Having decided to go to this event to hear what Thornton residents feel about Sefton’s Local Plan and Labour’s Green Belt grab I took along my camera. I met some old friends and made some new ones and a pleasant afternoon we all had as we walked around the Parish of Thornton. Here are my shots:-
People coming together by the Nags Head
The last time I walked around Thornton like this was around 1999 when we relaunched the campaign to get the Switch Island – Thornton Relief Road built. That campaign was a success but we had Labour on board then. In this Green Belt campaign they are the problem!
None of Thornton’s 3 Labour Sefton Councillors were present for the walk and that was certainly being noticed! I fully expected MP Bill Esterson to be there but there was no sign of him.
Check out the link below for more information about Thornton’s campaign to save its Green Belt:-
Thornton and District Community Group are inviting residents to join them in a Defend Our Green Belt D.O.G. walk!
Dog Walk Green Belt Protest
The Purpose of the walk is to raise awareness of the impacts the Local Plan in the Thornton area and to ensure you know how this will impact upon you.
They will rally at 2pm and take the planned walk around Thornton. Please tell and bring your families, friends and dogs. Dogs are not essential, everyone is welcome.
Find them at the stocks and sundial, the corner of Water St and Lydiate Lane, Sunday 16th of March 2pm. Please attend if you can, as there is much to discuss.
They hope to see you there.
Its 5 months since I wrote that particular posting but what I said is still valid in my view.
I went to a presentation last week in Bootle Town Hall about the emerging findings of something called the ‘Consequences Study’ which is being undertaken by planning consultants NLP for Sefton Council. It seems reasonably clear to me from that event that the house building ‘requirement’ for Sefton is being built (sorry for the pun) upon a significantly rising population created in no small part by predicted inward immigration into the Borough from elsewhere. That ‘from elsewhere’ is what ONS (Office of National Statistics) are trying to predict, although not in my view with any great certainty.
There was a chap at the presentation from Thornton Parish Council and he asked about such ONS projections and their validity. His point, I think, was that ONS will have taken immigration into the UK together with UK residents moving around and extrapolated an answer for each local authority area but that can’t be much more than sticking a finger up in the wind as how on earth can anyone know how many immigrants will want to settle in Sefton as opposed to anywhere else?
The bottom line for me is that despite all the work and studies the house building ‘requirement’ for Sefton is little more than informed guesswork. But, when the best and most versatile agricultural land in England is at stake, if it gets built upon, it seems environmentally daft to me to put it at risk based on highly questionable/unpredictable population stats.
My guts tell me that preserving that mere 2% of England’s land mass that is such high grade agricultural land and which makes up the vast majority of Sefton’s Green Belt has to be the priority for feeding future generations.
Despite my strong attachment to environmental sustainability I am trying to keep an open mind about Sefton’s Local Plan as it begins to emerge, but it is hard going.
My thanks to the local resident from Lydiate for raising this with me again.
Well I have heard it all now; Bill Esterson thinks he got the road going again when it was looking like it was not going to happen. Where he gets that idea from beats me.
The new road has never been in any serious doubt what so ever since the Coalition Government gave it the green light following Labour, when they were in government, giving it no more than an amber light. Indeed, I remember only too well the Transport Minister coming to Switch Island to confirm the Coalition was giving it the go ahead. Mr Esterson was not at that event.
But the real heroes of this campaign are not MP’s or even Borough Councillors, they are the people of Thornton and their Parish Council. It was Thornton folk who resurrected the campaign around the turn of the last Century when they organised a mass protest/march to wake up a then sleeping Sefton Council that thought it could never get the road built. I was on that march and a great day it was too; the start of what was to be a successful last push after years and years of the project going nowhere.
So let us celebrate for sure but as for the MP trying to give the impression that the project was in the balance and that he helped to kick start it again! Give me strength…..