Nigel spoke today in the House of Commons on housing in the Ribble Valley and called for steps to be put in place to give local councils more power to stop unwanted developments. Mr Evans talked about the various towns and villages in the Ribble Valley that have been subjected to large scale developments, despite the valiant efforts of their councillors.
Speaking in the chamber Mr Evans said, ‘Yes, we need new housing—there are no two ways about it—and in certain high-pressure areas, such as London, we clearly have to look at extra appropriate and affordable housing. However, I live and represent an area in the Ribble Valley that is under siege from developers…A couple of websites called “Save Whalley Village” and “Save Longridge” have been set up. I went to a public meeting in Longridge to which more than 500 people turned up to protest against the over-development of the town. They spoke with great enthusiasm and passion. They are not saying no to any house building, but no to the over-development of the area that they love. We must start to listen to people… We need to look at other areas, such as around Ribble Valley, Pendle, Burnley and Blackburn, where money could be spent on regeneration, which is far better than building on greenfield sites…The Planning Inspectorate seems to have a similar slogan to Obama’s “Yes we can” or “Yes you can”, whereas the people who live in these areas say, “Please, enough is enough.” I think that “Enough is enough” beats “Yes we can”.’
Speaking from Westminster after the debate Mr Evans said, “The people of the Ribble Valley are not saying no to any more houses at all, but it is clear that they have been let down by the Planning Inspectorate. As I said in the debate, I feel that local councillors have been valiant in their efforts to stop these developments and I hope that the Core Strategy will soon be approved in order that the area can take back power over the planning process and protect the area from further unwanted developments.”