Halsall Residents Against Planning

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The West Lancs Done Deal Society 15th OCT 2013

Here is an e-mail from Cllr David Westley........
.

The decision to remove the Parrs Lane site from the Greenbelt has
already been taken by the Council and it is now designated as
Safeguarded land.

The other issues you mentioned in relation to the Parrs Lane site would
all have to be satisfactorily addressed as part of the planning process
but only after (a) the 15 year life of the Draft Local Plan presuming
adoption tomorrow night or (b) sooner at the 5 yearly review stages if
the anticipated developments on the Plan A sites cannot be delivered.

Having considered the matter very carefully, I am convinced the Draft
Local Plan as it now stands offers the best protection possible for the
greenbelt and is in the best interests of the residents of West
Lancashire and particularly in my Ward of Aughton & Downholland.
Accordingly, I intend voting for its adoption.

I thank you for taking the time to write to me on this matter.

D Westley



Campaigning residents from Halsall, Burscough and Aughton are being urged for one last show of power at a crucial council meeting in Ormskirk tomorrow night.

The Burscough Action Group is urging as many residents as possible whose communities will be affected by the Borough local, to meet at the Council offices in Derby St. to show councillors how strongly they feel about the vital decision they'll make in adopting the plan which caters for future development in the Borough.

Said Gavin Rattray from BAG: "If you don’t agree with the local plan then this is your last chance to tell your local councillor!

"Meet with residents from all areas opposed to building on the green belt.

"Bring banners, friends and family, the more the better!

"Meet tomorrow night at 7pm at the Borough Council offices for the final vote on the local plan at 7.30pm.

"If Councillors vote to accept the local plan, it will immediately come into effect.

It proposes that, over the next 15 years: * 50% of new build in the borough will be on green belt * More new build homes in Burscough than Skelmersdale * Minimum 26% increase in the size of Burscough.

Other communities affected include Halsall and Aughton - it's rumoured that councillors will have to walk through a human 'wall of shame' as they enter the meeting.

Substitute Political Muppets 14th OCT 2013  www.westlancashirerecord.com

Readers know how much we look forward to the Muppets Waldorf and Statler giving us the benefit of their somewhat pithy advice. When we heard they are taking a holiday we asked some well known people of interest to stand in for them. The Planning Minister Nick Boles MP and the Leader of the WLBC Cllr Ian Grant have very kindly agreed and here they are telling us about the West Lancashire Local Plan.

statwald

Well Ian, after my “war on the greenbelt” what’s your advice to the residents of Aughton, Burscough, and Halsall about the thousands of homes your council will build there?

Nick, it’s simple really, we’ve admitted we bungled it after spending five years on it, but lucky for us the Inspector dug us out of the hole and recommended some amendments that made it legal, but we still have to get it through Council and that will be a doddle.

Crikey Ian, are you sure, that might be awkward for you, because your residents have been a pain in my backside and given me some grief about you and your council?

I am sure Nick, because the local Labour party would do the same, and we need the affordable houses, and anyway we did the “Con-sham-sultation” and the public were bamboozled by it.

Oh, I do like that little porky Ian, because I’m told there are NO affordable houses in Aughton and the houses close to Parrs Lane sell for upwards of £300,000.

Shhhh…Nick, don’t give the game away, the developers will get upset! Now look, we have a pub at the Council offices, so why don’t you come and have a freebie as a thanks for your fantastic planning policy.

I will Ian, but I suppose I had better come soon before you get kicked out of office…don’t tell my boss Eric Pickles though, he’s dead against freeloading of council tax. The Westley Arms, I’ll be there soon!

westleypub

“MP Nick Boles. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Planning)
Your references: NB/16/025982/13 and NB/NB/021444/13
Rosie Cooper’s reference: RC/JT/RATT01002/01131402

Dear Mr Boles and Mr Scott

Thank you for your letter of the 27th September. Unfortunately you have misunderstood the request I made of the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Planning) so the information you provided was unhelpful. I have not asked for an informal comment but a formal  investigation into the preparation, consultation, cabinet decisions and inspection of the West Lancashire Local Plan 2012-2027, with particular regard to the selection and removal of green belt.

I understand the idea that the Department was trying to convey on the issue of neglected land, and the considerations that the local planning authority must have to the five purposes of green belt as set out in the framework, which was why I wrote to draw attention to the actions of WLBC which contradict Government policy. The owners of land at Yew Tree Farm Burscough have demonstrably been seeking the advice of WLBC in grooming their land for the local plan and have temporarily neglected agricultural land, allowed buildings, hedges and watercourses to fall into disrepair, and permanently destroyed trees and hedgerow without consent. They also supplied information to WLBC; a soil survey, visual appraisal study and a report on highways and transport issues, which the council used unchecked as evidence in the preparation of the plan, making no effort to provide a balanced case. They even provided much of the evidence against the alternative site. This misrepresentation, along with WLBC’s mistakes in appraisal of the land use and total neglect in acknowledging the five purposes of the greenbelt which are the same now, in this largely unchanged stretch of greenbelt, as they were when it was established in 1987, allowed the land to be misrepresented in The Greenbelt Study, a key document which investigated green belt land in  West Lancashire in order to identify it as potential building land in the local plan.

I am at a loss to understand why you assume I think localism means that everyone can say no to development. I understand that the localism bill gives local authorities the formal legal ability to get on with the job of responding to what local people want, however WLBC have repeatedly ignored feedback from local people with regard to their plans for Burscough green  belt in the local plan. Burscough people have clearly demonstrated that they are very unhappy with the planned expansion of Burscough into its green belt, they have also made it clear that they are happy to accept appropriate development proportionate to its size, this is evidenced by the feedback in the consultations, a local referendum and a petition. During the local plan  consultation, 144 comments objected to the Burscough strategic option in the Core Strategy Preferred Options Paper and at least 473 objections to the Burscough strategic option were received in the Local Plan Preferred Option document. In a further effort to be heard Burscough residents proposed a referendum on the September 20th 2012 in which 96.3% of the residents objected to the greenbelt release in Burscough in this plan on the grounds that suitable alternatives have not been researched and exhausted first. The strength of feeling and frustration with WLBC was further demonstrated by a petition objecting to the development with thousands of signatures presented to Parliament by our MP Rosie Cooper. It is clear that local people love the amenity provided by these green belt sites and want to keep them as part of local life but WLBC have totally neglected to respond to the feedback and suggestions of local people in the development of their local plan and resolutely continued to prepare the way for the destruction of massive swathes of lucrative green belt.

At every stage of the local plan preparation that I was made aware of I have informed my local authority of my concerns but I, along with many other residents, have been shocked at the authorities lack of interest in local opinion and suggestions to improve the plan, hence my letter to your department. Please can your department perform a formal investigation into the preparation, consultation, cabinet decisions and inspection of the West Lancashire Local Plan 2012-2027, with particular regard to the selection and removal of green belt”.

“Dear Rosie Cooper

For your information please find attached a letter I was sent by MP Nick Boles’ office (scan0002). My reply is the e-mail following. Now on another related subject I would like to ask your help again please. I was very shocked to read the following in Agenda item 8 for Wednesday’s vote at WLBC, ” if the Local Plan is not adopted as recommended…the Council would not be meeting its objectively-assessed needs for housing and employment land, and so would be vulnerable to planning by appeal, with significant potential that Green Belt sites would gain planning permission for development on an ad-hoc basis”. I believe that statement is simply not true because I was advised that it wasn’t by a member of the CPRE over two years ago and I have two letters from the Under Secretary of State (Planning) which both state that new build will only be allowed on green belt if exceptional circumstances are proved. All green field sites will all be vulnerable to ad hoc attempts to gain planning permission once they are removed from green belt and all will be more vulnerable without a local plan. Green belt sites have exactly the same protections with or without a local plan in place. If the advice is followed then many Councillors who have previously supported action groups will feel duly obliged to vote for the plan or abstain driving a rift between them and their constituents. Please could you highlight that the Agenda item 8 contains bad partisan advice and it should be corrected before the vote on Wednesday. It is simply dishonest and, I might add, typical of WLBC to hold a vote on the basis of false information”.

Note to all RAP supporters - do not believe a word YOUR councillors say!

RAP Group Press release 11th October 2013

Voters send ultimatum to the Council

Local resident action groups across West Lancashire including Burscough, Halsall and Aughton want to send a very clear message to their WLB local councillors’ who will be voting on the adoption of the ‘Local Plan’ at next weeks full council meeting.  Refuse to support the people who elected you and you can expect the same from them when election time comes around!

All of the action groups who have been protesting and lobbying hard against what they believe to be ill-thought out development, feel their councillors are not representing the views of the people who elected them. A spokesperson for Halsall action group RAP said. “We will all be watching very carefully how they vote next week. We sincerely hope our councillor’s realises they still have the opportunity to regain their integrity and the trust of the electorate by doing do the right thing and supporting us”.  If not then they should seriously consider a career change.  A spokesperson from the Burscough Action Group BAG added. ”We have been treated with complete contempt by this Conservative Council Cabinet, and we expect our local Councillors to stand up to them, abstaining from voting will not be acceptable. The people of Burscough have previously demonstrated how people power can remove local politicians.”

Without exception all of the action groups firmly believe this situation has been brought about by members of what they believe to be an undemocratic Conservative Council Cabinet, who decided to remove a Strategic A site at Alty’s Lane in Ormskirk from the initial Local plan without any consultation with voters, only with developers, which is why the massive release of farmland at Burscough Yew Tree Farm became automatic and the sites that were previously designated as Plan B sites in Burscough, Halsall and Aughton were brought forward to be removed from Greenbelt status.

 

How Low Can a Councillor Go? 9th Oct 2013   www.westlancashirerecord.com

especially this one!

halsall-sitter-Stephenson

…is what some bemused residents of Halsall are asking after the Parish Council Meeting.

A resident asked the Parish Council about some marking out behind New Cut Lane. Posts have been positioned along behind Guildford road as though it is marking out a building site. “It must be coincidental that after 20 years a land owner has now decided to clear the land, even though officially nothing has been passed? Also the fact that land owners have been telling some residents that they are/have been wasting their time protesting as it’s a done deal”.

The Parish Council did not know about it. So it appears to the public as if building will be going ahead even though the Borough Local Plan has not been voted on and approved as Council public notices have described BY LAW. It goes without saying planning permission has not been applied for, although we have stated on a number of occasions we do have a “shadow” planning committee consisting of developers!

