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.'
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...
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