News & Events

Details


12 August 2019

RVBC’s Future High Street (FHSF)

The Civic Society's statement in Support of Ribble Valley Borough Council

Statement in Support of Ribble Valley Borough Council

Future High Streets Fund Bid 2019

Introduction

Clitheroe Civic Society (‘the Society’) was pleased to hear that the proposal to redevelop the Town Centre Market Area has been scrapped by Ribble Valley Borough Council (‘the Council’). Following an earlier expression of support for the Council’s intention to participate in a Future High Streets Fund1 (FHSF) bid, the Society has been invited to participate in this process as one of a number of community stakeholders.

The information set out below is the Society’s contribution to this process. Given the time and resources available to the Society to prepare this submission it is accepted by the Society that this is a somewhat imperfect and incomplete submission. However, it is hoped that the overall presentation which we believe our historic town centre faces will assist and support the Council’s bid.

1 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/future-high-streets-fund-call-for-proposals

Contents

1.0 Overview

2.0 Current Challenges

2.1 Ongoing impact of residential development within the Civil Parish of Clitheroe

2.2 Neglect of Historic and Contemporary Floorscape & Streetscape

2.3 Reduced Quality of Care and Conservation over New Development and Alteration Works

2.4 Green Spaces and Trees

2.5 Town Centre Parking provision and Traffic Management

2.6 Environmental Conditions

3.0 Proposals: Immediate Action

3.1 Creation of Town Team/Forum

3.2 Publicity

3.3 Develop and submit the FHSF bid

3.4 Resistance to further residential development and weakening of town centre commercial viability

4.0 Proposals: Future Action & Initiatives

4.1 Neighbourhood Plan

4.2 Regeneration Plan Implementation

5.0 Supporting Initiatives

5.1 A Local List

5.2 The Town Wells

5.3 Clitheroe Castle Bowling Green

5.4 Clitheroe Parish Church

5.5 Establishment and Support for a Town Team

5.6 Community Infrastructure Levy

5.7 Improved use of Town Centre Premises

5.8 Improved application of Existing Regulations and Adopted Policies

5.9 Improved Lancashire County Council engagement

5.10 Education

6.0 Conclusion

 1.0 Overview

1.1 First and foremost, this Society recognises the existing qualities of our town. In the first edition of his Buildings of England: Lancashire North in 1969 Sir Nicolaus Pevsner described Clitheroe as ‘a townscape pleasure’. It remains so today and is a testimony to the robustness of the Medieval, Georgian and Victorian - and for the most part – vernacular planning, design and construction. Much of this survives and provides a unique environmental, social and economic focus for its 15,000 plus inhabitants.

 
1.2 It is still a joy to wander through what remains of the medieval street pattern at the heart of our town centre principally because the scale of the built environment remains a human one. The complimentary variety of materials and architectural styles stimulates the senses - often subconsciously. The various glimpses out onto the surrounding West Pennine fells and the magnificent Pendle Hill, through this jumbled streetscape, enhances Pevsner’s accurate - if brief - description.

 1.3 Clitheroe remains the envy of many towns and cities in the North of England that were ravaged by the effects of the WWII and/or the even greater destruction of the 1960’s and 70’s re-planning projects. For this we should be both grateful and highly protective of what we have at all times.Despite this historic robustness, there is a limit to just how much detrimental development and lack of care, maintenance and - above all – understanding, that any ancient town can sustain. Clitheroe is no exception.

 1.4 In our opinion, Clitheroe is rapidly approaching such a ‘tipping point’, beyond which it will not be possible to save the significance of our historic assets and the ‘sense of place’ which it supports and sustains. There is a universal and life affirming attraction of living and working within - or near to - such a place and its increasingly precious Conservation Area (CA)2. For these reasons we believe that this bid for FHSF funding is very timely and represents a ‘once in a generation opportunity’ for our Town and Borough.

 1.4 The following assessment sets out to identify what this Society considers to be the significant challenges facing the Town Centre - and especially that area within the CA.

2https://www.ribblevalley.gov.uk/downloads/file/3681/clitheroe_conservation_area_appraisal

 2.0 Current Challenges

The completion and publication of the Clitheroe Town Centre Masterplan3 (CTCM) in 2010 led to high hopes from those who prepared and contributed to this forward looking and comprehensive study. These hopes have not been realised to any meaningful degree and there has been little or no application of the strategies which that document recommended and envisaged.

3 https://www.ribblevalley.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/9795/clitheroe_town_centre_masterplan.pdf

It is accepted that lack of action to implement these proposals coincided with the downturn in the nation’s economic fortunes and that this is, probably, not coincidental. It is hoped that this lack of action from both Local and County Councils - who were to have been the principle commissioning agents of this strategy - is due more to the resulting lack of resources rather than the lack of will to implement that strategy. This bid offers to opportunity to redress this situation and to revisit the intentions which resulted in the commissioning of the CTCM and its recommended strategies.