Following on from this it seems Borough/Parish Cllr Doreen Stephenson was asked how she was going to vote on the Local Plan on 16th October at full Council. She apparently replied that she knew how she was going to vote but was not willing to tell people she represents which way that will be, but then added “I have not yet decided, I will make my decision on the night. Also we are voting on the whole plan as it affects the whole borough, and if I could vote on just one bit for instance Halsall I would but I can’t”. Makes you think of having a mind of one’s own, except for the Party Whip!

This appeared to local residents to go against the councillors’ code of openness and transparency. After a frank exchange of views Cllr Stephenson said that “the public” were misinformed about the local plan, to which the reply was that “the public” were not “misinformed” but not informed at all and that she, Cllr Stephenson, was the person who should have informed them.

To some utter astonishment the next statement from the “presently elected councillor” as she was described, was that if “we”, meaning the public down New Cut Lane had handled the situation differently, that “we” might not be in our present position. In effect she appeared to be blaming the residents of New Cut Lane that they had put themselves in this situation, and has clearly not been reading up on how to win friends and influence people, especially her voters!

This last statement from Cllr Stephenson was described as unbelievable. One resident mused and wondered if this meant that she had information to hand that could have helped us in our campaign to prevent this situation, and if so why did she not give us this information?

The statement from the Councillor caused uproar and a resident from New Cut Lane asked her to resign. Cllr Stephenson refused to discuss this saying that a public meeting was not the right occasion to bring this up, which begs the question when can we discuss and show our total lack of confidence in our elected representative who seems to do nothing to help local residents? Residents walked out of the meeting in total disgust at how she treated the very people she had asked for their votes to represent them. It seems as though she has chosen to bite the hands that fed her and is now held in contempt and without their confidence. As she claimed “there are many people in Halsall who do support me and I will not be forced out and if you all had handled it better the outcome might have been different”. That seems to me to be a grave misuse of the word “many” because at this rate her support is leaking like a sieve, especially after hearing that question from a resident “how low can a councillor go?”

17th Sept 2013 www.westlancashirerecord.com

Murky Waters In Halsall

The Halsall Residents Against Planning have been asking questions about why WLBC is apparently in correspondence with developers and agents but not with them, and especially some owners of smaller yet important plots of land. Five such landowners have made it clear their land is not for sale.

The local Councillor was apparently present when one resident requested a meeting with the planning dept to ask why his garden and others had just been included without any consultation. Being the Halsall Councillor who has so inflamed local opinion against herself is not a happy position as she vacated her fence to attend!

The response was “they, Council, had included it because it was going to now be available should anyone wish to build, as before it was not, as it was in Greenbelt, this was normal procedure, and if he didn’t want to develop his land it was his choice”.

The question was then and is now, had the council written to the residents saying that were proposing to take their land out of Greenbelt for development and they had been advised that a consortium had been out together by a property agent agreeing to sell this land to a property agent/house builder, the residents would have been alerted much earlier to these plans. Just how difficult/time consuming would it have been to send half a dozen letters?

“Dear Mr Richards
(Cc’d – RAP Group, Halsall Parish Councillor Barry Critchley)
Despite the Inspector’s recent comments/concerns regarding New Cut Lane, it seems clear that the council is still aggressively pushing for the development of New Cut Lane, with some arguments for the development appearing to have been based on ‘opinions’ rather than facts, which is something the residents find to be extraordinary.
Following the recent comments in the letters by Fittons and the WLBC response http://www.westlancs.gov.uk/pdf/EX.819b%20WLBC%20response%20to%20supp.%20Sefton%20material.pdf regarding potential housing allocation.
Can the planning department please confirm the following, with facts and not opinion? Taking into account the land which is not available/for sale/development and is removed from the plan (see letters attached which were included in the RAP objection), exactly how many houses can be built? [5 letters attached and submitted all stating “With reference to the “Local Plan” proposals and amendments to/Main Modifications, it has been brought to my attention, as owner of part of the land identified, that the Council intends to identify my property as being suitable for residential development and release from the green belt. I do not and have not agreed to this proposal and ask that you immediately remove my land from the area identified and confirm by return that this request has been acted upon].
Taking into account a potential of 75%, of housing stock, which would be required by Sefton towards their Local Plan, what would then be the amount of houses at New Cut Lane allocated to the WLBC Local Plan?

You also state within the letter that WLBC could accept 100 homes without causing your Local Plan to fail. If this is the case, why was this not clearly stated in earlier documents regarding the Local Plan? (Again, more contradictions from WLBC).

We look forward to receiving your response by return”.


And so it goes on and on, residents all over this Borough at the mercy of a Borough Council in hock to developers who, relying on a party that took donations, are demanding more rights than any resident has. The answer as ever is at the ballot box and the only ballot box about to be offered is in Parbold.


13th Sept 2013

Councillor Admits “Maybe I Failed” www.westlancashirerecord.com

After what was an unremarkable Halsall Parish Council meeting on Wednesday during which Borough Councillor Doreen Stephenson arrived within about ten minutes of the end, some local residents confronted Cllr Stephenson.

cllrstephenson

Cllr Stephenson was spiky, to put it mildly, and told one resident she was “between a rock and a hard place” which was by a strange coincidence a phrase used in the Advertiser Comment the following morning! Almost like a political party briefing, the Advertiser states that “…new rules have given applicants the upper hand when it comes to planning committee decisions and our councillors are caught between a rock and a hard place”.

Another resident had hardly started to ask her a question when she told him he was offensive and she didn’t want to speak to him. But she did say in response to another question that “I have to put my hands up and say, maybe I failed” and as the despairing resident turned away she said quite forcibly “you did Doreen, you did”.

Cllr Stephenson referred to the fact of having to read and understand over 300 pages of the Local Plan. Wasn’t the point of her being a Councillor that she was not only able to do that but to advise the Halsall ward residents what it meant to them, said another lady?

When asked can she please confirm how she would vote, she said she could not confirm at this time, which was strange, because at the Halsall public meeting she said she would support the residents, but it seems she’s obviously now changed her mind. Party whip perhaps?

So a lady asked her, “Doreen, can you please explain why when the council changed its mind and voted to include New Cut Lane as a site to be brought forward, even though a resident was told at an earlier meeting in Burscough that it was highly unlikely that this plant B site would be developed, you didn’t not bother to personally speak/call to see any of the residents in New Cut Lane to let them know that this had happened?

Doreen replied “I was as surprised about it as anyone. I didn’t think it was a problem as no one contested spoke against it.

The response “That’s because none of us knew about it! Don’t you think that as our councillor you should have called to see people to ensure they did know about it and gauge their opinion on such an important issue, and to explain to them what they could do to oppose it? Had you done this they would have been alerted and would have been able to make their voices heard much earlier?”

Doreen said “Yes well yes okay, I have to put my hands up and say that maybe I failed in not doing this”.

Other questions forced an angry response from Doreen saying we would be worse off if the plan failed, to which another pithy reply said Halsall residents were not at all sure how it could be worse than having 150 homes built behind you, so they are obviously doing us a favour!

Another resident told Doreen the only time she ever knocked on his door was when she was up for election, which was obviously much more important than a new housing development.

At this point a lady said “I had to walk away from her, I just cannot be bothered to talk to her or listen to her waffle and condescending statements, her behaviour is and has been shameful”.

Cllr Stephenson told other residents that the crux of her reasoning behind voting in favour of the Local Plan and the Major Modifications is based on the fact that if the Councillors vote against, the Local Plan will fail “and it will be bad for all of us as the Planners lose control of the building process and the developers can then build anywhere without the scrutiny and constraints that the Planners can impose (affordable houses, community infrastructure and social needs etc presumably)”.

Watching this unhappy performance from a beleaguered Councillor it was fairly easy to conclude that the residents of Halsall are badly served and are extremely unhappy with her. As mentioned above, waffle and a condescending attitude are not the qualities that will endear a councillor to her electorate.

7th Sept 2013,  www.westlancashirerecord.com

Is Doreen Really the Worst Councillor in West Lancashire?

Did she really “cop out” and “try to put obstacles in the way” of residents?

cllrstephenson

Pity poor Halsall. Picture the local elections finale in May 2012 when the Tory “Glums” below

miserygobmayblakeisstillalive

thought the game was up and it took some recounts and the result for Halsall announced at 2.24am with Doreen Stephenson winning by 29 votes. Scenes of rejoicing because it meant the Tories retained control of the Borough. Was this the moment when Halsall sealed not only its own fate but that of Aughton and Burscough too? Labour had wanted Option A of the Local Plan to be considered, Conservatives made sure it wasn’t, just to save Altys Lane.

Burscough played its own part in seeing off the development-supporting Tories. Aughton was, well, just Tory Aughton. The glossy said “Atherley for Aughton”, Aughton duly delivered! Aughton delivered Cllr Westley only to find he delivered salvation for Derby ward!

Which brings us back to Doreen. “I am delighted to have been nominated as deputy mayor. I have been a councillor since the mid 1990s so hopefully my experience will help”. If that’s true she has 17/18 years of experience and yet it seems she can’t help a constituent “as the officers have all the information”.

So, in this remarkable exchange of emails this prominent and experienced WLBC Councillor revealed to a resident of her ward how limited her intent was to help him was. It was a serious attempt by the resident to ascertain information about traffic on New Cut Lane, Halsall.

He wrote; 27th August 2013. Hi Doreen. That is a very interesting reply to my previous email!!! You state in your email that you said that LCC have no problems with the proposed site access/exit, how do you know this and where did you get this information from so that I may contact the appropriate person or department at LCC for immediate further investigation. Also are you aware Doreen that documents exist that are available at LCC that should be used for planning additions to existing roads from new developments? Regards Ray of Residents Action Group

She said; 5th September 2013. Ray. I am now back from my holiday. I received this info from the officers dealing with the local plan who would have consulted with LCC.as part of their duties when formulating the plan. If you contact the planning dept at WLBC an officer will be able to help you. Regards, Doreen.

He said; 5th September 2013. Hi Doreen. As our elected representative, and due to what you said in your email I would ask you to find this information yourself as requested, and to forward it to me by email so that I may study the information in detail as part of our ongoing battle to stop the proposed development on New Cut Lane. I find it unacceptable for you to ask me to find information or documentation that you have quoted from, in fact I would go as far as to say it is a cop out from yourself being our elected representative. Please do not try to put obstacles in our way by making it difficult for us to find information. I look forward to your swift reply containing the information requested. Regards Ray Residents Action Group New Cut Lane

She said; 6th September 2013. Ray. I received this information from Peter Richards at WLBC in a conversation prior to the parish council meeting in July. You can contact him on 01695 585046 or e-mail him at…I cannot help you any further as the officers have all the information. As far as I know Peter has spoken to LCC Highways on an informal basis prior to the submission of the plan to enable him to get an indication as to LCCs views on highway issues in particular the entrance/exit to the land. I do not have access to any documentation. Regards, Doreen.

