Maghull – Now about that vast urban extension to the east of the Town

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

The Liverpool Echo has the article on its website – see link below

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/housing-company-banned-joe-anderson-16287342

I wonder where this is heading and will Sefton Council take the same approach to these developers as Liverpool City Council seems to be doing? It feels like a long time now since Sefton Council picked the vast Maghull East site for an urban extension to the Town on what is presently high grade agricultural land. And it was a hugely controversial move which created a significant environmental protest movement in the Town and indeed across the Borough of Sefton, which I was a part of – see my many previous posting about it on this Sefton Focus Blog Site.

But there is danger here in thinking that Sefton Council or indeed Liverpool City Council can achieve much on land which is in private ownership. Yes, if the land to be sold is owned by a Council it gives it far more leverage as to the use it is put to otherwise, if the land is in private hands, the leverage is far, far less.

Like many I want to see the end to leasehold and ground rents etc.

Maghull/Lydiate – HOUSING DEVELOPMENT – “IT AIN’T NECESSARILY SO !”

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

Cllr. John Pugh is the Opposition Leader on Sefton Council. This is his press release following a Sefton Council Planning Committee ‘wobble’ regarding housing development sites in the Borough last week:-

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The decision last week by Sefton council to delay giving the final go-ahead to housing development in Southport could give hope to Maghull and Lydiate residents facing massive housing expansion in the area.

A combination of people power and sound argument at last Wednesday’s planning committee prevented the usual rubber stamping of a planned housing development on farmland in Bankfield Lane Northern Southport.

According to the Sefton Lib Dem opposition leader Cllr John Pugh, this represents a watershed moment.

“Until now the ruling party [Labour] has pushed all plans through, claiming that the government requires it and their hands are tied. Incursion into the green belt has been driven by housing target numbers with little regard to sustainability. However developers last week had no good answers when residents brought up the issue of drainage and flooding key issues in Maghull and Lydiate – and Sefton’s planning committee for once wobbled.”

“Its time now for Sefton to follow West Lancs and review its local plans. The huge numbers of dwellings supposedly needed are based on dubious projections from consultants’ reports.Those reports are a developer’s charter , a builder’s dream but not a sustainable blueprint for our future communities. Sefton’s plans are no longer consistent with the government’s recently released 25 year plan and have to be changed. The government now is insisting that development should result in “Net Environmental Gain “ https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/693158/25-year-environment-plan.pdf

Last week Sefton wobbled. This week campaigners for the greenbelt and a more sustainable approach need to scale up their efforts to persuade.”

Maghull – Accidents around Maricourt School

The letter below has been written by Maghull resident Malcolm Gore in response to an article in the Aintree and Maghull Champion newspaper regarding the dangerous (for pedestrians) nature of the junction of Hall Lane and Damfield Lane outside Maricourt RC High School in Maghull.

Dear Editor,

After reading the article on safety at Maricourt High School, ( Champ 8th June), I feel there is one major relevant point to be made. This has been a problem for years and my sympathies are with any family that has suffered due to an accident here.

Sefton’s huge planned urbanisation of Maghull will result in almost 2,000 houses being built in close proximity to Maricourt and not only will this greatly increase the number of pupils going there but will result in increased numbers of primary pupils being driven to St. Georges school down Hall Lane, greatly increasing the problem.

When this was explained to Sefton Traffic Dept they reported to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee that they saw no “tipping point” when traffic would be a problem and preferred to” Sort it out on an ongoing basis.” They were also quite happy for developers to do their own traffic survey.

The fact the Highways Dept are showing concern now leaves me speechless. As does the fact that local councillors are also showing concern when they are the very same councillors who have voted for the huge development in the first place and even failed to oppose it at Town Council level.

Far from sorting out the Maricourt problem, the Local Plan will make it far worse.

Malcolm Gore

Maghull resident.

Labour – What a strange Green Belt pledge

Everyone in Sefton knows that Labour pledged to defend the Green Belt but then voted on Sefton Council to build on it! A real say one thing do another politician’s pledge if ever we heard one.

The part of Sefton Borough that it going to be hit hardest by Labour’s broken pledge is Maghull & Lydiate where huge urban extensions are to be built on high grade agricultural land which is also Green Belt. This is the very land that grows the food that we eat.

This huge site off Poverty Lane in Maghull is just one that Labour-run Sefton Council has voted to build on.

This huge site off Poverty Lane in Maghull is just one that Labour-run Sefton Council has voted to build on.

Click on the photo to enlarge it

So what is the Labour pledge now? ‘Protect our community from inappropriate development on greenbelt land’. What on earth does that mean?

Does that mean it was ‘appropriate’ for Labour to vote for Green Belt land to be built on across the Borough on the ‘we say it is appropriate’ basis?

Why did Labour think it ‘appropriate’ for the land to the east of Maghull (1500+ houses and an industrial park) to be built on? What made this site ‘appropriate’?

If I was a potential Labour supporter, which of course I am not, in Maghull & Lydiate I would be thinking that I had been spun too many yarns by the comrades especially about such vital environmental matters locally.

Maghull Green Belt – More pressure being heaped on Labour councillors

Below is the text of an e-mail sent to Labour members of Sefton Council by a clearly well informed Maghull resident following the Overview & Scrutiny meeting on Sefton’s draft Local Plan which I commented on recently on this blog site:-

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I attended last nights meeting, a debut for me, and was surprised by the orderly nature of the evening, considering the content. Whilst it is fair to say that Labour councillors are not on my Christmas present shopping list, (though Bill Esterson may get a surprise under his tree after his recent outburst) I must congratulate you on managing to get the planners,”on the ropes” a few times, particularly regarding roads and schools on the School Lane site, MN 338andMN246,( I assume M.N. stands for Maghull Newtown).

