Lower Alt Wind Farm – What our local Parish Councils in Sefton are saying

I have posted about this a number of times in recent months but thought the letter below may well be of interest.It has gone to all the 10 Parish/Town Councils in Sefton. It is from the umbrella organisation that all 10 Parish/Town Councils are a part of. Lydiate Parish Council, which I am a member of, has already expressed its concerns as previously detailed on this blog. The proposed site for the wind farm is actually in West Lancashire not Sefton.

17 July 2013

To: Clerks to the Parish Councils of the SAPLC (Sefton Association of Parish and Local Councils)

Dear Sir/Madam

Lower Alt Wind Farm Proposal

At the meeting of the SAPLC last evening 16th July, we were addressed by the Chair of H-ALT, the group set up in Ince Blundell to protest against the proposal of CoriolisEnergy to erect 24 enormous wind turbines close to our village and town communities overlooking the R Alt.

Kevin Sharpe presented information concerning the proposal and how the group had been set up to oppose the development. It directly affects the residents of Lydiate, Sefton, Maghull, Ince Blundell, Little Altcar, Hightown and Formby especially and to a lesser extent to the other parishes.

It was unanimously agreed that, while we do not oppose the concept of turbines that placing of these turbines each as tall as the Blackpool tower, on land, they would have serious and deleterious effect upon the area, our residentsfor generations to come, affecting their health,property values and well being.

The impact upon the land quality from the installation, in their construction and the environmental consequences will be enormous and will decimate the prosperity of a fragile local farming economy, disrupting the unique environment we share.

It was agreed that I should write to you asking you please to raise the matter with your council with the view of enlisting your opposition to the scheme, and inviting you write to the developers saying so.

The contact is Vicky Portwain at Coriolis Energy and the reports are available on their website – www.loweraltwindfarm.co.uk.

Her contact details are as follows

Vicky Portwain
Project manager
Coriolis Energy

info@loweraltwindfarm.co.uk

With thanks,

Yours sincerely

M. COLES
Chairman

Meols Cop Station – Vandalism destroys the work of volunteers

I met by old chum Cllr. David Sumner last Wednesday at a Sefton Council Planning Committee meeting and because we are both interested in railways he told me the sad story of the recent vandalism on the station which is maintained and indeed has been considerably improved by the work of a volunteer group led by David, his wife Pat and Dr Jim Ford.

Cllr. David Sumner

Cllr. David Sumner

Meols Cop is an odd station because whilst it is in Merseyside it is not really much loved by our Integrated Transport Authority Merseytravel. The trains calling at the station are all those of Northern Rail on the Southport – Wigan line.

It seems that a few days ago someone or a group of people simply trashed the station plants and the planters they were in causing a huge amount of damage. I wonder how they would feel if we turned up at their house and trashed their garden.

Knowing David and his fellow volunteers they will try to pull things together again but why should their efforts, on behalf of us all, be ruined by thugs? Stations being adopted by volunteer groups are now the norm; just look at Maghull on the Liverpool Ormskirk Line. There volunteers have transformed the station and won many awards in recent years.

Good luck to the Friends of Meols Cop Station.

Have a look at this link for more information about the Friends of Meols Cop Station:-

http://www.southport.gb.com/southport/news_list/Friends_Of_Meols_Cop_Station-51448953.htm

Green Belt – Maghull Town Council – On the really big issue of the day Labour has failed Maghull

Labour is in the dock over their Green Belt building plan, as we saw only too well in their by-election losses of last Thursday, but when they won control of Maghull Town Council in May 2011 they knew this juggernaut was hurtling towards them, yet they did nothing.

If the Council had remained Lib Dem run the clear plan was to launch another campaign to save the local Green Belt around the Town just as had been successfully done in 1998. But Labour did nothing; they did not even make a submission to Sefton Council in the summer of 2011 in defence of the Green Belt when all the other parish councils in the Borough did.

Why did the Town Council offer no leadership? Where was the Town Council when in 2011 the community was saying just what it did in 1998 – No Green Belt building?

What Labour doesn’t seem to be able to grasp is that they are running the Council that represents the people of Maghull and it is not just another committee of Sefton Central Labour Party. It is their responsibility to stand up for the Town against all-comers. Just because Labour also happens to run Sefton Council does not mean that they have to agree with what Bootle Town Hall does or indeed tells them to do! Just because Peter Dowd, the Labour Leader of Sefton, also sits on Maghull Town Council does not mean they can’t challenge him; surely they should be challenging him if his policies do not fit with what Maghull folk want to see happening.

When I was Leader of Sefton Council I wanted and indeed saw strong independently minded Parish and Town Councils robustly promoting and defending their communities. I did not ask for nor did I want them to sit back and say ‘OK Big Brother Sefton we will stay quiet or do your bidding’.

