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.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Riverworks - The Housing Sums That Don't Add Up

The Riverworks proposals put forward by Preston City Council include the idea of building over 4000 houses on the South Bank of the River Ribble - on land opposite Broadgate which is currently green fields, allotments and amateur league football pitches - land that is popular green belt land, and in the flood plain of the river.

You might think that the idea of building housing in such a beautiful area must be a response to pressing need, and that after extensive searching, there are no alternative brownfield sites, or places that are not in the floodplain to build this housing.

I was surprised therefore to read in yesterday's 'Preston and Leyland Citizen' in the front page article about the idea of building housing on a patch of land in Fulwood that
"Phil Davies, assistant director of planning said residential developments would not be permitted as the city already had enough housing."

A few days ago, I published details of another patch of land, The Hulmes Mill site in Leyland which will not have housing built on it either as there is
"an oversupply of housing in the South Ribble area"

Lets get this straight - Preston City Council think there is 'enough' housing in Preston, and South Ribble Council think there is an 'oversupply' of housing in South Ribble - so why on earth do the Riverworks proposals suggest building 4000 houses?

Where exactly did these ideas come from? These housing proposals are clearly neither wanted, nor needed, by Preston residents, so how did they come to be included in Riverworks? Who suggested it, and why is the council spending money on feasibility studies, and asking for much more money from the national lottery to push these ideas forward?

The Save The Ribble campaign will be working hard to find out the answers to these questions.

One thing is clear, the Riverworks housing and barrage proposals are ideas that are being driven by the potential profits of developers, rather than by the wishes or needs of residents of Preston and South Ribble.



At 10:31 am, Blogger Reigh Belisama said...

Save The Ribble received the following by email, and Reigh Belisama in an ongoing email discussion with K. Johnson:

Dear Ribble campaign website
I've been reading your website with growing anger. I work for an electrical Engineering Company in the South Ribble area. I am a selfeducated man and I know what I'm talking about.
We are hoping to pick up some work and contracts when the river works scheme is finally autherised. If you try and stop the scheme I will miss out on earning good money. Hell's teeth, Get Real you lot. This is the 21st centurie.
I am buying my house and hoping to put an extension on it. I will be wanting to send my children to decent schools. I will be Wanting a third holiday a year as that is the normal now, I will not be wanting to miss out because some middle-class hippie types and sentimental old dodders get soppy over a few fields with cows in and scrappy allottments. I bet after your ramble protest march you tucked into sausages made from cows. Hippocrits !
I first heard a word last week that sumed you lot up. Nimbey -Never In My back Yard. You want the place all to yourself. Let other people live in Penwortham if they want to. It's a nice place. If Green Belt land has to be built on because of are large growing population so be it. Get Real
There was some protest when they built down in Walton by the river. Yet the place is always full of people wanting to shop and go to the cinama now. I use the place all the time for eating. Nobody complains now. They love the place.
I had a look at the river works scheme plans and they look OK. You complain about losing land for dog-walking but there will be plenty of land left for you too do that. Avenham Park is big enough for all any way. Hopefully Preston council will get rid of the tramps out of their as well as their presence will undu all the tax payers money spent on the area.
I was angry when they prevented the building of a car-park in the middle of Winckly square as I always have difficulty parking my car around their. There are no rare animals or plants in the development area worth saving. It all seems like weeds and crows to me. There's plenty of the same all over the place and the animals can move away easliy when the development starts. And if you don't like it you can move away Yourself.
Where the barrier is going to be built is not a place of any attractiveness. The area is landfill sites and stincking mud and scrappy land area for motor biking. I use that motorbike track on Sunday sometimes. The noise and the speed relaxes me. When the water sports development goes ahead and the river rises, I will be buying a speedboat(and someof my pals are intrested in buying one as well fo rracing)and using that. It is an ambition of mine to own one and use it near where I live. I have Human Rights to enjoy myself and realise my dreams.The river works plan will help that. I don't want you lot stopping them. . Also, the barrier will be needed to stop flooding in Preston because of this global warning problem.
Get Real!
K Johnson (Voice of the silent MAJORITY)
Ps You can put this on your site if you want make it more ballanced. Its all one way about this development at moment.

Hi K,
Thanks for your email. We have had hardly any letters from people in favour of the barrage or the building development on the green belt and loads opposed to both of these schemes. Of the few in favour, most of those we have had are posted on the blog on the comments sections, only two didn't make it as they were abusive rather than making valid comments in favour of the schemes. Your letter is also rather abusive but some of your comments are well worth addressing.
All of us involved in the campaign are from different backgrounds, some young, some older, some middle class, some working class, and at least half of us live in Preston, not Penwortham.
We are not Nimbys - we do not have problems with new houses being built in the area: lots have been built and are still being built in Preston and Penwortham in the last couple of years, one new development literally yards from my own house and I have no problem with that - and these proposals affect people a long way from our back yards. Opposition to these proposals extends far beyond Preston and Penwortham, all along the Ribble corridor from out on the Fylde and up to Ribchester and beyond.
We appreciate your points about being sure of work and housing needs for the population, but Preston and South Ribble have announced this last week that they have both built far more houses than they need for years to come so they are cutting down on planning permission for more. Preston City Council have also recently announced they will no longer allow new houses to be built on greenfields, so even if the Environment Agency gave the go-ahead for them to build on the floodplain (highly unlikely), and there was a population explosion in the area that meant we do need 4,000 extra houses after all (also unlikely), the council's own regulations would not allow it now anyway.
The barrage is a separate issue and has its own problems, particularly that it will affect the internationally important habitat of the Ribble Estuary, which is protected by law, and that it will make flooding more not less likely. Oh, and that "stinking mud" is the life-blood of the Ribble: it is why the Ribble is the 2nd most important wetland site in the UK as it is rich and full of nutrients and is the basis of the Ribble's entire ecosystem.
Reigh Belisama

The following is a condensed version of our last two emails...

