The Echo has the unfolding story – see link above:-
Last night at Sefton Council’s Planning Committee two important decisions were made and from my perspective both were very much the right decisions.
Firstly, an application to build on Green Belt land in Melling Civil Parish right up to the boundary with Aintree Village Civil Parish was firmly rejected. The land under threat (to build 100 houses upon) is bounded by the M57 Motorway, The River Alt and Spencers Lane. A map detailing where this site is located is below:-
Aintree Village Community Action Group came to speak to the Planning Committee meeting (held in Southport Town Hall) to press it to reject this planning application.
Interestingly, Labour voted against the development but I can’t help but feel that they are playing games here. You see it suits Labour to be seen as saving some Green Belt from development as it acts as a smoke screen for those areas of Green Belt they are promoting for development and yes some of those sites are within Melling Civil Parish. Beware that political party claiming, as I am sure they will, that they are defending the Green Belt!
The second site whilst also technically within Green Belt has been covered in my postings a number of times on this blog. It’s the Ashworth South site where there has been general agreement amongst local environmental campaigners that it should be released for development because it has been developed before, was going to be the site of a new prison that had planning permission, and it will provide a much needed second railway station for Maghull. The map below shows the site:-
Readers of this blog will recall that Labour have been all over the place about this site and for reasons no one can understand. They jumped on the band wagon to support the new station but have been unwilling pledge their support for the development of the rest of the site. And one could not happen without the other in that without a financial contribution from the housing development Maghull North Station would be short of the money required to be constructed. This Labour reluctance to support the development of this site was at complete odds with their own draft Local Plan for Sefton which incredibly designates a massive Green Belt site just across the road for hundreds and hundreds of houses and an industrial park.
But last night Labour finally fell into line with everyone else and supported the development of the Ashworth South site for around 350 houses and a new railway station. So why all the ducking and diving on Maghull Town Council by Labour?
So two important decisions were made last night and both went the way that I, my Lib Dem colleagues and local environmental campaigners have been fighting for. Sadly, I suspect they may well be the last of the good news on Sefton’s Green Belt because, unless there is a sea change in Labour’s approach to the Sefton Local Plan, they will be soon be voting for huge developments on it across the Borough.
Sheila, Jen and I took the opportunity last Sunday to visit the Paddington Tunnels being excavated by the Friends of Williamson’s Tunnels. This site is not normally open to the public and is both separate from and run by a different group to the one which is a regularly open and ‘brown’ signposted in Liverpool.
Their web site is at:-
A guided tour of around 45 minutes took us three levels down below ground level into brick vaulted tunnels. The work of the volunteers is impressive and extensive as all the tunnels had been back-filled with builders rubble and ash.
Quite a number of artifacts have been unearthed during the excavations.
No one really knows why Joseph Williams paid men to build the tunnels but they span a significant part of the City of Liverpool with the full extent of them still being unknown.
Here are a few shots I took on the day:-
I will post details of our visit to the Friends of Williamson’s Tunnels tomorrow.
Posting 1 covered north eastern Lydiate, posting 2 western Maghull & Lydiate, posting 3 eastern Maghull (including Labour’s truly massive urban extension to Maghull) and posting 4 Melling and Aintree Village.
This posting is about land to the south of Maghull. Let’s have a look at a map. Click to enlarge it:-
The blue area is being promoted for building by a land owner/developer and worryingly parts of it are prone to flooding. Houses in Fouracres were under water in September 2012 due to Dovers Brook over-topping. Part of the site was once proposed to be a nature reserve which sounds a far more sensible use for this land.
The problem here is the River Alt which carries rainwater away from the whole district. Dovers Brook flows into it but when the River Alt is too high the brook can’t discharge its water and the over-topping, as happened in September 2012, can happen. Below is a shot of Dovers Brook when it was in full flood, where in goes under Sefton Lane, Maghull:-
This can’t be a sensible site to develop for housing.
My last posting on this theme will draw all the Green Belt and high grade agricultural issues together in the East Parish part of Sefton Borough.
Scientists have found that car and taxi users are being exposed to air pollution levels inside their vehicles several times higher than those found along the roads they are driving on. The findings emerged from a study in which researchers at King’s College London equipped five MPs, all members of the environmental audit committee, with devices to measure airborne pollution levels plus a GPS unit to show where they got the highest doses. “Travelling in vehicles gave the greatest average exposure,” said Ben Barratt, a senior air quality scientist at King’s who oversaw the research. “Among the worst was when the MPs got a taxi across London.”
The Sunday Times ran this story.
This is a matter that has always interested me and this article confirms my own thoughts about the exposure of car drivers to pollution. I have got into the habit of shutting down my car’s heater/air intake when I spot a diesel vehicle in front of me. Sometimes on Bootle’s Dunningsbridge Road, for example, you can be surrounded by diesel belching lorries in a fog of fumes.