And that’s where poor old Halsall is today, probably wishing there is a recall election, a recall referendum, or any procedure by which voters can remove an elected official from office through a direct vote before his or her term has ended. National politicians need to vote for such a procedure. Have you ever seen a turkey vote for Christmas?


29 Aug 2013   www.westlancashirerecord.com

bolesdiggerMinisters are attempting to pressure councils into building more homes on countryside land, campaigners yesterday warned, as Planning Minister Boles attacked people opposing developments on green fields. Boles wants there to be a “legal obligation” for town halls to build affordable homes if local house prices and rents rise above a certain limit. He said that town halls should be forced to build new homes if prices soar, potentially meaning that developments previously blocked by councils would be allowed to go ahead.

 Critics last night warned that the Government is “moving another step away from protecting the countryside from unnecessary development”. The Government has torn up thousands of pages of planning rules in a bid to add “much needed simplicity and clarity” to the system.

 Boles claimed that the new guidance will “reinforce all green belt and environmental protections”. However, it yesterday emerged that Boles had yet again criticised rural campaigners who have opposed his controversial plans.

 “Anyone currently in a house is living on what used to be a green field,” Boles told The Sun newspaper. “Why is it ok for them but not others?”

 The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said that Boles’ proposals for a new “affordability test” would result in “unnecessary loss of countryside and deliver very little affordable housing”. Neil Sinden said: “Not only is the idea of affordability going to be unworkable and won’t deliver the desired result of more affordable housing, it’s likely to increase pressure on the countryside unnecessarily. This smacks of a nice theoretical idea dreamt up in a think-tank…which has no chance at all of working on the ground in the real world. It’s going to create untold difficulties for local authorities. This is one step further away from protecting the countryside against unnecessary development.”

 The new guidance was issued following a review last year by Lord Taylor of Goss Moor who concluded that up to 80 per cent of the 7,000 rules governing where development can take place should go. Lord Taylor was appointed to review thousands of pages of planning guidance which underlies the NPPF. His review found that existing guidance was “not fit for purpose”.

 The Telegraph led an eight-month Hands Off Our Land campaign last year before the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was set, urging the Government not to weaken protections for greenfield and green belt land.

 Boles insisted that the new guidance will help local communities to protect green spaces. “This guidance reinforces all Green Belt and environmental protections and will allow people to understand clearly how they can protect the local green spaces that are important to them,” he said. “Planning needs to be accessible to all but for too long it has been guarded by technocrats, lawyers and council officers. Our new easy-to-use online guidance, has stripped away outdated advice and simplified a host of different documents into one website that anyone can use.”

 Many internet users were unable to access the new online tool in the hours after it was released. Some took to Twitter to complain that the new website was not accessible.


 21st Aug 2013 www.otsnews.com

New Cut Lane and Guilford Rd Residents Challenge “No Flooding” Claim

ots-new cut lane action group 7 building site ray belcher southport ots onthespot ots otsnews.co.uk_0

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New Cut Lane and Guilford Rd Residents Challenge “No Flooding” Claim

Following recent flooding of homes and gardens on Guildford Rd and Halsall Rd, with water and sewerage. New Cut Lane residents action group (RAP), is challenging Bloor Homes statement stating there is ‘no flooding issue’ with the greenbelt land that runs adjacent to New Cut Land and Guildford Road. Land which West Lancashire Borough Council has put forward as a potential site to develop 150 new homes.

Residents on both sides of the ‘border’ already know this statement is completely inaccurate, as they regularly experience flooding following heavy rainfall. These images show how human excrement was left deposited in people’s gardens following a recent heavy summer shower which caused the drains to back up, and flood people’s gardens, plus an image previously taken of a resident’s garden in New Cut Lane following  several hours of heavy rain fall.

ots-new cut lane action group 9 building site ray belcher southport ots onthespot ots otsnews.co.uk_0

Bloor Homes statement can be clearly viewed within their submission on the WLBC website, http://westlancs.limehouse.co.uk/portal/planning/main_modifications/main_modifications_to_the_local_plan?tab=list page 24, stating why they agree with WLBC’s modified Local Plan, which includes the potential to open up this land. But judging by the amount of objections lodged they are definitely in the minority.  Many parties have entered official objections which includes intelligent, reasoned and substantiated arguments against this proposal, which can also be viewed on the WLBC website.

Residents on both sides of the border are now hoping the government inspector, who will now begin assessing all the submissions, recommends WLBC re-think their plan.

Mr Paul Thomas, Halsall Rd resident commented. “This happens on a regular basis, after heavy rainfall, it’s disgusting and unacceptable. “Taking into account how bad this is now, what would be the consequences of siting 150 new homes here? No sane person would approve this plan, has WLBC lost its mind? Also, if you google complaints against Bloor homes you find all sorts of issues regarding flooding issues. ‘It’s the Dream Team’ in reverse.”

 

RAP are urging the residents in Halsall Rd and Guilford Road to contact their Ward Cllrs and MP, as Sefton now embarks on a serious of road shows to consult with residents on their own Local Plan. Sefton residents need to make their elected representatives know they do not want this development. Some Sefton councillors have already stated they are firmly against it, and have concerns that Sefton might be considering entering into some sort of deal with WLBC to allocate some of this housing towards their own Local Plan.

 17th Aug 2013 by: www.westlancashirerecord.com

Probity In Planning

A WLBC Officer recently wrote a staff article about the promotion and maintenance of high standards of conduct by Councillors in West Lancashire.

She wrote…”It is now some 12 months since the Council started operating the new standards regime that was introduced as part of the Localism Act 2011. Changes included new arrangements to deal with standards issues and related case work. The role of the Standards Committee is to promote and maintain high standards of conduct by Councillors and co-opted Members, both at Borough and Parish level in West Lancashire, helping to create a sense of ‘ethical well-being’.

The Standards Committee and the Independent Person (IP) and Deputy Independent Person (DIP), along with Gill Rowe as Monitoring Officer and her Team have been working hard under the new standards arrangements. The processes appear to be working well, although the number of complaints received has increased in 2013 after an initial decrease in 2012.

The Annual Report for 2012/13 was considered by the Committee at its meeting on 22 July 2013. The report gives a flavour of the work undertaken by the Committee to 30 April 2013. Recent items have also included ‘Probity in Planning’ and consideration of a revision of the ‘Seven Principles of Public Life’. Looking forward, the Committee’s Work Programme is varied. In relation to keeping Borough and Parish Councillors up-to-date with their responsibilities under the Code of Conduct, a training and workshop session has been arranged for 20 November 2013 and we hope this will be an informative occasion”.

This article might be seen as timely in Aughton, where residents are angry about the role of their parish and ward councillors in their wretched handling of the effect of the Local Plan on the parish. Does the phrase “ethical well-being” ring true to the attendees of the last parish council meeting? Hardly! “Probity in Planning” mainly relates to pecuniary interests and also Section 25 of the Act provides that a councillor should not be regarded as having a closed mind simply because they previously did or said something that, directly or indirectly, indicated what view they might take in relation to any particular matter. That, quite frankly, gives councillors carte blanche to do as they like.

Yet the Localism Act recommends that councillors have an important role to play in pre-application discussions, bringing their local knowledge and expertise, along with an understanding of community views. Involving councillors can help identify issues early on, helps councillors lead on community issues and helps to make sure that issues don’t come to light for the first time at committee. Planning Advisory Service recommends a ‘no shocks’ approach. Tell that to the residents of Halsall! Remind me again, when did they hear from Cllr Whatshername? Is she still on her fence?

halsall-sitter-Stephenson

14th Aug 2013
United Utilities engineers work on the drainage system on New Cut Lane and Halsall Road

High pressure Pumping trucks and Sewage wagons were busy carrying out emergency works on waste and drainage pipes after a small bout of rain. Residents watched in disgust raw sewage floating in their gardens and driveways. These are the same pipes that is alledged by our Council and developers, are perfectly capable of serving the needs of local residents, imagine the same pipes serving an additional 150 houses!

14th Aug 2013, www.champnews.com
Council being treated as 'stooges' by developers claim residents' group
by David Simister


WEST Lancashire Borough Council have been treated as ‘stooges' by developers over the Local Plan, claim a residents group.

Aughton Residents Group, who fear it could lead to 200 homes being built on green belt land near the village were invited to speak at the public examination hearings into the West Lancashire Local Plan.

They said they believe the council has misled residents during its handling of the plan, which suggests where development could take place across the borough between now and 2027.

The group says the council had acted as “stooges” for developers by incorporating the scheme into the council's ‘Plan B' development scheme for the borough.

In a statement given to the hearings, Aughton Residents Group member Colin Atkinson described the developers as “illusionists” as they are going to “make a large area of Aughton’s prime green belt land disappear and then turn it into a housing estate.”

He added that residents had been distracted by attention being focused on what is going on in Burscough.

He said: “West Lancashire Borough Council, their stooge, has helped them by already giving in to pressures and declaring the Parrs Lane - east and west - sites are suitable for future development and recommending its release from the greenbelt.”

Ormskirk resident Ed Dickinson, meanwhile, who has also spoken at the hearings, accused the borough council of undermining its Plan A for future development - which focused largely on Ormskirk - in favour of its Plan B, which focuses largely on Burscough, by downplaying a report by one of its own advisors higlighting the benefits of locating development in Ormskirk.

He told The Champion: “The people were not advised of the Scott Wilson Associates report that it considered Option A the best option for the local economy. In almost every respect, Option A would be the better choice for major development and the council's preferred option of Burscough has proved extremely unpopular with it’s residents.”

Mr Dickinson said the public should be given a further opportunity to express their views before a decision is made.

West Lancashire Borough Council declined to comment on the criticism.

13th Aug 2013  www.qlocal.co.uk/ormskirk

MP seeks assurances that flood risk residents will have affordable insurance



West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has moved to reassure residents who are at risk of flooding that affordable home insurance policies will still be available.

Her actions comes after a group of local residents from the Halsall Lane area have approached her following over ten years of frustration in not getting satisfaction over flooding problems issues there.

Since 2008, a Statement of Principles agreed between the Government and the insurance industry ensured flood hit homeowners could still get insurance that was affordable.

This offered owners some protection from the astronomical costs they would face to rebuild and reinsure their homes after a flood.

