Maghull/Lydiate – My letter to the Champion newspaper in respect of the Turnbridge Road site

The letter below is in response to the article on page 9 of the Aintree & Maghull Champion newspaper on 24th May where Labour councillors complain about a developer when their party on Sefton Council voted for the site to be developed via the Sefton Local Plan!

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That the developer of the Turnbridge Road site in Lydiate (which will be accessed from Maghull) is not engaging with locals is indeed an outrage. I wrote a detailed objection regarding this development to Sefton Council as part of the planning process. I also opposed the Sefton Local Plan which designated this site for development.

But just hang on a minute the councillors protesting about this in the Maghull Champion article belong to a political party – Labour – which voted for that site (amongst many others across the Borough) to be developed! Do I hear the sound of stable doors being slammed shut after the horse was allowed to trot out?

Yours sincerely

Cllr. Tony Robertson
Lydiate Parish Councillor

The War against Labour-run Sefton Council’s Green Belt busting Local Plan has been lost but there were many local battles where Labour was bloodied.

This is what a recent letter said to those who had taken part in the Sefton Council Local Plan process:-

Dear Sir or Madam

Examination of the Local Plan for Sefton – Receipt of Inspector’s Report

The Council has received the Inspector’s Report into the examination of the Local Plan for Sefton. This is has now been published by the Council and is available at the following locations:

Online at www.sefton.gov.uk/localplan
At each of Sefton’s libraries
At the Planning Offices at Magdalen House, Bootle

Following receipt of the Inspector’s Report the Council now intends to adopt the Local Plan at its meeting of full Council on Thursday 20th April 2017 [6.30pm at Southport Town Hall].

The Council will notify people when the Local Plan is adopted. Following adoption the Local Plan will be used in the determination of planning applications in the borough

Kind Regards

Local Plan Team

In many ways it says so little after so many pitched battles between environmental and community campaigners on one side and Sefton Council, Sefton Labour, property owners and developers on the other. It was a long war and the environmental campaigners lost, although they gave Sefton Labour a number of bloody noses along the way.

I was one of the environmental campaigners and yes I am still angry. Angry because much of the land that has been taken out of Green Belt protection around the Borough is amongst the 2% highest grade of agricultural land in England. To build anything on the land that grows our food is utter madness to me.

But we all remember the heady days of the start of the Local plan process when both Labour and the Lib Dems in Sefton pledged to defend the Green Belt. The Lib Dems did that but Labour, who by then had a majority on the Council, bailed out and started to vote for building on the Green Belt.

The bloody nose was that they lost 4 seats on the Council because of their say one thing, do another approach to this matter. But sadly despite such losses Labour have got their way and what was previously Green Belt land in some parts of the Borough will be designated for building on following the final vote on 20th April.

And yes I know that housing is required but no I am not at all sure that the kind of housing we need will actually get built even though we are chucking away for ever the highest grade of agricultural land. Will there be accessible homes for the elderly, will there be starter homes for young people to get on the housing ladder, will there be social housing for rent?

What do I fear? That the majority of new homes will be 3 and 4 bedroomed properties for the well off which will price out those who need housing.

Sad, yes you bet I am but you know what we have learned is that if there were any ‘green’ credentials locally within the Labour Party there certainly aren’t any more.

Why I am backing Carl Cashman to be Merseyside Metro Mayor

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Yesterday I attended a hustings meeting at Dovedale Baptist Church Hall in Liverpool to hear prospective Lib Dem Mersey Metro Mayor candidate Carl Cashman speak. Carl is an impressive young man who seems to have that ‘X’ factor that many other politicians simply don’t.

So what are Carl’s assets? Well youth is one, being in his 20’s brings us a candidate unburdened by the baggage that many older politicians carry with them. He has a fresh perspective and one that folks seem to like.

Carl has not had a privileged upbringing; he was brought up a a Merseyside Council estate.

He is big on green issues and has been a thorn in Labour’s side as they keep trying to build on Green Belt and green spaces. This is a huge issue across Merseyside.

