NWDA Commit £300k To Project Nobody Wants
The North West Development Agency has awarded Preston City Council £300,000 and agreed 'in principle' to commit £18 million to council projects which include the Riverworks Ribble Barrage and Housing Scheme.
This is a sign of a major crisis in democratic representation. Huge amounts of public money, and of the time of council officers is being devoted to projects that nobody in Preston has even been consulted on, and all the evidence so far is that those who have found out about the Riverworks project are either deeply suspicious of it or else angry that the council is even thinking about such a socially and environmentally irresponsible plan.
Locals who have seen the 'Composite Masterplan' produced for the council by Taylor and Young are livid that the council is prepared to sacrifice valued local amenities, like football pitches, green fields and allotments to make space for a massive suburban housing estate on the banks of the river (and in the river's flood plain), and deeply concerned about the effects that a barrage would have on wildlife such as the birdlife of the Ribble Estuary that depends on silts being washed down the river, and the aquatic life, including endangered species like the Atlantic Salmon which would find a barrage an insurmountable obstacle to its journey to its spawning grounds.
Locals are also concerned that a barrage, which would raise the river to permanently high tide level, will raise the water table beneath our houses and increase the risk of flooding to unacceptable levels. The Environment Agency has made it plain that development in flood plains significantly increases the risk of flooding.
Why is the council pressing ahead with these projects despite the rising local opposition?
Why is the North West Development Agency which claims to aim to promote the regions 'outstanding quality of life' backing projects that will impact so negatively on the quality of life of people from Preston and South Ribble?
Where are our councillors who made promises of consultation?
What about those areas of Preston that desperately need redevelopment - areas that have been ignored by the council and are now suffering all the social consequences of this neglect?
Why has no environmental audit of the consequences of this barrage even been proposed, at a time when government and opposition alike compete to parade their environmental credentials?
Where is the accountability when these bodies make such huge decisions about our future, and allocate such large amounts of money, without asking for, or listening to the voices of local people?
Save The Ribble has always suspected that the voices of wealthy development companies ring much more loudly in the council chamber than the voices of local people.
It is time for local people to make sure that their voices cannot be ignored any more.
Get involved with the Save The Ribble Campaign, voice your opinions in the local area development framework and get organised to campaign using whatever peaceful means neccessary to stop this mad and dangerous project now.