MP and Sefton East Labour councillors pledge to fight plans to b

Labour organised greenbelt meeting in Aintree


Sefton East 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 Maghull, Aintree and Melling 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.


Bill, as well as Molyneux Ward Labour councillors Tony Carr and Marion Atkinson, met with residents at two public meetings in Aintree and Melling on Saturday.


More than 300 people packed into Oriel Drive Youth Centre to express their concerns.


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 each of the meetings, 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 said: "People in Melling and Aintree and Maghull 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."


Labour organised greenbelt meeting in AintreeCllr Tony Carr who lives in Melling said there was a clear message from all of the meetings.


Cllr Carr said: "This is the very early stages of the consultation process of the Core Strategy. But the document which has so far been presented is flawed. It fails to take into account the need for real jobs or make any impact analysis of emergency services and transport services. It also identifies sites for building in Aintree, Melling and Maghull which are clearly not appropriate and which will lead to the destruction of our agricultural land.


"The message which was made loud and clear from residents I represent is - we don't want our greenbelt building on. We don't have the infrastructure to cope, the roads are already congested here, we don't have enough schools, we don't have enough GP surgeries or dentists. And then there's the issue about building on floodplains and also the destruction of the local wildlife. It is my duty as a Molyneux Ward councillor to get this message across to strategic leaders and fellow councillors at Sefton Council as robustly as possible.

"Lots of issues, but just one message. No building on the greenbelt."


Cllr Marion Atkinson who lives in Aintree said she was delighted by the turn out to the meetings.


Cllr Atkinson said: "Hundreds of people turned out, not always in great weather, and I thank them for joining us to campaign for our communities.


"What we are asking for now is for the consultation period to be extended beyond the August 12 deadline as people clearly feel that they haven't been properly informed.


"And the Labour Action Team is working on organising another series of public meetings which we hope will include council officers who will be responsible for drawing up the strategy.


"We will keep people informed about any dates in the coming days and weeks."