However, during this same period it is apparent to this Society - and all who live and work in and around the town centre who care to look - that most, if not actually all, of the surrounding Towns in East Lancashire have benefited from some form of comprehensive urban regeneration initiative in the last decade.

Visit Burnley, Nelson, Colne, Blackburn, Accrington, Barrowford, Rawtenstall - previous, and ongoing regeneration projects, are evident in all. Why Clitheroe has been unable to participate in such comprehensive regeneration projects is for others to answer but it is undeniable that, by comparison with our neighbours, we have completely missed out on the regeneration of other North East Lancashire corridor towns. The FHSF bid is seen by us as a lifeline for our town centre - at long last!

We are not collectively qualified to comment on the need for economic regeneration for the town, all we can say is that must take place in parallel with any physical regeneration. We are aware of the seismic changes in shopping habits, the growth of on-line shopping and social media networking which is challenging all high streets. However, with a coordinated and focused application of these new trends and technologies alongside community engagement - there are enormous benefits to be had from their application to promote the unique character of our historic town centre and its unique variety of outlets, enterprises and locations which exist within it.

We do believe that we are qualified to comment on the issues and challenges which are currently manifest within the Clitheroe Conservation Area. This, in our opinion, has to be the starting point for any regeneration project – recognition of challenges and problems and the need for a viable physical environment without which comprehensive physical and economic regeneration will not be possible. These challenges include:

 2.1 The ongoing impact of residential development within the Civil Parish of Clitheroe

 2.1.1 The Society’s opposition to what we consider to be the excessive burden which has been placed on the three urban areas of our District, and principally Clitheroe, is well documented. This is not opposition to residential development per se but to what we believe to be the largely one-dimensional provisions of the 2008-2028 Adopted Core Strategy Key Statement H1: Housing Provision4 and those set out within the current Housing and Economic Development DPD (HED DPD) plan5. The combined effect of these policies - in the absence of supporting infrastructure and facility development - is to subject the town centre to conditions which are beyond its existing, or foreseeable, capabilities.

 2.1.2 Without the benefit of essential supporting infrastructure, including: improvements to roads, pedestrian ways, cycleways - and an integrated traffic management scheme and facilities, including: Educational, Health and Social Care provisions the consequences of this are now adversely impacting on the diverse amenity of the Town Centre and the quality of its historic CA fabric.

 2.1.3 Despite the adverse effects of this housing policy, which is just over half way through its implementation, the Council continues to consider extending the numbers of sites which could be incorporated into the Core Strategy.

 2.1.4 The Council is also subject to opportunist ‘chequebook’ applications and appeals by companies such as the Gladman Developments application at Henthorn Road, Clitheroe . It is apparent that much of this pressure comes from Central Government but that other authorities elsewhere in the country are now standing up to these pressures.

 2.1.5 This Society believes that, in the context of the need to regenerate its historic Town Centre and CA, it is time that the Council also resisted any further extension of the Adopted Core Strategy for housing provision in the Borough. We believe that if this pressure cannot be halted in favour of a comprehensive development strategy to accommodate the increase of residential development adjacent to the town centre without detriment to the historic town centre, then any initiative, such as the current FHSF bid will either fail or seriously be compromised.

 2.1.6 Already the largely Medieval and Victorian town centre road network is becoming frequently gridlocked and its floorscape physically damaged to the point of being unsafe in many locations. New and existing residents are having to travel outside town for employment, education and health care services. Our floodplains, admittedly outside the town centre, are being eroded - all to the detriment of this ancient market town.

 2.2 Neglect of Historic and Contemporary Floorscape & Streetscape

The abandonment of an adequate maintenance and implementation strategy for the town centre’s roads, footpaths, signage and street furniture - by the responsible agency Lancashire County Council - renders Clitheroe’s high streets as some of the poorest, most unsightly and hazardous in East Lancashire. The following were identified as weaknesses in the Conservation Area Appraisal produced in 2006 and referred to above. All remain present some thirteen years on - only now to a greater extent:

The low quality of the materials used in the environmental enhancement and traffic calming in Castle Street;
Poor quality concrete paving slabs …….. in Market Place;
Poor quality concrete paving throughout the CA

The largely ignored Town Centre Masterplan of 2010, also referred to above, identified the same issues with regards to the quality and care of streetscape materials:

“‘the quality of the paving, enclosing buildings, signage and lighting varies from good to poor. This discourages shoppers and visitors from crossing the town and diminishes the quality of the experience. Given that the fabric of streets and places exist, a dramatic change may be achieved through relatively modest improvements to surfacing, frontages, signing and lighting”.

