Village Hall Planning Approved

| February 13, 2011 | 0 Comments More

RESIDENTS living in an exclusive village say they fear for their security after plans were approved for its first shop.

Many living in Brockhall Village are concerned about ‘strangers’ entering their gated community near Langho, in the Ribble Valley.

The proposal by Brockhall Village Limited (BVL) to change the hall into a retail and office space was approved this week by planning chiefs at Ribble Valley Borough Council.

According to the Brockhall Village Residents’ Association, the developers behind the estate agreed to build the village hall, formal gardens and a kickabout area for children and hand these over to residents in 2007.

But now the village hall, which was built and designed by Harry Hitman, son of the late property mogul Gerald Hitman, will be put on the market to be leased as a retail unit or offices.

Mary Jones, association committee member said: “The wishes of the residents have been ignored and this new shop will also compromise security as it will bring in all sorts of strangers into the village.”

More than 30 letters of objection were submitted to the planning committee and during a Lancashire Telegraph survey in the village the majority of residents were unhappy about the plans.

The site was completed in 2007 and is currently being used by Mr Hitman as a sales centre for BVL’s new properties.

Mr Hitman said: “It would have been nicer if me and the residents had found a way of retaining its original use but I needed to find a commercially-viable option for the building.

“In terms of problems with children loitering outside it will be up to the management of the facility to deal with that issue if it ever arises.”

What residents say

Sue Cambridge, of Cherry Drive, said: “There is no need for a shop and it will just become a nuisance, with teenagers hanging around outside.”

Paul Atkinson, of Dickens Court, said: “There are around 400 homes here and it doesn’t make sense that we don’t have a village hall. A shop or office would create traffic and a security problem with outsiders coming into the village.”

Tom McCann, of Damson Close, said: “We objected to it becoming a shop because it will encourage kids to loiter outside. I am surprised that the council has allowed this, considering the level of objection from residents, and it is a shame that we will not have a village hall for the community.”

Sally Moore, 41, of Dickens Court, said: “I cannot see how offices will benefit anyone in the village. It will create more traffic making it unsafe for our children. This is a residential area not a commercial one and we would have definitely preferred to have had a community facility.”

Heather McCarthy, 49, of Woodland Close, said: “The sad thing is that our children are now grown up so it won’t affect us too much. But we would have liked it if it had been a village hall from the beginning like it was supposed to so that our children could have benefitted from it.”

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