When Peter Dowd and indeed his two fellow Bootle Labour Sefton Cabinet member colleagues attend a Maghull Town Council meeting their only interest is the people and town of Maghull. Why else would they have stood to be elected to Maghull Town Council in 2011 but to put Maghull first?

Sadly, Maghull has been let down by Labour because they have not stood up for the Town against Sefton Council and this sit back and watch stance has led to Sefton thinking Maghull is not bothered. On that basis it is no surprise that Sefton Council has proposed the biggest Green Belt housing development for Maghull!

Access to Southport from the east – Ormskirk/M58 Motorway

A Preston Train pulling into Ormskirk

A Preston Train pulling into Ormskirk

This is very much a long standing problem which not only has frustrations because of the poor nature of the main road from Southport to Ormskirk (for the volume of traffic it has to take at times) but which also has health implications due to the split site nature of Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals.

http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/corporate/web/?siteid=5489&pageid=29612

The web address above is a report by Lancashire County Council which, amongst other transportation matters, covers the Southport access problems from the east.

Sadly, this is a problem which has be talked about for years yet no progress has been made. Of course it links to the need to reconnect the Southport – Wigan and Ormskirk – Preston railway lines so that after years of the two working in complete isolation we can once again get a train from Southport to Ormskirk.

Regular readers will know I am a firm supporter and indeed member of OPSTA – Ormskirk Preston and Southport Travellers Association – which campaigns for the reopening of the Burscough Curves amongst other local rail improvements.

One day access to Southport from the east will become a problem that is solved rather than just talked about and it is important if Southport is to continue to develop as a shopping and seaside town. This access problem is holding Southport back but the solution is not in Sefton but in West Lancashire.

Maghull Town Council by-elections – 2 lib Dem wins and an oh so close!

Following years of almost complete Labour domination of the electoral scene across not only Maghull but Sefton Borough (except Southport), last night showed what many may find surprising, Labour losses.

There were 3 by-elections held in Maghull across 3 separate Town Council wards – East, North and South. The Lib Dems took a seat from Labour in both East and North wards and came within 9 votes of doing the same in South ward.

Jen Robertson (2nd from left), Bruce Hubbard (3rd from left) and their team celebrate the Lib Dem wins at Maghull Town Hall.

Jen Robertson (2nd from left), Bruce Hubbard (3rd from left) and their team celebrate the Lib Dem wins at Maghull Town Hall.

Interestingly, the UKIP flame did not burn bright despite recent national indications that they may be on the up.

Why did Labour come unstuck? Very public internal squabbles that caused the 3 Labour councillors to resign, a hugely unpopular Green Bin tax proposal and their voting to build on Maghull’s Green Belt.

The results:-

Maghull East
Lib Dem – Bruce Hubbard 621 ELECTED
Labour 557
UKIP 165

Maghull North

Lib Dem – Jen Robertson 546 ELECTED
Labour 504

Maghull South

Labour 180 ELECTED
Lib Dem 171
UKIP 74

Maghull East and North wards form Sefton Council’s Sudell ward where Labour have been dominant in recent times so with a good electoral turn out last night Labour’s hold on things certainly cracked. And this on top on a Lib Dem win against Labour a few weeks ago on Prescot Town Council in Knowsley Borough.

Why I voted against more building on the Parkhaven Trust site in Maghull

At the Meeting of Sefton’s Planning Committee last night I opposed the building of more housing on this piece of urban green space, off Green Lane and South Meade, because I am really concerned that the parkland aspect of this site is going to be lost forever if plots of it are incrementally built on. The plan was however approved but 3 councillors from Southport supported the view of myself and Cllr. Andrew Blackburn, meaning 5 of us opposed the plan with the rest (including 2 other Maghull councillors) supporting it.

The Parkhaven Trust site off Green Lane and South Meade in Maghull

The Parkhaven Trust site off Green Lane and South Meade in Maghull

I am not opposed to this great and historic local charity but neither was I prepared to vote for a plan that will reduce the amount of urban green space within this part of Maghull and mean that the site can’t being used as agricultural land ever again.

It’s only months since we had that huge community/political bust-up about the land off Damfield Lane, on the other side of Maghull, and that bust-up was over what had previously been another piece of the Parkhaven Trust’s (previously Maghull Homes) estate. If you recall Labour backed residents opposing the development there and then did a ‘U’ turn and voted the plan through!

Maghull Lib Dems opposed the Damfield Lane development and we remain deeply concerned about the loss of urban green space, just as we are Green Belt. Labour may well be prepared to vote through building on our green spaces and Green Belt but we do not share their vision for Maghull or Sefton Borough.