The letter below was written in response to the lead article in the Aintree & Maghull Champion on 13th January entitled ‘Concerns at Local Plan put to Inquiry’
I read with mounting disbelief the representations made to the Planning Inspector by Maghull’s Labour councillors as reported in the Champion on 13th January.
Yes they were making all the right noises but hang on a minute it is Labour run Sefton Council that is trying to impose its appalling Local Plan on the Borough. What’s more when I was a member of Maghull Town Council Labour members would not vote to reject the Local Plan! Now all of sudden Labour has concerns.
Frankly, this say one thing and then say just about the opposite when Labour thinks folks will have forgotten about their original stance on a matter as important as this is appalling.
Having fought Sefton’s Local Plan, which proposes thousands of houses to be built on high grade agricultural land, areas that flood and Green Belt with Labour councillors supporting for the Plan I find Labour’s concern now very hollow indeed.
Let’s see Labour run Maghull Town Council propose that the Local Plan be completely rejected and for Labour run Sefton Council to do the same then Labour will have clearly done a welcome U turn. Warm words now giving the impression of concerns about the Plan mean nothing unless they actually reject it/withdraw it.
Cllr. Tony Robertson
This letter was significantly edited and published in the Champion on 27th January 2016
Dovers Brook where Sefton Lane becomes Bridges Lane – The houses were about to be inundated.
Maghull & Lydiate have today been suffering from flooding following the torrential rain that has been hitting northern England recently.
The following photos document the scene across the joint communities between 11 am and noon today:-
Hall Lane, Maghull
Hall Lane, Maghull with a Merseyside Fire & Rescue worker trying to clear debris from Whinney Brook. He told me the level had dropped by 3ft as he cleared it.
Lambshear Lane, Lydiate
Moss Lane, Lydiate
A swollen River Alt as it just about manages to duck under Bridges Lane near Sefton Village.
Sefton Lane, Maghull
A raging Whinney Brook at Ormonde Drive, Maghull
The worrying issue here is the capacity of the River Alt to take all the flood water from Whinney Brook, Dovers Brook etc. In 2012 it could not take all the water and houses were inundated in Fouracres, Maghull. At the time I took the photos Fouracres was not being flooded. The next few hours will probably be crucial.
With thoughts for all those being flooded or in danger of it.
Cameron must rethink planning to prevent flooding
A group of experts led by the Landscape Institute have written to David Cameron warning that the Government must not risk future flood prevention by focusing on short-term problems. The experts are calling for planners to adopt a series of measures aimed at tackling the risk of flooding, including measures like planting trees, requiring that all new developments in towns and cities should include flood alleviation and protection measures, and that any new homes built on flood plains must be resilient to flooding. Sue Illman, president of the Landscape Institute, said: “We want the money that is going to be invested spent wisely to give us a proper outcome.” The Guardian reports that dredging of two major rivers feeding the Somerset Levels is due to begin in the next few weeks.
The LGiU produced the above (edited by me) today but that is only part of the story. Fundamentally, the UK problem is that Planning is seen as a predominately economic matter with environmental consequences being very much a secondary consideration. Such has been the case for generations and Governments of all colours have failed to act to bring true harmony between environmental and planning policy making.
The issue has not been highlighted by flooding so much in Sefton, although concern about the potential for flooding was a major consideration in the minds of Formby residents when they recently rose up to fight a new housing development off Liverpool Road. The elephant in the room, or should I say both elephants, are flooding and building on high grade agricultural land. Both are high end public concerns that most Westminster politicians seem to be oblivious of.
Environmental sustainability has to lead the Planning agenda
If Westminster is going to act to curb building in ways that cause flooding they also need to act at the same time to curb building on high grade agricultural land. Environmental sustainability has to be the primary aim with economic growth, important though that is, taking second place.