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Hyndburn's population projected to drop faster than anywhere in Lancashire

Council leader Miles Parkinson said more housing and job sites are needed to reverse census forecasts

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View over Accrington. Picture by Mark Waugh

Census projections forecasting Hyndburn’s population will drop faster than the rest of Lancashire should ‘set alarm bells ringing’, a town hall chief has warned.

Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson said the figures showed a need for new housing and job sites and posed a potential threat to our schools.

Nearly 81,000 people currently live in Hyndburn, however forecasts show this could drop to around 78,000 by 2039.

Lancashire County Council said this projected fall is in ‘stark contrast’ to the 4.4 per cent average increase across the county and 16 per cent increase nationally projected over the same timeframe.

It also comes despite Hyndburn’s fertility rate of 2.09 per 1,000 women being among the highest in the county and well above the England and Wales average of 1.81.

Coun Parkinson called for action to increase housing variety and faster development of employment zones to reverse the decline.

Speaking at a recent full council meeting, he said they will look to expand the borough ‘within the urban curtilage’, but pledged to protect green belt land from development.

He said: “If you look at the medium term census it will show in five years’ time the population in Hyndburn falling greater than any other area in Lancashire.

“That should set alarm bells. We will have a bigger decrease in population than Blackpool with all of its social and deprivation issues and even with the government throwing millions at it.

“If the population is going to be falling more radically than Blackpool we have to look at a strategy on how to stop that.”

Coun Parkinson said the projected falls would have an impact on schools.

He added: “It means reduced budgets, the threat to teaching assistants and other facilities.

“The usual flippant comment when we want to build new housing estates is ‘there are plenty of empty houses’. Yes, but they are terraced.

"There’s nothing wrong with terraced, but we have an over-supply. People have aspiration and want semis and bungalows and detached.”

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Conservative leader Coun Tony Dobson said he was ‘not against the plans’, but warned against creating an oversupply, adding: “People turn them into rented accommodation and you end up with ghettos like in Spring Hill, Church and Central.”