Some Good news about Sefton’s Green Belt but are some silly games being played out?

Last night at Sefton Council’s Planning Committee two important decisions were made and from my perspective both were very much the right decisions.

Firstly, an application to build on Green Belt land in Melling Civil Parish right up to the boundary with Aintree Village Civil Parish was firmly rejected. The land under threat (to build 100 houses upon) is bounded by the M57 Motorway, The River Alt and Spencers Lane. A map detailing where this site is located is below:-

The site is the upside down triangle just below the middle of this map right next to the M57 Motorway.

The site is the upside down triangle (with A519 on it) just below the middle of this map right next to the M57 Motorway. Click on the photo to enlarge it

Aintree Village Community Action Group came to speak to the Planning Committee meeting (held in Southport Town Hall) to press it to reject this planning application.

Interestingly, Labour voted against the development but I can’t help but feel that they are playing games here. You see it suits Labour to be seen as saving some Green Belt from development as it acts as a smoke screen for those areas of Green Belt they are promoting for development and yes some of those sites are within Melling Civil Parish. Beware that political party claiming, as I am sure they will, that they are defending the Green Belt!

The second site whilst also technically within Green Belt has been covered in my postings a number of times on this blog. It’s the Ashworth South site where there has been general agreement amongst local environmental campaigners that it should be released for development because it has been developed before, was going to be the site of a new prison that had planning permission, and it will provide a much needed second railway station for Maghull. The map below shows the site:-

The large red area is where Labour want to build houses and industrial premises. The orange area is the Ashworth South site.

The large red area is where Labour want to build houses and industrial premises. The orange area is the Ashworth South site. Click on the photo to enlarge it.

Readers of this blog will recall that Labour have been all over the place about this site and for reasons no one can understand. They jumped on the band wagon to support the new station but have been unwilling pledge their support for the development of the rest of the site. And one could not happen without the other in that without a financial contribution from the housing development Maghull North Station would be short of the money required to be constructed. This Labour reluctance to support the development of this site was at complete odds with their own draft Local Plan for Sefton which incredibly designates a massive Green Belt site just across the road for hundreds and hundreds of houses and an industrial park.

But last night Labour finally fell into line with everyone else and supported the development of the Ashworth South site for around 350 houses and a new railway station. So why all the ducking and diving on Maghull Town Council by Labour?

So two important decisions were made last night and both went the way that I, my Lib Dem colleagues and local environmental campaigners have been fighting for. Sadly, I suspect they may well be the last of the good news on Sefton’s Green Belt because, unless there is a sea change in Labour’s approach to the Sefton Local Plan, they will be soon be voting for huge developments on it across the Borough.

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