Lydiate Parish Council – A report of its September meeting

September’s meeting went on for over 2 hours but that seems to be par for the course these days.

We had a presentation from Protect Aughton Landscape Together who are campaigning against high grade agricultural land in their Parish being potentially taken out of crop growing use only to be replaced by solar panels. Aughton is to the north of Lydiate so the issue is of interest and concern to Lydiate residents. Here’s a link to the campaign group’s facebook page:-

www.facebook.com/Protect-Aughtons-Landscape-Together-1612117782378796/timeline/

Lydiate Parish Council had already sent in an objection to West Lancs Borough Council to the proposals on the similar basis as the one we sent in about the wind turbine plan for Altcar Parish to the west of Lydiate. This was a unanimous view of the Parish Council i.e. Labour rulers and us Lib Dems in opposition. And it’s not because we Lib Dems oppose renewable sources of energy, quite the opposite in fact, but it’s because of that old chestnut in this area of the high grade agricultural land. Building anything on it either in Sefton or the surrounding parts of West Lancs that have the same quality of land is just not on when only 2% of England has such high quality food/crop growing land. I do wonder though about Labour as their troops on Sefton Council have consistently voted to build on Sefton’s high grade agricultural land yet Labour oppose it happening on West Lancs land surrounding Sefton. Very odd.

We had a discussion about doing a Neighbourhood Plan for Lydiate and this forms a separate posting to follow soon.

Tennis Courts and caged play areas – We approved some significant expenditure on the tennis courts at Sandy Lane Park and the other caged ball areas at Coronation Park. We are talking quite a few thousands of Pounds but patching up the fencing around these areas is no longer cost-effective. Best to bite the bullet and do a major job. The tennis courts will probably need resurfacing in the not too distant future too but that’s a worry for another day. Lydiate has had quality parks in recent years and I hope we all want to retain such standards.

The Leeds Liverpool Canal is celebrating its 200 year old birthday (Bicentenary) next year (2016) and we agreed that as the canal is a significant feature and leisure facility in our community that we should take part. Hopefully Mersey Motor Boat Club who operate out of Lydiate will be keen to promote celebrations as well.

A blast from the past a former Ribble Lydiate bound 321 bus in model form. Obviously not the 311 but sadly it's another lost route for Lydiate residents.

A blast from the past a former Ribble Lydiate bound 321 bus in model form. Obviously not the 311 but sadly it’s another lost route for Lydiate residents.

311 Bus – We also discussed the sad demise of the 311 bus route previously run by Arriva and before them Ribble Buses for many years. It ceased on 31st August, because Arriva said they could no longer make any money out of it. I asked that we write to Pat Breckell who ran the community campaign to try to save the bus. She deserves some recognition for her efforts and I am glad the Parish Council agreed.

These were the highlights for me anyway.

SAVE OUR GREEN BELT – And it’s not just in Sefton where the balloon has gone up! True blue Aughton has had it with Tory-run West Lancs Council

I have made references to the connection between the West Lancs Local Plan and the one for Sefton previously. Indeed, I have mentioned the concern of West Lancs Council about potential building on Green Belt in Lydiate which will reduce the Green Belt between Aughton and Lydiate.

West Lancs Council and particularly Aughton is true blue Tory but last week West Lancs Council got both barrels at a public meeting in Aughton because residents felt the Council was not listening to them. Now where have we heard that before!

The Ormskirk Champion has the story in its 16th October edition under the heading ‘Residents stage walk-out at parish Meeting’

www.champnews.com/papers/

So it’s not just the Labour comrades in Sefton who are feeling the heat of public objections to building on the Green Belt; they are jointly in the dock with West Lancs Tories!

HOT OFF THE PRESS – WHAT ARE LABOUR UP TO?

By the way I wonder if there is any truth to the latest leak from inside a very wobbly Sefton Labour Party? A source there has indicated that Labour is considering reducing the number of houses to be built on the proposed vast urban extension to the east of Maghull whilst shoving those houses off to the Lydiate ‘reserve’ sites. I will be looking into this further.

Lydiate Footpath No. 24 – Another of our occasional rambles

rsz_lydiate_lydiate_footpath_no_08_13

I took this photo (click to enlarge) when Sheila and I walked from our home in Lydiate to the Stanley Arms Pub in Aughton a few weeks back.

Lydiate Footpath No. 24 runs from Pygons Hill Lane (near Jackson’s Bridge on the Leeds Liverpool Canal) out of Merseyseyside and into the West Lancashire Parish of Aughton where it becomes Aughton Footpath No.15. I think the telegraph poles, in the photo, are on the line of Sudell Brook which forms the boundary between Aughton and Lydiate and therefore Lancashire and Merseyside. Looking at the photo Merseyside is to the right of the telegraph poles.

