent describes it, appropriately, as the “Great British Housing Scam”.

I wonder how many local people have noticed that an outline planning application has been submitted by Admiral Taverns to increase the number of houses already given permission behind Old Row in Barrow from 23 to 170. Another blow to the residents of Barrow and which will, if allowed, take the number of houses either built or planned locally to just over 1,000 – a figure which caused so much controversy over the proposed Standen Estate scheme.

This proposal also includes demolishing two of the properties in Old Row, the oldest houses in the village which were originally built to house workers at the Barrow Print Works and which was an early example of employer benevolence at a time when many had such a bad name for the treatment of their employees.

The imminent approval of the local Core Strategy might bring some relief and I welcome the comment by Nigel Evans that the approval of applications should, perhaps, wait until an approved local development plan is in place. However, for many in the Ribble Valley, and particularly the Barrow/Whalley area, it will come too late and we shall have to live with the consequences of poor decision making for a long time to come.

Arnold Bettess

Barrow