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!

*****

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 – Land North of Turnbridge Road – Our response to planning application for 34 dwellings

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

I thought it may help others (who may wish to make their own comments) if I published here the representations that Sheila and I have made to Sefton Council’s Planners with regard to the recent planning application for this site.

Tree felling machinery at work on the site in September 2016.

I am sure others will have additional ideas about how their representations should be framed but this is what we have said:-

*****

Planning Services
Sefton Council
Magdalen House
30 Trinity Road
Bootle
L20 3NL

Yr Ref DC/201700456

Land North of Turnbridge Road Maghull – Site within Lydiate Civil Parish

We write to make representations on the planning application as invited by your letter of 17th March.

Protection of the Green Belt

Firstly, our understanding is that the site is presently within Green Belt but that Sefton Council intends to remove it from such protection. This is clearly an unwelcome move and we oppose the reduction of the Maghull/Lydiate Green Belt.

Wooded nature of the site prior to September 2016

Secondly, this site was significantly wooded (as it had been for very many years) until a huge number of trees were felled in September 2016. Our understanding is that such works were undertaken without a licence from the Forestry Commission and that the felling has been subject of an investigation by said Forestry Commission. Our view is that the felled trees need to be replaced in significant numbers and to achieve this the number of properties to be constructed on the site should be reduced to accommodate a greater number of trees than is presently being proposed. The sight lines from the Leeds Liverpool Canal tow path and indeed on all sides of the development should replicate the wooded views prior to the felling. The fencing which presently abuts the Leeds Liverpool Canal tow path will also need careful consideration so that it is both secure but does not preclude the natural tree/shrub line from being the true screening of the site. In other words the starting point for consideration of the soft landscaping of this site should be that which was there prior to the seemingly unlicensed felling that took place last autumn, not from the state of the site as it is now i.e. following the felling. The Forestry Commission report on the site, following the felling, obviously needs to be accessed and taken into account in the assessment of this application.

Drainage issues

Thirdly, it is vital that the stream/drainage ditch that arrives on this site from underneath the canal is in no way hindered in its flow through to Maghull Brook, indeed this watercourse needs to be protected and kept clear both during and after the construction of the properties. Similar comments obviously go for Maghull Brook too of course. If this is not achieved the previous flooding issues suffered by properties in High Banks and Southport Road (documented by SMBC Drainage Engineer Sam Dimba) could well make an unwelcome return.

3 storey apartments

Fourthly, no properties adjoining this proposed development site, or indeed that are close to it, are more than 2 stories high so the roof line/height of the development needs to be pegged back to that of the surrounding Maghull & Lydiate properties. This is therefore an objection to the proposal to build a three storey block of 9 apartments on the site.

Construction traffic access

Fifthly, access to this site for construction purposes is clearly going to be problematic due to the presence of two weight limited canal swing bridges at Bells Lane and Green Lane. These bridges go out of service at times due to vehicles crossing them that are too heavy. There is obviously every opportunity for construction vehicles to make this situation worse for all concerned locally if they try to use the bridges. One alternative that may be under consideration is to take construction traffic through the Green Park Estate and thereby worryingly close to two primary schools – Green Park & St. John Bosco. However, this is clearly a concern due to the narrow nature of the estate roads and the congestion in Green Lane, Green Link, West Meade and Round Meade at schools times. The other alternative, a temporary road off Bells Lane for construction traffic, also raises issues that will need to carefully considered due to the narrow nature of Bells Lane and a weight limited canal swing bridge previously mentioned. It is also the case that roads such as Turnbridge Road and Greenbank Avenue could be hugely and detrimentally impacted on by construction traffic if access is agreed via Green Lane/The Green Park Estate. This is clearly an issue that will need to be fully addressed prior to any construction traffic accessing the site. What’s more the developer will need to be transparent in defining how construction traffic access will be properly managed/policed. This will require a clear and effective contact process for residents to be able to both report and stop any transgressions of the finally agreed access route(s).

Clearly our primary consideration is the protection of the Green Belt as defined prior to the present Sefton Local Plan being developed. However, should Sefton Council be determined to take this site out of the Green Belt and release it for the development of housing we hope that notice will be taken of the representations in this letter.

In summary the major issues are:-

* Protection of the Green Belt.
* The replacement of the many recently felled trees on the site.
* Perimeter fencing being secure but not obscuring the natural wooded view of the site. Wooded sight lines surrounding the site prior to September 2016 being replicated.
* Open drainage steams/ditches not being compromised during construction or indeed after.
* The 3 storey apartments being reduced to 2 storey.
* Access to the site during construction being very carefully managed.

Yours sincerely

Tony & Sheila Robertson

Lydiate/Maghull – Planning application for land off Turnbridge Road

Click on the graphic above to enlarge it

pa.sefton.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=OMLTQWNWGMR00

Just an initial shout out that a planning application has been submitted to Sefton Council with regard to land off Turnbridge Road, Maghull. Whilst the access will be from Maghull all the site is actually within Lydiate Civil Parish as Maghull Brook (the boundary) runs along the end of Turnbridge Road.

