Fragoff – A powerful message about the number of houses really needed in Sefton

To see the pain of the faces of Labour campaigners and councillors when Maria Bennett took a seat on Sefton Council in Formby last May was a delight. You see, in my opinion, Labour had bet on yet another ‘yes’ person being elected under their banner to do the bidding of Bootle Labour Party. But it was not to be as Formby rose up to defend its Green Belt and high grade agricultural land from Labour’s attacks on it and independent Maria stormed to victory.

Now I have got that little rant off my chest this is why I am posting this particular blog piece. As the latest consultation period has come to an end on the notorious Sefton Local Plan Maria’s hard hitting and well informed FRAGOFF group has produced a very interesting fact and it is this (I quote directly from FRAGOFF’s submission to Sefton Council on the ‘additional sites’ consultation):-

‘We would like to point out that since the Draft Local Plan was submitted for consultation the 2012-based Subnational Population Projections have been released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). These figures suggest that the 2010 data used to inform that Draft Local Plan has significantly over estimated the increase in population in Sefton over the designated time span. We would therefore now expect sites to be withdrawn from development and suggest that we should not be considering any additional sites until a new evaluation is made based on the most up to date figures.’

This really is one of those told you so moments as both FRAGOFF and the Lib Dems questioned in detail the robustness of the projected population growth figures when the draft was being put together and we were effectively ignored.

It will be interesting to see what happens next because you can bet that Labour will soon be claiming black is white and that they never supported the figures that they backed when they voted for the Draft Local Plan!

Immigration will hit housing, warns report

A report by think tank Civitas is warning that high levels of immigration will undermine living standards by putting pressure on schools, housing and hospitals. “Population growth may lead to housing shortages and pressure on public facilities such as schools, hospitals and the transport infrastructure,” the report says. Net migration has been over 200,000 every year for the past decade and the report suggests that population will increase by a projected 20m over the next 50 years if this continues.

The Times, Page: 4 The Daily Telegraph, Page: 4

Mm, this kind of report probably hits a note but it also has the unfortunate consequence of feeding a racist agenda by default. Immigration will be just one of a number of factors that causes pressures on housing availability and public services. I do hope it is kept in context but fear that it will not be by those with popularist agendas.

Population of England to reach 61m by 2037 – It’s an environmental crisis

According to estimates from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) the population of England is projected to grow at double the pace of the rest of the UK over the next 23 years. By 2037 it is estimated that more than 61m people will live in England – a rise of 16%. In contrast, 1.9m will reside in Northern Ireland (up 10%), 5.7m will live in Scotland (+9%) and some 3.2m people will make their home in Wales (+8%). Almost two thirds of the increase will be a result of immigration, either through newcomers arriving or the increased birth rate of migrants who have arrived in recent years.

The Times, Page: 15 – 5th June 2014

My problem with this issue is the environmental effect. We are a small island that can’t, in my view, continue to sustain an ever expanding population whatever the cause of that expansion may be. A rising population leads to more housing being built on high grade agricultural land, which in turn makes us a less sustainable nation for food production.

I don’t subscribe to the UKIP and right wing Tory view which I think tries to make racism more palatable. This is not a race issue it is a significant environmental, green and sustainability issue that we ignore at our peril.