Fighting to Protect the Green Belt – A guest posting from Cllr Nigel Ashton (Liberal Democrat, Meols Ward)

Green belt land is a precious resource and we must fight to protect it. The need for new housing can be met by building on brownfield sites and other non-protected areas. There are viable alternatives to building on green belt, but in producing their local plan Sefton has gone for the easy option. Once green belt land is built on it is lost forever.

Many local residents feel very strongly about protecting the environment. During a previous consultation in 2011, more people attended the drop-in session in Churchtown than anywhere else in the whole of Sefton. There was also a huge turn out at the Lydiate drop-in session – Editor.

There is a highly controversial proposal in my own ward (Meols) to build on green belt land off Bankfield Lane, near Three Pools. The original version of the local plan would have put over 300 houses on this site. My Lib Dem colleagues and I put forward a very strong case against this, particularly as the site is subject to flooding and is very good agricultural land. We have had a partial victory, as the Council has reduced the proposal to 120 houses, but we will carry on pushing to protect this land completely.

There is very strong public opposition to building on the land surrounding the Old Links Golf Course, which is also green belt. There was a huge meeting when this was first put forward and nothing has happened since to change people’s minds. I expect to see a great deal of public protest.”

I made my first speech in the council chamber on the subject of protecting the green belt and it is an issue that has remained of great importance to me. Together with my colleagues, I will continue to fight to get proposals to build on the green belt removed from Sefton Council’s local plan. I urge everyone to have their say during the public consultation which is taking place from July – September.”

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