 We additionally now identify

2.2.1 Patch Maintenance of Road and Pavement surfaces

Gradually the stone flags and kerbs which, up to the 1970’s covered all of the town centre pavements have been replaced with one partial exception in Church Street. Initially these were replaced with concrete paving slabs and kerbs. The effects of allowing on pavement parking and delivery (see 2.2.4 below) and the substandard reinstatement practices by the Utility Companies and their subcontractors have now resulted in patchwork tarmacadam repairs. These are unsightly, in numerous cases hazardous and unworthy of the CA and do not set a good example.

 2.2.2 On Pavement Parking/Delivery:

The damage that is done to pavements by allowing vehicles to park partly on the pavement. This practice is widespread in the town centre areas. It is a health and safety hazard, damages pavements making them additionally hazardous and is unsightly. Combined with the lack of adequate parking provision and a coordinated town centre traffic management plan this practice is allowed to proceed without censure. It is costly to council tax payers, is unsightly and accelerates the deterioration of our historic town centres hard landscaping. Pedestrian priority must be an integral part of any Town Centre and CA regeneration project and reference to the 2004 EU publication ‘Reclaiming city streets for people - Chaos or quality of life?’6 and English Heritage’s ‘Streets for All Advice for Highway and Public Realm Works in Historic Places7 would be a good start.

6http://ec.europa.eu/environment/pubs/pdf/streets_people.pdf

7https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/streets-for-all/heag149-sfa-national/

 2.2.3 Lack of appropriate Streetscape Design within the CA:

A lack of any coordinated approach to the design and location of street furniture, signage and illumination. There is no overall vision as to what is appropriate to enhance the quality of our Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian built environment and no understanding of the erosion of this quality by this thoughtless approach to the provision of essential facilities within historic environments.

A more sympathetic and co-ordinated approach the design, impact, location and maintenance of these key streetscape elements is an essential part of any future town centre regeneration project. Reference to Historic England’s excellent publication ‘Streets for All: Advice for Highway and Public Realm Works in Historic Places’ is, once again, a good starting point for effective policies in this realm.

 2.2.4 Lack of care to maintain and conserve the Conservation Area assets.

This responsibility is one which is, or should be, jointly shared by the Local Authority, Ribble Valley Borough Council (‘the Council’) along with private commercial and residential property owners within the Town Centre and CA. The former has a statutory duty to implement the requirements of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 along with their Core Strategy Environment Policies and Key Statement ENV5 in relation to Heritage Assets. The latter have an obligation to be aware of their responsibilities under the relevant local and national legislation but also require support to enable an awareness of the significance and benefits of this legislation. Further guidance is set out in the MHCLG’s publication ‘Guidance Conserving and enhancing the historic environment’8 . It is within the Local Authority’s remit to advise and where necessary control development within the Town Centre in accordance with national legislation and local adopted policies. Within the CA they are failing to do so. By example we cite such failures below and illustrate these in Appendix A to this submission as follows:2.2.5 Uncontrolled Advertising and sandwich board and banner advertising

8https://www.gov.uk/guidance/conserving-and-enhancing-the-historic-environment

2.2.5.1 The Local Planning Authority (LPA) are required to operate three special outdoor advertising rules regulating the placement of ads:

1. to define an Area of Special Control of Advertisements;

2. to remove from a particular site or a defined area the benefit of the deemed consent normally provided by the rules; and

3. to require a particular advertisement, or the use of a site for displaying advertisements, to be discontinued.

2.2.5.2 illustrative images set out in this submission indicate the negative impact of these unauthorised advertisements within the CA and the town centre. These support the view that there is minimal effective regulation over this form of advertising by the LPA - despite having the powers, listed above, to do so. The Society’s principle objection is to the visual incongruousness of this method of advertising which universally displays no appreciation of its historic context.

2.2.5.3 Other concerns relate to the physical hazard they present to general pedestrian use and the restriction of amenity they cause for the handicapped, blind, wheelchair bound and pram users.

The minimal economic benefit to the sponsoring commercial enterprise comes at a high price to the community and the CA. This needs to be affectively regulated as it once was pre-2010 and support for a sympathetic advertising strategy to be developed and promoted by the local Chamber of Trade.

2.2.5.4 Advice on how to successfully manage these pressures to secure effective advertising in Conservation Areas is set out in the Historic England publication referred to in 2.2.2 above but are no doubt already known to the Council’s Conservation Officer. The issue is the lack of effective guidance and, where necessary, enforcement.

