Save our Green Belt – Labour splits spectaculary over Sefton’s Local Plan

Having adopted very different stances its no surprise that Bill Esterson, Labour MP for Sefton Central and Peter Dowd, Labour Leader of Sefton Council, are on differing pages over the Local Plan but of course they seem to be on differing pages over far more than this according to my internal Labour sources.

I commented recently about Labour-run Maghull Town Council and its weird and wonderful way of trying to carve out what it hoped would be a half decent stance that enabled it to not upset Bootle Labour (those in charge of the Labour Party in Sefton) too much whilst telling them that Maghull folk are a little unhappy over the Local Plan, building on the Green Belt etc. It was a ridiculous muddled compromise.

Shuffling of feet in Labour ranks is now a dance as they try to sell differing messages to differing audiences and there can be little doubt that they are unsettled especially by the activities of environmental campaign group Fragoff who have been making Labour feel very uneasy with their probing of the draft Local Plan.

Now Bill Esterson is calling on Sefton Labour to think again over the Plan. His call could be to embarrass Council Leader Peter Dowd or it could be little more than spin to get the press to run stories that make it look like Labour is fighting the against the Local Plan. It could of course be both. Throwing up a smoke screen is an old trick for cornered politicians. BUT could it be that some Labour Sefton Councillors are thinking of breaking ranks over the Local Plan. That seems unlikely as loyalty to the Party is the first, second and every though of elected Labour politicians and any who are brave enough to break ranks are sent to Siberia for reprogramming or worse.

Or could all this be because Ed Miliband has announced that if he gets into Government he wants to build 200,000 houses by 2020 which, as I have said before, will mean Sefton building around 1,000 houses per year not the 510 that is in the present Sefton Labour preferred Local Plan! Now that’s a message that most of us thought Labour would not want folks to latch onto. But not a bit of it as Labour’s biggest beast in the Sefton jungle, Peter Dowd, has firmly said that he backs Ed Milibands plan – talk about being off Bill Esterson’s message!

If you hear frantic shuffling of feet or suspect some Labour councillors are spinning like tops then you can be assured they are severely rattled.

Bootle Labour wants to build thousands of new houses on prime agricultural land in Bill Esterson’s Sefton Central Constituency and in Southport. Bill says he is defending the Green Belt yet his own Labour councillors from Sefton Central are all but sticking two fingers up at him as they toe the Bootle Labour line . This is going to end in tears.

2 thoughts on “Save our Green Belt – Labour splits spectaculary over Sefton’s Local Plan

  1. We can ask whose tears it will be, the publics for letting a small clique in the south of the borough (labour) destroy all that we hold dear or indeed labour who could well lose seats in Sefton Central or then again it could be Bill Esterson who will be treading a very thin line when the next elections come up. They are not prepared to speak up for what is right but stick together like glue. We are of the opinion that some labour councillors are divided on this issue but appear to be too afraid to speak out for fear of what their own political party will do to them.

  2. Derek Baxter says:

    Can I just add, they intend to build 723 houses a year, according to Alan Young who said in a meeting that I attended as FRAGOFF committee member, he said that he believed the backlog of houses will have gone up by about 150 houses by the time the plan goes for approval in 2015, which means 10,850/15 which is 723 dwellings per annum. That is in excess of option 3. Now Sefton Labour Councillors either are fully aware of this and are complicit in passing off option 2 as option 3 or they had no idea about it in which case they should stop the whole thing now and have a vote on whether they want to proceed with these numbers, but they can’t just do nothing and expect it all to go away!

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