A couple of days ago I highlighted the unfortunate consequences upon Southport of the West Lancashire Local Plan being approved by a Planning Inspector. The matter has now been taken up by the MP for Southport Dr John Pugh.
Dr. John Pugh Lib Dem MP for Southport
Sir Michael Pitt,
The Planning Inspectorate
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
BRISTOL BS1 6PN
Date: 16 November 2013
Dear Sir Michael,
It has been reported to me that a Planning Inspector recently gave the ‘all clear’ to West Lancashire District Council’s Draft Local Plan in particular as it related to plans to build new houses on the local Green Belt around New Cut Lane, Halsall, an area which is regarded by most of its residents as being part of Birkdale which it abuts.
While the Inspector has, quite correctly, recognised that there is travel to work and shop between Southport (Seton MBC) and West Lancashire, in determining that this new housing can be treated as meeting West Lancashire’s Housing need, rather than Sefton’s I find this argument to have significant and worrying weaknesses. Draft Local Plans need to look not just simplistically at Housing need but also at the infrastructure which is necessary to accompany and support any new housing and indeed the present housing, industry etc. There is no evidence that I have yet seen to show that West Lancashire District Council has in any way considered the extra stress on an already-overburdened and tightly-enveloped Southport which will be associated with the building of and occupation of these substantial number of new houses. Nor is there any obvious evidence of West Lancashire District Council having co-operated with Sefton MBC in terms of assessing the possibility of development in boundary areas between the two authorities in general and the New Cut Lane area in particular. There may have been some information, which might be stretched to ‘consultation’ but these processes do not amount to ‘co-operation’ which involves working together. The decision to choose this particular area to expand into would seem to be a rather cynical determination that there will be no substantial group of residents/electors who will be particularly objecting to this proposal compared to any proposal closer to one of the West Lancashire current population centres.
I should be interested to receive your response to the above points.
Dr John Pugh MP
I spent last Thursday evening in the company of a significant number of the Southport Jewish community along with quite a number of other Sefton Councillors, Lord Fearn of Southport and John Pugh the MP for Southport. I attended this event at the invitation of Mike Braham a well known Southport solicitor, Liberal and community activist.
The Council chamber of Southport Town Hall was full for presentations of charitable donations made by Southport AJEX (Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen) to local good causes.
Event attendees in the Council Chamber at Southport Town Hall
We all then retired to the Birkdale Room to see a short film by Clive Myer for the British Film Institute called ‘The Promise’ and a powerful film it is too. I understand the showing was the world premiere. It showed the effects on a modern day family of having an aged person amongst them who had worked at one of the infamous euthanasia clinics (death camps) in Germany during the late 1930’s and early 1940’s when Hitler was removing those deemed not to be acceptable, such as people with disabilities.
Just before the film was shown. On the far side Cllrs. Iain Brodie Browne, Tony Dawson, Fred Weavers and Dr John Pugh, the MP for Southport, are in shot.
The elderly chap in the film played the part of a former worker at the Hadamar Euthanasia Clinic or Death Camp. His daughter was aware of his past but her daughter was not; she just thought that, being a German, he was simply on the wrong side during the IIWW. A powerful short film indeed.
This was followed by a Mick Myer Lecture given by Pauline Collier (an Ainsdale resident) on the Nazi euthanasia clinics and the evil things that were done in the name of trying to create a race where those who were not perfect were simply got rid of. Pauline is a Holocaust Fellow from the Imperial War Museum
A sobering, informative and terrible sad evening which I must say helped me put the troubles of today into a proper context. But it only happened 70+ years ago and there are parallels with events in Syria and probably Sri Lanka today.
A Preston Train pulling into Ormskirk
This is very much a long standing problem which not only has frustrations because of the poor nature of the main road from Southport to Ormskirk (for the volume of traffic it has to take at times) but which also has health implications due to the split site nature of Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals.
The web address above is a report by Lancashire County Council which, amongst other transportation matters, covers the Southport access problems from the east.
Sadly, this is a problem which has be talked about for years yet no progress has been made. Of course it links to the need to reconnect the Southport – Wigan and Ormskirk – Preston railway lines so that after years of the two working in complete isolation we can once again get a train from Southport to Ormskirk.
Regular readers will know I am a firm supporter and indeed member of OPSTA – Ormskirk Preston and Southport Travellers Association – which campaigns for the reopening of the Burscough Curves amongst other local rail improvements.
One day access to Southport from the east will become a problem that is solved rather than just talked about and it is important if Southport is to continue to develop as a shopping and seaside town. This access problem is holding Southport back but the solution is not in Sefton but in West Lancashire.
Dr. John Pugh Lib Dem MP for Southport
John Pugh (Southport): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will investigate the recent financial management of Merseyside Passenger Authority.
This follows on from recent Liverpool Daily Post story which I posted about.
Cllr. Iain Brodie-Browe (pictured above), Lib Dem opposition leader on Sefton Council, has also written to Cllr. Liam Robinson the new chair of Mersytravel, asking him to publish the auditor’s report and to name all other companies set up by Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority (ITA) and its Executive.