That agreement was to expire on 30 June 2013, and for over 18 months the Conservative-led Government has been seeking to negotiate a new agreement with the insurance industry.

Originally July 2012 was the Government’s deadline for reaching an agreement - a further 12 months on there is a Memorandum of Understanding but still no final agreement, which led to a temporary extension to the 2008 Statement of Principles.

On 7th November 2012 at Prime Ministers Questions, MP Rosie raised the lack of a new insurance agreement.

She was told by the Deputy Prime Minister to expect an announcement in the “not too distant future.”

Cooper told QLocal: "I’ve met with people forced out of their homes by flood water damage, and without the security of having insurance they would face total financial ruin.

"This interim agreement is welcome as it offers some peace of mind for homeowners but the Government needs to speed-up finalising the long-term solution.

"They’re already 12 months past their own deadline, and I just hope the Memorandum of Understanding will become a final deal soon.

"Homeowners need the security of knowing that they have some protection should they be hit by floods again. I haven’t forgotten what happened in West Lancashire last September and October.”

On the issue of flooding the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee published its report on managing flood risk. It claims spending on flood defences is not keeping pace with the increased risk from severe weather.

The report echoes concerns MP Rosie has raised on the impact of flooding in West Lancashire. Namely the failure to protect food producing farmland and the reduction in spending on the maintenance of flood defences and watercourses.

Speaking about the report, she added: “Delivering on insurance is just one aspect of tackling the risk of flooding homeowners and farmers face. I very much welcome this report and the issues it highlights.

"They very much reflect the issues and concerns raised with me here in West Lancashire after last autumn’s floods.

“The Government should pay close attention to this report and act accordingly in an effort to better protect homes and food production from flooding. It is important that we are more effective in stopping water from causing the kind of flooding and devastation we’ve seen in recent years.”


9th Aug 3013,

The RAP Groups's formal objection form was handed into thw West Lancashire Council Headquarters this afternoon, many thanks to all who helped in it's formatting and presentation.

The fight does not end here, the action group will carry on during the time that the Planning Inspector considers in full our objections and the objections submitted by many other residents in and around New Cut Lane.
Keep clicking on our website for more updates and e-mail us any photos of your flooded gardens!

He reiterated the PC’s total support for the residents, and asked the Councillors [Westley, Stephenson] why had the Alty’s Lane site close to Edge Hill University in Ormskirk - an original Option A site, meeting all the criteria for 500 new homes, completely deliverable - been dismissed in favour of Plan B sites.

Had this site been chosen, it would have negated the need for developing some of Yew Tree Farm in Burscough, New Cut Lane, and Fine Janes Farm, even Parrs Lane, Aughton.

The answers given were that there would have been too much of a traffic issue for Ormskirk and the housing would not have been spread across the borough. After the “Westley waffle” about the Derby ward political fix many people responded with “what about the traffic issues for New Cut Lane and Burscough?”

Aughton residents have often expressed their frustration with their Parish Council, its rigid Tory party support for the Local Plan, and its poor attitude to the issue of Parrs Lane, so it was a very pleasant experience to witness what happened at Halsall Memorial Hall.

Residents pushed local councillor Doreen Stephenson, on how she would vote when the government’s inspector made his recommendations, which would then be put to the [Borough] council for their vote.

Would she follow the party whip, or do the right thing and vote wholeheartedly for the residents who helped to elect her? In an overwhelming vocal response from the hall, including ‘resign now,’ she was left in no doubt what the residents expect, and how the wrong answer will affect her long-term position.

But the question ought to be “has she got a long term position” and should she resign and seek re-election on THAT performance? - See more at: http://www.ormskirk.gb.com/ormskirk/news_list/Halsall_councillor_who_has_a_lot_to_answer_for___-52450283.htm#sthash.UmJqjv6o.dpuf

8th Aug 2013, www.westlancashirerecord.com

The Fields of Halsall, Aughton and Burscough

This is a field of wheat being grown in Halsall.

wheatfield

This is a field of vegetables growing in Aughton

parrslaneland

And this is a field of hay on Yew Tree Farm in Burscough

2012 06 hay on the field

This, below, is what they will become soon

yewtreehouses

Councillors elected by us are obliged to follow the Councillor Code, that “Members should serve only the public interest”, that “Members should make decisions on merit”  that “Members should be accountable to the public for their actions and the manner in which they carry out their responsibilities”, and that “Members should be as open as possible about their actions and those of their authority, and should be prepared to give reasons for those actions”.

 

But only Cllr Doreen Stephenson, elected to represent the residents of Halsall, can say, if she is true to the Councillor Code, why she blustered her way through some specific questions by her electorate without committing to serving them and the PUBLIC INTEREST and not her party, why she did not account to them for her stance, and why she could give NO REASONS for her actions.

8th Aug 2013 Posted by: westlancashirerecord

The Fence-Sitter With a Short Tenure?

Perhaps the biggest round of applause during the Halsall Public Meeting came for a Halsall Parish Councillor, Barry Critchley, who reiterated the Parish Council’s total support for the residents, and asked the Councillors [Westley, Stephenson] why had the Alty’s Lane site close to Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, an original Option A site, meeting all the criteria, 500 new homes, completely deliverable and would have addressed WLBC housing requirement, been dismissed in favour of Plan B sites.

Had this site been chosen, it would have negated the need for developing some of Yew Tree Farm in Burscough, New Cut Lane, and Fine Janes Farm, even Parrs Lane. The answers given were that there would have been too much of a traffic issue for Ormskirk and the housing would not have been spread across the borough. After the “Westley waffle” about the Derby ward political fix many people responded with “what about the traffic issues for New Cut Lane and Burscough?”

Aughton residents have often expressed their frustration with their Parish Council, its rigid Tory party support for the Local Plan, and its poor attitude to the issue of Parrs Lane. So it was a very pleasant experience to witness what happened at Halsall Memorial Hall.

Residents pushed local councillor Doreen Stephenson, on how she would vote when the government’s inspector made his recommendations, which would then be put to the [Borough] council for their vote. Would she follow the party whip, or do the right thing and vote wholeheartedly for the residents who helped to elect her? In an overwhelming vocal response from the hall, including ‘resign now,’ she was left in no doubt what the residents expect, and how the wrong answer will affect her long-term position.

cllrstephenson

But the question ought to be “has she got a long term position” and should she resign and seek re-election on THAT performance?


August 7, 2013

 The Halsall Fence-Sitter Posted by: westlancashirerecord 

A fence-sitter would generally be someone who supports both sides in a disagreement because they cannot make a decision or do not want to annoy or offend either side. They might also be subject to unbearable pressure, or just plain weak, lily-livered, cowardly, or pusillanimous. At the Memorial Hall, Halsall, last night, about 140 local residents witnessed that range of options.

Sitting on a fence is uncomfortable. Fence Sitters United has started a branch in Halsall, meet Halsall Sitter No 1.

halsall-sitter-Stephenson

Pressure told, the subject of the accusation declared support for the residents against the development. How many more councillors should sit there too?

Press Release- Halsall Residents Action Group

7th August 2013

Halsall Residents Turn out in Force for Public Meeting

There was real show of strength by Halsall and Sefton residents who turned out in force to a public meeting organised by Halsall Residents Action Group (RAP). The group are  fighting to prevent West Lancashire Borough Council opening up Green belt land on New Cut Lane, for development of 150 new homes

The meeting was chaired by Lynn Campbell, a member of RAP and attended by WLB councillor Doreen Stephenson, and WLBC cabinet council members David Westley and Martin Forshaw.

Cllr Forshaw presented on why the council had had made modifications to the Local Plan 2012 – 2027, and their reasons for changing New Cut Lane from a Plan B to a Plan A site. Cllr Forshaw explained this was due to the government inspector identifying a shortfall of housing in the councils original Local Plan. He did also suggest and advise on certain issues which the residents could include in any official objections, which have to be lodged by the 9th August.

Raymond Belcher, one of the members of RAP said. “We were absolutely delighted to see so many people turn up, we can’t thank everyone enough. This overwhelming support sends a very clear signal to the council that we may be small in size due to our rural location but we have a big voice and they ignore us at their peril.  People from all over Halsall and surrounding areas want this plan stopped.”

The presentation was followed by a very lively Q&A session with residents challenging the Cllrs on a number of points. These included, lack of effective and intelligent communication to the residents regarding the modifications to the Local Plan. A show of hands confirmed that no one had seen the adverts or notifications. The Cllrs stated all legal obligations had been met.

Looking at the actual deliverability of the New Cut Lane site. The councils plan had included parcels of resident’s gardens/land as part of the available land for development, unbeknown to the majority of residents until three weeks ago. Cllrs were asked didn’t they think this was misleading, as when resident’s gardens were taken out of the equation the actual land available is considerably reduced. To include/identify land in this way, is apparently normal procedure.

Residents also called into question the ability of the developer Bloor Homes, and their understanding of the major building issues surrounding the land, including deep level piling, and dealing with existing and potential flooding issues. It seems that Bloor Homes have not submitted any in-depth reports or plans, or been required to.  When asked if any of the other originally identified sites have had in-depth reports/plans submitted, Cllr Forshaw answered, “not to his knowledge, other than a very sketchy plan”, but did not say for which site.

Halsall Parish Cllr Barry Critchley, reiterated the Parish Councils total support for the resident., He then asked the councillors why had the Alty’s lane site close to Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, an original Plan A site, meeting all the criteria, completely deliverable and addressing WLBC housing requirement, was dismissed in favour of Plan B sites. Had this site been chosen, it would have negated the need for developing Yew tree Farm in Burscough, New Cut Lane, and Fine Janes farm. The answers given were there would have been too much of a traffic issue for Ormskirk, and the housing would not have been spread across the borough. Many people responded with “what about the traffic issues for New Cut Lane and Burscough?”

Residents pushed local Cllr Doreen Stephenson, on how she would vote when the government’s inspector made his recommendations, which would then be put to the council for their vote. Would she follow the party whip, or do the right thing and vote wholeheartedly for the residents who helped to elect her? In an overwhelming vocal response from the hall, including ‘resign now,’ she was left in no doubt what the residents expect, and how the wrong answer will affect her long-term position.

 

7th Aug 2013, article taken from www.southport.gb.com
New Cycle scheme in West Lancashire



You can use pedal power to see the sights of West Lancashire thanks to a new cycle hire scheme in the area.
Cllr Martin Forshaw promoting the new cycle scheme, after the New Cut Lane residents meeting last night, we hope he takes his own advice, "on yer bike!"

