Halsall Residents Against Planning

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Q local/ormskirk

MP Rosie calls for help over planning shambles


Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has written to the Planning Inspectorate Chief Executive asking for an investigation into local planning application shambles.

Dalton residents have contacted MP Rosie to express their lack of confidence in the Borough Council’s planning process and the Planning Committee. In May, the plans for a development on Long Heys Lane, Dalton, were considered by the Committee. It was decided to defer the decision after controversial rulings and votes on whether to reject the plans.

These plans are next due before the Planning Committee at its meeting on 20th June 2013.

Speaking ahead of the meeting MP Rosie said:

“This case highlights some very serious and deep concerns about how planning decisions are being taken by the Borough Council".

“We have a situation in which the Council have failed to pursue planning enforcement on this site; the plans submitted don’t appear to make sense; the procedure followed in taking the votes was shambolic and appeared to be irregular; and the wishes of the Committee Members as shown by the vote on the motion to refuse the application appear to have been over-ruled.

“All of this has led to local residents losing confidence in the planning process".

“Besides writing to West Lancashire Borough Council’s Planning Department, I’ve also written to the Planning Inspectorate. I feel that the Council need to get some help and advice, before residents completely lose faith in the planning process in West Lancashire. It is the residents who will have to live with the consequences of some really poor planning decisions, all of which could have been avoided.”

  1. I have no faith in WLBC which in the case of the current local plan simply massaged the evidence to shore up a politically motivated strategic planning strategy.

    At least one key fundamental decision that affected the strategic planning of the entire district was delegated to cabinet then voted through by councillors who all appeared to follow the party line set by cabinet.

    The process was neither transparently logical nor transparently honest. We the residents and local taxpayers will eventually have to sort out the mess.
by Gavin R; 14/06/2013


13 June 2013

Vacant homes not included in new homes calculations

THE number of vacant homes in West Lancashire is nearing 2,000, as the Local Plan – West Lancashire’s planning policy for the next 15 years – calls for 4,858 new-build properties.

According to statistics released under the Freedom of Information Act, West Lancashire currently has 1,833 vacant residential properties which are not taken into consideration in the formulation of the plan.

The council has stated that this number is part of the natural “churn” within the housing market.

In his interim views on the plan, inspector Roger Clews has recommended a housing requirement of 4,858 dwellings for the period 2012-2027. However, he did not include current vacant properties in the calculation of this figure and it would be entirely made up of new properties, some of which have brought a great deal of controversy as it would mean building on Green Belt land.

A statement from the council said: “Vacant properties cannot be taken into account in calculating the requirement for new housing in an area – vacant properties are a normal part of the housing market and help to maintain the ‘churn’ within the market which helps the property market function.

“Within West Lancs, the level of vacant properties is below the national average and within the expected normal range of vacant properties that is necessary for the housing market to function.”

However, David Ireland, of Homes from Empty Homes, says that councils should consider some empty properties as part of their plans.

He said: “If an empty home is turned back into a home, it is known as a ‘windfall’ – which means a home that helps to meet the targets but can not be planned for.

“Councils should aim for a mixture of new homes and bringing vacant homes back in to use, which is often not reflected in Local Plans because of archaic rules.”

However, these rules were made clear during the inspector’s consultation on the Local Plan.

Colin Atkinson, who has been working with the Aughton residents group to prevent Green Belt land at Parr’s Lane being earmarked for development, said: “It is difficult because West Lancashire does cover quite a big area and it was made clear in the consultation process that vacant residential homes were not taken into account when looking at hthe number of homes needed in the borough.”

Labour group leader and councillor for the Burscough East ward, Roger Bell, believes that the number of vacant homes is usual for the local housing market, but encourages people to engage in the consultation.

Cllr Bell said: “The interim report from the Planning Inspector raises a number of issues.

“He is asking that land for about 200 more houses is allocated in the Plan.

“A report is going to the cabinet next week that recommends sites in Halsall bordering on Southport to provide this, and that a six-week consultation will start soon.

“Once again, the Tory administration is making a mockery of the ‘consultation’ by trying to determine the outcome first.

“By putting their own party interests before those of the people of West Lancashire, it will limit the consultation, taking away any element of choice and restricting the questions to simply saying yes or no to their own preferences.

“So we encourage everyone to make their views known during the consultation.”

From: customerserviceresponse-donotreply@uuplc.co.uk
To: dannyrob@talktalk.net
Sent: Fri, 23 Nov 2012 16:05
Subject: Your response from United Utilities ***Please do not reply to
this email***

Dear Mr Roberts

Our ref: CAS12-0022-9053

Further to my email of 16 November 2012, I have received confirmation
from our Network Manager for you area that the camera survey work has
been completed. We were able to carry out the final length of survey
along with a high powered jetting exercise. The results of this
confirmed that there are no defects or blockages present within our
sewer network.