Above you will find a link to the documents about the application on Sefton Council’s Planning Web Site.

Maghull/Lydiate residents will recall that the site has been somewhat controversial due to the Forestry Commission taking a dim view of the amount of tree felling that went on throughout the site during 2016. Previous postings on this blog site refer.

The land is being taken out of the local Green Belt via Sefton Council’s soon to be published/finalised Local Plan.

Green Belt loss – Advice that missed the point?

I arrived late for the January Lydiate Parish Council Neighbourhood Planning meeting but in time to hear a Labour Parish Councillor giving Independent Sefton Councillor Pat O’Hanlon (who represents western Maghull & Lydiate) the benefit of his advice.

Incidentally the Labour Parish Councillor giving the ‘advice’ lost in last May’s Sefton Council elections to the very person he was advising.

The thrust of the advice, as I heard it, was all about why Labour-run Sefton Council had to have a Local Plan and why that plan had ended up meaning that Green Belt and high grade agricultural land would end up being built upon.

But what struck me was not the opinion being given but that it missed a quite crucial point out. The point being that Labour had made it very clear that they were going to defend/protect the Green Belt, indeed they put up posters and Labour councillors were photographed for the press holding up slogans about how they were going to save the Green Belt in Sefton Borough. Here’s one such poster:-

Labour poster displayed in Lydiate - October 2013 - how much must Labour be regretting put these posters up because they voted on Sefton Council to build on the Green Belt!

Labour poster displayed in Lydiate – October 2013 – how much must Labour be regretting put these posters up because they voted on Sefton Council to build on the Green Belt!

The reason Labour came unstuck in Maghull/Lydiate and Formby in the 2016 local elections was because they said one thing and then did another in the eyes of the electorate i.e. saying they would protect the Green Belt but then voting to build on it.

Goodness me I saw my own former Party leader throwing away our opposition to Tuition Fees when we had campaigned to oppose them so I know only too well what it feels like and indeed should feel like when the electorate catches up with you. Are Labour yet to learn that lesson?

Lydiate – More activity on that Green Belt site off Maghull’s Turnbridge Road

No sooner had I posted about the results of the Forestry Commission’s investigations into the unlicensed tree felling on this site, which runs along the side of the Leeds Liverpool Canal, than something else happens. What exactly went on today is unclear though but local residents raised the alarm based on previous troubles with the felling.

turnbridge-rd-site-15-11-16

What I know. This morning a JCB type vehicle arrived and some work was undertaken on the site. Cllr. Pat O’Hanlon went to check things out this morning and I have been this afternoon. There seem to be around 6 areas of the land where sand has been used to make rough circles on the ground. What purpose the sand circles serve I presently don’t know. Nothing else seems to have happened and as far as I could see no further trees have been removed.

turnbridge-rd-site-15-11-16-2

I am aware of vermin issues on the site so could the sand circles be associated with that issue?

Questions will be asked and if I find out anything more I will let folks know.

Note:- The land is presently part of Lydiate’s Green Belt but Sefton Council controversially want it to be released for house building.

Lydiate Green Belt – Tree Felling back in August – An update

I covered what I understood to the unlicensed felling of trees off and to the north of Maghull’s Turnbridge Road back in August when the felling took place. The site concerned is also adjacent to the Leeds Liverpool Canal I would add.

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

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

In fact the whole site is with Lydiate as Maghull Brook, which is the Maghull – Lydiate boundary, runs right at the end of Turnbridge Road.

My last posting can be accessed via the link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/08/19/lydiate-green-belt-turnbidge-road-site-a-further-update/

As some weeks have passed since the Forestry Commission’s Woodland Officer visited the site (whom I am told confirmed that the felling was unlicensed) I thought it about time that the Commission’s tree was shaken so to speak. So I asked the Clerk of Lydiate Parish Council to contact them to see what the end result of their investigations is actually going to be. This is what we have found out:-

I understand that the Forestry Commission’s National Office have said that a restocking notice [an order to replant trees] has been placed on the land.

BUT the FC go on to comment on the fact that this piece of land has been identified as development land in the local plan [That’s Sefton Council’s Local Plan] and they are anticipating a planning application may be made for the site. They point out that any decision Sefton’s planners make will overturn the FC restocking notice. On that basis it may well be that the FC tries to work with the local authority and potential planning applicant to get sufficient numbers of trees included in the development.

I suspected that the the end result of the felling and FC investigations would be some form of compromise along these lines. However, considering that Sefton Council did nothing when the trees came down and it was local residents who brought in the FC then we can only hope that some good comes from this sad course of events.

Of course, if Sefton Council had not designated the land for building then the trees would not have been felled at all I assume!