7th Aug 2012 www.southport.gb.com

'Contempt' for locals in Halsall - claim



by Alan Lenton

A meeting at Halsall Memorial Hall looking for more public support in stopping an 'ill thought out plan' to build new homes on local greenbelt land attracted over 100 people last night.

It was addressed by Borough Planning Cllr Martin Forshaw who was supported by Halsall resident and Aughton Cllr David Westley, Halsall Cllr Doreen Stephenson and was chaired by Lynn Campbell who called for an introduction and explanation of the development proposal by Cllr Forshaw.

I’ve attended two meetings at which Cllr Forshaw’s opening words are “I’m not a planner” after which he has not only proved that point but has also proved he is no master of his portfolio despite his years of experience in the post.

His attempted explanation of how the proposed Halsall development came about was simply an attempt to justify developer interest in Plan A sites. The proposal for Halsall only came to Cabinet in June 2013 as Plan B then as Plan A sites. New Cut Lane/Fine Janes Farm sites are now Plan A.

Members of the public raised a variety of issues relating to schools and services but particularly how prone the area is to flooding.

A local farmer explained very eloquently how much rainfall, runoff, poor drainage and a badly maintained brook caused regular flooding. Pile driving would be necessary to depths of between 12 to 25 feet and some current homes were built on concrete rafts. They were now uninsurable after flooding.

Cllr Forshaw gave the public some encouragement to make this an issue for the Planning Inspector.

In a bizarre reference to the meeting it was claimed Cllr Westley had told the Chair of the meeting he didn’t see the point of holding it.

A call for Cllr Stephenson to declare her support for the protest led to what must have been the most embarrassing political squirming seen in Halsall for a long time; she was left in no doubt the support that put her into office would disappear very quickly if she did not express her opposition to the development proposal.

A call for a vote by those present demanding she support the residents against the development received unanimous and vociferous support. This was despite an intervention by Cllr Westley that the Borough Council would be voting on the whole plan and not a part of it.

A local Halsall Parish Councillor raised the matter of how Option A, the Altys Lane proposal, had been rejected out of hand in order to help the Derby ward councillors.

This would have provided 500 houses and many other special facilities badly needed in Ormskirk and leaving less need of so much development in Halsall and Burscough.

The battle for Halsall is far from over. While Cllr Westley might not have seen the point of holding such a meeting many people attending must have wondered just what is the point of Cllr Westley being involved in decisions that will affect the lives of future generations.

Now visit this site: http://rapgroup.org/

7th Aug 2013, www.westlancashirerecord.com

Halsall Contemptuous of Political Interference in Greenbelt

As shown below a Residents Public Meeting was called at Halsall Memorial Hall tonight to ask for public support in stopping the “Ill Thought-Out Plan to Build 150+ New Houses on Greenbelt Land Adjacent to New Cut Lane and Guildford Road”.

By the time the meeting opened over 100 people were crammed into the hall. The meeting was addressed by Borough Planning Cllr Martin Forshaw who was supported by Halsall resident and Aughton Cllr David Westley, and Halsall Cllr Doreen Stephenson.

DSC00323

The meeting was chaired by Lynne Campbell who called for an introduction and explanation of the development proposal by Cllr Forshaw. I’ve attended two meeting at which Cllr Forshaw’s opening words are “I’m not a planner” after which he has not only proved that point but has also proved he is no master of his portfolio despite his years of experience in the post. His attempted explanation of how the proposed Halsall development came about was simply an attempt to justify developer interest in Plan A sites. The proposal for Halsall only came to Cabinet in June 2013 as Plan B then as Plan A sites. New Cut Lane/Fine Janes Farm sites are now Plan A.

Members of the public raised a variety of issues relating to schools and services but particularly how prone the area is to flooding. A local farmer explained very eloquently how much rainfall, runoff, poor drainage and a badly maintained brook caused regular flooding. Pile driving would be necessary to depths of between 12 to 25 feet and some current homes were built on concrete rafts. They were now uninsurable after flooding. Cllr Forshaw gave the public some encouragement to make this an issue for the Planning Inspector.

DSC00322

In a bizarre reference to the meeting it was claimed Cllr Westley had told the Chair of the meeting he didn’t see the point of holding it. A call for Cllr Stephenson to declare her support for the protest led to what must have been the most embarrassing political squirming seen in Halsall for a long time. She was left in no doubt the support that put her into office would disappear very quickly if she did not express her opposition to the development proposal. A call for a vote by those present demanding she support the residents against the development received unanimous and vociferous support. This was despite an intervention by Cllr Westley that the Borough Council would be voting on the whole plan and not a part of it.

A local Halsall Parish Councillor raised the matter of how Option A, the Altys Lane proposal, had been rejected out of hand in order to help the Derby ward councillors. This would have provided 500 houses and many other special facilities badly needed in Ormskirk and leaving less need of so much development in Halsall and Burscough. After Cllr Westley’s bizarre attempt at an explanation that Cllr Owens had benefited it was pointed out the whole matter had been due to a Derby ward vacancy, that the Tory candidate Sudworth had campaigned for election based on no Derby ward development and how his own website proved this beyond doubt. Sudworth was not only duly elected but he is now a cabinet member deciding how and where proposals to develop greenbelt land will be approved. It will forever bear the stench of the political fix it was!

The battle for Halsall is far from over. While Cllr Westley might not have seen the point of holding such a meeting many people attending must have wondered just what is the point of Cllr Westley being involved in decisions that will affect the lives of future generations.

Now visit this site   http://rapgroup.org/


6th Aug 2013 www.otsnews.co.uk

New Cut Lane open meeting Halsall Memorial Hall Halsall near Southport

ots-new cut lane action group 5 building site ray belcher southport ots onthespot ots otsnews.co.uk_0

Halsall Residents Turn out in Force for Public Meeting

There was real show of strength by Halsall and Sefton residents, who turned out in force to a public meeting organised by Halsall Residents Action Group (RAP), who are fighting to prevent West Lancashire Borough Council opening up Green belt land on New Cut Lane, for development of 150 new homes

The meeting was chaired by Lynn Campbell a member of RAP and attended by WLB Cllr Doreen Stephenson, and WLBC cabinet council members David Westley and Martin Forshaw.

Cllr Forshaw presented on why the council had had made modifications to the Local Plan 2012 – 2027 and their reasons for changing New Cut Lane from a Plan B to a Plan A site. Cllr Forshaw explained this was due to the government inspector identifying a shortfall of housing in the councils original Local Plan. He did also suggest and advise on certain issues which the residents could include in any official objections, which have to be lodged by the 9th August.

Raymond Belcher, one of the members of RAP said. “We were absolutely delighted to see so many people turn up, we can’t thank everyone enough. This overwhelming support sends a very clear signal to the council that we may be small in size due to our rural location but we have a big voice and they ignore us at their peril.  People from all over Halsall and surrounding areas want this plan stopped.”


ots-new cut lane action group 6 building site ray belcher southport ots onthespot ots otsnews.co.uk_0

The presentation was followed by a very lively Q&A session with residents challenging the Cllrs on a number of points. These included, lack of effective and intelligent communication to the residents regarding the modifications to the Local Plan. A show of hands confirmed that no one had seen the adverts or notifications. The Cllrs stated all legal obligations had been met.

Looking at the actual deliverability of the New Cut Lane site. The councils plan had included parcels of resident’s gardens/land as part of the available land for development, unbeknown to the majority of residents until three weeks ago. Cllrs were asked didn’t they think this was misleading, as when resident’s gardens were taken out of the equation the actual land available is considerably reduced. To include/identify land in this way, is apparently normal procedure.

Residents also called into question the ability of the developer Bloor Homes, and their understanding of the major building issues surrounding the land, including deep level piling, and dealing with existing and potential flooding issues. It seems that Bloor Homes have not submitted any in-depth reports or plans, or been required to.  When asked if any of the other originally identified sites have had in-depth reports/plans submitted, Cllr Forshaw answered, “not to his knowledge, other than a very sketchy plan”, but did not say for which site.

Halsall Parish Cllr Barry Critchley, reiterated the Parish Councils total support for the residents, and asked the councillors why had the Alty’s lane site close to Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, an original Plan A site, meeting all the criteria,  completely deliverable and addressing WLBC housing requirement, was dismissed in favour of Plan B sites. Had this site been chosen, it would have negated the need for developing Yew tree Farm in Burscough, New Cut Lane, and Fine Janes farm. The answers given were there would have been too much of a traffic issue for Ormskirk, and the housing would not have been spread across the borough. Many people responded with “what about the traffic issues for New Cut Lane and Burscough?”

Residents pushed local Cllr Doreen Stephenson, on how she would vote when the government’s inspector made his recommendations, which would then be put to the council for their vote. Would she follow the party whip, or do the right thing and vote wholeheartedly for the residents who helped to elect her? In an overwhelming vocal response from the hall, including ‘resign now,’ she was left in no doubt what the residents expect, and how the wrong answer will affect her long-term position.


 

6th Aug 2013

Over 140 local residents packe the Memorial Hall for the open meeting tonight
Many thanks to all who made the effort in turning up and making their voice heard.

  
6th Aug 2013, www.southport.gb.com
Make Your Voice Heard!



If you're concerned about plans for housing development in the New Cut Lane area, the New Cut Lane Residents Action Group invite you to a public meeting tonight.

It's to show West Lancashire Borough Council what locals think of its ILL thought out plan to build 150+ now homes locally.

The meeting starts at 7pm at Halsall Memorial Hall, Halsall Road, Halsall; County/Borough councillor David Westley and Borough councillor Doreen Stephenson will be available to answer questions.

We look forward to seeing you there; if you need assistance/transport getting to the meeting please let us know and we can help - please call Lynn on 01704 566354/07764 635550

 

5th Aug 2013, www.otsnews.co.uk

New Cut Lane Residents Action Group Public meeting 6th August 2013

ots-new cut lane action group 4 building site ray belcher southport ots onthespot ots otsnews.co.uk_0

New Cut Lane Residents Action Group Invite you to Attend a Public Meeting to Show Your Support in Stopping West Lancashire Borough Council’s ILL Thought Out Plan to build 150+ New Houses on Greenbelt Land Adjacent to New Cut Lane and Guildford Road

The Meeting will be held on

Tuesday, 6th August at 7pm

At Halsall Memorial Hall, Halsall Road, Halsall

Councillors David Westley and Doreen Stephenson will be available to answer questions

We look forward to seeing you there

If you need assistance/transport getting to the meeting please let us know and we can arrange car share/lifts, please call Lynn on 01704 566354/07764 635550

Submit News   

Contact us with your community, business or sport news. Phone 07930717137 Email ots@otsnews.co.uk Twitter www.twitter.com/onthespot_news

3rd Aug 2013, Q Local, Ormskirk
Open event held to look at Burscough Affordable Housing Plans




by Debbie Johnson

A public consultation event was held to allow local people to find out about plans for much-needed affordable housing in the Burscough area.

