Yesterday, together with Roy Connell (who is often credited on this blog site for unearthing interesting subjects) I cycled from Ainsdale to Crosby (and the Iron Men) along the Sefton Coast through Formby, Hightown and Altcar Riffle Range.
Despite having lived in Sefton all my adult life I had not previously done this route either walking of cycling.
The stretch from Formby through Hightown and onto Crosby is very interesting and the cycle/footpaths are in great condition.
Well worth tackling this stretch of the Sefton Coast if you have access to a bike or like a long walk.
The photo above is sadly of me (or is that of a sad me?) and was taken by Roy and dubbed the ‘Yellow Peril’ – I wonder why?
I may well start to blog about cycling trips in the future if readers are unlucky!
Turnbridge Road site as it is today
One thing I did not do in my last posting about what went on at the Sefton Council Planning Committee last Wednesday was to mention how the political parties voted over this contentious matter. (I often do not dabble in the politics behind some of my postings when I am sharing them on other forums where party political comment is inappropriate)
What I saw was 7 Labour votes for the planning application and 5 votes against as follows – 3 Lib Dem, 1 Tory, 1 Independent. Frankly, this is no surprise to those of us who have tracked the progress of Sefton’s Local Plan, which has taken many, many acres of former Green Belt and some of the very highest grade of agricultural land across the Borough out of such protection for building purposes.
Since Sefton Labour did their about -turn (saying they would protect the Green Belt and then voting to build on it) Labour has been consistent in their line of taking land out of Green Belt. Do you remember this Labour poster from their protect the Green Belt days:-
Labour poster displayed in Lydiate – October 2013 – how much must Labour be regretting put these posters up because they voted on Sefton Council to build on the Green Belt!
The election of two independent councillors in Maghull/Lydiate and indeed the independent councillors also elected in Formby are a direct consequence of Labour backing building on Green Belt via Sefton Council’s Local Plan.
View from Castle Crag over Derwent Water
The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above
Canoe on Ulswater
The Lake District is wonderful and for Merseysiders it on our doorstep. I have loved canoeing on the lakes and some of the rivers with Keith Page over any years and am delighted that it has been awarded World Heritage status.
With thanks to Keith Page for the lead to this posting
Tonight the contentious planning application for new housing was before Sefton Council’s Planning Committee for the land (in Lydiate) off Maghull’s Turnbridge Road.
Big turn-out of protesting residents at tonight’s Sefton Council Planning Committee meeting in Bootle Town Hall.
Turnbridge Road was the second item on the agenda following another contentious application for the former Peerless Factory site on Dunnings Bridge Road in Netherton. Oddly the Peerless site seemed to be almost a model of what community engagement in the planning process should be whereas Turnbridge sadly looked to be nothing like that.
June Avery addressing the Planning Committee
Local resident June Avery was presenting the case for local people who live close to the Turnbridge Road site in Maghull and Lydiate and she was an excellent advocate for local views and concerns. She was followed by someone speaking on behalf of Wain Homes (the developer who is to build on the site) and he did not, in my view, answer many of the concerns that June had raised in the detail that was required. I thought he was particularly weak on the issue of engagement with local residents, his line being that the site was consulted upon during the development of Sefton Council’s Local Plan and that no further consultation was needed, or words to that effect. His words did not go down well with some members of the Planning Committee who raised issues about his contribution and the implications of what he had said.
This then led to a protracted discussion about whether the Planning Committee was going to defer making a decision on the application for more information or whether it would vote on the matter tonight. The latter won out and a vote was taken. I think it was 7 votes for the application and 5 against and the only change was a condition to try to bring Wain Homes to the table to discuss issues about the site with residents. Whether this will work I am not at all sure.
So the application is now passed and the developer will get on with construction. But what really struck me was that on the same night at the same Planning Committee there were two applications which seemed to be at opposing ends of the spectrum in terms of community engagement. Everyone seemed pleased with the developer of the former Peerless site for the lengths they had gone to in taking residents views on board. Suffice to say that my impression was that few if any of those present tonight thought the same about the Turnbridge Road site.
So a small part of the Maghull/Lydiate Green Belt is now officially lost but there are far bigger sites in the sights of developers and many more acres of Green Belt and the highest grade of agricultural land at great risk locally.
Yes we will get more housing, but will it meet local needs i.e. social housing, housing for the elderly and housing for those trying to get onto the housing ladder? At the margins maybe but in the main it will almost certainly not. Sacrificing Green Belt and the highest grade of agricultural land is a very big step indeed (and it’s one I opposed) but if we go ahead and do it whilst not even meeting local housing needs then it becomes a huge mistake as we will never get the land that grows our food back.
I have covered the development of this site for housing many times on this blog site right through from Sefton Council deciding to take it out of the Green Belt to the unlicensed felling of many trees and the difficulties there will be in accessing the site during any construction period. And of course as I was heavily involved in the fight against Sefton Council releasing land from the Green Belt, during my time as as local Sefton Councillor, this is a matter close to my heart.
Sheila and I made a submission to Sefton Council about the original planning application for this site (the plan has since be slightly amended but is substantially the same in my view) and it can be accessed via this link:-
Today Planning Committee members of Sefton Council visited the site and those raising concerns about the development were there too:-
And just to reiterate something that needs to be understood, the whole of the development site is within Lydiate but the access to it will be from Maghull’s Turnbridge Road.
And the debate now moves on to the meeting of Sefton Council’s Planning Committee to be held at Bootle Town Hall on Wednesday 5th July (which will decide upon the application) where a petition will be presented by local resident June Avery.
Click on the photos to enlarge them
The plans are now on Sefton Council’s Planning Web Pages and can be viewed via the link above.
Interestingly the application is to Sefton Council by Sefton Council, in other words the Council is seeking to gain planning approval for itself.
For those who don’t know the plan is to turn the present limited access ‘Ashworth’ junction on the M58 into a full motorway junction.
I had assumed, wrongly it seems, that the application would be made by Highways England (used to be known as the Highways Agency) as they control, maintain and in effect own the M58 Motorway. However, the Government money, pledged a few years back, has been funneled via Liverpool City Region and as the project is in Sefton Borough (in Melling Civil Parish) it has fallen to Sefton Council to apply to itself for planning approval.
The presently gated Giddygate Lane where it joins the ‘limited’ M58 Motorway Junction 1.
An interesting issue, which I have commented on before via this blog site, is that the final part of Giddygate Lane is to be stopped up. Presently it is a gated road which joins onto the current motorway junction. However, it is also a public right of way so access for pedestrians and cyclists will have to be maintained. The planning documents show how this is intended to be achieved.
You will need to access the planning application, via the link above, to see all that is proposed.