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

Building on high grade agricultural land – My letter to the Champion newspaper

The vast Maghull East site as seen from Poverty Lane, Maghull

Dear Sir,

Your headline ‘Plan to Build 1,650 Homes On Farm land’ (Aintree & Maghull Champion 26 04 17) was one of the saddest I have read in a long time.

Sad because the building is to take place on some of the 2% highest grade of agricultural land in England. How on earth can it be environmentally sustainable to build on land that grows our crops and our food?

Yes I know we need housing but surely building on the very best agricultural land is just ridiculous. I realise that previous generations did it as well but how come we have not as a society protected high grade land from building now we know how precious such land really is?

As an environmental campaigner I despair, I really do.

Cllr. Tony Robertson
Lydiate Parish Councillor

Plans for Sefton Council’s massive urban extension of Maghull are on the move

The Maghull East site with crops growing on it on 24th April 2016. Building on it is madness.

I hear, from what I understand to be reliable a source, that a developer is is outlining its intentions with regard to the huge urban extension site on the eastern side of Maghull and into Melling.

A recent sunrise over the presently farmed land off Poverty Lane, Maghull. I wonder how many sunrises the crops will see in the future as the land has sadly been designated to build hundreds and hundreds of houses on (plus an industrial estate) by Sefton Council despite it being some of the 2% very best agricultural land in England.

Farmed high grade land which grows our food

The site, known as Maghull East, bounded by the M58, Poverty Lane, the Liverpool – Ormskirk railway line and School Lane is truly massive and Sefton Council wants around 1,600 houses on it plus an industrial park. It is presently farmed and the vast majority of it is the very highest quality of agricultural land which grows our food!

Because of the vast nature of the site planners from Labour-run Sefton Council are working up specific documents outlining how it should be built upon. This document is yet to be finalised but a developer is already knocking at the Council’s door.

Melling – Giddygate Lane is a gated lane with restricted access

Giddygate Lane has been a ‘gated road’, that is only meant to be accessed by residents and land owners with a key from the M58 ‘Ashworth’ roundabout end ever since the M58 was constructed in the early 1980’s.

It’s gated to stop other vehicles using it as a short cut as it is narrow and little more than a tarmaced track. Nipping down there in a vehicle when the gate is open is liable to get you a fine if you don’t have legitimate access rights.

If memory serves around 25 people have such rights and the keys have always been issued by Sefton Council.

I recall this from my time as a Molyneux ward councillor. I also recall a motorist who was known to me getting a fine for nipping down there when she should not have done.

But problems have often popped up regarding the gate. Folks forget to shut and lock it, the padlock gets lost or it ‘disappears’ etc. Recently Sefton Council has been getting a little exasperated about it because each time the padlock ‘disappears’ or the gate is damaged (possibly sometimes deliberately damaged?) it costs them a lot of money to put right, money they can’t afford to keep spending.

In other words the solution that has been in place for 30 years has never worked very well but things may be about to change.

You see because our Labour friends who run Sefton Council have decided to allow huge swathes of Green Belt to be developed the area around this end of Giddygate Lane is about to change for good.

The one sided M58 motorway junction at Ashworth is going to be converted into a full junction so the Giddygate Lane access off the roundabout will have to be moved as will the public right of way down it.

I wonder if through this enforced move, which could easily happen in the next couple of years, a better arrangement can be found to keep this narrow lane restricted to traffic which it clearly needs to be?

Green Belt building – Cameron said he would protect it and Sefton Labour too but it’s going to be built on!

Readers will probably recall that I have long fought the propsals of Sefton Council to build on our Green Belt and high grade agricultural land across the Borough.

A Maghull Town Council leaflet from 1998 - Strangely this time round the now Labour-run Town Council did not fight the Green Belt grab.

A Maghull Town Council leaflet from 1998 – Strangely this time round the now Labour-run Town Council did not fight the Green Belt grab.

Press cutting from 1998 as we fought to protect the Maghull east site from development. We won then, Labour waved the white fag this time around.

Press cutting from 1998 as we fought to protect the Maghull east site from development. We won then, Labour waved the white fag this time around.

Indeed my first campaign to stop planners building on Sefton’s Green Belt was in 1998 – a campaign we won by the way. It’s ironic therefore only to have the very same piece of land we were trying to protect from development, to the east of Maghull, released for building on by our Labour-run Council some 18 years later!

Labour's massive urban extension to Maghull. The rust coloured area was saved from development in 1998 but Labour have voted to build on it now on Sefton Council.

Labour’s massive urban extension to Maghull. The rust coloured area was saved from development in 1998 but Labour have voted to build on it now on Sefton Council.

The same site east of Maghull with crops growing on it on 24th April 2016. Building on it is madness.

The same site east of Maghull with crops growing on it on 24th April 2016. Building on it is madness.

But this trend of developing Green Belt sites seems to be gathering pace despite David Cameron saying the Green Belt is safe with him, or words to that effect. Our local Labour Party also said they would defend it only for their Sefton Councillors to vote to build on it!

The Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) recently said this:-

Over 219,000 houses are planned for England’s Green Belt, 60,000 more than in August 2013 when CPRE last made a count.

Having said that I personally found the Sefton Branch of CPRE to be a little slow out of the blocks when it came to standing up to Sefton Labour’s building plans.

So the Green Belt is not safe, our high grade agricultural land is to be built upon and Labour Sefton Councillors who said they would defend it then voted to build on it.

Is there any wonder why folks say politicians can’t be trusted.

Click on the photos/press cutting to enlarge them.

Labour rattled by Independent candidate in Maghull & Lydiate’s Park Ward

Readers will recall that I let slip that Labour had almost lost a by-election in Maghull a few weeks ago to an independent Green Belt campaigner – they clung onto the seat by just 3 votes. This was the election that for some very odd reason the local press decided not to report the result of and that suited Labour down to the ground.

However, I knew they (Labour) would be rattled and therefore it was no surprise that when a Labour election leaflet popped through my door the other day that it was attacking the Green Belt campaigners that they are so frightened of.

Under the heading of ‘Vote Independent, get Conservative?’ Labour are clearly trying to suggest that the independent candidate (in Park Ward) may be a Tory sympathiser. BUT the lady standing as the independent candidate was a Labour supporter until Labour said they would defend the Green Belt but then voted on Sefton Council to build on it! She is fighting Labour because they said one thing and did the opposite.

Bizarre or what?