The Regenda Group has submitted a planning application to build on land identified by West Lancashire Borough Council as suitable for development.

The plan is to provide 12 family homes in Pickles Drive, to the rear of Hesketh Road. The new homes will be built to a high quality of design, and set aside for rent by local people who are nominated by the council.

The lettings policy will take into consideration local eligibility, such as already living in the area and being in housing need, or having strong connections to the area.

The event, held at the Burscough Wharf, was attended by local people, representatives from the Borough Council, and Regenda.

A spokesperson for Regenda said: “Staff from both Regenda’s development and neighbourhood teams were there on the night, and local people were invited to find out more about the plans.

“We are pleased that local people took the time to attend the event to share their views and find out more about the proposals, if approved the development would bring much-needed affordable housing to a desirable area, helping local people to remain close to their families and support networks.”

Although the development will be using a portion of existing green space, every effort is being made to minimise this, with the majority of the land being kept for the recreational use of local people.

The existing fenced play area for toddlers will be retained. In addition, Regenda will provide a financial contribution that will enable other play equipment on the Pickles Drive site to be improved.

A planning decision is expected in either September or October 2013.

*The Regenda Group was formed in 2002 as a partnership between Liverpool-based Maritime Housing and Templar Housing in Macclesfield. Oldham-based West Pennine Housing Association (WPHA) joined the group in 2003. On 1st April 2005 Wyre Housing Association (“WHA” - originally an LSVT) joined the group. West Pennine had a registered subsidiary – the Limehurst Village Trust (“LVT”) which transferred its engagements to West Pennine in 2009.

1st Aug 2013

Halsall residents set up campaign group against New Cut Lane development

A PROTEST group has been set up to combat Local Plan proposals to earmark New Cut Lane for development.

Halsall Residents Against Planning Group (RAP) was formed in early July in a direct response to the proposed modifications to the Local Plan.

What started out as a small group of residents coming together to start a petition has burgeoned into a whole community effort to put forward a formal objection against the proposals by August 9.

Lynn Campbell, the group spokeswoman, said: “We feel like we haven’t been properly consulted about these proposals.

“Many residents were horrified to hear that this Green Belt land has been earmarked as a preferred site for development.

“When the initial proposals came out New Cut Lane and Fine Jane’s Farm were at the bottom of proposed sites – now they’re at the top.

“We think this is politically motivated, as the wards where the other proposed sites are just happen to be the wards the council cabinet members represent.

“We’re determined to make our voice heard.”

A West Lancs council spokesman said: “The council arranged publicity to ensure that every resident in the borough had information delivered to them on the proposed Local Plan, as well as taking many other steps to inform people. Residents from Halsall did not make any representations about the proposal for land off New Cut Lane at that time.

“Both of these sites have been brought forward purely for planning reasons to meet the recommendations of the Planning Inspector. Which wards Cabinet members represent has had no bearing on which sites were put forward.”

 

1st Aug 2013 Ormskirk Advertiser

Greaves Hall site in Banks gets outline planning permission

OUTLINE planning permission has been granted for a large residential development on the Greaves Hall site in Banks.

This is only outline planning and means that the proposal for homes on the site is approved but the applicant will have to come back to the council with detailed plans for the site.

Cllr Paul Blane said at the planning meeting:: “This site in Banks is a key point for regeneration. The derelict nature of the land had attracted a number of vermin and the potholed road is completely un-adopted for which the application looks at fixing the problems.

“However, I am keen to see explanations, if it comes back to planning, as to how the applicant would look at sound- proofing the houses from the adjacent granite works.” The site surrounds a granite stone workshop which has expressed concerns over access to the site once homes are built.

After Cllr Andrew Fowler expressed disappointment in the reduction of employment land on the site to just 20%, planning officers advised councillors at the meeting against holding out for a developer that will create more development land.

The officers said: “The site was originally earmarked for employment land and is now been allocated for a mixed-use site as stated in the emerging Local Plan.

“It has been derelict for 20 years - there has been no interest in the site.

“If you can’t attract people to redevelop the site in the good times then you need to be realistic. Look at other uses; you need to be flexible.”

However Cllr Roger Bell added: “If the plan comes back, it looks to me like you would need to take out half of the homes to ensure against the sound issue.”

 

31st July 2013, Residents Notice of Public Meeting

New Cut Lane Residents Action Group Invite you to Attend a Public Meeting to Show Your Support in Stopping West Lancashire Borough Council’s ILL Thought Out Plan to build 150+ New Houses on Greenbelt Land Adjacent to New Cut Lane and Guildford Road

The Meeting will be held on

Tuesday, 6th August at 7pm

At Halsall Memorial Hall, Halsall Road, Halsall

Councillors David Westley and Doreen Stephenson will be available to answer questions

We look forward to seeing you there

If you need assistance/transport getting to the meeting please let us know and we can arrange car share/lifts, please call Lynn on 01704 566354/07764 635550

28th July 2013 www.southport.gb.com/news
The residents of New Cut Lane today came together to show their support to the Residents Action Group in their struggle to protect the Green Belt land that West Lancashire Council are trying to force through to build initially 150+ homes.
Over eighty residents gave up their valuable time to come together, see attached photo.

If you require any other information regarding the residents fight, please contact Lynn Campbell at lyn@tlcpr.co.uk or tel 01704566354, many thanks for your support and turning up to our meet.
We will be having a full public meeting on the 6th Aug at Halsall village hall, where allegedly our exclusive Councillor, Doreen Stephenson will be there with other planning committee members in attendance.

27th July 2012 www.ots.co.uk/news

New Cut Lane Residents Take to their Street to Demonstrate against Greenbelt Development (VIDEO)

ots-new cut lane action group 4 building site ray belcher southport ots onthespot ots otsnews.co.uk_0

Posted by & filed under News.

New Cut Lane Residents Take to their Street to Demonstrate against Greenbelt Development

Approximately 80 local residents turned out for a rally organised by Halsall’s Residents Against Planning action group (RAP), to send a very clear message to West Lancashire Borough Council, on their disgust at their plans to build 150  houses on New Cut Lane.

RAP has also organised a public meeting on Tuesday 6th August at Halsall Memorial Hall, Halsall at 7pm, and they are hoping for a big turnout. The group has also invited key members of WLBC Cabinet to attend the meeting, and explain their decision to include Green belt land on New Cut Lane within their modified Local Plan 2012 -2027.

ots-new cut lane action group 2 building site ray belcher southport ots onthespot ots otsnews.co.uk_0

The only councillor from the WLBC Cabinet who has so far agreed to attend is County Councillor David Westley, although he did tell one of the residents from the action group that he didn’t really see any value of a public meeting as it would not be of any use to any official objection the residents lodge.  Councillor Martin Forshaw did respond, saying he would be on leave until the 5th August. To be able to accommodate him residents changed the date to the 6th August, but so far he has chosen not to respond. Local Councillor Doreen Stephenson will also be attending.

Lynn Campbell spokesperson for the RAP commented. “We would like to thank everyone who came along today, it was an impressive turnout.  The support for this campaign is growing all the time, it’s all down to the hard work of the members who have been canvassing and raising the profile of our campaign. This is only the beginning and we will take it as far as we need to until someone recognises how ill thought-out it really is”.

The council have been keen to try and state their decision is not political in any way, but ultimately it will be the Council Cabinet who vote in October on which sites the government inspector has recommended.

ots-new cut lane action group 3 building site ray belcher southport ots onthespot ots otsnews.co.uk_0

Residents are questioning the reasoning behind the sites the council have put forward and more importantly the ones they chose not to and why?

With regard to releasing Green belt land, it seems in the past few days there have been a number of published articles in both the national and property press, reporting on an all-party parliamentary group, set up by MPs concerned about protecting the Green belt from development. Tony Skidmore MP who is chair of the group commented “We are not anti-building on green belt in special circumstances or where the community supportive of it.”  They also state they aim to put together a report in the autumn, with ideas about how green belt should be preserved. He also said a community right of appeal against permission of green belt development was among the issues they might explore, and how they have been able to expand that campaign to the heart of government.

Watch the video here  http://youtu.be/J9dAmU4lrJU

27th July 2012

Residents from New Cut Lane and surrounding areas, turned up at short notice to hold a photoshoot in support to protect our small patch of green belt land. More than Eighty residents gave up their valuable time to demonstrate their anger at West Lancashires naive plans to ruin the environment. Southport GB's Reporter turned up and spoke to some of the residents and listerned to their concerns.
The Committe wish to thank all who atended and hope to see many more at the public meeting on the 6th Aug at the Hallsall village hall where our elusive Councillors and may be some Borough officials present to answer to all the residents in and around New Cut Lane.
 
 
26th July 2013, Letter to Dominic Carr, West Lancashire Coucil
Dear Dominic,
Further to our conversation ,this afternoon, and prior to a Freedom of Information request,if necessary, can I please ask you to clarify the issue of the private gardens, a large detached house with gardens and an access driveway, which have been included  within the boundary of the greenbelt Parcel no SEFB13A as if they did not exist and the land were open space  for development.
 
The relevant pages ,within the link below, are pages 117 and 118 of the PDF file , below.
 
Please will you give full detail of
a) by whom
b)when
c)by what authority
 
the inclusion of privately owned residential gardens, a house, gardens and an access path to the house are included as being green belt available for possible development.
 
As you will appreciate, there is speculation amongst residents that CPOs may be brought into force. Residents have been experiencing property development agents offering them cash incentives to sell the ends of their gardens and many have refused.The fact that the Council has included their gardens in the potential development land is causing much worry, concern and unrest, and fuelling speculation about property developers controlling the agenda and /or CPOs coming into play.
 
The gardens in question are situated to the North East of SEFB13A above the SEF13A word on the diagram.The boundary cuts into them.Under the letter S of SEF13a, there is a detached house with an access driveway running into New Cut Lane between the houses ,to the left of where the boundary cuts in.
 
People are speculating about deals being made with builders, but it is worrying to see the Council which is independant, seemingly creating a false picture of the layout of the land, which seems to accord with the desires of property speculators and builders, and further adds to the fear and uncertainty being experienced by residents, some of whom have been experiencing pressure from these people, to sell their land.
 
