Sefton councillors vote to adopt the borough's Local Plan that calls for 11,070 new homes
Sefton’s councillors have voted to adopt the authority’s Local Plan – which calls for the development of 11,070 new homes across the borough.
Tensions were fraught at Bootle Town Hall tonight as members debated the controversial 15-year proposal for economic growth and expansion in Sefton.
But the plan, which council leader Peter Dowd says has been drawn up in line with Government guidelines, was voted through on a 38-20 majority after a two hour debate – with more than 15 speakers making their point.
After the meeting Cllr Dowd said: “The responsibility of the council is to ensure that, having brought all the facts and figures together, at an independent inquiry they stand up to scrutiny.
“That is not going to be the judgement that we make, it is not going to be the judgement a local community makes, it is just the way the Government has set out those decisions.
“We will have to stand up and be counted on what we have said, but it will be an independent inspectorate that will say whether it is sound.
“If it isn’t a sound plan and we have to go back to the drawing board, I don’t think it will be because we have decided to build too many houses, I think it will be because we have decided to build too few.”
Deputy Lib Dem leader, Cllr Tony Robertson, said during the meeting that in his mind the plan “lacks a positive vision for the borough,” and is “poor at a community level.”
Afterwards he said: “I feel we have a document that is not sound, it doesn’t address the issue of the diverse communities of Sefton and it has been produced to keep a planning inspector happy rather than something we could all feel we signed up to and could fight for.
“It is a document that has been put together by planning officers. The Labour Party has agreed with it and now it has been voted through.”
He said there are many issues he felt had not been dealt with in the plan, including a lack of foresight in terms of the long term future of a number of sites.
Deputy Conservative leader, Denise Dutton, said she was not surprised that the vote turned out the way it did.
She said: “The plan is not robust and there are lot more questions that needed answering and in my opinion it is flawed.”
Under the proposals contained within the Local Plan more than 3,295 homes are being called for in Southport, 999 in Formby, 2,685 in Maghull and Aintree, 1,133 in Crosby, and 1,459 in Bootle and Netherton.
Tonight more than 60 concerned members of the public filled the public gallery in the chamber – with three petitions from different community groups put forward against the proposals.
Aintree Village Residents Group submitted a petition with 2,850 signatures, the Maghull and Lydiate Action Group garnered 3,060 and Formby Residents Action Group (FRAGOFF) 3,330 – all against the authority’s preferred option.
All three questioned the level of development, its impact and how infrastructure will cope under the amount of new homes.
The Local Plan will now go to an independent public inquiry – with an eight week period taking place in February and March for members of the public to lodge their objections with the authority.
MN2.12; Land north of Brackenway, Formby; 286
MN2.13; Land at West Lane, Formby; 40
MN2.14; Former Holy Trinity School, Lonsdale Road, Formby; 50
MN2.15; Formby Professional Development Centre, Park Road, Formby;15
MN2.16; Land at Liverpool Road, Formby; 319
MN2.17; Land at Altcar Lane, Formby; 29
MN2.18; Power House phase 2, Hoggs Hill Lane, Formby; 20
MN2.19; Land at Andrew’s Close, Formby; 87
Story Source: Southport Visitor