Crosby Labour Action Team calls for greenbelt build plans to be

Bill Esterson and Steve McGinnity at the Corsby greenbelt meeting

Crosby Labour Action Team is calling on Sefton Council to extend the deadline on the Core Strategy consultation and dump any plans to building on the borough's greenbelt.


The call came following a series of public meetings in which MP Bill Esterson and local Labour councillors listened to the concerns of other local residents about any consideration to building on the greenbelt.


In the latest meeting, Bill and Cllr Steve McGinnity met with residents on Sunday evening at Crosby's Northern Club.

Bill said from the outset that the local Labour Action Team opposed any building of the greenbelt.


His comments were echoed by Sefton Central Constituency Labour Party members who on Friday evening passed a resolution opposing the destruction of the greenbelt. The resolution stated: Sefton Central Labour Party opposes any plans to build on the greenbelt.


Speaking to residents at the meeting, Bill said: "The Labour Party is on your side with this. It is my view and the view of Labour Party members that we should not allow our greenbelt to be destroyed.


"The greenbelt was created by the Labour Government following the Second World War. It was created to ensure that we retained agricultural land, to ensure that we retained a countryside and to ensure that the urban sprawl did not swallow up great swathes of natural beauty. That is the beginning and the end of it. And I will be the first one to ensure that we retain our greenbelt.


"And that is the feeling shared by my Labour colleagues."


Bill said although there is a shortage of housing, there is no need to take up the greenbelt to create them.


Bill Esterson and Steve McGinnity with residents Bill said: "Throughout Sefton Central, we all have the same concerns. That is that the infrastructure is not there to cope with building on the greenbelt in each of the communities.


"I totally agree with that. But we also need to protect our prime agricultural land which gives us the ability to control the rocketing price of food and to be self-sufficient.


"And while I want to see homes made available in our area for the next generation, including my own children, we must utilise the borough's brown field sites and also begin the process of reclaiming the vacant properties in Sefton which currently sits at more than twice the national average.


"The hundreds of people who have signed our Save Our Greenbelt petition and the hundreds who attended our public meetings over the last week have all agreed and we are all working together as a unified campaign force to push back on this government's plans to relax regulations which will allow developers to come in and build regardless of the view of the community.


"I've encouraged everyone to send their own letters of objection to Eric Pickles who is the Tory-Lib Dem government communities ministers who is pushing through this legislation and also to write to me so I can use the weight of opposition in my arguments to Sefton Council and directly to the government in the House of Commons.


"We know this Tory-Lib Dem government can buckle when put under public pressure, we saw it when they wanted to sell off the nation's forests, we can force them into a u-turn again by working together and showing them that we will not sit back and allow them to destroy our greenbelt."


Manor Ward's Cllr Steve McGinnity said there was a clear message from all of the meetings.

"The various meetings which I have attended have had a clear message from residents - we don't want our greenbelt building on. And the reason they give is the impact on the local community, which includes the local infrastructure, the roads, schools, health services, etc.

"And then there's the concerns about the impact on the local wildlife, particularly the pink footed geese which are a winter visitor to this area and which are a protected species.

"There are many reasons why our local greenbelt needs protecting. None more so than our prime farmland in this area. It is incredulous that they are considering building on our grade one and two agricultural land.

"These are all points which we as a community can put to Sefton Council and to the government to persuade them that the greenbelt should be protected.

"I am also concerned that this strategy document was drawn up without consultation with the landowners. So areas have been identified for potential building before we even know if the land will be made available.

"So I encourage everyone to give their feedback to the consultation, put their views to our MP Bill Esterson, Sefton Council and to Eric Pickles who is the minister who will be driving to relax the regulations for building on the greenbelt.

"Only by working together can we make a success of this campaign and save our greenbelt for future generations."

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