 2.2.6 Utility Company and privately installed cabling to facades

2.2.6.1 Listed Buildings and buildings within the CA are too often festooned and cluttered with all manner of exterior service cables, guards, junction boxes which can damaged historic fabric and detail to accommodate these accretions. The LPA have the regulatory power to approve of appropriate works of this nature, to disapprove inappropriate proposals – or empower the removal of unauthorised works which disfigure the quality of Listed Buildings and CA building facades. WE believe they are currently failing to do so effectively.

2.2.6.2 The principals for achieving the effective management of the impact Utility Companies and Service Engineers within historic environments set out in Historic England publication referred to in 2.2.2 above but are no doubt already known to the Council’s Conservation Officer. Once again, the issue is the lack of effective guidance and, where necessary, enforcement.

 2.3 Reduced Quality of Care and Conservation over New Development and Alteration Works

 2.3.1 There is much that remains visually attractive within the CA and Town Centre. Owners and users of these buildings - which include retail shops, houses and commercial premises - need to be made aware of the significance of their properties, the importance of retaining and maintaining historic features and finishes and how to adapt or alter their property without damage to the overall quality.

 2.3.2 It is the responsibility of the LPA and the Council to promote and understanding of the benefits of maintaining - and wherever possible - enhancing this quality. Advice is also available from Historic England10 and Civic Voice11 to assist with this. Clitheroe Civic Society has actively supported these local and national initiatives since its formation in the late 1960’s and continues to do so via its own conservation initiatives12.

 2.3.3 We believe that this guidance needs to be better promoted, more accessible and better resourced. The principle promotor for this has to be the Council and the LPA but other agencies and organisations must also be encouraged to support and participate so that guidance is effectively delivered and sustained. This will once again include the Town Council, The County Council, the Local Chamber of Trade and Commerce, this Society and town centre property owners. All of the LPA’s powers must be employed to achieve better understanding of the importance of maintaining and enhancing the remaining qualities of the CA. Failing this the LPA must be prepared and resourced to take enforcement action whenever and wherever necessary.

 2.3.4 With the assistance of other organisations, including the stakeholders referred to above, enforcement action should rarely be required. Sadly, it is, at this point in time but is rarely undertaken. We believe that his further undermines the communal significance of the CA.

 2.3.5 As a result of the (CTCM) a Town Team13 was proposed to initiate the conclusions of that study. For a while this functioned and was the focal point for the implementation of a better understanding of, and care for, the CA. Sadly, once again, this petered out - along with all the valuable work, financial investment and aspirations of that initiative.

 2.3.6 For the CA and the town centre to survive and thrive in the C21st we believe that this approach illustrated in the CTCM has to be re-established if any town centre regeneration project is be successfully achieved and sustained. I good starting point would be to revisit the 2010 masterplan. If possible, under current procurement regulations, the consultants who prepared this exercise should be recommissioned to update it. This would thus take advantage of all the positive work that was done ten years ago and be the quickest route to securing a viable strategy with which to pursue the aim for a comprehensive town centre regeneration.

 2.4 Green Spaces and Trees

2.4.1 The most significant green spaces within the Conservation area are the Castle Grounds and St Michael & St. John’s School Playing fields. Both are on the perimeter of the CA which leave trees as the most prominent natural elements within it. There significance must be recognised in any future regeneration plan and there were glimpses of the positive effects that additional tree planting could have in key locations illustrated in the 2010 CTCM

 2.4.2 The publication of the Conservation Area Appraisal (CCA), in 2006, recognised that though “Most of the conservation area’s trees are to be found in the open spaces described above but there are small groups of trees in other locations which further add to the conservation area’s distinctive character and appearance.”

2.4.3 Since then this number has diminished within the CA and the Town Centre area and there has been no new tree planting to either add to the existing stock - or to replace those trees which, for whatever reason, have been removed. Viewed as a single issue involving a single tree, the effect is barely perceptible. When this is regarded collectively and the benefit they bring, recognised in the CAA of 20026 they are a further erosion and diminishment of the quality of the CA which must be addressed in any new regeneration plan.

 2.4.4 Valuable advice and guidance on this issue is set out in Historic England’s publication ‘Local Green Spaces’14 and could be usefully incorporated into any strategy for the regeneration of the town centre.

 2.5 Town Centre Parking provision and Traffic Management

 2.5.1 We believe that neither the CAA in 2006, nor the CTCM in 2010, gave adequately consideration to the issues related to parking provisions within, and immediately adjacent to, the CA and Town Centre. Since the 2010 review the HD the Clitheroe is mid-way through the implementation of the (HED DPD).

 2.5.2 We regret that despite much forward pre planning application traffic Impact Assessment have been submitted in support of all new development in and around the town centre there has been no provision whatsoever to assess the post development impact of these developments. If this is beyond the current resources of local and county authorities, then provision should be made for the developers to fund such studies which will enable an accurate record of actual impact as opposed to forecast impact. Alternatively, the implementation of Community Infrastructure Levy on such development, referred to in S5.5 below, would go some way to funding such post development impact studies.

