MP Bill Esterson fears for East Sefton’s greenbelt as he says lo

Bill Esterson


Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson has asked the government to reveal which local authorities have submitted plans which release greenbelt land for development.

The Tory-Lib Dem Government has changed planning rules to allow greenbelt development.

Now the government is going further as Planning Minister Nick Boles is preparing to force councils to allow developers to build on greenbelt.

If local authorities refuse to greenlight applications for building on greenbelt, the government will step in and force the application through.

MP Bill Esterson, who himself served as a councillor for 15 years, said the Tories and Lib Dems were putting "overwhelming pressure on local councils like Sefton to build on greenbelt".

Bill has this week asked Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, to name which local authorities that have so far submitted 'Local Plans' are proposing to open up their greenbelt for development.

Bill said: "The Tory-Lib Dem Government is putting immense pressure on local authorities to submit Local Plans which open up large areas of greenbelt areas for development.

"These Local Plans layout the authorities' forecasts for housing and employment developments. Sefton has yet to submit its Local Plan, but its Unitary Development Plan, which is in place, states clearly that there is no development on greenbelt allowed.

"But if government ministers like Nick Boles are saying that greenbelt developments which are rejected by local councils will be steamrolled through by the government on appeal, then we have a real problem and I fear for the greenbelt here in Sefton.

"Developers have already drawn up plans to build homes on greenbelt in Formby. They have earmarked Lydiate greenbelt for a further 500-plus houses.

"Under this Tory-Lib Dem Government, Sefton may well have these developments, and others, imposed upon them, regardless of local opposition. It may well be that there is some development in greenbelt to build affordable homes for people in places like Formby and Lydiate but what the government is saying goes way beyond this and could mean much larger scale development which completely changes the character of our towns and villages.

Bill said that the Government was taking away the right of local people to be consulted.

Bill said: "When the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats merged to form this government they promised that 'localism' would be at the heart of their decision making. But instead, they have taken away any semblance of local decision making.

"The community's wishes are being disregarded. Local councils are being decimated because of the cuts and decisions on how communities evolve are being taken in Whitehall.

"That's why Nick Boles can say he will send in the bulldozers to decimate our greenbelt.

"This is a fight for our communities. It is a fight for our future generations. It is a battle which we must fight. But it is a battle which will not be easy."


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