Labour investigate any rights of appeal after Formby residents'

Catie Page


Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson said he and a Formby Labour campaigner are looking into any rights of appeal for Formby residents whose opposition to a new 24-hour petrol station was overruled by Sefton Council last week.

The Planning Committee approved the plans for the 24-hour service station on Liverpool Road near to The Royal Pub.

Residents had complained that the new station would cause major disruption to the community, particularly as it is planned to stay open through the night.

But after calling the planning meeting a "farce" residents have called on the MP to look into the possibility of any right of appeal against the decision.

Liverpool Road resident Judith Donoghue said: "We found the whole meeting a farce, the decision was already taken and any issues the residents had about sleep disturbance and noise pollution overnight was not even discussed. The lawyer representing the developer, kept referring to a petrol station in Clitheroe which had houses even closer than we are to the site. But if you check on Google Maps you can see the layout is very different to Formby. They are surrounded by open fields, there isn't a public house next door or shops nearby.

"The site was just a small petrol station with a couple of pumps when we moved here and closed at 11pm every night and opened at 7am. Near the end of its life it stayed open 24 hours and was horrendous especially during the summer months, youngsters coming off the beach late at night in their cars stopping and shouting to each other and then through the night pay hatch. Radios playing loudly as they pulled on to the forecourt.

"When the old site opened 24 hours we rang Sefton Council to complain and were told there was nothing they could do about it as there weren't any planning restrictions.  A new development is applied for and we ask for no 24 hour opening to be a concession and it is dismissed without a thought, because the police were happy to have it open for security reasons and the highways say the road can cope with the extra traffic and who considers the people who have their wellbeing threatened and the one biggest investment they make in their lives - their homes - devalued by goodness knows how many thousands, but I hear planning aren't allowed to consider the value of people's homes when looking at an application.
"Once again I would be extremely grateful if you could confirm that we have absolutely no right to appeal on this."

Bill Esterson said: "I am bitterly disappointed that the residents' campaign failed.

"Planning decisions are taken in a very clinical manner. So, rightly or wrongly - and lots of people would say wrongly - they consider the technical arguments rather than the human arguments.

"So I have been in discussion with Formby Labour campaigner Catie Page to fully investigate the details of the application to see if there are any glimmers of hope and I am also working with the House of Commons Library to see if there are potential rights of appeal.

"But I don't want to give the residents any false sense of hope in this issue. The chances are very slim."

Labour's candidate for Ravenmeols Ward for May's local elections, Catie Page, said she will continue to look into all options to appeal the decision.

Catie said: "As we all know, once the planning committee makes its decision it is extremely difficult to overturn that.

"We have to see if their are any technical ways in which we can appeal this decision.

"I live in Formby and know full well how much disturbance a 24-hour service station and combined shop will have on the residents in that area around Liverpool Road and the Royal estate area.

"I know exactly why the residents who live nearby are opposed to it. But that argument failed and I am working with our MP to investigate any other means of blocking this development.

"It is a shame the argument on the night failed to make the committee members fully consider the impact this development would have on the residents in our community."

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