 2.5.3 Key to any significant regeneration of the town centre is a radical rethink on parking and traffic management within and adjacent to this area. This is increasingly necessary as the number of residents within the Civil Parish of Clitheroe rises - and to ensure that there is capacity and desire to enable new and existing residents as well as visitors to take full advantage of all the town has to offer rather than going out of town.

 2.5.4 Valuable advice and guidance on this issue is set out in Historic England’s publication ‘Transport and the Historic Environment’15 and could be usefully incorporated into any strategy for the regeneration of the town centre.

 2.6 Environmental Conditions

2.6.1 The Council’s current Core strategy policy is Key Statement EN3; Sustainable Development and Climate Change16. It is accepted that, via this policy, the Council seeks to ensure that all development meets an appropriate recognised sustainable design and construction standard where viable to do so, in order to address both the causes and consequences of climate change.

2.6.2 It is submitted that there has too much leeway in this policy when applied as part of the planning application process. We believe this to be particularly so with regards to the residential development the Borough has committed itself to. Accepted standards approved under post outline planning approval negotiations with applicant are generally the minimum required to comply with current regulation Core Strategy.

2.6.3 We believe that it is essential from the outset that any scheme of regeneration for the town centre commits that scheme be fully compliant with the requirement of the Building Research Establishment (BRE) ‘BREEAM Communities Code for Sustainable Built Environments’17 and not simply to ‘seek to ensure’ these standards or where it is ‘viable to do so’ as is possible within the current Core Strategy.

2.6.4 In a municipal and community sponsored project - such as the prosed town centre regeneration - there should be no acceptance of any environmental design and delivery standards which are not fully ‘BREEAM Community Code’ compliant. This Code aims at contributing to the Paris Agreement. The central aim of this agreement is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to actively pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Anything less than a BREEAM compliant project should not be contemplated in our opinion.


3.0 Proposals: Immediate Action

3.1 Town Team

3.1.1 In our opinion the council needs to re-establish the Town Team regardless of the outcome of the FHSF Bid. Properly constituted, coordinated and resourced, as envisaged in the TCMP of 2010, this  will ensure that regeneration proposals have wide community support. Such an approach will avoid  a repetition of the debacle of the Market Redevelopment project, the full consequences of the which have yet to be revealed.

3.1.2 Prior to a formal constitution of a Town Team it is possible that, initially, a more informal Town Forum could assist in the establishment of such and inform its terms of reference, aspirations and an initial programme of targets.

3.2 Publicity

 3.2.1 Via all media formats the general public and all potential Town Team participants and stakeholders must be kept informed of the Councils aims and actions as they are developed. At an appropriate time a Public Forum, referred to above, to be arranged for an open discussion to air and test the Council’s intentions and aspirations and to gauge and record the community’s own views.

 3.3 Develop and submit the FHSF bid

 3.3.1 This is in hand and this submission is prepared to contribute to the first stage Expressions of Interest application. If the application progresses beyond this first stage community participation must be encouraged.

 3.4 Resistance to further residential development and weakening of town centre commercial viability

 3.4.1 In the absence of the provision of essential supporting infrastructure and facility development, resist residential development over and above that already approved in the Adopted Core Strategy.

3.4.2 To assist the maximum economic viability of the existing town centre - and its desired regeneration – resist any further pressure to expand out of town Use Class A1 Retail permissions such as that recently approved at Barrow Brook. This type of approval can only fetter any endeavours to regenerate the town centre - or even maintain the existing precarious conditions for retailers here.

3.4.3 Initiate and development a Neighbourhood Plan to assist the Council and the LPA in pursuit of such beneficial policies to the local community in the face of the often-inappropriate policies set out in the National Planning Policy Framework . Further reference to this is made in S4.1 below

 4.0 Proposals: Future Action & Initiatives

 4.1 Neighbourhood Plan

4.2.1 To support immediate actions and approaches referred to above, we advise that the Council looks to develop a Neighbourhood Plan with Clitheroe Town Council - and/or another locally constituted groups and sponsors - under the Neighbourhood Planning Act 201718. This was established with the intention to ‘strengthen neighbourhood planning by ensuring that planning decision- makers take account of well-advanced neighbourhood development plans and by giving these plans full legal effect at an earlier stage’.

4.1.2 If feasible and supported by the Town Council and other locally constituted community groups, this could enormously strengthen the Council’s ability to both promote and beneficially regulate any regeneration initiatives based on local requirements and policies. Without such additional powers the Council are always going to be at the mercy of national planning policies which so often differ from needs and aspirations of a local community.