Please advise how this seemingly false situation can be rectified.
 
Thanks in advance for your kind help
best regards
Liz Wright

25th July 2013, Open letter to the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles

Eric Pickles MP
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Department for Communities and Local Government
Eland House
Bressenden Place
London SW1E 5DU

Dear Secretary of State

I am writing to ask you to stand firm on your personal commitment to protect Green Belt land.

 Across the country, tens of thousands of new houses and industrial units could be built in the Green Belt over the next 15 years, we the residents living on New Cut Lane, Halsall are being subjected to an initial development of 150+ dwellings on a patch of important green belt land by our naive West Lancashire Council officials to which we, The Halsall Residents Action Group are strongly trying to oppose.

 Unfortunately West Lancashire Council have fast tracked this planning proposal and given the local resident 3 weeks to submit our objections which as you will understand in reality, is a very short time indeed especially the complications in understanding planning law and the process which local residents must comply to.

 However, I understand that there is enough previously used land available to supply over 1.5 million new homes across the UK, as well as up to double this amount more which can provide space for new jobs. Most of this land is in our towns and cities, where new development has the least environmental impact and provides the most benefit for local communities. While we need to get the economy going, it should not be necessary to build on Green Belt land.

 The Campaign to Protect Rural England’s call for Ministers to keep to their commitment, in the 2010 Coalition Agreement, to maintain protection of the Green Belt is something we strongly support. Please continue to monitor planning applications with a big impact on the Green Belt, and to hold public inquiries where needed to ensure the policy is upheld.

I also want the Government to be more open about whether urban sprawl is being prevented. It should ensure relevant data is published for the country as a whole, as well as each local authority, covering the proportion of all new house building on brownfield land as well as how many new homes are built on a hectare of land. 

 As the Secretary of State, we hope that you will take action and support local residents in preventing West Lancashire Council from concreting our green belt land as when the green belt has been ruined, it cannot be replaced or replicated and is gone forever, we in West Lancashire have numerous Brown field sites that are crying out to be developed on with no impact to our sensitive and important environment.

 

Thank you.

 Yours faithfully,

Halsall Residents Action Group

www.rapgroup.org


25th July 2013
Open letter to the Chief Constable Lancashire Police
Dear Chief Constable Steve Finnigan,

As you may or may not know, West Lancashire Council are planning to build 150+ houses at the end of New Cut Lane, Halsall PR8 3DW, (with the possibliity of building 200 - 250 more).

Obviously there will be a need and requirement to provide additional cover for these extra dwelings with a Police presence, how will Lancashire be able to cope with the extra demand required to do this when your role and resources are stretched to the limit by budgets and targets?

What impact will this have to the service your constables give to the community? 
Yours Sincerely,

Halsall Rseidents Action Group

23rd July 2013 Southport Champion
Residents action group set up to tackle greenbelt issue
by Ollie Cowan


RESIDENTS living in New Cut Lane have formed an action group to challenge recent proposals by West Lancashire Borough Council (WLBC) to potentially build up to 200 homes on green belt land.

The group say the Local Plan has not been: “positively prepared, justified, effective or consistent with national policy, and is politically motivated.”

Residents in the New Cut Lane and Guilford Road area are outraged at what they consider to be an aggressive approach by the council to push through these plans.

A spokesperson for the group said: “There is no doubt that WLBC has failed to properly communicate these plans to the residents.

”With the deadline to officially lodge any objection being August 9, they are not playing fair".


“Trying to understand official planning documents, decipher all the complexities of the proposals, subsequent amendments, be able to respond and make clear and relevant representations, is extremely difficult unless you are very familiar with reading these type of documents on a regular basis.

”We cannot understand how the council’s planning department has changed it views within a year, as assurances were given at a public display in Burscough last year, stating that plan B sites, which included New Cut Lane were very unlikely to be released and developed.

“This was due to the fact there was more than sufficient capacity within the plan A sites, and the plan B sites were just being identified to comply with the guidelines of the Local plan.”

The proposed development will mean a loss of wildlife habitat and Grade A agricultural land.

Residents are also concerned about pre existing issues regarding flooding and drainage.

The resident’s action group is currently running an online petition at http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-new-development-on-green-belt and you can follow the resident’s action group on twitter @halsallrap.

Residents have also contacted their local MP for West Lancs, Rosie Cooper, who has committed to work with residents to ensure their questions and concerns are raised and that residents’ voices are heard.

Anyone wishing to lend their support or require further information should contact Lynn Campbell at lynn@tlcpr.co.uk
23rd July 2013
www.southport.gb.com Southport - Online News


Residents Action Group Challenge West Lancs Green belt, Land Grab Proposals

Residents living in New Cut Lane have formed an action group to challenge recent proposals by West Lancashire Borough Council (WLBC) to potentially build up to 200 homes on green belt land, adjacent to New Cut lane and Guilford Road, which is located on the border of West Lancs and Sefton, as they believe the Local Plan 2012-2027 has not been positively prepared, justified, effective or consistent with national policy, and to be politically motivated.

Local residents are outraged at what they consider to be an aggressive approach by the council to push through these plans, and during recent canvassing by the residents to properties along Guildford road, all of these home owners spoken to, were also unaware and equally upset at these plans.

There is no doubt that WLBC has failed to properly communicate these plans to the residents. With the deadline to officially lodge any objection being 9th August 2013, they are not playing fair.

The resident’s action group is currently running an online petition at

http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petition...-on-green-belt and you can follow the resident’s action group on twitter @halsallrap. They also plan to hold a public meeting and invite local councillors from WLBC.


 21st July 2013

Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Times

Green belt Designation redrawn.

The Sunday Telegraph has discovered large areas of land in England will be removed from Green belt designation to facilitate housebuilding.

The Telegraph says that up to 100.000 homes will be built on such land. Planning inspectors have ordered Councils in some cases to redraw their green belt boundries for failing to meet building requirements set out in the National Planning Policy Framework. Sefton, on Merseyside, Newcastle and Gateshead, Birmingham and Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire are amoung areas affected.

The Sunday Times reports Conservative backbenchers are trying to halt the development of thousands of arces of Green Belt land, accusing Councils of " misrepresenting and abusing" new planning powers.    

20th July 2013

The official Twiiter account for the action group is set up, follow us at
20th July 2013

Mauice George (West Lancs Green Party) signs our petition and gives his much welcomed support

18th July 2013

Residents Against Planning committe members meet Rosie Cooper (MP)

17th July 2013

Press release

 

Residents Action Group Challenge West Lancs Green belt, Land Grab Proposals

 

Residents living in New Cut Lane have formed an action group to challenge recent proposals by West Lancashire borough council (WLBC) to potentially build up to 200 homes on green belt land, adjacent to New Cut lane and Guilford Road, which is located on the border of West Lancs and Sefton, as they believe the Local Plan 2012-2027 has not been positively prepared, justified, effective or consistent with national policy, and to be politically motivated.

Local residents are outraged at what they consider to be an aggressive approach by the council to push through these plans, and during recent canvassing by the residents to properties along Guildford road, all of these home owners spoken to, were also unaware and equally upset at these plans.  Although Guilford Road is technically in Sefton, the construction and impact on local services would have a direct impact on them.

There is no doubt that WLBC has failed to properly communicate these plans to the residents. With the deadline to officially lodge any objection being 9th August 2013, they are not playing fair.

As one resident said “Trying to understand official planning documents, decipher all the complexities of the proposals, subsequent amendments, be able to respond and make clear and relevant representations, is extremely difficult unless you are very familiar with reading these type of documents on a regular basis. We cannot understand how the council’s planning department has changed it views within a year, as assurances were given at a public display in Burscough last year, stating that plan B sites, which included New Cut Lane were very unlikely to be released and developed. This was due to the fact there was more than sufficient capacity within the plan A sites, and the plan B sites were just being identified to comply with the guidelines of the Local plan 2012 – 2027.”

The proposed development will mean a loss of wildlife habitat and Grade A agricultural land, plus there are already issues regarding flooding and drainage, as well as being a blatant encroachment into the Green belt. The land identified ‘sticks out’ projects into the Green belt, than would normally be expected as an expansion of a town from its boundary. The land also follows historic ribbon development, which is in contravention of current policy. In fact national policy dictates, ‘well thought out development’.

The plans also shows how the development will encroach and effect existing homes and gardens along New Cut Lane. It also transpires that it’s up to residents to oppose the plans to take part of their gardens! Again, none of the residents who would be effected by this land grab, were made aware if this. It is shameful that they have not have received any official communication from the council explaining this to them.

It appears that seven sites had originally been considered for development across West Lancashire, with the sites at New Cut Lane the most unlikely to be released, according to the councils original document. A key reason being, the ground which comprises peat and clay would require extensive and deep piling to stabilise it.  This issue has not changed, but interestingly WLBC no longer seem to view this as major issue against development. However, the residents strongly disagree, as there would be immense noise and disturbance to residents living not only in the immediate vicinity, but also in the surrounding roads, plus the potential for subsidence to existing homes adjoining the development.

Residents are also challenging how the site could possibly cater for 150 or more new homes, without being crammed in, or high rise, disregarding the local character and flaunting national guidelines. There would also be a huge increase in traffic, the structure of New Cut Lane which leads into Halsall lane and Gregory Lane, towards Ormskirk, is already incapable of coping with the existing traffic, as anyone living in the vicinity or uses it will tell you, unless you drive a farm vehicle. With many homes these days now having two cars, there’s a potential of 400 extra vehicles to accommodate.

The resident’s action group is currently running an online petition at http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-new-development-on-green-belt and would urge local residents on both sides of the council borders to sign against this proposal, together with lobbying their local councillors and MP, and lodge their own official objections. The objective is to make the council re-consider opening up the site at New Cut Lane. They also plan to hold meetings and invite local councillors from both WLBC and Sefton, some of whom have already declared their opposition to the proposal, to assist them.

Halsall Parish Council have also declared their support for the residents at a recent meeting. However, Councillor Doreen Stevenson who sits on the parish council and is vice chair of WLBC  planning committee,  who was not present at the meeting as she had to attend a planning/training session, later told one of the New Cut Lane residents she would support them, but as to what extent, she would have to take under advisement.

 

Residents have also contacted their local MP for West Lancs, Rosie Cooper, who has committed to work with residents to ensure their questions and concerns are raised and that residents’ voices are heard.