He’s already a Borough Councillor on Knowsley Council regularly taking on the appalling record of Labour in running that Council. This is the Council that was staring down into the abyss of potentially having no schools where young people could take A Levels recently!

He wants more social housing built. The Merseyside housing crisis is at it’s worst in terms of the supply of such properties.

He wants to find a way of improving the income of those living on the Minimum Wage. A Merseyside initiative to try to address our low wage culture – Why not give it a go?

The people of Prescot and Knowsley have taken this young man to their heart and I hope he gets selected as the Lib Dem Metro Mayor candidate so that more electors can find out why Carl Cashman is going places.

Oh and by the way, yes I know that the vast majority of us don’t want another politician running our lives but this new post (Merseyside Metro Mayor/Liverpool City Region Mayor) is being imposed on us in 2017 whether we want it or not.

It’s a result of the Tory Government and Merseyside Labour doing a second or even third rate deal which supposedly devolves significant powers to Merseyside from Whitehall. The powers are far too limited though and Westminster will still be calling the vast majority of the shots, surprise, surprise!

Carl wants to renegotiate that shabby deal so that we have real power over our own affairs locally. And he does not want power for himself but to push that power down to local communities wherever its possible to do so.

Carl is not a man to be told what to do by Westminster, neither is he a slave to a party political machine. Watch this young man go places.

Whiston Delph Ward By-Election – Labour cling on as their vote collapses over Green Belt building

Whiston Town Council Delph Ward – 18th August 2016

Labour 159 [36.1%]
Lib Dem – Paul Shaw 157 [35.6%]

Lab Majority: 2
Turnout: 20.26%

Wow this was close with a number of recounts I hear. This was solid Labour territory but no longer.

Reminds me of the Maghull Town Council North Ward by-election in February of this year. My previous blog posting refers:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/03/12/maghull-town-council-by-election-no-one-seems-to-want-you-to-know-the-result/

Labour then lost the following Maghull Sudell Ward election in May to an Independent and you know what it was on the same major issue – A Labour-run Council (in this latest case Knowsley Borough) sanctioning building on the Green Belt!

Lydiate Green Belt – Turnbridge Road site – A further Update

I hear from Maghull & Lydiate Action Group sources that they are of the view that the tree felling on the site at the end of Maghull’s Turnbridge Road was not licensed but that it should have been. This information comes, I am told, directly from the Forestry Commission.

This view of the site is from the Leeds Liverpool Canal towpath. Uprooted tree stumps can be seen on the far side of the site. Click on the photo to enlarge it.

This view of the site is from the Leeds Liverpool Canal towpath. Uprooted tree stumps can be seen on the far side of the site. Click on the photo to enlarge it.

Should this turn out to be the case, which is seems it does, then the Forestry Commission will have to decide what the come back will be on those responsible for the felling.

No news at present on whether Sefton Council should have acted when it first became aware of what looks like illegal felling.

I should add for clarity that the whole of the site is in fact in Lydiate and is only accessed from Maghull.

More news when I have it.

Merseyside Metro Mayor – Cllr. Carl Cashman’s launch event

For someone who thinks that the devolution deal that Merseyside got from our present Tory Government was at best 2nd rate and who doesn’t think a Metro Mayor is a sensible way forward for this region you may wonder why I went to launch event of one of the potential candidates for the job earlier today.

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Well I went, as did many other of Carl’s supporters, because the candidate in question thinks as I do. He is standing to be a candidate because he knows the devolution deal is poor and he is concerned, like me, about putting too much power in one person’s hands. What’s more I like Carl Cashman and have been supporting him as he has moved through the political gears to becoming the present Lib Dem Leader on Knowsley Council.

Carl is a bright young free thinking Liberal politician whom I greatly admire and if anyone has to be our Metro Mayor I quite frankly could not think of a person more suited to the role. He is strong on environmental issues, such as stopping Labour-run Councils from building on the Green Belt, and he has a keen sense of social responsibility. He cares about people and unlike the vast majority of politicians he really does put people before party politics.

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Watch out for this young man he is going places.