4.2.3 We believe that adopting such an approach would develop and strengthen the essential community – municipal partnership which will be needed to implement and effectively maintain any future regeneration plan. We equally admit to having no experience of the process to establish such a Plan though imagine that this would have been the case for all who have set up such a plan to date.

4.2 Regeneration Plan Implementation

4.2.1 This Society fully backs the Council’s initiative to bid to FHSF which is seen as a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity for a comprehensive renewal for the town centre. If  successful, this bid could go a long way to address most, if not all, of the neglect that our historic Town Centre has been subjected to over the last ten years - and better prepare it for the uncertain future that all are currently facing.

4.2.2 If this initiative is not successful, then others will have to be considered if our town is to survive as an attractive mixed-use hub for the Ribble Valley and East Lancashire. What must be ensured with any revised initiative is that the Council has the will and tenacity to see the plan through.

4.2.3 It is apparent to all that this tenacity and focus was not present following the valuable Masterplan that was prepared in 2010. The initial enthusiasm which this was greeted with rapidly withered. No doubt this was in some part due to the economic pressure which the whole country has been subjected to since 2008 and the misdeeds of the few have burdened the many. However, as referred to elsewhere in this submission almost all East Lancashire towns have benefited from some form of environmental regeneration project. Now is the time to make up for past failures and missed opportunities for out town.

4.2.4 With community support and engagement, we believe this can be done but there has to be the will for this from our Council - the prime agent in implementation any programme of regeneration.

 5.0 Proposals: Supporting Initiatives

In tandem with a successful regeneration plan – whether or not this is supported by a FHSF bid or by other funding sources – we see the need for additional supporting initiatives. Some of these have been referred to above and include:

 5.1 A Local List

5.1.1 Local Lists, as promoted by Historic England in the Advice Note ‘Local Listing’19, ‘……play an essential role in building and reinforcing a sense of local character and distinctiveness in the historic environment. Local lists can be used to identify significant local heritage assets to support the development of Local Plans. Encouraging the use of local lists will strengthen the role of local heritage assets as a material consideration in the planning process’.

5.1.2 Many authorities in Lancashire and ’over the border’ in West Yorkshire have stablished such lists and they are clearly a useful addition to local powers to conserve local heritage assets and engaged individual and community groups in actively participating in the Planning Process and care for heritage assets.

5.2 The Town Wells

5.2.1 There is urgent need for all three of the late medieval town wells (Heild Well, Stocks Well and St Mary’s Well) to have a recognised and registered ownership. The Council accepts ownership of Stocks Well though this is not registered with HMLR. Without registered ownership these listed Grade II heritage assets - which all lie within the Conservation area and are of enormous historic, environmental, social and symbolic significance - are condemned to an unsightly and unwarranted decline.

5.2.2 Full details of the Society’s campaign to have ownership for all wells registered by the only body who can have ownership responsibility for these heritage assets can be viewed on the Society’s Website.20 Adoption of the policies and strategies advocated by the Society for the wells would be of enormous value to any authority seeking FHSF support and a marker of the Council commitment to its stated polices to care for its existing heritage assets. There is an ongoing dialogue between the Society and the Council, though this commenced over ten years ago now.

5.3 Clitheroe Castle Gardens and Bowling Green

5.3.1 The condition of the castle grounds and gardens continues to concern this Society. No doubt the result of reduced budgets but as this site is recognised as the jewel in the crown of the Civil Parish of Clitheroe and the Ribble Valley district as a whole and a major tourist attraction there has to be an improved maintenance regime for the whole site.

5.3.2 As recently pointed out to Councillors, by one of our members, ‘…with every passing month the condition , both of the cafe building and the green, is deteriorating even more, and I (and many others!) would hate to see it come to the point of no return, when both would be lost forever. This happens all too frequently nationwide, and valuable assets are lost’……. ‘ I am putting my faith in the Council’s new approach to regeneration plans in the hope that the scope will extend far enough for this area of the castle grounds to benefit too.

5.3.3 The sad condition of what was once an enormous social focal point, particularly for our senior citizens, should not be forgotten when consideration is being given to the regeneration of our town centre. The towns youth have benefited enormously from the cooperation between the Council and the Lancaster Foundation21 with the provision of all-weather pitches and the prize-winning skate park. Our senior citizen should not be forgotten regardless of whether or not the regeneration project bid is successful and if needs e similar joint ventures should be considered and welcomed.

5.3.4 Some years back there was some contentious removal of trees and ground cover around the Castle Keep. On completion there was almost universal praise (complete praise in Clitheroe is as inconceivable as it is impossible) for the results. The reduction in garden maintenance is starting to show once more and, if attention is not paid to controlling the invasive growth of ivy and ground cover around the south and east embankments, dealing with this is going to become an unnecessarily expensive task. In the meantime, the dramatic and dominant appearance of the Castle from the East and Castle Street will be diminished. Any regeneration plan must include provision for the Castle and its grounds.

