Save The Ribble

A blog dedicated to preserving the beauty and delicate ecosystem of the River Ribble, and opposing the Riverworks 'vision' to build a barrage on our River and develop on our riverbanks, floodplains and green spaces, causing damage to wildlife and the environment and increasing the risk of flooding to our homes. Save the Ribble Campaign is not responsible for the content of external blogs or websites which link here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ribbleside Green Belt SAVED! Alternative Ribble Vision Gets Green Light!

South Ribble Borough Council have announced that the Ribbleside Green Belt from Penwortham to Walton le Dale and back as far as Lostock Hall is to be designated a Country Park!
Penwortham riverside, near the old Tram Bridge across the River Ribble - 5 minutes walk from Preston city centre!

This announcement follows hard on the heels of South Ribble Borough Council's insistence earlier this week that the Ribble's riverbanks and Green Belt areas will be protected from development.

South Ribble Borough Council have listened to the alternative ideas put forward by local people for the River Ribble and riverside Green spaces which involve protecting these unique and precious areas from disappearing for ever beneath the huge housing development, concrete walkways, roads, and businesses proposed as part of the Riverworks "Central Park" building development.

Under the Preston City Council and Preston Vision Board "Riverworks" 'Central Park' scheme, a little over 1 hectare out of the 45 hectares of green space on the Penwortham side would have been reserved for open space and leisure, the rest would have been lost forever: including a huge 33 hectares which would have been lost beneath a massive housing scheme, with the remaining hectares divided up amongst commercial developments, concrete moorings, and such like.

With South Ribble Borough Council's latest announcement, the entire green area will be preserved for the new South Ribble Country Park!

Penwortham Green Belt across the Ribble from Avenham & Miller Parks in Preston

This is fantastic news for local people, ensuring our beautiful green spaces of meadows, woodlands, and riverbanks are protected from development both now and in the future, safeguards the future of our local sports pitches, wildlife and the environment - in particular helping to ensure the environmental sustainability of the River Ribble's wildlife ecosystem - and of course ensures that our vitally important floodplain is left undeveloped so it can carry on protecting local communities from more serious flooding.

Since local people all along the Ribble corridor first heard about those two significant aspects of the Riverworks proposals which would have seen the riverside and Green spaces disappear forever beneath these huge building schemes, and the Ribble's unique intertidal ecosystem destroyed by a tidal barrage across the River Ribble, they have campaigned tirelessly for these ill-conceived schemes to be halted.

As part of this opposition, local residents have put forward alternative ideas which centre on protecting the Ribble's Internationally important intertidal habitat and the riverside green spaces, for the sake of the environment, and for the benefit of local people and visitors alike.

With consistent arguments against the barrage from all quarters finally leading to the current administration of Preston City Council withdrawing the barrage scheme in the final weeks of 2007, the first phase of our campaign was achieved, to much local - and national - rejoicing.

Now with South Ribble Borough Council's announcements this week, the second phase of our campaign has also been achieved, as we have now secured the long-term future of the green spaces on the South Bank of the Ribble at last...

...let's hope this Green Vision will now extend onto the Preston bank!

Of course, a Ribbleside Country Park just 5 minutes walk from Preston city centre is not only fantastic for local communities both in Preston and South Ribble, but also for visitors, as this unique area can now become a part of Britain's newest Regional Park, Ribble Coast & Wetlands.
The Ribble Coast & Wetlands Regional Park extends all along the intertidal Ribble from where the Ribble Estuary meets the Irish Sea at Blackpool and Lytham on the North shore and Southport and Formby on the South shore, and upriver for several miles into the centre of Preston and Penwortham and our newly-designated South Ribble Country Park and finishing at the new Brockholes Wetland, just East of Preston.

As the Lancashire Evening Post editorial points out:

"After all the controversy about a barrage on the river, housing development on the flood plain and a link road to relieve congestion, comes a council proposal for central Lancashire which should find favour with the vast majority [with] South Ribble want[ing] to create a large park which would... open up swathes of greenbelt land between Penwortham, Lostock Hall and Walton le Dale to the public".

POSTSCRIPT: We have received dozens of emails from local residents and environmental organisations, delighted with this latest announcement, and apparently settling the concerns that so many people have had about the Ribble barrage and riverside development proposals, so here's a flavour of the many comments we have received - we cannot print them all!...

