Aintree & Maghull Champion Newspaper – ‘Fury as trees felled in woods’

Nice to see the Aintree & Maghull Champion covering this environmental issue on the Maghull/Lydiate boundary.

They certainly gave the story big prominence in this week’s edition (24th August) and used some of my photos too.

Ground and tree clearance Lydiate development site 08 16

Now everyone knows what has gone on and what the Maghull & Lydiate Action Group and I have been doing about it.

Let’s hope the Forestry Commission’s Woodland Group publish the result of their investigations soon.

Lydiate – Update on that development site off Maghull’s Turnbridge Road

My previous posting of yesterday refers. It is available via the link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/08/09/lydiate-labours-first-green-belt-development-site-is-being-cleared-for-building/

Members of the Maghull & Lydiate Action Team (the support group of Maghull & Lydiate’s two new Independent Borough Councillors) have been delving into this matter and have been speaking to Sefton Council and the Forestry Commission. It seems the the Forestry Commission may have some powers associated with a large number of trees being cut down. If my understanding is correct then the Commission issues licences when the number/coverage of trees gets above a certain level. The issue now is whether the trees that have been cut down or are due to be cut down on this site fall within the appropriate criteria for a licence to be required.

More news when I have it.

Sefton’s Green Belt – It seems it’s not going to be saved

After what seems to have been years of fighting against Labour-led Sefton Council’s Local Plan, which proposes that houses and industrial units will be built on the highest grade of agricultural land, it seems that Labour and the planners have won and we environmental campaigners have lost.

Lydiate environmental campaigners presenting former Lydiate Parish Council Chairman Dave Russell with a petition to try to save the Green Belt from development around Lydiate

Lydiate environmental campaigners presenting former Lydiate Parish Council Chairman Dave Russell with a petition to try to save the Green Belt from development around Lydiate

In the last few days the Planning Inspector’s initial findings have been published and my reading of that document is that the inspector is endorsing a great deal of what our Borough Council wants to do.

The document itself is hardly accessible, even though it is a public document, as it is written in terms that most ordinary folk will not be able to relate to. This was brought home to me when a Lydiate resident said this to me “How are the public supposed to understand that gobbledygook”.

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 world of planning and planners is a closed one simply because it is full of so much jargon that it is in effect inaccessible to Joe and Jane Public and that in 2016 really is inexcusable.

And in case you think I am being a little unfair here’s a link to the Sefton Council web site which carries the inspectors initial findings:-

www.sefton.gov.uk/media/914339/EX102-SeftonLP_InspectorsInitial-Findings.pdf

Labour-led Sefton Council and those who live in the closed world of town and country planning certainly do live in a very different world to me:-

* Building on the highest grade of agricultural land in the UK on which we grow our food – Is that really a sensible/credible thing to do?

* Potentially increasing the size of communities like Lydiate and Maghull vastly – How will that help with the stretched local services particularly the ever present NHS primary health care/GP crisis?

* Sefton is very low-lying so flooding, as witnessed in Maghull on Boxing Day 2015, is going to be more frequent – Surely it is unwise to build on low -lying land.

And to put the tin lid on it, so to speak, the inspector seems to think that the affordable housing that we do need probably won’t be supplied, in the numbers required, via the Plan or at least that is my reading of his view.

Many of us have been scratching our heads about the supposed housing need. Yes we need affordable housing for young people to be able to get on the housing ladder. Yes we need 1 and 2 bedroom properties because many of us live alone these days and we also need small properties for the retired and elderly to be able to downsize to. We also need more social housing. But will any of this flow from this Plan? It seems unlikely to me.

What we seem to be going to build in Sefton are many more 3 and 4 bedroom properties so increasing our problems not resolving them! It’s as though the Council and planning experts have picked up and looked though the wrong end of a telescope and when this has been pointed out to them they have gone into denial of the obvious.

As an environmental campaigner this is a sad day indeed for the Borough of Sefton but it seems to be a cause for celebration for Labour! Cllr Ian Maher, Labour Leader of Sefton Council, said: “The initial findings from the Inspector are very supportive and subject to a few minor amendments, set us up on a clear path to adopt the plan.” What’s to be happy about, I ask you what on earth is there to be happy about?????