 5.4 Support and Inclusion of Clitheroe Parish Church

5.4.1 The other dominant feature of our town is Clitheroe Parish Church at the top of Church Street. Any plan for the regeneration of our Town Centre and the CA must also accommodate the aspirations of the Parochial Church Council as they like every other parish in the land struggle to maintain their core religious mission, participate in the communal life of the town - and maintain the Grade II* listed church.

5.5 Establishment and Support for a Town Team

5.5.1 Re-establishing the ‘Town Team’ approach to all issues affecting the social, economic and environmental development of the town centre would help the Municipal stakeholders in any regeneration project to ensure community engagement throughout. Had the Town Team still been functioning the, recently abandoned, Market Redevelopment scheme is unlikely to have progressed as far as it did.

 5.6 Housing & Economic Development (Development Plan Document) HED (DPD) and Community Infrastructure Levy

5.6.1 During the FHSF bid the Council is urged to resist any development proposals which do not form part of the approved Core Strategy - or subject to the current review (March 2018). By example I cite the Gladman Development re-application at Henthorn Road ref 3/2019/0071 and the appeal they have recently lodged to overturn the LPA’s refusal of the 2018 application at the same site - ref 3/2018/0688.

5.6.2 As a supportive initiative the Council is urged to commence the implementation of a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) applicable to all future approvals for residential development within the Borough. The concept of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a means of supporting the provision of additional infrastructure in association with new development. This would sit well alongside the application to FHSF funding and augment a successful bid.

5.6.3 It is considered that CIL would enable a more equitable and locally beneficial process of ensuring developers are effectively making a more adequate contribution to mitigate the negative aspects. This would go some way to offsetting the negative aspects of their activities on the existing infrastructure and amenity - and better fund future improvements to the same.

5.6.4 Many authorities have now accepted this approach since its introduction in 2008. They are now benefiting from access to some the significant profits which applicants, developers and housebuilders have enjoyed over the last decade. We believe that this Clitheroe - and all Ribble Valley residents, Council Tax and Business Rate payers should also share such benefits.

5.7 Improved use of Town Centre Premises

5.7.1 Building on the work of the North of England Civic Trusts (NECT) work, from the 1980’s onwards, the concept of ‘living over the shop’ was developed by the City of York Council and eventually English Heritage (EH). This resulted in the eventual publication of EH’s guidance publication ‘Living Over the Shop’. These initiatives were an attempt to resolve three problems (and many others too) which are common to most historic town centres and conservation areas, namely: the under use of existing town centre property above ground level and the reduced maintenance of town centre property fabric above ground level - and particularly roofs and high-level fabric. Reduced sense of security within non-residential, half-day use, town centre areas

5.7.2 These conditions all have a negative effect on the economic viability and physical condition of historic town centres and the sense of safety within them. Clitheroe is a ‘good’ example of this condition.

5.7.3 EH’s publication is no longer in print but a more detailed successor was produced by City of York Council in 201322. Though specific to issues and challenges within a substantially medieval city, this study has much valuable advice which could be employed in Clitheroe’s bid to FHSF. Additionally, this detailed study covers much of what is referred to in this support document from CCS and the Town Centre Masterplan of 2010.

 5.8 Improved application of Existing Regulations and Adopted Policies

5.8.1 Affective resourcing of the application of existing regulations and adopted policies to provide effective guidance or the care and development of property within the conservation area is an essential requirement for any CA. Where guidance has failed to secure works or activities which are in contravention there must be effective and rapid enforcement of such contraventions.

5.9 Improved Lancashire County Council engagement

5.9.1 A close relationship with Lancashire Council is essential to ensure that their activities - in maintaining and developing, appropriate traffic management measures, historic floorscape, signage and illumination within the town centre and the CA in particular - are compliant with the Council’s adopted core strategy, and the hoped-for neighbourhood plan and are delivered.

5.9.2 If the potentially divisive nature of the present two-tier local governance system is to be avoided, our local LCC representatives must be encouraged to work more closely with the local Councils, and other local stakeholders and have a permanent representative on the Town Team.

5.10 Education

5.10.1 A wide range of references are made above to supporting publications and initiatives which can be used to inform and educate all engaged in such a relatively major project for our small market town. Much reference is made to Historic England publications but there is much more information and skilled advice to be had ‘out there’ to compliment that which already exists within the Council.

5.10.2 One significant challenge for those affected by, and participating in, such an initiative is being able to access, digest and comprehend relevant information. It is essential that this is possible if the community is to be carried along with, and give support to, such a major project for the town. This aspect of this initiative will need to constantly be reviewed and adequately resourced by the Council and its stakeholders if this new initiative is to succeed.