“This is tremendous news. I am so pleased… Congratulations!
Of course, we will still have to keep our eyes and ears open, but maybe, just maybe, we will get a similar response from this side of the river.” MS, Preston

“…fantastic! thank you” J&M&M&B, Penwortham.

“Many thanks for this good news. It makes a welcome change. I hope that Preston now joins South Ribble in a joint country park on both sides of the Ribble; I live in hope!” ATB, Preston

“Thank you so much.. what good news!” CP, Penwortham.

“Congratulations all round.” J

“Well done! Great news” L&M

“Congratulations on helping to bring about another victory with the announcement from South Ribble.” SP


And from many of our environmental contacts…

“Fantastic news …Great reward for all your hard work.”

“This is very good news indeed. Congratulations to you and all those involved in this tireless campaign”.

“Very good news indeed.”

“Fantastic, well done”

“Excellent news and progress - you have done exceptionally well with your campaign and this is all well deserved!”

Save The Ribble would like to thank all local residents who have supported the campaign to Save Our Ribble and Green Spaces, and all the help and support we have received from professional bodies too: we are just ordinary people, local residents ourselves, who knew we could not just sit back and allow inappropriate developments which would destroy not just our local environment, but the wider environment upon which our wildlife ecosystems depend.

Of course, this latest success doesn't mean that we local residents will no longer be taking an interest - far from it: we are keen to be involved in the long term future of the intertidal River Ribble and the new South Ribble Country Park, and will of course continue to be vigilant regarding any ideas and proposals put forward regarding the Ribble corridor in recent weeks, and in the future, including Ribble corridor development proposals proposed by Preston Vision Board and other recent proposals for floating homes and watersports...

Long Live the Ribble - and Ribbleside Green Belt - Wild!

You can read more about the Ribble Coast & Wetlands Regional Park here;
and more about South Ribble Borough Council's commitment to the Ribble here;
Brockholes Wetland here and here;
about Sustainable Development and Wetlands here;
and about the damage barrages cause to wetland ecosystems here.

You can contact us at

Sunday, April 13, 2008

South Ribble Riverbanks & Green Belt Receive Official Protection from Development

South Ribble Borough Council have announced that the riverbanks along the River Ribble and the Green Belt on the South Ribble side will be protected from development in the forthcoming Regional Spatial Strategy.

click on the article to read it in full

This announcement by Cllr Cliff Hughes, South Ribble's Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Planning, follows the long campaign by local residents to protect the the River environment and Green Belt from some of the key proposals of the Riverworks project.

It is a recognition of the importance of the unique Ribble environment, and the value that local people place on their green spaces.

Cllr Cliff Hughes said:

"Our Green Belt covers around two thirds of our borough and our vision is to protect it from development.
We are extremely lucky in South Ribble to be surrounded by such outstanding natural beauty and we're delighted to see that it looks as though the Government is as keen as we are to protect it...

...we have no intention of building on our Green Belt."

This alternative vision for the Ribble's environment further restricts the ambitions of the Preston Vision Board to develop the river corridor.

South Ribble Borough Council has demonstrated its clear commitment to the Ribbleside and Green Belt environments, AND commitment to the views of local people who have campaigned to protect them - a sustained opposition to the Ribble barrage and riverside building development ideas which has led to Preston City Council abandoning the barrage idea.

This latest statement appears to be the final nail in the coffin for the Riverworks proposals to develop a huge new community on the South bank of the river in Penwortham - the so-called "Central Park" development of thousands of homes and businesses on the Ribble's Green Belt and floodplain (Riverworks brochure "Central Park").

Cliff Hughes states:

"...we want to reassure all of our residents that any suggestions they may have heard or read that land adjacent to the River Ribble has been earmarked for development is quite simply not true".

This ambition to protect the riverside environment also provides the opportunity for an alternative vision instead - for a freely flowing River Ribble and a wildlife & wetland park linked to the Ribble Coast & Wetlands Regional Park - which local residents have been campaigning for since the Riverworks barrage and green belt building development proposals were first announced in 2005.

You can read more about Preston Vision Board and Preston City Council's key development proposals for the River Ribble and its environs in the Riverworks strategy here and their more recent proposals here.

