Formby, Maghull, Bootle, Netherton & Sefton Borough generally – Gun Crime Concerns

The Liverpool Echo has the story on its web site as written from the perspective of Formby’s Independent Councillor Maria Bennett – see link above.

I lose track of how many times I have blogged about gun crime in Sefton Borough and indeed across Merseyside and yes it does seem to be a worsening problem that is before us on an almost daily basis.

I recall only too well how Maghull found itself in the middle of an outbreak of gun crime in 2013 which led to Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, being brought in to speak directly to concerned locals at a meeting held in Lydiate Primary School. To be honest she spoke well in trying to calm local fears and thankfully the spate of Maghull shootings has not been repeated. However, shootings and gun crime are an almost every day event in some Merseyside communities and I think it fair to say that many folks will feel, with some considerable justification, that the situation looks to be almost out of anyone’s control.

Maria Bennett is right to raise this issue once again because gun crime is an issue that will one day be an every day event in virtually every community if ways to effectively combat it are not found soon. And quite obviously a fully resourced Merseyside Police Force is required to lead that fight.

My thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

Formby/Little Altcar – Their Neighbourhood Plan Proposals

A Red Squirrel - What could be more symbolic of Formby and Little Altcar

A Red Squirrel – What could be more symbolic of Formby and Little Altcar

Being involved with the Lydiate Neighbourhood Plan, although still reasonably sceptical of the limited scope of Neighbourhood Planning generally, I thought looking at a plan that was at a pretty advanced stage from a local perspective would be useful. Here’s a link to the joint Neighbourhood Plan of Formby and Little Altcar Parish Councils:-

I have always looked upon the Neighborhood Planning process in a similar way to how I look at the Merseyside Devolution Deal – They are both too subservient to powers and plans above them in the democratic hierarchy. In other words they are hand me downs giving the feeling of more local control when in fact the additional local control is actually quite negligible.

A protest placard demanding that Sefton Council takes notice of Formby views.

A protest placard demanding that Sefton Council takes notice of Formby views.

In Sefton I have often said that the Labour-run Borough Council has promoted them more as an apology for it allocating acre upon acre of high grade agricultural land and Green Belt for building development. You may also recall that at one point Labour sources locally seemed to be trying to put out the message that a Neighbourhood Plan could restrict the development on Green Belt! I right old made up story if I ever heard one.

Anyway that’s off my chest again so back to the Neighbourhood Plans that are being put together locally. Formby and Little Altcar seem to have tried very hard to make a successful and influential Plan but it still has to go via a Planning Inspector and a referendum of electors in those two Civil Parishes.

The section of the Formby Plan copied below struck me as I know only too well how flooding concerns in that community are significant and how there is a great concern that proposed developments may well inadequately tackle what is in reality a Countrywide concern:-

Producing this Plan has been extremely difficult taking into account the various constraints on the land and concerns of local people.
Unfortunately, the planning system, in its current form, is unable to take an holistic approach when addressing flooding and flood risk to the
community. As this plan has not allocated any land but works with land already allocated via the emerging Sefton Local Plan, we reserve our
right to object to any application that does not demonstrate that it has fully addressed the flooding issues. The evidence base and flood
management section of this Plan demonstrates beyond any doubt that the community is determined to do something meaningful with
regards to addressing the very real ongoing risk of flooding in Formby.

I will post about Lydiate’s progress along the Neighbourhood Plan route in the not too distant future.

Formby – Parish Council falls to Fragoff

Well here’s a story of some significance as the Parish/Town Council election results (declared today) did not all follow the Labour Party band wagon in the Sefton Central Constituency.


Take Formby where Fragoff (Community Action Not Party Politics) have won a majority of seats on the Council which was previously a Tory stronghold. Oddly this does somewhat contradict the Borough Council results for Formby where the 3 seats up this year went 1 to the Tories and 2 to Labour with the Fragoff candidates being rejected, if only just, by the electorate.