One of the residents involved in the action group commented “There are many inconsistencies and contradictions, which lead us to believe the decision to release the New Cut Lane land to be politically motivated. Let’s consider how many voters would potentially be effected in the border area of New Cut Lane in comparison to potential voters in Burscough or Ormskirk, where this development would have more impact on West Lancs services and the future of some elected councillors…

WLBC state they need new homes to make up a shortfall of homes. How likely is it, that people living in Skelmersdale or further afield will to move/purchase property in Southport. The fact is it’s far more likely to be people from Sefton buying these properties. So how exactly is that providing homes for the people in West Lancs?

We think there are a great many unanswered questions surrounding this proposal”


 12th July 2013

www.otsnews.co.uk (Southport web based news & forum site)


ots-ray belcher new cut lane petition southport ots onthespot ots otsnews.co.uk_0

New Cut Lane residents form action committee against 200 housing & building development (Southport)

New Cut Lane residents form action committee against 200 housing & building development (Southport) Local residents in New Cut Lane, Birkdale, Southport, have formed an action committee against the proposed building works on land at the rear of New Cut Lane. Lancashire council plan to release green belt agricultural land for housing development.
Ray Belcher who lives on New Cut Lane said: “Our committee will fight tooth and nail to stop developers building on greenbelt land”

27 June 2013

Reaction to modifications as consultation begins

MODIFICATIONS to the Local Plan – West Lancashire’s planning strategy for the next 15 years – go out for a six-week public consultation today (June 27).

The modifications come in light of government inspector Roger Clews’ recommend-ations letter on the plan.

Modifications include allocation of a small extension to Simonswood Industrial Estate for employment land, the removal of the Gypsy and Traveller Policy and the controversial increased housing requirement, including the allocation of three more housing sites to meet the requirement.

These sites will be at Fine Jane’s Farm, Halsall; New Cut Lane, Halsall; and Greaves Hall Avenue, Banks and are expected to provide an extra 210 new homes.

A resident of New Cut Lane, Jimmy Henney, said there are a number of concerns about developments on the proposed site.

“If they do develop the site they will need to sit down and really think about it,” he said.

“The road is like a rat-run in the morning as it is, it won’t take new houses on the site and the drains can’t keep up with the water as it stands.

“There will be limited entrance choices for a development.

“Sefton Council also has a good point. The site in Halsall is on the border with Sefton and it could happen that Ormskirk gets all the rates, which is a good deal for West Lancashire Council.

“All the kids will be going to schools in Merseyside, and there is a worry that, if they share the site with Sefton, they could move New Cut Lane out of the border of Lancashire.

“I have not heard anyone who is happy with the modifications.

“The ones who are making the decisions don’t live anywhere near the site.”

The Aughton Residents group feels that the two sites at Parr’s Lane are still not safe, despite not being included in the main modifications.

Colin Atkinson, of the residents’ group, said he felt that once the developers have their say the council will be forced to reconsider Parr’s Lane. Mr Atkinson said: “The planning department may have rejected the Parr’s Lane sites but it is at odds with what the developers have said – Parr’s Lane is the jewel in the crown for them.”

20th June 2013

Concerns over plans to build 210 homes in Halsall

NEIGHBOURING Sefton council raised concerns after it was revealed that West Lancashire Borough Council’s plans to build hundreds of houses in Halsall could “have implications” for Sefton.

WLBC wants to build as many as 210 homes in the village which borders the Sefton boundary as part of its strategy to create thousands of new homes.

But Sefton is worried that the plan could “potentially impact on Sefton’s and particularly Southport’s, infrastructure/school requirements”.

Cllr David Sumner, who represents Sefton’s Norwood ward, raised his concern and said: “The whole infrastructure needs to be looked at properly before we begin to agree to planning applications. Mothers have to work and children have to go to nurseries. So there is an issue over nurseries. We also have to look at the issues surrounding doctors, dentists, schools. The main concern is how New Cut Lane would impose on us.”

The matter arose when an inspector concluded there was a shortfall in housing provision and made clear that 210 units should be identified in order to make that part of WLBC local plan sound.

He found that one or more of the sites should be brought forward “to meet the identified shortfall in housing delivery with the remainder of the plan period.”

WLBC proposed Fine Jane’s Farm and New Cut Lane should feature in some of the likely options that it will “seriously consider” for inclusion in its local plan as an additional application.

The options would be: release Fine Jane’s Farm (60 dwellings) and New Cut Lane (70) sites that are safeguarded in the submitted local plan; release the enlarged New Cut Lane site only (150); release both the enlarged New Cut Lane site (150) and Fine Jane’s Farm site (60).

Sefton hopes the number of houses which could be built at Halsall can be shared.

Sefton councillors voted in favour of its planning department to writing to WLBC to see if it would share 50% of the Halsall homes.

A Sefton spokesman said the matter was discussed at length and councillors delegated power to its head of planning services to prepare an appropriate response to WLBC in due course.

He added: “The main principle of this response will be that Sefton supports the release of the two sites on the basis that we look to reach agreement with West Lancs about identifying a realistic proportion of those houses to be allocated as meeting some of Sefton’s housing requirement.”

No one from West Lancs council was unavailable for comment.

20 June 2013

Green Belt land in Halsall to be used in Local Plan

GREEN Belt land has been identified as suitable for housing development in the Local Plan, West Lancashire’s planning policy for the next 15 years.

Previously safeguarded land at Fine Jane’s Farm and New Cut Farm in Halsall has been selected by officers at West Lancashire Borough Council for the potential development of 210 extra homes recommended by the planning inspector, Roger Clew, in his examination of the plans.

The Conservative-led council passed the recommendation of the release of the sites from the Green Belt at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday evening (June 18).

This came following the inspector’s letter of recommendations to the council in May, where he stated that in order for the plan to sound, 4,856 homes would be required – 210 more than was originally included.

The council has concluded that the New Cut Lane site will provide 150 homes and Fine Jane’s Farm will provide 60.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Martin Forshaw, who put forward the plan to the inspector, said: “For the 210 extra homes we considered a number of sites: Parr’s Lane East, Parr’s Lane West – both in Aughton – and Fine Jane’s Farm and New Cut Farm in Halsall.

“With regard to Parr’s Lane, the inspector was clear that he felt that they were one site; the officers felt that this ruled out Parr’s Lane.

“Fine Jane’s Farm and New Cut Farm will be included in the consultation.”

It was also decided at the meeting that 6.79 hectares of land adjacent to Simonswood Industrial estate would be included as employment land in response to Mr Clews’s recommendations.

Cllr Forshaw continued by saying that the inspector should respond later this year: “By the beginning of September we should know where we stand with this.

“The council have always done very well and we have a strong and robust plan.

“Overall, we have had very positive feedback from the inspector and our office should be congratulated.”

The modifications to the Local Plan will now go out for a six-week public consultation and it is hoped that, if there is no strong opposition, the modified plan will go before full council in October for it’s adoption across the borough.

Speaking at the meeting, the council leader, Cllr Ian Grant, said: “If Halsall is rejected we will have to look again.”

6th June 2013

West Lancs hunt for 210 homes prompt service fears

by Rebecca Koncienzcy, Southport Visiter

FEARS have been raised about increased pressure on Southport services as West Lancashire Borough Council looks to build 210 more homes near the borough boundary.

Issues arising from inspector Roger Clews’ interim views on West Lancashire’s Local Plan – the overall planning policy for the next 15 years – have caused West Lancs Council to launch a search for sites for a further 210 homes on previously “safeguarded” land to make their plan sound.

Officers have identified Fine James Farm and New Cut Lane, in Halsall. Fine Jane’s Farm could accommodate 60 new homes, with New Cut lane earmarked for either 70 or 150 new properties.

West Lancs Council examined four safeguarded sites but believe that the two Halsall sites are “the most sustainable of the limited realistic options they have available to them”.

The other options are two sites on Green Belt land at Parrs Lane, Aughton, which could yield 400 homes.

Sefton councillors have been given the chance to give their views at a Planning Committee meeting next Wednesday (June 12).

Birkdale ward councillor, Simon Shaw, said: “Six months ago, Birkdale and Kew ward councillors flagged up these issues about the West Lancashire Local Plan – we thought that this was behind us.

“Any significant building in that area would be part of built-up Southport.

“In relation to our schools, doctors’ surgeries and so forth, it would place increased pressure on Southport facilities, even though the people living there would be paying council tax to West Lancashire.”

The planning committee will be given the option of supporting or objecting to the development of the two sites. A third option would be to propose that development should contribute towards Sefton’s housing need.

Cllr Shaw said: “I would not be happy with any building on the land, but it would be grossly unfair if these houses, which for all intents and purposes fall within Southport, were built and none were to contribute towards Sefton’s housing needs.”

Birkdale Ward councillor Richard Hands said: “I am very unhappy with these proposals. We are well known for our green spaces and to build on Green Belt is very short- sighted.

“I realise planning are under a lot of pressure, but they should be more adventurous and not take the easy option of Green Belt and try to look for land that is already used but needs redevelopment.”

30 May 2013

Developers have scaled house plans down from previous application

LAND adjacent to Bescar Lane station, Scarisbrick, could be used for the construction of four semi-detached affordable houses.

A planning application has been made by Bluebell Construction Limited for the dwellings on the brownfield site land, which will be landscaped and given associated parking.

Bluebell Construction was refused a development proposal for 31 homes on the site in September 2009, with the inspector dismissing an appeal on the grounds that the site lay within the Green Belt location.

The Affordability statement says that the four three-bedroomed homes will be for the ‘affordable rental market’.

It has been proposed that the houses will be constructed in traditional materials with brick elevations and pitched roofs in order to complement Station Farm, the nearest dwelling.

The new application is considerably different from Bluebell Construction’s previous application for 31 homes spread over 0.8 hectares, with the four-house development plan only covering 0.18 hectares.

The remainder of the site, comprising approximately 0.62 hectares adjacent to the railway, is to be retained as open land.

The mature trees on the periphery of the plot are also retained and not affected by the development proposal.

Scarisbrick ward councillor William Cropper said: “I view this more favourably than the previous unsuccessful application for the site, which was considerably larger in scale.

“It is in tune with council policy for affordable housing in rural areas, small in scale to meet local need and leaves the rear of the site as a rural asset valued by the local residents.”

The Access and Design statement specifies that Policy DS2 relates to the need for affordable housing and that this would allow for the building of housing on Green Belt land with the applicant being able to demonstrate that there is no viable alternative land.

The accompanying statement says: “Policy DS2 further specifies that affordable housing can be permitted in the Green Belt as long as there are no sites available within areas excluded from the Green Belt.”