You can read more about the original Riverworks development proposals here

You can contact us at

Thursday, April 03, 2008

New Floating Homes Development to include Watersports - But Will the Ribble be Safe?

The Lancashire Evening Post today report that the "floating homes" development recently proposed for the Docks and River 'does NOT include any kind of barrage across the river' BUT WILL include 'swathes of water given over to leisure and sports'.

click on the image to read it in full

According to the LEP:

'A major watersports centre could form part of the £40m "floating community" off Preston Dock' but that the developers state 'they would not look to flood the Ribble with homes'

- both of which are a tad ambiguous as neither appear to suggest that they intend to leave the River Ribble out of the scheme altogether.

Which raises a few questions:

-What does "off" the Dock mean? ON the Dock - or near the Dock?

-Are these "swathes of water" also looking at the River or just the Docks?

-DO these proposals include the River or not?

Whilst we welcome the idea that the proposals for the Docks include leisure facilities instead of just new houses, it is important to know just what the impact will be on the River Ribble and its environs.

We of course welcome boat-users on the River - but we would also like to see speed restrictions imposed on the River Ribble above Penwortham New Bridge as speedboats and jetskis this far upriver are intrusive and damaging to the banksides, and disruptive to birdlife and the ambience of the river environment.

We will watch developments closely...

In the meantime, you can catch up with more of the latest Ribble news about how Local Councillors adopt local residents' proposals for the River whilst warning that developments may still threaten the Ribble.

You can contact us at

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Ribble Development Threat Warning while Local Councillors Adopt Our Ribbleside Vision

Preston Councillor Jack Davenport is warning that Preston Vision Board and Preston Council's proposals for the River Ribble still seem intent upon building all over it.

As we have already reported, the Vision Board have declared their intention to develop along the River corridor, with or without a barrage;

Preston Council have recently announced their proposals for floating homes on the Docks AND on the River;

and proposals are due to be submitted for planning permission shortly for the construction of over 400 new houses plus businesses on the Penwortham bank at Vernon Carus.

We now have an interesting situation where local Councillors both sides of the River Ribble are supporting their residents' views about the River and its environs but only one Council seems to be listening...

Councillor Davenport is concerned about the 'regeneration without purpose' mentality which still seems to haunt Preston's development ideas, and he urges that:

'developing an area does not necessarily mean that we need build on it. Developing the River Ribble could and should mean enhancing the natural surroundings and maintaining (perhaps aiding) the natural ecology.'

In this he echoes what local people have been saying for a number of years now, and Councillor Davenport is still very concerned that not only Preston Vision board but even Preston Council are avoiding democratic accountability. You can read more about his concerns here.

Councillor Davenport argues that Preston Council should be listening to local people NOW not after decisions are made and unsound visions pursued:

'If there is to be a Vision for the River Ribble, then it is one that needs to come from the people of this city. This isn’t an opinion that we want after the fact, it has to be sought right now.'

Here, here.

Whilst local people have indeed put their views forward, to both Preston Council and South Ribble Council, so far only the South Ribble administration seems to be listening...

Thanks to the efforts of local people, South Ribble Council saw the sense of our arguments and pulled back from the Riverworks Barrage and massive "Central Park" housing development scheme.

South Ribble Borough Council are also proving to be very interested indeed in the detailed and specific proposals that local people have made concerning their own Vision for the Ribble and its environs - a Vision for an enhanced natural environment and enhanced facilities for local people and visitors.
We are hoping for a positive announcement concerning our scheme over the coming months and will of course report any developments here...

Here's what local Councillors Jim Hothersall and Jenny Hothersall in Middleforth, Lower Penwortham, are saying to local people in direct response to our views:

"We have a clear vision for the South Bank of the river which is available for public enjoyment and relaxation. It does not include housing or office development - especially on green belt land. Preston City have accepted our vision."

Jim Hothersall also makes it clear that "we would not support the barrage or any development on our green belt areas which would have a negative impact or encroach on the leisure amenities on the south side of the river".

Presumably, then, South Ribble Council are now following the lead of local residents and aiming to protect and enhance the River Ribble and its natural environs whilst the current Preston Council administration, despite the concerns of local residents and a number of Preston Councillors, is still keen to build on the riverbanks and even on the River Ribble itself...

You can contact us at

"The care of rivers is not a question of rivers, but of the human heart" Tanako Shozo Save The Ribble Logo