Labour fights to save greenbelt in East Sefton

Labour's Save OUr Greenbelt Campaign


Labour councillors from throughout East Sefton are calling for the area's greenbelt land to be safeguarded after reviewing Sefton's Core Strategy presentations.

Core Strategy drop-in events have so far been held in Melling, Lydiate and Aintree and another is to be held in Maghull on Tuesday, June 21.

After attending the events, Molyneux Ward Labour Councillor Tony Carr said he and the rest of the Labour Action Teams were determined to fight to save the greenbelt.

Cllr Carr said: "After looking at the Core Strategy documentation, I am more determined than ever that we need to preserve our greenbelt land in East Sefton.

"We have some of the finest Grade One agricultural land in the country right here and we need to make sure that that isn't ploughed up in the rush to build housing in Aintree, Melling and Maghull.

"We want to see all of the other options investigated first, which includes reclaiming brownfield sites for potential development and also revisiting the statistics on just how many homes are going to be needed here in Sefton.

"Our greenbelt land is precious. Once it is gone, it is gone - and there will be no going back.

"The Labour Party set up the greenbelt after the Second World War and we are the only party that will protect the greenbelt for future generations."

Cllr Carr said more needs to be done to release vacant properties in Sefton.

Cllr Carr said: "The national average for vacant properties is 2%. Here in Sefton it is 4%. So instead of cutting the red tape for building on the greenbelt, this Tory-Lib Dem government should be cutting the red tape for reclaiming vacant properties, instead of allowing them to be used as tax loopholes for the rich."

Sudell Ward Labour Councillor Patrick McKinley said he had been contacted by Maghull residents who were concerned that the decision had already been made to build on the greenbelt.

Cllr McKinley said: "People are concerned that the decision to build on the greenbelt has already been made.

"If that were the case, then they can think again. The Labour Action Teams here in East Sefton, our councillors and MP, are fighting to safeguard the greenbelt.

"We will fight to ensure that all of the alternatives are looked at before the door is opened for big business to come in and profit on the back of our countryside.

"This community needs to be heard. My Labour colleagues on Sefton Council and on Maghull Town Council will ensure that local people's voices are heard."

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson said thousands of people have so far signed the Labour petition to Save the Greenbelt in Sefton.

Bill said: "This Tory-Lib Dem government kicked open the door for developers to come in and build on our greenbelt when they relaxed planning regulations earlier this year.

"Since then, we have been working hard to safeguard our countryside here in the borough. Around Maghull, Melling, Aintree and Lunt we have some of the finest farming land in the country. This is farming land which is far too valuable to allow to be destroyed.

"So we will continue the fight to save it.

"I recently backed an amendment to the Localism Bill which essentially puts local communities at the heart of the planning process. So if this bill is passed in Parliament, we will be able to ensure that the local community gets the final say on any plans to build on greenbelt or any other planning applications."

 

Bill Esterson is scheduled to speak at a Campaign to Protect Rural England public debate on building on the greenbelt on July 15 at 7pm at Old Christ Church in Waterloo.