This also confirms that the flooding you and neighbouring properties
experienced was caused by hydraulic inadequacy were our sewer was
unable to cope with the amount of rainfall and flows for the nearby
brook. I am sorry for the inconvenience this flooding has caused you, I
would ask that you continue to report any incidents of flooding to us
by calling 0845 746 2200 so we can investigate every incident.

If you would like any information about this reply, please call me on
the number provided below. Our office is open Monday to Friday from
9.00 am to 5.00 pm.

Yours sincerely

Katie Lowery
Case Owner
Customer Relations Department
17th October 2012
Consideration was given to the report of the Borough Planner as contained on pages397 to 418 of the Book of Reports, the purpose of which was to advise Council on the proposed new Local Plan for the Borough and sought approval to submit the Local Plan to the Secretary of State for Communities and LocalGovernment for
A Motion to approve the recommendation at 2.1 of the report, was moved and seconded.
At the request of a member before the vote was taken, the voting on the Motion was recorded as follows:

FOR: Councillors Ashcroft, Mrs Atherley, Bailey, Baldock, Baybutt, Mrs Blake,
Blane, Cheetham, Cropper, Mrs C Evans, Mrs R Evans,Forshaw, Fowler,
Grant, Greenall, Griffiths, Mrs Hopley, Mrs Houlgrave, G Jones, Kay, Mrs
Kean, Ms Melling, O’Toole, Owens, Pope, Mrs Stephenson, Sudworth,

AGAINST: Councillors Aldridge, Bell, Davis, Delaney, Fillis, Furey, Gibson,
Hennessey, G Hodson, J Hodson, L Hodson, McKay, Moran, Nolan,
Oliver, Owen, Pendleton, Pryce-Roberts, Pye, Savage, West, Wilkie and

The Motion was CARRIED.
RESOLVED: That the West Lancashire Local Plan 2012-2027 Development Plan
Document – Publication Version (Appendix 1) be approved forsubmission to the Secretary of State for
Communities and Local Government for an Examination in Public.
(Note: Councillor Dereli left the room whilst this item was under consideration.)


2012 The Strategic Options and Green Belt release paper

Technical Paper 1: Strategic Options and Green Belt Release v2 July 2012 (page 8 of 62)

iv) Development on the Southport Boundary
A scenario that effectively allows Southport to expand into West
Lancashire’s Green Belt on the Borough boundary (e.g. at Brown Edge
and Moss Road / New Cut Lane areas) was considered but parts of the
area suffers from significant flood risk and much of the area is constrained
by deep peat resources that would mean development would require
costly piling within the foundations. The land in this location is also Grade
1 agricultural land and is very open, meaning that the loss of Green Belt in
this location could be quite harmful. In addition, the Council had concerns
that locating significant development in this location would not actually
address West Lancashire’s needs or bring benefit to West Lancashire, as
any new development would essentially be considered a part of Southport
and would rely on Southport’s services and employment opportunities.

Plan "B" Page 22 of 62
One part of the Borough that was previously ruled out for the options for
preferred Green Belt release but does come into consideration for the “Plan
B” is the area of Halsall parish that is adjacent to the borough boundary with
Sefton. This area has constraints, but was primarily ruled out of consideration
for preferred Green Belt release because of its reliance on Southport and the
concern that it would not be meeting West Lancashire’s needs. Given that
the “Plan B” is being considered solely to ensure flexibility if preferred
development cannot be delivered elsewhere in the Borough, it is considered
appropriate to consider this area on the edge of Southport as a back-up plan,
if development constraints can be overcome.

Page 31 of 62, Summary of “Plan B” Site Assessments

Land to south of New CutLane, Halsall

Site found not to fulfil any purpose of theGreen Belt.
Site in several ownerships but there is evidence that those owners are working
together to promote the site.
Site is not reliant on improvements to waste water infrastructure, but there may be costs
associated with connections to utility infrastructure in Birkdale.
Highway access possible through gap between properties on New Cut Lane.


July 2012, West lancashire Council Substainable Settlement Study


6.4 Halsall


6.20 Halsall is a small rural settlement in the west of the Borough and has few services to provide

for its residents. It has a general store within Gregory garage but few specialist shops. It has a primary

school but the closest secondary schools and further education facilities have to be sought in Southport

and Ormskirk. Halsall has a community centre (village hall) and a doctors surgery.

6.21 There are playing fields at New Street, Summerwood Lane and Halsall Road.

6.22 Halsall is not located near to any rail service with Bescar Lane (6km from Halsall Church)

providing a limited service and Ainsdale/Hillside Stations (7km) on the Southport-Liverpool line. Two

bus routes runs through Halsall linking to Southport and Bootle and circulating between Ormskirk,

Aughton, Downholland and Halsall. Various services operate to local schools.