Dear Save The Ribble group
Can I first say that I didnt think my letter was abusive when I wrote it. There wasn't no swear words in so how can it be abusive. I was just angry when I wrote it after looking at your blog site.
If you thought it was abusive I would have to apologise as my dad told me never to be like that. So I apologise. We say things when we get angry that we forget about until we are told about them again. You reminded me of being at school and been put right by my teachers. You can imagine I didn't get on there.
I can imagine some of the things I said you didn't like because they hit home and that's why you didn't print it. We all compress information we do not like. Though complain when other people do it like goverments. Mr Blair compresses information to save his job. It happens in the goverment and it happens in small things like this building scheme and even, in firms the lid is put on things. I should know.
If the building scheme went ahead on the promanade and set-up opposite Avenham Park. It might stop lads on motorbikes using that area to race as it would be monitored by CCTV. They use the Tram Road to race on. Once I was newly killed up near Lostock their by one. I'm not against motorbike racing that in its proper place. Hopefully with the development these idiots would be stopped.
You say that enough houses have been built in the area yet people like John Prescott say there is a 2 million house shortage in England. There will always be a need for housing especially in England with its population growing very large.
We have a lot of immigrants coming over here now from Eastern Europe who are going to need houses in the future. At the last two firms I've worked with I've worked with about 20 Polish guys, Two Latvians, Boznians and some Serbians. They are all great guys and better workers then ares. They say that all the immigrants who have come over here and live want to live here and they don't want to go back. Who can blame them. I went on a motorbike holiday through Romania Bulgaria and Ukraine and Poland about seven years ago. I had a great time. They have much much less than us but on more generous. You surely wouldn't deny them homes that need to be built even if it's on fields you like. We have to be more generous like them, Reigh.
You have to think about it bit more. You have the economic advantages to prevent housing for others!
I would prefer the new houses to go some East Europeans rather than the rich middle-class people. It would be a much more friendly honest open area . Whats the chance of that happening in Pen.I asked some of them at work about this riverwoks plan and they could not understand why it is opposed. If built in Poland, to them it would be housing and jobs. They would not be daydreaming about rivers and feilds. They think we english are strange.
It Stumps me why you make such a fuss about nature. Theres lots of it around us even in towns. I saw some of that spring watch programme the other week. The presenters get on my nerves. That guy on the clif reminds me of a vicar. Bill Odie is an annoying burk and the woman presenter only laughs at his jokes because it's her job to. The only thing that interest me on it were the birds of prey and the otters which make me laugh. The birds of prey our different to the rest of the garden birds. They are fast and strong and always amazing to watch. I saw a perigrine falcon dive virtically into a crop field when on holiday in Lincolnshire. It was after a rabbit. It was brilliant. I've not seen any birds of prey in the Penwortham area. Are there any otters or birds of prey on the Ribble estuary as well? Or near up at Ribcester. they would more interesting than the usual stuff again.
There is a radiation overflow pipe that goes into the Ribble from the nuclear works at Salwick. Its been in the news on and off for years. If there is a radiation problem there I wouldnt use it for boats etc yet. They - the council would have to report it clean before that happens.

Hi K,
It was your angry comments in your first letter which came across as insulting personal attacks such as being middle class hippies etc. Please don't assume that everyone opposing the barrage and building scheme are from Penwortham or are middle class: some of us are from Penwortham, some of us are from
Preston and from other communities, and some of us from any of these areas would consider ourselves working class. For people in the area not lucky
enough to have a garden, being able to spend time in the fields and woods and by the river is probably more important than for those of us who have got a garden. Regardless of class or ethnicity or where we live, people
of all backgrounds are opposed to the barrage and building on the green belt.
We have no problems with new houses being built in the area, as I said before, there are loads being built in this area anyway, and have been for years: what we are saying is that there are some
places more suited to new houses than others. There is also the problem that this green belt land is floodplain for the river, so the Environment Agency are not likely to agree to housing being built on it anyway, and if
they did, the new houses and other housing in the area would be at greater risk of flooding in the future, and being built on the floodplain would find it difficult getting insurance against flood damage.
Your comment about the radiation from Springfields is a really important one as BNFL say they rely on the tidal action of the river to disperse these discharges "safely", and they will be continuing the discharges for years to come, quite apart from the fact that those already deposited in the river mud will be active for thousands of years. People spending time in the river
will be at risk, and a barrage would actually help to keep these deposits in the Preston area instead of them being washed out to sea.
By the way, there are several birds of prey which hunt on the Penwortham green belt, I've seen a Barn Owl hunting on the meadow opposite Avenham Park, a Sparrowkawk over the scrubland just past the disused railway bridge, kestrels on several occasions, and even a Merlin. This summer I've seen a pair of
big birds of prey I haven't been able to identify yet hunting over the whole area. I'm fairly sure they aren't peregrines but haven't been able to work out what they are yet as every time I see them they soar overhead and are gone too fast to be able to get a really good look at them to tell. I know they are fast, whatever they are!
Also, there are positive signs that Otters are coming back in the Ribble basin, and they will need protected and undisturbed green areas alongside the river and its tributaries in order to thrive.
Regards, Reigh Belisama


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