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

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.

Lydiate – Labour’s first Green Belt development site is being cleared for building

Land clearance machinery had been seen and heard on the site off Maghull’s Turnbridge Road over the past few days so I went today to check it out.

Trees taken out at the end of Maghull's Turnbridge Road

Trees taken out at the end of Maghull’s Turnbridge Road

Whilst this site, which Labour-run Sefton Council has earmarked for house building, will be accessed off Maghull’s Turnbridge Road the site is in reality all within Lydiate as Maghull Brook forms the Maghull/Lydiate boundary right at the end of Turnbridge Road.

I had a chat with one of the men doing the clearance work, which seemed to entail the removal of trees (some of them mature), bushes, scrub etc. The work was well advanced when I saw it and a large area had been cleared.

If I understood the contractor I spoke to correctly he was telling me that the initial reason for the work was an attempt to eradicate vermin from the site following complaints from residents. I assume he meant Turnbridge Road and Greenbank Avenue residents? He said Sefton Council had asked the land owner to address the vermin issue and that clearance was the best way of doing this? He went on to say that as the land was down for development the whole area was being cleared.

I took a couple of photos whilst I was there which are in this posting.

Land clearance machinery at work on the Lydiate site released from the Green Belt via Sefton Council's nearly complete Local Plan.

Land clearance machinery at work on the Lydiate site released from the Green Belt via Sefton Council’s nearly complete Local Plan.

In reality this is by far the smallest site in Maghull/Lydiate that is being released from the Green Belt for housing or industrial use across the joint communities. If all the released land is developed both Maghull & Lydiate will vastly increase in size/population.

I opposed building on the high grade agricultural land that surrounds Maghull, Lydiate, Formby, Southport etc. when I was a Sefton Borough Councillor. Labour said they opposed such development as well but then voted to build on the Green Belt! Labour lost 3 Council seats to Independents last May, in Maghull/Lydiate & Formby, on the basis of their say one thing but do another approach to the Green Belt.

PS. By the way the fact that the land is being cleared does not mean that the building will start very soon as I understand that there is presently no agreed planning application for the site.

Sefton’s Local Plan – A Maghull resident puts his concerns into verse

This was written as a follow up to a previous verse that was published in the Champion Newspaper.

Campaigners, outside Maghull Town Hall trying to save Sefton Borough's high grade agricultural land from development.

Campaigners, outside Maghull Town Hall trying to save Sefton Borough’s high grade agricultural land from development.

RIP Maghull and Lydiate Part Two.

In 2012 you published my letter,
An obituary for our town, in verse.
After five weeks of public inquiry,
The situation has become far worse.

It will be like the Viking invasions,
As builders destroy our community town,
With the blessing of council and planners,
Unless the Inspector gives the thumbs down.

Your local groups attended every hearing,
To plead your cause, with experts, at great cost,
Whist the appearances of local councillors,
Were limited, four or five days at most.

With plans to surround us with fields full of houses,
There will be nowhere to soak up excess rain
So living in a flood risk area,
Boxing Day floods will soon happen again.

Local traffic will come to a standstill,
As vehicles creep along roads, nose to tail.
At peak times you may be overtaken,
By a rather athletic looking snail.

Make no mistake, we’ll all be affected,
We will all be in the same plight.
Because at least until 2030,
We will all live on one huge building site.

Despite all their eleventh hour protests,
Please don’t believe what your councillors say.
The reason we’re in this situation,
It’s had their support, each step of the way.

Malcolm Gore,
Concerned Resident.

Sefton Local Plan – Labour has concerns about it? Really, then why do they keep supporting it!

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’

Dear Sir,

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.

Yours sincerely

Cllr. Tony Robertson

This letter was significantly edited and published in the Champion on 27th January 2016

Merseyside has 8,528 empty houses but don’t worry Sefton Council will allow even more houses to be built on high grade agricultural land!

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/8500-homes-empty-across-merseyside-10519948

Campaigners, outside Maghull Town Hall trying to save Sefton Borough's high grade agricultural land from development.

Campaigners, outside Maghull Town Hall trying to save Sefton Borough’s high grade agricultural land from development.

The Liverpool Echo has the story on its web site – see link above

This Echo article really brings home what the local housing crisis is all about and why building thousands of 3 and 4 bedroom houses for sale on Sefton’s Green Belt and high grade agricultural land is certainly not the answer.

What’s more Merseysiders only need a 42% pay rise to enable them to get on the housing ladder to buy the new houses that we are going to sacrifice our Green Belt and decimate some of the best agricultural land in England for.

The big gap in the Merseyside housing market is for social housing and affordable rent housing generally but hey let’s just keep building houses that Merseysiders can’t afford to buy or rent because it looks like we are addressing the housing problem when we not doing any such thing!