Maghull – Green Lane tree down

rsz_green_ln_tree_23_05_2013

This huge tree came down around 4.15pm last Thursday afternoon, so I am told and it seems from chatting to a resident living nearby that rotted roots may have been the cause.

It was one of those trees that looked fine, indeed I must have walked under it hundreds of times over the years right back to when I took my daughter to Green Park School. The tree was much older than anyone reading this posting and it is rather sad to see it down.

Fortunately no one was hurt although a property in Green Link seems to have suffered some damage.

Green Belt – Proposals to build on it from Sefton Council could see Maghull’s population rise by 20%!

Shocked Lib Dem councillors, who have consistently fought to preserve the Green Belt around the East Parishes communities, of Sefton Borough are horrified at proposals, from Labour led Sefton Council, that could see a massive development of houses and a business park on high grade agricultural land.

We Lib Dems fought for the Poverty Lane site in Maghull in 1998 as this press cutting shows

We Lib Dems fought for the Poverty Lane site in Maghull in 1998 as this press cutting shows

The leaflet that the then Lib Dem run Maghull Town Council delivered to all households in the Town in 1998. That  battle for the Green Belt was won.

The leaflet that the then Lib Dem run Maghull Town Council delivered to all households in the Town in 1998. That battle for the Green Belt was won.

After years of talking, Sefton Council has finally said where it thinks houses and employment sites should be built within the Borough. The sites include a huge swathe of land bounded by Poverty Lane, the M58, the Liverpool-Ormskirk Railway line and School Lane. This massive site was last fought over in 1988 when Maghull Town Council, then Lib Dem run, successfully led the campaign for it not to be developed. Sefton say that over 1,600 houses could be accommodated on this site alone.

Cllr. Andrew Blackburn attended a briefing meeting held by Sefton Council Planners, representing Lydiate Parish Council, and he says “Sefton Council Officers have finalised their proposals on The Sefton Plan. They intend to recommend “Option 2”, which would see approximately 510 new homes built every year between 2015 and 2030. Within the Urban area they believe that around 5,600 homes could be accommodated. This therefore means that roughly 5,700 would have to be built within the present Green Belt.”

As well as the massive Poverty Lane site they have identified the following sites in the East Parishes which, if “Option 2” is approved, will be developed:

MAGHULL
Land bounded by School Lane, Railway Line and Park Lane (presently the site where a Prison had been planned). This site would have 357 residential properties built on it.

AINTREE
Land off Wango Lane, next to Valley Close. This site would have 57 residential properties built on it.

WADDICAR
Land bounded by Waddicar Lane and Rainbow Park. This site would see 141 residential properties built on it.

Land bounded by Waddicar Lane and Leeds/ Liverpool Canal, behind Chapel Lane, and Woodland Road. This site would have 144 residential properties built on it.

URBAN HOUSING
Across the whole of East Sefton it is estimated that there would be 393 residential properties built on various bits of land, like the Damfield Lane development.

“Option 2” RESERVES
These sites would only be used if some of the areas already listed in “Option 2” could not be developed for some reason. However, this does not prevent developers putting in Planning Applications with the hope that, even if Sefton refused permission, Planning Inspectors may grant permission.

LYDIATE
Land bounded by Lambshear Lane, Sandy Lane, Moss Lane and Liverpool Road. This site would have 819 residential properties built on it. It was indicated that the developer who is interested in this site is very keen, and may submit a planning application no matter what Sefton agrees in its policy.

The petition being presented to Cllr. Dave Russell Chairman of Lydiate Parish Council next to the threatened development site

The Lib Dem raised petition being presented to Cllr. Dave Russell Chairman of Lydiate Parish Council next to the threatened Lamshear Lane development site in March this year

Land bounded by Kenyons Lane, Liverpool Road and Northway (locally known as Tyson’s Triangle). This site would have 257 residential properties built on it.

MAGHULL
Land bounded by Leeds/Liverpool Canal, Willow Hey, Melling Lane and M58 Motorway. This site would have 89 residential properties built on it.
These proposals will go to various Sefton Council meetings and then they will go out to public consultation from mid July through to August.

Says Andrew “Maghull and the communities around it will face the largest hit! The scale of the proposed developments is truly shocking, especially as the land on which they are proposed to be built is the highest grade agricultural land in England. Only 2% of the English landmass is high grade agricultural land; it is utter madness to consider further building upon it.”

In 1988, as Leader of Maghull Town Council, I led the campaign to stop Green Belt development in and around the Town and readers of this blog will recall that I have recently challenged the Interim Labour Leader of Maghull Town Council to say what she will now do having abstained during the last big Green Belt battle.

This is an official map of agricultural land qualities in Sefton's East Parishes. It shows that virtually all the land that is presently undeveloped is the best and most versatile agricultural land.