 6.0 Conclusions

6.1 This concludes this, somewhat spontaneous and no doubt incomplete, response to the Director of Economic Deployment & Planning’s recent request for a statement of support for an Expression of Interest (EOI) bid to FHSF. Clitheroe Civic Society hopes that the Council can succeed with its EOI submission and that this will then enable them to proceed to the next stage in the process to secure the much needed FHSF support.

 6.2 This is a once in a generation opportunity for the comprehensive regeneration of our town centre. Clitheroe has one of, if not the, greatest potential of any town in Lancashire to become one of its most noted historic and contemporary town centre . It is hoped that this bid by our Local Council is successful and that the contribution made here by Clitheroe Civic Society goes some way to assist with this.

 6.3 We cannot conceive that once all the relevant information has been studied by the assessors that they could fail to support the progress of this bid to the next stage. We look forward to seeing this initiative progress and - if successful – continuing to provide, alongside other community stakeholders, such support as we able and required to provide.

 


Steve Burke

Chairman

For and on behalf of Clitheroe Civic Society

15th March 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chairman: Steve Burke, 6 Claremont Avenue, Clitheroe, BB7 1JN. 01200 425528 sbcaltd@googlemail.com

Treasurer: Barbara Alty, Shaw Cottage Shawbridge St Clitheroe BB7 1LZ 01200 429359 shawcottage3@btinternet.com

Secretary: Michael Parkinson, Beechcroft, Back Commons, Clitheroe, 01200 422660 rmparky@gmail.com

11 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/future-high-streets-fund-call-for-proposals
2 https://www.ribblevalley.gov.uk/downloads/file/3681/clitheroe_conservation_area_appraisal
33 https://www.ribblevalley.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/9795/clitheroe_town_centre_masterplan.pdf
4 https://www.ribblevalley.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/8369/core_strategy_2008_-_2028
55 https://www.ribblevalley.gov.uk/info/200364/planning_policy/1674/housing_and_economic_development_dpd_hed_dpd
6 http://ec.europa.eu/environment/pubs/pdf/streets_people.pdf
7 https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/streets-for-all/heag149-sfa-national/
89 Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act
9 https://www.gov.uk/guidance/conserving-and-enhancing-the-historic-environment
1011 https://historicengland.org.uk/advice/planning/conservation-areas
1112 http://www.civicvoice.org.uk/campaigns/the-big-conservation-conversation/
1213 http://clitheroecivicsociety.org.uk/projects/clitheroe-pinnacle-project.html
1314 Clitheroe town centre masterplan 06/10/2010: Page 7
14 https://historicengland.org.uk/advice/hpg/has/localgreenspace/
15 https://historicengland.org.uk/advice/planning/infrastructure/planning-and-transport/
16 Core Strategy 2008 – 2028 A Local Plan for Ribble Valley Adoption Version
1718 https://www.breeam.com/communitiesmanual/

 

18 https://www.local.gov.uk/neighbourhood-planning-act-2017-get-act

 

19 https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/what-is-designation/local/local-designations/
20 http://clitheroecivicsociety.org.uk/projects/town-wells.html
21 https://en-gb.facebook.com/TheGrandSkatepark/
22 http://www.york.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/16011/sd062_-_upper_floors_in_york_city_centre_-_an_opportunity_2013.pdf.


More News & Events...

Past

Page 1 of 7  > >>

21 September 2019

A Guided Tour of Clitheroe Inns – Past & Present

Based on the recently published ‘Inns of Clitheroe Past & Present’ (May 2019) book by Local Historian, John Lambert.

21 September 2019

You are cordially invited to "STEPS TO SUCCESS?", a meeting on Saturday, September 21st in Bacup, hosted by Rossendale Civic Trust. Meet at the ABD Centre, Burnley Road OL13 8EU (next to the Post Office and opposite St. John's Church) at 10.30 am. for coffee and start at 11.00 am.

 

 

 

18 September 2019

The date for this visit is now Wednesday 18th September

Lancaster townscape

14 September 2019

A Guided Tour of Bellman Park Clitheroe

Tours at 11am & 2pm Saturday 14th September

These tours will cover the social, industrial and agricultural significance of Bellman Park and will be led by Andrew Collinson who was raised at Bellman Farm.

guided_walk__map_470_360_80_s_c1

15 June 2019

‘Historic Lancaster’

Lancashire Local History Federation

‘At Home’ with Lancaster Archaeological and Historical Society

Saturday 15 June 2019

9.30-c.4.15 Quaker Meeting House, Lancaster (adjacent to station)

Page 1 of 7  > >>