Lydiate/Great Altcar Footpath Mystery

I’ve been trying to find the public footpath that starts (or finishes) at the junction of Bells Lane/Altcar Lane* right on the boundary of Lydiate and Great Altcar. It runs from this point in a southwesterly direction over the Cheshire Lines/Trans Pennine Trail footpath/cycle path and then on via Showicks Bridge to Lunt Meadows Nature Reserve.

Actually, it’s just the short section of it from Bells Lane/Altcar Lane to the Cheshire Lines Path that I’m trying to trace because when I travel along the CLP I can’t find it at all. Below is a photo of the general area of the CLP that I’m referring to and the footpath should cross it just a few yards to the north of the concrete posts according to the Ordnance Survey map that I have:-

The concrete posts denote where a farmer’s track crosses the CLP (although on the right-hand side it is clearly out of use – note the fencing) and I think the path should cross it more or less where the large tree is.

I’ve raised the matter with West Lancashire Borough Council’s Footpaths Officer to see if they can shine any light on the matter.

If any local walkers or indeed Maghull Ramblers can assist with this mystery please do so…..

* The starting/finishing point which I refer to used to be through Upper Gore Farm but that was redeveloped for housing some years ago and it’s now called Mercer Court.

Click on the photo to enlarge it

Ormskirk – Trouble at Council meeting leads to Police being called over Planning objections

The Liverpool Echo has the story on this web site – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/west-lancashire-local-plan-police-15141325

Planning applications, particularly those for vast new urban housing estates on what has to date been Green Belt and/or high grade agricultural land, always causes huge public upset. We’ve seen it neighbouring Sefton Borough in Formby, Southport and Lydiate/Maghull as is recorded on this blog site numerous times.

Having been on a Borough Planning Committee my thoughts are this. Local people do not have enough control over how their communities are developed, the planning system is far too complicated and difficult for ordinary folk to engage with and Councils are poor at engaging with their own residents.

As I’ve have also said time and time again there is a huge disconnect between planning and environmental policy making with the environment usually taking 2nd place in the process.

But probably more than anything else I bet that the house building that is planned for West Lancashire will, like in Sefton Borough, fail to meet the actual needs of local people anyway. More 3, 4 and 5 bedroomed properties when the need is almost bound to be for social housing, smaller properties & bungalows/single level properties. The land will be sacrificed, often land that grows the food we eat, but even then housing need in the real world will sadly not be met.

No wonder folk get angry with the system!

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

Lydiate – Those new wind turbines visible from it but over in Great Altcar

Yes I saw them pop up out of nowhere too in the past couple of weeks and also wondered about them.

A cycle along the Cheshire Lines Path as far as United Utilities’ Sewage Treatment Works (actually officially called – Hillhouse Waste Water Treatment Works) in Wood Lane, Great Altcar gave me the answer; they are both within the confines of the works so must have been erected to help power it.

Clearly they were still to be commissioned when I went for a closer look on 30th March and took these photographs:-

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?

Lower Alt Wind Turbines – Rejected

West Lancs Council Planning Committee last night rejected the planning application to erect 12 turbines on land in Great Altcar Parish between Lydiate and Ince Blundell.

The local campaign group HALT ran the successful fight against the turbines.

HALT poster

It may seem odd that I am supportive of the rejection of these turbines as I am very firmly a supporter of renewable energy. However, what I could not never understand about this particular application was that the turbines, their massive concrete foundations and the access roads to service them would all be on the highest grade of agricultural land in England. On that basis I could not support them and am pleased that West Lancs Council has rejected them.

This photo is from a consultation event in Lydiate before the planning application was submitted.

This photo is from a consultation event in Lydiate before the planning application was submitted.

I doubt this will be the end of the story however as I assume that an appeal against the refusal will be made by the land owner/developer. Watch this space.

Lower Alt Wind Turbines – West Lancs Planning Committee meets on 10th November to determine whether they will go ahead or not

Readers of this blog site will be aware that Labour members of West Lancs Planning Committee were not prepared to make a decision on this most controversial of planning applications a couple of weeks ago so it was deferred. They can’t keep ducking the issue so it’s back before them on 10th November.

The Planning report has changed a bit and is detailed below but the substance of the recommendation, to reject the application, is as it was in my view. The deferment last time was supposedly because the Labour members had not had time to read the papers and consider the matter fully.

7.0 DEPARTURE APPLICATION
7.1 This proposal is a significant Departure from the Development Plan in that it
involves a development normally inappropriate in the Green Belt. The application
should, therefore, be referred to the Secretary of State if the Council were mindful
to grant approval.

8.0 RECOMMENDATION

8.1 That planning permission be REFUSED for the following reasons:-
Reasons for Refusal

1. The proposed development constitutes inappropriate development within the
Green Belt which would be harmful to the Green Belt by definition, contrary to the
National Planning Policy Framework and Policy GN1 in the West Lancashire
Local Plan Development Plan Document 2012-2027. In addition the proposed
development would have a significant adverse impact upon the openness of the
Green Belt and conflict with one of the purposes of including land in the Green
Belt, aimed at safeguarding the countryside from encroachment. The very special
circumstances advanced in favour of the proposed development, namely the
provision of renewable energy, are considered insufficient to outweigh this harm.

2. By virtue of its siting, height and scale the proposed development would be
harmful to the visual amenity and landscape character of this part of the Green
Belt contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework, Policies GN3 and EN2
of the West Lancashire Local Plan Development Plan Document 2012-2027 and
the Council’s Supplementary Planning Guidance “Natural Areas and Areas of
Landscape History Importance”.

3. The development of the proposed 12 turbines would due to their height, scale,
proximity and extent cause harm to the significance, to the historic setting, of a
number of designated heritage assets (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas).
The proposal in this respect fails to meet the statutory duty as required by
Section 66(1) and Section 72 (1) of the Planning (Listed Building and
Conservation Areas) Act 1990. The Council does not consider the stated public
benefits, including the provision of renewable energy, outweigh the harm
identified (less than substantial) to the designated heritage assets affected. The
proposal is therefore contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework and
Policy EN4 of the adopted West Lancashire Local Plan Development Plan
Document 2012-2027.

4. The proposed development conflicts with paragraph 118 of the National Planning
Policy Framework and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations
2010 (as amended) and Policy EN2 of the West Lancashire Local Plan
Development Plan Document 2012-2027 in that insufficient information has been
provided to demonstrate that the proposed development would not adversely
affect internationally designated sites, their qualifying features and supporting
habitat.

5. The proposed development fails to comply with the National Planning Practice
Guidance in that the site is not allocated as suitable for wind energy development
in the West Lancashire Local Plan Development Plan Document 2012-2027 and
the planning impacts identified by local communities in relation to the green belt,
landscape character, heritage assets and ecology have not been fully addressed
and therefore the proposal does not have their backing.

Lydiate and Ince Blundell Parish Councils both opposed the plans a long time ago and their concerns seem to be mirrored by the comments of the professional planning officers at West Lancs Council.

Note: Whilst the site for the turbines is in West Lancashire it is on that strip of land that cuts into Sefton Borough between Lydiate and Ince Blundell Civil Parishes.

The Planning Committee meeting will be held in the offices of West Lancs Council in Derby Street Ormskirk and the meeting starts at 19.30hrs.