- LONGRIDGE. “8000 friendly people, wonderful countryside and a great social life! What else do you need?” — a quote taken from their own website. That at present is quite true, but there is trouble afoot. Due to a lack of forward local planning, developers are highlighting areas of land around our villages to appease the Government’s hypothetical and unrealistic targets for housing needs in the next decade. The map above shows the problem with up to 2500 houses projected [in red]. Roads, Schools, Doctors, Sewers — where are those plans? There is a genuine feeling of anger in the village over the proposals, but the councils seem unable to call a halt to these Developers’ speculative plans.
To celebrate the millennium, Ribble Valley produced leaflets and waymarked six excellent walks in and around Longridge exploring the diverse landscape and heritage. [Available from our thriving local library] One of these is a 6-mile circular tramp around the village making use of tracks through the surrounding green spaces, these are the very same spaces that are now highlighted in red in the above plan. So today I thought it was an opportunity to repeat and enjoy this walk before all the changes. Bowland Homes have already filled in one corner of the Eastern rural approach to Longridge. Across the road from there are lovely fields earmarked by Taylor Wimpey so destroying this atmospheric entrance into the village. I followed the green lane up the side of this area into the quarried part of Longridge, with views over several reservoirs. Across the road into fields and one has the most wonderful views over Chipping Vale with the Bowland Fells behind. Surely this must be saved for our dependents. The next area under attack, from Barretts, is all the fields around the cricket pitch on the road in from Chipping. This again will totally change a rural entrance into the village. The old neglected ‘Gypsy Lane’ goes through fields onto Inglewhite Road and a field path leads to Halfpenny Lane. Here Gladmans have been given permission to develop the green fields across to the village. No buffer zone in the form of farming land any more. What is nature losing? A few hundred yards around the corner and Urbanregen [how ugly a word is that?] have already started to prepare the destruction of Green Nook Lane! Further on the walk, in Pinfold Lane, United Utilities have decommissioned a reservoir to produce a wetlands environmental area with public hides for observing the wildlife. Highly commendable, but at the same time they are hoping to develop a housing estate on the north side of the site. Double standards or am I being cynical? One has to be where land, development, planners, government and money are all involved. So my pleasant rural circuit around Longridge is complete — but for how long will you be able to experience these few countryside hours in the proximity of the village? There are too many question marks in this post and I’m too afraid of the answers.
As one ages, it is said you don’t easily adapt to changes — count me in on that.