6.23 67% of Halsall are economically active and on average travel 15 kilometres to work. Travelling

by car is the most popular method, 5% travel by bike and 5% by bus and by foot. 2.3% are


6.24 The western parts of Halsall Parish (New Cut Lane and Segars Lane) are considered separately

later in this report.

Halsall has a very limited range of shops and services, very little employment opportunities and

poor accessibility by public transport. As a result, it has limited sustainability, serving only the

rural community with limited services.

New Cut Lane

6.52 New Cut Lane is within 1km of a primary school, bus routes, a public house and a small

number of shops. It is also within 1km of a GP, a hospital, a health centre, and post offices as well

as a secondary and 6th form school.

Segars Lane

6.53 Segars Lane is within 1km of Ainsdale 'village', providing a variety of shops and other services,

Ainsdale station, a filling station and bus routes. Residents can also access a primary school, GP,

health centre, railway station and post offices within 1km distance through settlements in Sefton.

6.54 The 'settlements' of Segars Lane and New Cut Lane, despite consisting only of small 'ribbons'

of housing and lacking any services, are reasonably close to facilities within the neighbouring Borough

of Sefton.

2012, West Lancs Council Sustainable Settlement Study

Land to the south of New Cut Lane, Halsall
Site Description
Site lies on the Borough boundary with Sefton, to the south of residential properties on New Cut Lane. To the west of the site is a brook and residential properties but to the east and south of the site is open agricultural land. The site lies on the edge of Birkdale and is approximately 1.5 miles from Birkdale local centre and its facilities.
Site Size
2.4 ha
Total realistic developable area
2.4 ha
Potential Housing Capacity
70 dwellings

Green Belt
Site has been found to not fulfil any purposes of the GB in the GB Study – site is reasonably well enclosed and is not in any specific countryside use Agricultural Land
Grade 1 agricultural land
Landscape Views
Unlikely to affect any significant landscape views
Environmental Assets
Site adjacent to Halsall and Plex Mosses Biological Heritage Site
Heritage Assets
No heritage assets affected
Utilities Infrastructure
Not reliant on improvements to waste water infrastructure, but may be costs associated with connections to utility infrastructure in Birkdale
Highways Infrastructure
Site access could be provided onto New Cut Lane via existing gap in residential properties
Access to M58 not ideal – approx 20 minute journey via unclassified roads and A570 through Ormskirk to J3 or via unclassified roads and A5147 to Switch Island
Other Transport Infrastructure
Bus route and stops on Guildford Road a 2 minute walk away (0.1 miles)
Nearest rail station (Hillside) approx 1 mile (20 minute walk) away
Social & Community Infrastructure
Within 2 minute walk (0.1 miles) of primary schools in Sefton
Nearest Local Centre approx 1.5 miles away (30 minute walk)
Flood Risk
Site itself not in flood risk area, but brooks and drains run adjacent to the site and Flood Zones 2 and 3 lie to the west of the site
Site Opportunities & Constraints
Relatively deep peat deposits in this area could add significantly to development costs and potentially affect viability
Site appears to be in multiple ownerships so may be difficult to develop
Site Summary & Recommendation
The land to the south of New Cut Lane appears to be a collection of smaller sites in multiple ownerships but the Council is aware that the land owners are working together to market the site. In addition, the site no longer fulfils any of the purposes of the Green Belt. Therefore, it is considered that this site is suitable for release from the Green Belt at this time and should be considered for the “Plan B”.
Site Suitable for:
“Plan B” development
Remove from Green Belt & “safeguard”
Remain in the Green Belt

7th Feb 2012

West Lancashire Council Local Plan includes hundreds of homes in Birkdale

Feb 7 2012 by Michael Byrne, Midweek Visiter

HUNDREDS of homes could be built on allotments and on prime agricultural land on the fringes of Birkdale.

Sefton Council’s Planning Committee is due to discuss controversial proposals detailed in West Lancashire Council’s Local Plan at its meeting tomorrow night (Wednesday, February 8).

The plan sets out proposals to build 4,650 houses over the next 15 years.

The main area earmarked for possible future development is the ‘Birkdale Irrigation Allotments’, together with surrounding fields, located between Benthams Way and Moss Road on the eastern boundary of Birkdale.

West Lancashire’s plan allows for 240 homes to be built on eight hectares of land off Moss Road, opposite Dobbies Garden Centre.

Two other sites in the plan, Fine Jane’s Farm off Moss Road and New Cut Lane, to the rear of Guildford Road, could have a total of 130 houses built on it.

These three places are reserve sites, which means they will only be used if they if development doesn’t come forward as quickly as expected on the main allocated sites.

Further along Moss Road, 11 hectares of land next to Southport Business Park is safeguarded in the plan for development beyond 2027.

