The Maghull East site is probably the most controversial of all of the Green Belt development sites across the whole Borough of Sefton because it is so vast, indeed it is now referred to as an ‘urban extension’ such will be its size.
The land is predominately high grade agricultural land which grows our food so building on it is utter madness to me. However, we environmental campaigners lost the battle to save it and Sefton Council is to have its will to develop the site for housing and business use.
I thought it would be useful to have a photographic record of the site so I took a photo at the height of summer and another one in this autumn. Both shots are from the same location – the M58 motorway junction bridge at Ashworth. I think you will agree they look radically different despite there being less than 2 months between them. Obviously the weather played its part too:-
Click on the photos to enlarge them
The photos are also on my Flickr site at:-
The Indy 100 article – linked above – is well worth a read
I have been banging on for ages about the madness of building on high grade agricultural land around Sefton Borough and indeed elsewhere and this article, although written from a different perspective, really does highlight why I am so concerned about food chain sustainability in the UK.
If nothing else, and there’s a lot else, the quote below from the article must surely sober up even the most hard line of Brexiters and land developers, but it probably won’t:-
‘In the early 1990s Britain’s self-sufficiency in food reached its highest in modern times.
We were producing just over 70 per cent of all the food we were eating.
Since then the story has been one only of decline.
We now produce 60 per cent of our own food, but because of exports only around 50 per cent of the food we eat is actually produced here.’
With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting.
Tonight the contentious planning application for new housing was before Sefton Council’s Planning Committee for the land (in Lydiate) off Maghull’s Turnbridge Road.
Big turn-out of protesting residents at tonight’s Sefton Council Planning Committee meeting in Bootle Town Hall.
Turnbridge Road was the second item on the agenda following another contentious application for the former Peerless Factory site on Dunnings Bridge Road in Netherton. Oddly the Peerless site seemed to be almost a model of what community engagement in the planning process should be whereas Turnbridge sadly looked to be nothing like that.
June Avery addressing the Planning Committee
Local resident June Avery was presenting the case for local people who live close to the Turnbridge Road site in Maghull and Lydiate and she was an excellent advocate for local views and concerns. She was followed by someone speaking on behalf of Wain Homes (the developer who is to build on the site) and he did not, in my view, answer many of the concerns that June had raised in the detail that was required. I thought he was particularly weak on the issue of engagement with local residents, his line being that the site was consulted upon during the development of Sefton Council’s Local Plan and that no further consultation was needed, or words to that effect. His words did not go down well with some members of the Planning Committee who raised issues about his contribution and the implications of what he had said.
This then led to a protracted discussion about whether the Planning Committee was going to defer making a decision on the application for more information or whether it would vote on the matter tonight. The latter won out and a vote was taken. I think it was 7 votes for the application and 5 against and the only change was a condition to try to bring Wain Homes to the table to discuss issues about the site with residents. Whether this will work I am not at all sure.
So the application is now passed and the developer will get on with construction. But what really struck me was that on the same night at the same Planning Committee there were two applications which seemed to be at opposing ends of the spectrum in terms of community engagement. Everyone seemed pleased with the developer of the former Peerless site for the lengths they had gone to in taking residents views on board. Suffice to say that my impression was that few if any of those present tonight thought the same about the Turnbridge Road site.
So a small part of the Maghull/Lydiate Green Belt is now officially lost but there are far bigger sites in the sights of developers and many more acres of Green Belt and the highest grade of agricultural land at great risk locally.
Yes we will get more housing, but will it meet local needs i.e. social housing, housing for the elderly and housing for those trying to get onto the housing ladder? At the margins maybe but in the main it will almost certainly not. Sacrificing Green Belt and the highest grade of agricultural land is a very big step indeed (and it’s one I opposed) but if we go ahead and do it whilst not even meeting local housing needs then it becomes a huge mistake as we will never get the land that grows our food back.
The Maghull East site with crops growing on it on 24th April 2016. Building on it is madness.
I hear, from what I understand to be reliable a source, that a developer is is outlining its intentions with regard to the huge urban extension site on the eastern side of Maghull and into Melling.
A recent sunrise over the presently farmed land off Poverty Lane, Maghull. I wonder how many sunrises the crops will see in the future as the land has sadly been designated to build hundreds and hundreds of houses on (plus an industrial estate) by Sefton Council despite it being some of the 2% very best agricultural land in England.
Farmed high grade land which grows our food
The site, known as Maghull East, bounded by the M58, Poverty Lane, the Liverpool – Ormskirk railway line and School Lane is truly massive and Sefton Council wants around 1,600 houses on it plus an industrial park. It is presently farmed and the vast majority of it is the very highest quality of agricultural land which grows our food!
Because of the vast nature of the site planners from Labour-run Sefton Council are working up specific documents outlining how it should be built upon. This document is yet to be finalised but a developer is already knocking at the Council’s door.
I arrived late for the January Lydiate Parish Council Neighbourhood Planning meeting but in time to hear a Labour Parish Councillor giving Independent Sefton Councillor Pat O’Hanlon (who represents western Maghull & Lydiate) the benefit of his advice.
Incidentally the Labour Parish Councillor giving the ‘advice’ lost in last May’s Sefton Council elections to the very person he was advising.
The thrust of the advice, as I heard it, was all about why Labour-run Sefton Council had to have a Local Plan and why that plan had ended up meaning that Green Belt and high grade agricultural land would end up being built upon.
But what struck me was not the opinion being given but that it missed a quite crucial point out. The point being that Labour had made it very clear that they were going to defend/protect the Green Belt, indeed they put up posters and Labour councillors were photographed for the press holding up slogans about how they were going to save the Green Belt in Sefton Borough. Here’s one such poster:-
Labour poster displayed in Lydiate – October 2013 – how much must Labour be regretting put these posters up because they voted on Sefton Council to build on the Green Belt!
The reason Labour came unstuck in Maghull/Lydiate and Formby in the 2016 local elections was because they said one thing and then did another in the eyes of the electorate i.e. saying they would protect the Green Belt but then voting to build on it.
Goodness me I saw my own former Party leader throwing away our opposition to Tuition Fees when we had campaigned to oppose them so I know only too well what it feels like and indeed should feel like when the electorate catches up with you. Are Labour yet to learn that lesson?
Please click on the bar graph to enlarge it
It is meant to detail the anticipated house building that will go on across the Borough from 2012/13 to 2029/30 as a consequence of the Sefton Local Plan being adopted.
Don’t worry this particular posting is not another of my rants about the loss of Green Belt and the 2% highest grade of agricultural land in England to building, although that is exactly what is happening here in Sefton Borough sadly.
The second chart below details the individual development sites and when they are anticipated to come on stream for building:-
Again, you need to click on it to be able to see a large size. There’s a lot of information on this sheet and you will need to get it as large as you can to be able to easily read it.
SHLAA – means Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment
PP – means planning permission
Windfalls – means sites that come up for house building that had not previously been anticipated for that use.
What I am not presently sure about is how often these documents are updated as clearly house building can be impacted on by the state of the local and UK economy for instance. Personally, I would not set too much store by these predictions when it comes to individual sites but as an overall projection it does give some idea of what Sefton Council’s Planners think is likely to happen – possibly – well they hope – well you get my drift or is that their drift?
With thanks to Lydiate Parish Council for providing the charts