Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson meets greenbelt campaigne

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson with residents and greenbelt campaigners following their meeting at Maghull Town Hall.

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson together with Labour Councillors from Maghull Town Council, met with leading greenbelt campaigners from Maghull and Lydiate.

Residents Alan Lee, Colin Reader, Peter Greener and Vin Bowe, met with members of the East Sefton Labour Action Team to discuss their concerns about the future of the greenbelt.

Residents were given three options to choose from when Sefton Council launched its consultation into the local plan which every council is required to develop by the government. The options given were:

1. Option 1: 270 new homes a year (no building on greenbelt)
2. Option 2: 480 new homes a year (phased but limited building on greenbelt
3. Option 3: 650 new homes a year (building on greenbelt required)

the Local Plan is scheduled to go before the council for a decision early next year and will set out the forecast for house building in the borough until 2028.

But local greenbelt campaigners question the need for so many houses.

Bill Esterson said: "Together with some of my East Sefton Labour colleagues, I had a very informative meeting with some of the leading campaigners who are working to save the greenbelt in Sefton.

"Each of these people have compiled compelling detailed arguments against building on the greenbelt which will be considered before Sefton Council makes its formal proposal for the Local Plan.

"These people have really important information which needs to be considered. Residents with additional information should be given an input into the formation of any local plan which affects the communities which we live in."

Bill said he would continue to work with the local campaigners to make sure the council has all the information it needs and so that the green belt can be protected where it is in the interest of our communities.

Bill said: "We need affordable properties in Sefton for our young people to rent and to buy. No one denies that. But the local community needs to be at the heart of the decision making process for where those properties are built. The consensus within the community is that we must build on brownfield sites and bring vacant properties back into use.

"And all of this is subject to the local infrastructure. Can the roads cope? Are there enough GP surgeries? Are there enough school places? Are there sufficient transport links? Can the sewage system cope with increased pressure?

"Add these together with the danger of flooding, as we have seen recently, and you come away with some very real concerns.

"A very large portion of Sefton Central, Maghull, Aintree, Melling, Lydiate, Lunt, Ince Blundell, Hightown, Thornton, parts of Crosby and Formby are prone to flooding.

"Experts predict that the level of rainfall we have seen this year, will become the norm. Parts of this constituency were very nearly cut off as roads and fields flooded over the last couple of weeks. How can developers hope to build on these very fields?

"Campaigners question Sefton Council's figures and the need to build the number of houses Sefton Council have stated in the consultation document. This goes to the very core of the Core Strategy and the Local Plan, so this needs to be investigated.

"These are the questions which campaigners have. These are the questions which need to be answered.

"I have requested a meeting with Sefton Council's Planning department to discuss these concerns and feed directly to them the views of the many hundreds of residents of Sefton Central who have contacted me on this issue."

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