This is the area which includes the Birkdale allotment site. Birkdale Lib Dem Cllr Simon Shaw said most architects and planners use an average housing density of 30 houses per hectare, which means 330 homes could be built there. Fellow Lib Dems voiced their concerns.

Birkdale councillor Richard Hands is a member of Sefton Planning Committee.

He is worried that what West Lancashire planners are proposing will place enormous burdens on Southport services.

He said: “I understand that there is the potential for something like 570 houses to be built on land opposite Christ the King School and Dobbies as well as another 130 on two smaller sites off Moss Road and New Cut Lane, all in Birkdale. Although these areas are actually part of Southport, they come under West Lancashire Council.

“This means that our own local council would no say over planning applications to build these houses.”

Kew ward councillor Mike Booth said: “I am not at all happy that West Lancashire planners want to locate hundreds of new houses in Southport.ŠAlthough most of the children who might live in those new houses would go to Southport schools, it would be West Lancashire Council that receives the council tax income.”

“It is entirely possible in the future that some Southport parents will lose out on their first preference of school to parents who live in these new houses in West Lancashire. Surely that cannot be right?”

Birkdale Lib Dem councillor Iain Brodie Browne, an allotment holder at the Birkdale site, said: “There are over 100 allotment plots here. As well as the threat to the allotments, much of the rest of the land is prime agricultural land.”

“570 homes could be built opposite Christ The King School” – Richard Hands, Kew Ward councillor.

Should they be built there? Tell MICHAEL BYRNE on 01704 398210 or email michael.byrne@liverpool.com

15th Dec 2011

Up Holland Labour councillor John Fillis accuses Conservative led council of stitching his ward over development plans for the borough

CONSERVATIVE council chiefs in West Lancs have been accused of stitching up people in Up Holland over plans for the borough’s future.

Cllr John Fillis, Labour Group leader and Up Holland councillor, made the accusations over the council’s Local Plan. This is a blueprint for the way the borough will develop in terms of housing and employment land.

Back in May, officers at West Lancashire made three proposals for public consultation under the title, Local Development Framework. Cllr Fillis said that at no time during the consultation has Green Belt land in Up Holland been mentioned. He added: “The consultation was widespread in the form of newspaper advertising, information packs and public forums.

“The council did not even organise a forum in Up Holland as they did in other affected areas.

‘‘The Tories have amalgamated the Local Development Framework into the new Local Plan and introduced a plan B, which includes Green Belt land on Cheques Lane and Mill Lane, Up Holland. The Tories have now reduced the consultation period; access is restricted to the documentation.

“The Tories have decided to gerrymander the process. They have betrayed the people of West Lancashire and especially those who live in Up Holland . They are now trying to rush things through the council with minimal consultation to prevent local people from organising opposition to the Tories’ proposals.”

Cllr Martin Forshaw, cabinet member for planning and Transportation, did not wish to comment.

Sept 2011
Green Belt Study Consultation Report
Local Development Framework Evidence Base
West Lancashire Borough Council is currently working on the Local
Development Framework (LDF) in order to produce a spatial plan to
guide development in the Borough over the next 15 – 20 years.
s part of this LDF process, a shortfall of available land to meet
development needs in the long term was identified leading to the
requirement to consider land outside of the settlement boundaries and
potentially within the Green Belt.
1.3 In 2009, the Council, along with neighbouring Local Authorities, Sefton
and Knowsley, agreed to undertake a review of the Green Belt which
predominates within West Lancashire but it also present across the
neighbouring authorities boundaries. In the absence of an established
methodology for this task, collaborative working and independent
validation established a shared methodology and work began late
1.4 The Draft Green Belt Study data collection, analysis and validation was
completed by the end of 2010 and in May 2011 went out to public
consultation alongside West Lancashire Borough Councils Core
Strategy Preferred Options Paper.
1.5 The consultation engaged a great deal of public interest and the
following sections of this report give a brief summary of the consultation
responses, set out each individual representation, the Council’s
response to the comments and subsequent recommendations for
amendments to the draft study. These recommendations have been
identified in response to the representations received by the public and
in order to improve the robustness of the Green Belt Study so it may be
finalised as an evidence base study.

Page 117 & 118

Amended Amendment Justification
Reassess SEFB.13 as 2 parcels to
take account of the contrasting land
use characteristics within the parcel
which are currently demarked by the
ditch separating the north and south
of the parcel.
Record outcomes as follows;
- SEFB.13A remains “GREEN” as it
fails to wholly fulfil any of the
purposes of the Green Belt.
- SEFB.13B reclassified as “RED”
as it fulfils purpose 1 and 3 of the
Green Belt.
The boundaries and existing mixed
uses within the parcel are more
significant than they appear on the OS
map and at first assessment.
Reassessment of these parcels as
individual parcels is therefore more