If my calculations are right Formby Town Council is now 9 Fragoff councillors, 1 Labour and 5 Tories – Tell me if I have these numbers wrong.

The significance of this is that Fragoff are genuine environmental campaigners whom I have worked with in recent years. Congratulations to their campaigners.

My guess is that our local Labour rulers would much rather Formby Parish Council have stayed Tory as Fragoff have been giving them a lot of grief over their (Labour’s) building plans for Sefton’s Green Belt and on high grade agricultural land in the Borough.

The perils of being in power – Fragoff give Labour both barrels

There’s no doubt that being in power means taking the blame for things sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly but it can be tough at the top as Sefton Labour Party are finding out following their Local Plan proving to be highly unpopular.

Of course they have brought this all on themselves by starting off the Local Plan process by telling folk they were going to save the Green Belt from development and then voting consistently to build on that same Sefton Green Belt.

You would have thought they could have learned from a previous close scrape of a similar nature with urban green space land off Damfield Lane in Maghull where they said they were going to fight the extra-care development and ended up voting for it to be built! But it seems lessons were not learned and the sin was repeated with the Sefton Local Plan.

Labour’s say one thing but do the opposite has really upset environmental campaigners in the Sefton Central Constituency and it led directly to the creation of a new campaign group and political party – Fragoff in Formby. Not only that but Fragoff won a seat on Sefton Council last May that Labour thought was a nailed down certainty for another Labour yes person who would follow orders from their Bootle bunker.

But Fragoff have spread their brand of environmental campaigning and it has been hurting Labour in Maghull, Lydiate, Aintree and Melling just as it has done in Formby.

It goes without saying that Fragoff’s agenda has been very similar to that of the opposition Lib Dem Group on Sefton Council. Labour’s troubles are about to get worse and all because they said one thing and then did the opposite. Watch as the story unfolds.

Fragoff – A powerful message about the number of houses really needed in Sefton

To see the pain of the faces of Labour campaigners and councillors when Maria Bennett took a seat on Sefton Council in Formby last May was a delight. You see, in my opinion, Labour had bet on yet another ‘yes’ person being elected under their banner to do the bidding of Bootle Labour Party. But it was not to be as Formby rose up to defend its Green Belt and high grade agricultural land from Labour’s attacks on it and independent Maria stormed to victory.

Now I have got that little rant off my chest this is why I am posting this particular blog piece. As the latest consultation period has come to an end on the notorious Sefton Local Plan Maria’s hard hitting and well informed FRAGOFF group has produced a very interesting fact and it is this (I quote directly from FRAGOFF’s submission to Sefton Council on the ‘additional sites’ consultation):-

‘We would like to point out that since the Draft Local Plan was submitted for consultation the 2012-based Subnational Population Projections have been released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). These figures suggest that the 2010 data used to inform that Draft Local Plan has significantly over estimated the increase in population in Sefton over the designated time span. We would therefore now expect sites to be withdrawn from development and suggest that we should not be considering any additional sites until a new evaluation is made based on the most up to date figures.’

This really is one of those told you so moments as both FRAGOFF and the Lib Dems questioned in detail the robustness of the projected population growth figures when the draft was being put together and we were effectively ignored.

It will be interesting to see what happens next because you can bet that Labour will soon be claiming black is white and that they never supported the figures that they backed when they voted for the Draft Local Plan!

Meet Cllr. Maria Bennett

Maria is an independent councillor elected on Thursday to represent Formby’s Ravenmeols Ward. The BBC has the story via this link:-


Maria is a formidable environmental campaigner whom I have got to know over the past couple of years. Indeed, we Lib Dems were so impressed with the work of her FRAGOFF environmental group that we decided not to put up a candidate against her in the elections.

It is pleasing that she won and by a substantial margin too. You can imagine how delighted Sefton Labour Party were to see her elected to Sefton Council!

May I wish Maria all the best and my congratulations on her well deserved victory.