Green Belt – Sefton just does not seem to be able to muster a robust defence of it!

Sefton Council’s Labour dominated Planning Committee discussed an item last week associated with Green Belt land in Knowsley Borough just the other side of boundary between the Melling part of Sefton and the Kirkby part of Knowsley. I used to represent the Parish of Melling on Sefton Council so know the area well enough to be concerned when I see that a plot of land in Knowsley, that was a former golf driving range, is down to have over 200 houses built on it.

Sefton, under its Labour rulers also has a plan to build on Green Belt land in Melling butting up to the Knowsley boundary so it does not take long for you to work out that if both Boroughs are potentially going to allow building either side of the boundary there is every possibility that the two could eventually meet up with all the current Green Belt land being gobbled up.

The recommendation to the Planning Committee was that the report be noted and that an officer response be agreed. Frankly, that was too wishy-washy for the Lib Dem members of the Planning Committee so we opposed the recommendation whilst calling for a more robust protest to be sent to Knowsley Borough making it clear that Sefton opposed the potential loss of part of Knowsley’s Green Belt.

Sadly, the Labour and Conservative members of the Planning Committee were not willing to back us and this despite the fact that 2 Labour members of the Planning Committee now represent Melling.

A boundary walk bewteen Maghull and Sefton Parishes

Dovers Brook, which I posted about a couple of days ago regarding its ‘overtopping’, is the boundary between the Civil Parishes of Maghull and Sefton, Sefton Parish giving its name to the Borough of Sefton created in 1974.

Sheila and I had another local walk recently and we started where Bridges Lane crosses Dovers Brook by Sefton Meadows Waste Recycling Centre. There is an unmarked path right at the side of the brook on the opposite side of Bridges Lane from Jubilee Woods which I posted about recently.

The path follows the brook on the Sefton side of the boundary for a short while before crossing the brook onto the Maghull side where you follow the boundary fence of the Recycling Centre. Sadly some idiots have chucked rubbish and litter around the path here but as you move further northwards the path opens up to a wide expanse of land and you eventually reach a very substantial bridge that crosses Dovers Brook and the River Alt at their confluence. Access to more woodland and footpaths from here can take you deeper into Sefton Parish and on towards Lunt Village etc.

Here are a few shots I took as autumn light was fading.

Footpath bridge across Dovers Brook

Footpath bridge across Dovers Brook

Looking back towards Bridges Lane and Sefton Church from the confluence of Dovers Brook and the River Alt

Looking back towards Bridges Lane and Sefton Church from the confluence of Dovers Brook and the River Alt. The little indentation on the right of the River Alt is where St Helens Gutter also joins the confluence.

A late afternoon shot of St Helens Church Sefton looking towards Crosby from the River Alt

A late afternoon shot of St Helens Church Sefton looking towards Crosby from the River Alt

Flooding – Dovers Brook , Maghull – Environment Agency to issue warnings of ‘overtopping’.

No sooner had I had the site meeting (see last posting) in Lydiate than Radio Merseyside called me to ask my views on a new warning system that the Environment Agency is to put in place with regard to Dover’s Brook in Maghull.

This brook feeds into the River Alt but can ‘overtop’ its banks/bunds causing big flooding issues in Fouracres and to the small group of houses on Sefton Lane where it crosses the brook.

Dovers Brook behind Fouracres which over-topped September 2012

Dovers Brook behind Fouracres which over-topped September 2012

Affected cottages in Sefton Lane (September 2012) - Sadly flooding here has a long history; I recall it happening in the early 1970's

Affected cottages in Sefton Lane (September 2012) – Sadly flooding here has a long history; I recall it happening in the early 1970’s

This is the statement I gave to Radio Merseyside:-

Anything that helps people in Fouracres and on Sefton Lane to react to Dovers Brook overtopping is to be welcomed but news of a warning system is only part of the solution. The big issue is the capacity of the River Alt, which Dovers Brook flows into, to cope with very heavy rainfall such as happened in September 2012. We need to stop the overtopping happening.

Highbanks/Southport Road, Lydiate – Flooding Problem

Cllr. Andrew Blackburn and I attended a site meeting today in Highbanks with Sefton’s Chief Drainage Engineer Sam Dimba.

The meeting, called for by residents, was associated with a long-running flooding problem that caused a house in Highbanks to be internally flooded in September 2012. My postings of 25th September, 1st October and 3rd October 2012 refer.

This was the scene in September 2012 in Highbanks, Lydiate

This was the scene in September 2012 in Highbanks, Lydiate

Highbanks is quite close to where I live so I have become well acquainted with the flooding which I am told is associated with a culverted stream that runs under Soutport Road, into Highbanks under some gardens and then under the Leeds Liverpool Canal.

The flooding of September 2012 was bad and both United Utilities and Sefton Council have been investigating the cause of it. A blockage in the culvert seems to be the issue and work is to be undertaken next week to try to right things.

Let’s hope for a good result although that will clearly depend on further investigations after the known blockage is cleared. I suspect there are no guarantees here.

Lydiate – Footpaths converge at Billy’s Bridge but has the sign been vandalised?

Where Billy’s Bridge, otherwise known as Lydiate Hill Bridge, crosses the Leeds Liverpool Canal 3 footpaths converge. For ages a nice wooden footpath post with fingers pointing to the 3 local destinations has stood but now someone seems to torn one off. How sad is that.

Sign with all 3 fingers in place not so long ago

Sign with all 3 fingers in place not so long ago

Sadly one finger (pointing to Southport Road) has gone in this shot of a couple of days ago

Sadly one finger (pointing to Southport Road) has gone in this shot of a couple of days ago