Green Belt loss – Well I’m not surprised, are you?

The vast Maghull East development (presently high grade agricultural land) site as seen from Poverty Lane, Maghull

New Government data backs CPRE Green Belt figures – the story is on the CPRE’s web site via the link below:-

www.cpre.org.uk/media-centre/latest-news-releases/item/4973-new-government-data-backs-cpre-green-belt-figures?utm_medium=email&utm_source=engagingnetworks&utm_campaign=campaigns-update-2018-oct-nonmembers&utm_content=Campaigns+Update+2018+Oct+-+non+members

Quote from CPRE article – New statistics from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government show the largest increase in the amount of Green Belt land released for housing to date

An analysis of the new Government data released today (4 October) by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) shows that since 2012 almost 10,000 hectares of Green Belt land have been released from ‘protected’ Green Belt boundaries by local councils. Ten councils have together released more than 5,000 hectares in the past year alone [1].

Can’t say I’m in any way surprised having spent years trying to stop building on Green Belt and the highest grades of agricultural land in Sefton Borough and now hearing of even more Green Belt development in neighbouring West Lancashire.

Where on earth is the connect between housing, planning, food production and environmental policies here in the UK? And what’s so galling is that even when this precious food growing land is lost we will still not end up with the types of housing that we actually need!

Fracking – You help fight it by joining a local crowdfunding scheme

With fracking a really serious possibility in West Lancashire and more precisely in Altcar Civil Parish, which is all but surrounded on 3 sides by Sefton Borough, those opposed to fracking are trying to raise money to fight the planning application which is expected to be submitted any day now to West Lancs Borough Council. The link below explains and via it you can join the crowd funders who oppose fracking locally:-

www.crowdfunder.co.uk/help-us-to-save-altcar-moss-from-fracking

The Moss Alliance comprises community groups opposed to fracking in West Lancashire and Sefton. To help them oppose Aurora Energy Resources’ planning application for exploratory drilling and fracking at Altcar Moss near Formby they will need to engage expert consultants. Expert advice does not come free so they need to raise a considerable sum so that the consultants can give them the best chance of defeating Aurora’s first prospective frack site.

This is one of the biggest environmental challenges locally so please help if you can.

Private rented housing in Sefton Borough – Some stats from the BBC

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-43881389

According to the BBC article on its web site – see link above – in Sefton someone with a full-time job works until 20 April to pay the rent for the year. That’s 13 working days less than in 2011.

Average wage: £ 21,747 a year after tax.

Average rent: £ 6,600 a year, the same as in 2011.

Editor’s Note – Sefton is of course a very diverse Borough with much low end private rented housing in places such as parts of Southport and Bootle, whilst at the same time a lot of high end private rental housing in other parts of Southport, in Lydiate, Maghull, Formby etc. So averages can be deceptive.

Housing ‘Viability Assessments’ the developers tool to back out of affordable housing

www.cpre.org.uk/media-centre/latest-news-releases/item/4785-Rural-communities-denied-affordable-housing-as-developers-exploit-loophole?utm_source=cpre&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=viable_villages&utm_medium=email&utm_source=engagingnetworks&utm_campaign=2018-viability-report-email&utm_content=2018+viability+campaigns+email

This is a serious problem and I recall seeing builders trying to back out of building the ‘required’ number of affordable homes on development sites during my time on Sefton Council’s Planning Committee. Oh and yes the term ‘affordable homes’ is vague and open to differing interpretations itself.

So have a look at the link above from CPRE (Council for the Protection of Rural England) as their video captures one route developers use to maximise their profit at the expense of the kind of homes communities actually need.

Yes I know, regular readers may recall that I have had my issues with CPRE’s approach to housing matters in Sefton Borough in the past but this campaign is spot on.

England Coast Path – Coming to a Borough like Sefton soon

Hightown Beach

I have been aware of this project to create a coastal path along the whole of the English coast for some time but had not looked at it in any detail for a while. However, at a recent meeting of the Sefton Rights of Way Liaison Group the project came up and I decided to delve into it again.

I’m told by those in the know that the whole project is due to be completed by 2020, so that’s not long at all is it. I also understand that details of the proposed north west stretch of the path will be out for consultation very soon. Our section covers the coast from Cleveleys down to Liverpool Pier Head – See map linked below:-

www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/602831/cleveleys-pier-head-stretch-map.pdf

It will indeed be interesting to see what the proposals for the section of path through Sefton Borough will look like. Watch this space……

Here’s a link to the .gov.uk pages about the project:-

www.gov.uk/government/collections/england-coast-path-improving-public-access-to-the-coast

Sinonswood – Cycling and Fly-tipping

A nice lane to cycle is Outlet Lane which turns off Prescot Road by Carla Lane Animals in Need. Starting off in the Civil Parish of Melling it soon leaves Sefton Borough and goes into West Lancs Borough and the Civil Parish of Simonswood.

It’s a single track road so you have to watch out for farm vehicles but sadly you can also watch out for the consequences of those in our society who care nothing for the environment – the fly-tippers.

And you know much of what I saw dumped in ditches alongside the road could easily be disposed of at a waste disposal site, for goodness sake there’s such a site within a couple of miles at Sefton Meadows! So why go out to a country lane to dump when you can do so without any issues at a local recycling centre?

Yes I now some of the dumping is old tyres, asbestos, builders rubble etc. from companies and contractors who are deliberately trying to evade the legal processes to safely dispose of such waste and that this is becoming a national scandal.

Here in Outlet Lane Simonswood Parish Council are trying to do their bit to stop the fly-tipping:-

But surely this lane could easily be protected from the activities of the anti-social element of our society and indeed we could have the pleasure of catching them too! All that is needed would be a couple of covert surveillance cameras at each end of the lane. Why can’t West Lancs and Sefton Borough Councils do this?