June 17, 2014

Bill Esterson



It is worth remembering that the last government had a programme for decontamination of land in former industrial areas and that grants were available to allow building to go ahead. The funding for such grants was cut by the Tories and Lib Dems when they came to power in 2010 so it is ironic that after four years, the Chancellor, George Osborne is bringing back subsidies to allow development on brownfield. 

My party has always had a brownfield first policy but we will have to see just how effective the new policy is. This government has a habit of announcing funding for projects which then add to up to very little. Maybe this time it will be different. 

Meanwhile, plans are being drawn up for new housing and employment sites across Sefton. 

Many people are understandably worried about the effect of large scale development not least on traffic and flooding. This has led to objections by people living nearby. 

The trouble is that most developers are only interested in making money not in what people already living here want. 

According to the government there has to be a local plan. Otherwise, the government will allow the developers to decide where they want to build. That is the way the current government has set up the planning system. It is also why those people who just oppose the local plan being developed across Sefton are actually putting all of our communities at risk of unregulated, uncontrolled building including on our urban green space and in the green belt. 

We have heard opposition to the local plan from a number of local councillors and campaigners, including some who are new to politics at least in our area. But none of them has come up with an alternative. 

These local politicians all say they are against building. They don’t say how they will make sure there is housing for our young people or jobs. 

But they also don’t tell you that by opposing a local plan completely, they are making it more likely that there will be building where you don’t want it to take place and where there are problems with traffic and flooding. 

The truth is that the biggest threat to the communities in Formby, Maghull and Lydiate is from local politicians who are against having a plan altogether. 

Maghull Town Council, Melling, Formby and Thornton Parish Councils are all developing neighbourhood plans to try to protect and improve their communities. They are taking the right approach and are working with the residents in their areas. 

The trick is to make sure that development is done with local communities not to them, and like the parish councils mentioned, I shall continue to push for this approach as your MP.