We Lib Dems feel that the views of local residents are hugely important. We understand why Labour run Sefton Council’s proposals to allow building on Green Belt are extremely unpopular.
We do not oppose all house building, indeed we encourage it on the Borough’s brown-field sites, as there is a need for more housing -in particular low cost homes.* However, building on high grade agricultural land, which is how virtually all of Sefton’s Green Belt is categorised, is environmentally unsustainable.
There is a balance to be struck between the need for more low cost housing, especially in Southport, and environmental sustainability. We believe that the balance has not been struck by Sefton Council’s present proposals and will be seeking to take the pressure off the Green Belt as the Local Plan goes through the Council’s processes over the coming months.
We will be arguing for the Local Plan to become the ‘greenest’ plan in England; that is one that champions the continued farming of some of the best and most versatile agricultural land in the whole country. We will challenge some of the questionable population predictions for the Borough to ensure they are both robust and realistic.
Lib Dems have consistently fought to retain Sefton’s Green Belt. Indeed during the last round of potential ‘Green Belt grabbing’ in 1998, when the present Unitary Development Plan was being put together, we successfully fought off planners and developers who were trying to release a huge parcel of land to the east of Maghull. That very same piece of prime agricultural land is a developers target this time around. Our campaigners will be fighting for it yet again.
We believe in localism, indeed we have championed it for generations when other parties were not interested in it. Local people have to comfortable with Sefton’s Local Plan or it will simply be the Council’s plan that is imposed upon its residents.
* For example we approved the development of land at Kew in Southport.