Children have their say on Lune Valley village’s future

View from the Crook o'Lune looking down the Lune Valley.
View from the Crook o'Lune looking down the Lune Valley.
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Have your say

Residents in Caton have had their say about how they would like to see their village develop through to 2031.

The village is currently putting together its Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP), and more than 300 adults, and 150 teenagers and young people have responsed to a survey about housing, transport, and local infrastructure.

A wide range of views on development were received by the NDP steering group - including the need for better facilities for young people and children, and the removal of public transport.

Some people said they wanted little or no change and “would prefer the village to be left as it is with minimal development.”

Many residents wanted affordable homes - not just starter homes, but also for those with increasing families or older people.

The types of new houses mattered to people too, with many calling for smaller one or two bedroom houses and for terraces, sheltered housing, and homes suitable for the elderly and those with disability. One person said: “I would like to see affordable housing for my grandchildren going forward”, while another commented: “I would like some over 55 housing to buy like a McCarthy & Stone development”.

Another strong theme was to maintain the historic character and variety of building styles, including materials.

One person said: “Love the lack of light pollution and dark skies, the stunning river and woods that surround it; and the fact that the Lune Valley is the best kept secret”.

Many local residents say they don’t want their villages to become commuter suburbs, and there should be support for sustainable small-scale business development and initiatives to develop tourism and farm-based businesses in the area.

There were also calls for better broadband provision.

The two village schools gave children an opportunity to complete survey forms, and over 150 teenagers and children responded.

One child said: “It’s tidy. I like using the cycle track to go on bike rides. I like going to school in my village.”

Another commented: “Like that I can walk and see my friends. Things to do, scouts, church clubs”.

But there were also requests for additional facilities in the village, especially a BMX track or cycle park.

One teenager said: “A community centre with something for teens to do for example games such as cards and movie nights, a place to go where we can hang out and do activities without getting into trouble or causing disturbance to residents.”

Caton-with-Littledale lies within the Forest of Bowland AONB, and includes Caton, Brookhouse, Caton Green and Littledale. Many residents used the surveys and drop-in consultation sessions to stress how much they miss the evening and Sunday buses, with several reports of people having to give up jobs because of the lack of transport, or move into Lancaster to be able to get to work. Some people feel that rural areas are increasingly neglected by policymakers at national and regional level.

The document is now going out to formal consultation, with local businesses, landowners and employers asked to comment formally.

All comments should be submitted by 5pm on June 26.

Visit www.catonvillage.org.uk/neighbourhood-plan, drop in at the Victoria Institute in Caton or contact the Steering Group on 771551.

Jenny Walmsley from Caton-with-Littledale Parish Council, said: “We’re now going into the formal consultation stage.

The steering group that runs the neighbourhood plan has listened to the views of local people and residents, and is now taking their ideas and aspirations out to the formal bodies that make things happen.

In a sense what we’ve been doing is talking to residents of Caton to find out what they want to see happen locally.

Some don’t want any change at all, but a lot of people are really keen to have the kind of development in our village that will match their needs and the needs of their families.

The sort of message we’ve been getting from people is that if new houses are going to be built, they want to them to be smaller affordable houses, rather than larger, more expensive executive ones which appeal to incomers.

We hope that the neighbourhood plan will shape development within the village so that it matches the needs of local residents. We had around 300 responses from our survey including a lot of responses from children and young people.

This is all part of the Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) process, which – if completed successfully – means their Plan has to be considered as part of any future planning application, thereby increasing the influence the Parish has on its future development.