To admit that the cornerstone of the whole plan, 1400 houses etc. was still awaiting a traffic assessment and no “tipping point” would matter in terms of traffic volume, was quite frankly mind blowing. Should this not have been done BEFORE the site was put in the plan?

Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes surveys the present high grade agricultural land/Green Belt to the east of Maghull where a massive urban extension is being proposed by Labour-run Sefton Council

Simon Hughes MP and local Lib Dem Green Belt campaigners survey the present high grade agricultural land/Green Belt to the east of Maghull where a massive urban extension (‘Newtown’) is being proposed by Labour-run Sefton Council

Then in answer to your question about a catholic primary school, something they [Sefton Planning Dept.] had obviously not considered, to suggest they could go to St Georges would create even more traffic, have you ever seen the school run there.

This only confirmed my suspicions that someone from planning looked at a map, saw a big field and said, we’ll build here .

A quick point on figures discussed. The O.N.S [Office of National Statistics] project a population increase of 5,000 in the 16 years to 2031 and 6,000 in the 22 years to 2037.

The plan wants to build an average of 615 homes per year. Assuming a 2.2 [person] occupancy rate it means each year 1353 (615 X2.2) of the new population are housed, therefore it will take just over 3.5 years to house the 5,000 people in the 15 year plan period and just under 4.5 years to house the 6,000 in the 22 year period (5,000 divided by 1353 and 6,000 divided by 1353).

This means during the plan time 11.5 years worth of houses out of 15 years, 7072 houses to be exact, are not for the population increase as predicted but just to cover things like backlog, second homes, (come to sunny Maghull for your hols) etc. You must admit it is daft.

So come and join the Esterson camp you know it makes sense.

Your comments would be appreciated.

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There can be little doubt that environmental campaigners around Sefton are putting together a strong case to challenge Labour-led Sefton Council’s draft Local Plan and that their campaigning is gathering pace and supporters. If only Maghull Town Council (also Labour run) had found the courage to fight the Planners proposals for the huge urban extension, or ‘Newtown‘ as referred to above, rather than allowing it all to wash over them. In the last round of what was then called the Unitary Development Plan in 1998 the Town Council (then Lib Dem-run) stood up and took on all comers to defend Maghull’s Green Belt and it won the day. If you don’t fight you can’t win and this time Maghull TC (now Labour-run) did not fight!

Money being thrown at Maghull & District by Coalition? – What does it all mean?

I made mention of the Coalition Government funding 90% of the cost of Maghull’s second railway Station in a recent posting and them previously throwing a large amount of money at the presently being built Switch Island – Thornton (to be called Broomscross Road) link road. But there is a also a 3rd project that will ‘benefit’ Maghull and district that the Coalition has recently stumped up £5.5m (again around 90% of the cost) for.

Makes you wonder why the Coalition seemingly loves throwing so much money at the East Parishes part of Sefton, does it not, especially as the previous Labour Government did not put a penny into the pot for any of these three major transportation projects.

The third major project is to make the M58 Motorway junction near Ashworth Hospital/Kennet Prison a full junction as opposed to it being half of one as it always has been. I assume the half junction was a cost cutting saving when the Motorway was originally built?

I recall that my former Lib Dem councilor colleagues Cliff Mainey & Roy Connell campaigned for it be made a full junction some years ago. Cliff/Roy you have got your wish even though it took a few years!

BUT this 3rd project, welcome though it may be at face value, is probably tied to getting that huge piece of land to the east of Maghull developed for housing and business use. Readers will recall that Labour have already voted to build what can only be termed as a massive ‘urban extension’ on a truly enormous scale on that land in the Draft Local Plan for Sefton. Have Labour now inked out the building on that site even before the Local, Plan is finalised? I think we should be told.

Separately, the site Maghull North Station is to be built on can only be said to be confusing because at face value Labour are seemingly opposed to building houses on it (it is called the Ashworth South site) for some odd reason. My previous posting refers at:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/07/22/ashworth-south-site-the-proposed-maghull-north-station/

You see the remainder of the funding for the new station (or quite a bit of it anyway) will most likely come from ‘planning gain’ associated with the building of houses on the rest of this site. Interestingly, all the environmental campaigners locally that I know are quite content for this site to be developed because it has been developed before – Moss Side Hospital previously stood on it. So why Labour have cold feet about developing it when across the road (literally across School Lane) they are ‘ploughing’ on with building more houses on Green Belt land than you can shake a stick at remains a mystery. Can Bootle Labour Party please issue clear guidance and instructions to Maghull Labour, so they know what they are doing please!

So there you have it or put it another way:-

* Switch Island – Thornton Link Road – Not funded by Labour but by The Coalition – It has all-party support and should be finished by Christmas.

* Maghull North Station – Not funded by Labour but by The Coalition – seemingly has all-party support but Labour can’t make their minds up about developing the rest of the Ashworth South site which would enable all the funding to be in place.

* M58 Ashworth Junction – Not funded by Labour but by The Coalition – but have Labour done a deal to build an ‘urban extension’ to Maghull (on Green Belt land) to get the money?