Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson raises Damfield Lane floo

Bill Esterson

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson asked Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the government was taking to counter the increased danger of flooding due to the Tory-Lib Dem planning law changes.
The Liberal Democrats and Conservatives in Government changed the National Planning Policy Framework in March which meant that developers now had a greenlight to building on the greenbelt.
One of the first casualties of the planning changes was Damfield Lane. 
Plans for a care village for the site were rejected by Sefton Planning Committee shortly before the new rules were introduced on the grounds that the development encroached on urban greenspace.
But less than one week after the new National Planning Policy Framework was introduced, the Damfield Lane plans were resubmitted.
They were approved last week.
However, MP Bill Esterson this week took residents' concerns about the development's impact on sewage and drainage to Westminster when he raised the issue with Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Caroline Spellman in the House of Commons.
Bill asked: "The relaxation of planning rules in the National Planning Policy Framework meant that planning consent was recently granted at Damfield Lane in Maghull. The town already has an over-stretched drainage system which regularly floods, a situation which can only be made worse following additional development. What discussions has the Secretary of State had with her colleagues about the impact of the National Planning Policy Framework on flood protection insurance? "
Speaking afterwards, Bill said: "Opening the door to developers to build on our greenbelt and urban greenspaces is clearly a policy which the Tories and Lib Dems in government are following. But if that is the case, then we need to know what measure they will take to counter the affects of that.
"Damfield Lane is a prime example where the community's wishes have been steamrollered by the will of a developer. The residents have raised distinct concerns about the impact of the development on drainage and sewage in the area. They have raised the very real concern of flooding.
"If the planning committee had rejected the application outright, the developer could then have taken the case to appeal because the National Planning Policy Framework favours developers. The government has made it easier to build on urban greenspace. The first planning application was blocked under the old rules but the new rules made that impossible unless the council was prepared to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds it doesn't have at a planning appeal, which it would almost certainly have lost. The committee imposed conditions on the planning approval - specifically that the developer must tackle the flooding and drainage concerns, which at least gives the people of Maghull a chance to protect our community.
"We need to know what safeguards there are in the new government rules to prevent communities like Maghull becoming more prone to flooding problems because the Tory-Lib Dem Government have opened the floodgates to building on every bit of greenspace we have."
Bill said the issue could end up costing householders thousands in increased insurance premiums.
Bill said: "If developments in our communities are granted in areas where the sewers and drainage system simply cannot cope, then it could become more difficult to obtain insurance or premiums could go up.
"This will be an extra cost to everyone, whether you live near a development or not.
"This issue is not just a local issue, it is a national issue and I don’t believe the government even considered the impact on household insurance of its relaxation of planning rules.” 


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