This recent question asked by our Sefton Central MP had me wondering why on earth he asked it. Read on:-
Bill Esterson (Sefton Central, Labour)
A developer in Lydiate in my constituency has made clear his plans to build in the green belt, despite the existing urban development plan making it clear that it is against the policies. Is not the best way to protect the green belt and valuable urban green space to go back to a system with a more regional approach so that there is not this push for development in the green belt?
What Bill is seemingly asking for here is a return to the way Labour approached land use policy when they were in government. Then we had a Regional Strategy which clearly said that Sefton Borough had to build 500 houses per year. In turn this meant that Sefton would have to start to allow building in the Green Belt!
My advice to Bill is be careful what you wish for!
I took this shot during the last snow in Lydiate
I have posted previously about the closed pedestrian steps that lead from the Leeds Liverpool Canal towpath to Pilling Lane in Lydiate. They have been closed for many months now but getting a timescale for the required repairs from the Canal & River Trust (previously known as British Waterways) has proved difficult.
Step forward Barbara Keenan the new Clerk to Lydiate Parish Council because she has gained the answer. In an e-mail to Barbara dated 4th February Andrea Barrett from the Trust says that ‘Funding has now been sourced and these works are currently planned to be completed in October to December 2013. The repair works will include the bridge, canal wash walls and steps.’
I suspect that with another summer of the steps being closed that the timescale will hardly be one to make folks happy but at least it looks like we can at last see an end to this problem.
Simon Hughes the Lib Dem Deputy Leader was in Maghull last Saturday discussing with campaigners how local communities are coping with the consequences of Labour’s massive overspending whilst in government. He also wanted to know about how Lib Dems are fighting developments on Green Belt land.
Simon heard how Labour run Sefton Borough Council had targeted local libraries and public toilets for closure and how campaigns had been launched to save them both. He also heard about Labour voting to build on Green Belt land in Lydiate whilst at the same time saying they wanted to save Green Belt.
We told Simon about our campaigning across the Borough to save libraries from Labour’s closure plans whilst working with groups such as Aintree Ratepayers and other special interest groups. He was concerned that despite huge pressure from concerned residents Labour was still pushing for closure of more than half the Borough’s libraries.
He was however pleased to hear that a Lib Dem campaign to stop Labour closing all the Borough’s public toilets had been a success with the comrades sounding the retreat on their closure plans in the face of campaigns like the one launched by the Lib Dems to save the toilets at Maghull Square.
It was the Lib Dems who fought to keep our public toilets open in Sefton
Cllr. Bruce Hubbard says “We took Simon to a Green Belt site off Maghull’s School Lane which has previously been under pressure from developers to let him know how concerned we are to see high grade agricultural land coming under threat of being concreted over. As a keen environmentalist Simon understood our concerns.”
Fighting for our Green Belt
The Saturday afternoon visit ended with Simon taking a look at Maghull’s Central Square shopping area where we discussed issues around charging for car parking and how it can discourage shoppers to use local shops.
At Maghull Square discussing car parking charges
Sand bags at the ready!
I have been pursuing this problem for a couple of months, following resident complaints and raised it at the February meeting of the East Parishes Area Committee as did Cllr. Bruce Hubbard.
We have thought for some time that surface water flowing off the site where the new prison was to have been built could be the cause and recent heavy rain has confirmed this is at least a contributory factor. Indeed, some sand bags have had to be placed around the pedestrian crossing to help to control the water.
Sefton Council really does need to get to the bottom of this as the continual flow of water is ruining the road surface of what is a busy connection with the M58 Motorway.”
A readable interpretation board!
I posted about this historic site late last year. Well, the interpretation board has been replaced although someone sneaked the new one in without telling me! Indeed, it was local business man Les who told me that my quest had already been completed without my realising. Thanks Les, I owe you one.
The Leader of Sefton Council put down what looked to me very much like a clear marker at the Maghull Town Council meeting last week and it was a marker that will not go down well with Green Belt campaigners.
Labour Councillor Peter Dowd, who I have known for many years and on a personal level get along with, told the Town Council (which he isalso a member of) that in relation to future house building he was very much of the view that some of it would be built on land that is Green Belt.
He was clearly trying to put a message across and I must admit that I wondered who Peter was really speaking to. He did not make his remarks in a party political way what so ever, indeed he seemed keen to ensure that no one thought he was doing so. But the more I have pondered on what he said the more I have wondered if the message was meant for his own followers and indeed the Sefton Central Labour MP. I say this in the context of Labour doing some pretty outlandish things in relation to the Green Belt in recent times. My posting of the 11th of February refers.
I have known Peter long enough to realise that what he said was said with a purpose.