This is an official map of agricultural land qualities in Sefton’s East Parishes. It clearly shows (orange and red areas) that virtually all the land that is presently undeveloped is the best and most versatile agricultural land.

The bottom line here is that we could end up with 20% more houses in Maghull if these plans go ahead; clearly such a move would change the character of the community and the best and most versatile agricultural land in England would be concreted over. As an environmental campaigner I am utterly horrified.

Lib Dem Cllrs. Andrew Blackburn and Robbie Fenton with our March 2011 East Parishes map which informed the community which Green Belt sites were being looked at by Sefton Council for development.

Lib Dem Cllrs. Andrew Blackburn and Robbie Fenton with our March 2011 East Parishes map (delivered to virtually every house in Lydiate, Maghull, Sefton & Lunt Villages, Melling and Aintree Village) which informed those communities which Green Belt sites were being looked at by Sefton Council for development.

The only non-controversial site in the list for the East Parishes is the one where the previous Government had said it wanted to build a new prison, on former Ashworth Hospital land.

The new bin tax in Sefton – Yes, paying to have a green bin is another form of a Council tax rise but via the back door!

epd_wheelie_bins_group

Back to that knotty issue of Sefton Council, under its Labour rulers, wanting to charge us all for having a green recycling bin. The consultation is presently on-going but the result is clearly intended to follow that of Labour run Wirral Council.

Apart from the obvious backward step in recycling that this policy change will cause (probably around two thirds of folk will stop using the service) it is also a Council tax rise by the back door.

This issue has not really hit the public’s radar in Sefton yet but I will be surprised if it does not do so soon.

And another thing what is to happen to all those thousands of green bins that virtually every household in the Borough has at present? Sadly Sefton’s green agenda under Labour is looking more than a little brown.

Sefton’s Green Belt – Why does the total of houses to be built always reach 500 or there abouts?

Back some years ago the previous Labour Government (you will find Sefton Labour Party totally in denial about this) had a Regional Strategy which imposed a house building target on Sefton of 500 new houses per year. That Regional Strategy was abolished by the Coalition Government but just hold onto that 500 house building target as we move on.

For a number of years Sefton Council has been developing what it used to call its Core Strategy (no one knew what that was) and now calls its Local Plan. In effect this is, at least the part of it that most folks are interested in, a land use policy for the Borough and when it is finally adopted in 2015 it will replace the present Unitary Development Plan.

Core Strategy, Local Plan, Unitary Development Plan – all the same thing really but with a few changes at the margins.

Remember that 500 house to be built per year that I mentioned before? Well, would you be surprised if I told you that after all the work to date, all the studies, all the paid consultants and even some public consultation in 2011 (to be repeated soon) the figure for houses to be built is still just over 500 per year!

Years have gone by, we have been hit by the worst recession in living memory, the Borough’s population has fallen (one of the biggest falls in the UK) yet here we are still ‘needing’ to build 500 houses per year.

It could make you think that all Sefton’s sums add up to 500 no matter what figures and factors are included in the calculations. No wonder folks are sceptical about what a realistic house building figure for the Borough really is.

And when most of the land that is down to be built on is part of the 2% of England that is high grade agricultural land is there any wonder that no one believes the Council’s stats and sums?

Plastic bottle recycling or not?

Some time ago I asked a Recycling Officer at the Council what happened to plastic bottles that are left around a recycling skip as opposed to being in it. The question was posed because of overflowing skips that were too small.

rsz_photo0217

The answer was that plastic bottles not in the skip went to landfill and I recall this gained some publicity at the time as the Council was under pressure to increase the size/number of its skips.

Now the skip I use in Maghull’s Morrisons car park is of a decent size and I have yet to encounter it too full to take any more plastic bottles. However, I have seen bags of bottles left on top of it a number of times recently and am wondering why.

It seems a shame if someone is going to the trouble of doing a good green deed by collecting bottles up and transporting them to the recycling skip only for them not to be put in the skip.

Lower Alt Wind Farm – latest news

A group of over 60 people met in Ince Blundell on 9th May due to big concerns in that small rural community that I used to represent some 10 or more years ago when I was first a Molyneux Ward Councillor and Ince Blundell Parish was then in that ward of Sefton.

The wind farm will, should it gain planning permission, be on land that is a part of West Lancashire, not Sefton, because of the somewhat odd drawing of local government boundaries in 1974 when Sefton Borough was created.

I have already made clear my own views which are that nothing should be constructed on the high grade (best and most versatile to give it is recognised title) agricultural land that is what the proposed site is made up of.

I hear that there are suggestions of concerned people engaging professional legal/planning advice as they take forward their concerns and objections about this wind farm plan.

The petition against the proposed development that a mentioned in a previous posting is available to sign in Edie Pope’s Church View Farm Shop on Southport Road, Lydiate.