As a long standing defender of Sefton’s Green Belt and environmental campaigner who speaks for Sefton Lib Dems on Planning matters I have to say that there are some powerful messages from the latest round of consultation undertaken by the Labour-run Sefton Council about its Local Plan proposals.
On the Green Belt, people from communities across the Borough are rallying to try to stop the Green Belt being concreted over.
On the other hand, big business, land owners and property developers are falling over themselves in their desperate attempts to get the Council to back building on the Green Belt and high grade agricultural land that they have an interest in.
It’s clearly going to be an uphill struggle to defend our precious Green Belt because Labour, who run the Council, have already committed to building on it. Ed Miliband has said he wants even more houses and Labour’s Council Leader has publicly backed him.
If they get their way, there will soon be no land locally to grow food on for future generations.
The other big issue that came out of the consultation is flooding. Sefton, being a low-lying Borough is particularly prone to flooding problems.
I can easily point to flooding problems in Seaforth, Formby, Lydiate, Melling and Maghull in recent years which have increased worries of properties being inundated with water.
Page after page in the Council report that went to the Planning Committee raised flooding fears. Even the Environment Agency is urging caution in respect of developing land that could flood. If Labour presses ahead with their building plans on Green Belt and high grade agricultural land then they will have a lot of work to do to convince local residents that this building won’t increase flooding risks.
The evidence is mounting that building vast amounts of extra houses in the Borough will damage our fragile environment and increase flooding risks. I do hope that the powers that be are taking notice but I fear they are not.
More on the results of this Sefton Council Local Plan consultation on this site very soon, including the additional sites where land owners and developers want to concrete over the Borough’s high grade agricultural land.