SAVE OUR GREEN BELT – Sefton/West Lancs liaison or not!

Readers will know I have long been critical of Labour run Sefton Council’s approach to its Local Plan and the present public consultation which will almost certainly lead to high grade agricultural land being lost forever under concrete and tarmac. As an environmental campaigner I am utterly horrified.

But one of my related concerns, which I expressed at a Sefton Council meeting not so long ago, was with regard to my concern about the lack of detailed joint working with West Lancashire Borough Council as the two councils have been putting their neighbouring Local Plans together. So, when an e-mail recently hit my in box telling me that West Lancs has concerns about Sefton’s Draft Local Plan I think you will understand why I have worried about what I see as seemingly superficial liaison between the Councils. The e-mail was directing me to a letter sent by Planners at West Lancs Council to Planners at Sefton. It is rather long so I am only copying the pertinent points:-

“there are three areas of concern that West Lancashire Borough Council would like to raise with Sefton Council and request that Sefton Council look at how potential impacts could be mitigated through the Sefton Local Plan or that a particular allocation be reconsidered.
Firstly, there are a number of proposed development allocations (in Policies SR4 and SR5) that are located adjacent, or very close, to the borough boundary with West Lancashire, particularly in the Southport, Churchtown, Ainsdale and Formby areas. While West Lancashire Borough Council does not object to these allocations, we would wish to ensure that all potential impacts of these sites on land and communities within West Lancashire have been considered and that policy requirements for mitigation for any negative impacts on the West Lancashire side of the boundary are included within the Sefton Local Plan.
Secondly, those same allocations have the potential to generate fairly significant traffic travelling through West Lancashire on the A570 and/or the local moss roads in the Western Parishes. Policy SR10 is supported when it prioritises “Improved access to Southport from the east [A570 corridor]” but West Lancashire Borough Council would welcome further detail or discussion on what these improvements may be, especially where the improvements are needed within West Lancashire. In particular, the impact of increased traffic on the A570 on Ormskirk must be considered, as there is already significant congestion within Ormskirk and through-traffic travelling between Southport and the M58 contributes to this. Indeed, one of the reasons that the West Lancashire Local Plan 2012-2027 does not focus more development in the Ormskirk area is the added congestion this would likely cause, and so West Lancashire Borough Council would have concerns if additional traffic generated in Sefton were to add to this congestion in Ormskirk. Regard should also be had to the forthcoming West Lancashire Highways & Transport Masterplan from Lancashire County Council on this matter.
Thirdly, West Lancashire Borough Council wishes to express concern regarding the allocation of the two sites to the north of Lydiate as reserve housing sites (SR4.47 and SR4.48). These sites would be released from the Green Belt and, in the long-term, would likely be developed. The release of this land from the Green Belt would close the strategic Green Belt gap between Maghull / Lydiate and Aughton / Holt Green. The village of Holt Green to the south of Aughton is only 1.5 km from the existing built up area of Maghull/ Lydiate. The release of these sites from the Green Belt would reduce this gap to less than 1 km. The gap to the main built-up area of Aughton would be reduced to 2 km. As such, given the potential impact on the purposes of including land within the Green Belt (in particular that of preventing neighbouring towns from merging into one another), West Lancashire Borough Council would ask Sefton Council to reconsider the allocation of these sites and review whether alternative sites would have less of an impact on the purposes of the Green Belt, for example, sites on the western side of Maghull which do not form part of a strategic gap and are partially contained by the existing built-up area. It is West Lancashire Borough Council’s view that the release of sites SR4.47 and SR4.48 would be better considered as part of a cross-boundary strategic Green Belt review given that it affects a strategic gap between two settlements in separate authorities.”

Now, does this or does it not indicate a lack of detailed joint working? I think I know the answer as will other environmental campaigners.

With regard to points being made by West Lancs Council a couple are fascinating. Regarding their 2nd point i.e. ‘Improved access to Southport from the east’. Why on earth does that need spelling out to West Lancs? Are they really saying that they have not heard of the project to reconnect the Southport/Wigan and Ormskirk/Preston railway lines at Burscough or the long talked about Ormskirk road by-pass! And on their 3rd point they clearly have concerns about the two ‘reserved’ development sites in Lydiate and the effect that building on these sites will have because it could well ‘close the strategic Green Belt gap between Maghull / Lydiate and Aughton’.

My fears about Sefton not working closely with West Lancs over the Local Plan seem to be coming true but bearing in mind the ridiculous Merseyside Joint Authority proposals, which do not include West Lancashire (see my guest posting from Cllr. Nigel Ashton of yesterday), should I be surprised? We seem to have an invisible ‘Berlin Wall’ being built around Merseyside and it will be to the detriment of both Sefton and West Lancashire’s communities.