Following 2 years of saying nothing about the problematic Local Plan for Sefton Borough finally Maghull Town Council, under its Labour rulers, says excuse me Big Brother Sefton our residents are not completely happy with it. And they all but doffed their caps in saying it!
Now the point here is why has it taken so long and why such a low key response? Well a resident attending Maghull’s Council meeting last Wednesday put his finger on it by saying that it was Bootle Labour Party telling Maghull what was good for it, or words to that effect.
So why did Maghull TC finally act? We can only assume that its Labour rulers realised that saying nothing was no longer sustainable when the draft Local Plan proposes a 25% increase in the number of houses in the Town! The fact that Labour has recently lost two by-elections in Maghull to the Lib Dems, where building on Green Belt was a big issue, had also forced their hand.
The Labour response was built upon what they referred to as a non-biased survey, yet the survey simply reproduced what Sefton’s Planning Department has been saying. There was no alternative view put. That could easily have been done by asking a local environmental campaign group such as Fragoff to have got involved. It was because of such flaws and the fact that we were presented with a survey with no real opportunity to seriously amend it that we opposition members of Maghull Council refused to endorse Labour’s survey.
Yet the results of the survey, flawed as it was, were wholly predictable as Maghull folk who were asked to take part were by a clear majority unhappy with building on the Green Belt, concreting over high grade agricultural land, increasing the size of their Town by 25% etc. etc. If residents had been presented with the environmental side of the story I bet the results would have been even more clear cut.
But when it came to actually doing something positive with the survey Labour were yet again unwilling to be community leaders. Instead of making it very clear that the Town Council of Maghull was fundamentally opposed to the draft Local Plan, as opposition Lib Dems proposed, they meekly decided to just tell Sefton Council that Maghull is a little unhappy and please don’t be upset with us for saying this!
If that’s community leadership then I am yet again a Dutchman!!!
The Aintree & Maghull Champion Headline of 9th October ‘TOWN COUNCIL ‘YES’ TO DRAFT LOCAL PLAN’ just about sums up what the Town Council has done because its decision was all but a yes with reservations instead of reflecting what its own survey had shown!