Labour’s MP for Sefton Central says that Neighbourhood Plans are an important way for residents to decide how they want their communities to develop in the coming years.
Parish councils in Melling and Formby are producing their own plans as is the town council in Maghull and the Labour MP is supporting the efforts of parish and town councils to let local people have their say.
He contrasted the approach taken by those councils which are developing their own plan with the refusal of some to do so.
Bill Esterson said: "Neighbourhood Plans are part of the planning process and work alongside the Sefton Local Plan as a way of communities deciding what kind of development they want.
"My Labour colleagues in Maghull and Melling are among those who are drawing up a plan. This approach is also being adopted by Formby which is run by the Conservatives so this is not a party issue.
"It seems to me that having a Neighbourhood Plan is a common sense way to protect communities and to make sure that those of us who live here now benefit from any development that happens.
"The problem with much of what happens in planning is that it is done 'to' people not 'with' them.
"Development should benefit people living here now and I am optimistic that the Neighbourhood Plans being developed across Sefton Central will help people to have their say in what they want to see.
"So in Maghull that could mean a new station and new slip roads onto the M58 as well as improvements in the roads and drains. And if we are to see new housing, then those of us living here now want to make sure that existing residents have first choice including young people who can’t afford to leave home.
"But the Neighbourhood Plans are not just about housing. They are about making sure that concerns are taken on board and that developers don’t impose what they want onto those of us living here now.
"Having a Neighbourhood Plan and having a strong Local Plan go hand in hand and are the best way of making sure that issues like road congestion, school and GP places are dealt with.
"They are also the best way to make sure that concerns about flooding and about the green belt are addressed.
"Developers will only be allowed to build where the plans say they can provided there are plans in place. The problem with those who object to having a plan is that they are allowing developers to decide where and what to build.
"In Maghull, the Lib Dems voted against even having a Neighbourhood Plan. That is highly irresponsible of Nick Clegg’s Lib Dems. You only have to look at the proposals of Peel Holdings to develop a significant area of East Sefton. Without Neighbourhood and Local Plans, Peel will be able to decide whether and where to build not the local community.
"The Peel proposals show the need for jobs and homes but there are questions about whether their proposals are in the right place.
"That is why I support the efforts of our parish and town councillors to work with residents to decide what should and should not happen in Sefton.
"Sadly, Nick Clegg and his Lib Dems want the developers to decide and that simply is not good enough.
"I hope that everyone in Sefton Central takes part in the production of the Neighbourhood Plans."