Campaigners, outside Maghull Town Hall (June 2013) trying to save Sefton Borough’s high grade agricultural land from development.
I have said many times that there is no need to build on high grade agricultural land across England. As a Sefton Councillor, a Maghull Town Councillor, Lydiate Parish Councillor and then after coming off both Sefton & Maghull Councils I fought alongside environmental campaigners opposing the Sefton Local Plan which designated high grade agricultural land for house building. We LOST….
This is a matter I’ve blogged about far more times than I care to recall but the underlying feeling of those of us opposing Local Plans across England was that there must be sufficient brownfield sites to deliver the housing* we have long been told is urgently required. However, the process to identify building land and indeed land use generally has always been flawed. Scoping it out on a council by council area basis has been looking thorough the wrong end of the telescope for me. In my view it should have been done and needs to be done at a regional level. The old process was called Unitary Development Plans but they then morphed into Local Plans although still tackled on a council by council basis.
This article on CPRE website is very interesting and informative:-
And as CPRE say in a Tweet today – BREAKING: We’ve found that there is enough brownfield land for 1.3 million homes – enough to meet government housing targets for the next five years.
There is already enough land to build the homes we need – so why deregulate the planning system?
* Of course we campaigners against the Sefton Local Plan were not just concerned about the concreting over high grade agricultural land, but what kind of houses would be built anyway. Many of us were of the view that the real housing need in England is in the social housing sector. On that basis councils, like Sefton, were not only sacrificing the land the feeds us for housing but they were not even gaining much if any social housing in the process!
** Whilst this article is mainly focused on the Tory plan for further planning deregulation (build what you want where you want) it, in my view, also exposes the flawed nature of Local Plans and their predecessor Unitary Development Plans.
It’s while since I have commented on smart meters, which I’ve be highly sceptical of for a long time now, but this article in the Daily Telegraph nails one aspect of the push to install them which has caught out those planning the programme. Please see the link below:-
If ever there was a Government project that went off half-cock this must be high on the list. What with non-compatible smart meters that meant you could not change to some energy suppliers (yes they really were on the market), the possibility of them being hacked and now a story about them being ‘free’ when they are costing us all a small fortune no wonder folks look upon them with great suspicion.
I recall when our house was being rewired in 2011 that a very old electricity meter had to be replaced. The installer said to me that it won’t be in for long as you’ll have a smart meter by 2015. It’s now late 2018 and we haven’t got one. The nearest it has got was a rather odd phone call a few weeks back when I was asked by goodness knows who whether I wanted one. Whether the call was genuine or not I was never going to agree to one being installed by a phone call or a knock at our door.
Sorry, still a sceptic whose paying for a meter we’ve not got and on balance would rather not have until they are tried and tested.
With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting
The Daily Telegraph has the article on its web site – see link above
My dear friend Cllr. Charles Walker, who died in January 2017, devoted quite a bit of energy into trying to push Railtrack/Network Rail to kill off an infestation of Japanese Knotweed in Maghull’s Foxhouse Lane. It seemed to be a tough task which needed deep invasive treatment of the ground on a yearly basis and he had to keep on at them to do the work.
I guess from what we now read, getting rid of Knotweed is all but impossible?
The links above take you to the the left leaning Guardian and the right wing Telegraph newspaper web sites.
Whilst the stories in themselves are not linked they both illustrate the precarious nature of Teresa May’s weak and wobbly government and the threat that we all face from a hard Brexit (supported by opposition Labour as well of course) and that huge deficit that the UK is carrying around on its back.
Add into that the inevitability of another recession within the next 5 years and frankly it could depress the most optimistic of us.
Going for Brexit in financially good times would be a huge challenge but going down that route in the mess that the UK’s finances are presently in is surely complete madness.
My thanks to Roy Connell & Keith Page for the leads to this posting
The Daily Telegraph has the story – see link above
‘Smart meters will cost £11bn – but you’ll be lucky if yours saves you £30
My friend and regular contributor to this bog site, Roy Connell, has been tracking the progress of smart meters for quite some time as readers may be aware from previous postings.
Roy has been sceptical of the claims made about such meters and it seems he is probably right to be such a sceptic.
A new policy review for Labour by Sir Michael Lyons has suggested that the party looks at allowing more homes to be built on the green belt if the land has little “environmental or amenity value”.
The Daily Telegraph has the story – see link below
Another depressing report that shows how out of touch Westminster really is. Building on high grade agricultural land is madness!