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The Sefton Local Plan update from Nina Killen

The Sefton Local Plan has proceeded to the next stage with the government Inspector stating that the borough’s plan for future homes and employment “gets the balance right”.

At a recent Sefton Council meeting, councillors voted to accept the Inspector’s initial findings and to send the plan for further public consultation.

The Inspector found that

  • Protest groups’ claims that that the plan contains too many homes was unfounded.

  • Sefton Council was right to plan to meet the identified housing need and no more.

  • 640 homes per year are needed in Sefton to meet demand.

  • More homes would be needed to meet the affordable housing need but this has been rejected in order to protect more of the green belt.

  • Protest groups’ claims that more dwellings could be built within the existing settlements was not supported by evidence.

  • The protest groups’ objections have led to the new retail and sports facility being removed from the plan.

  • Housing development in Formby should go ahead.

  • 95% of green belt in Sefton will be protected.

The Government Inspector – appointed to make sure that the plan meets to requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework – said that with some modifications he found the plan “sound”.

This means that over the next 15 years 11,000 homes will be built in Sefton, around 1,000 of them in Formby and 3,000 in Maghull. The Inspector reported that there was room for only 6,200 homes in urban areas and the rest would have to be built on green belt land.

The Inspector endorsed the plan, saying in his report: “Given the formidable constraints faced by Sefton as a result of the tightly drawn green belt, international nature conservation designations, high quality agricultural land and areas susceptible to flooding, a difficult balance has to be struck between meeting growth needs and protecting the environment. In broad terms the middle option, meeting identified needs, gets this balance right.”

He described the way sites were chosen for housing as “rigorous, objective and robust”.

The proposed modifications to the plan are now open for consultation until July 27. Any comments received will be sent to the Inspector and will be taken into account before he produces his final report, expected in late September.

Once the Inspector’s Final Report is received, the examination will officially conclude and the Council will then be in a position to adopt the Sefton Local Plan.

Sefton Council officers stated in the report to Council: “The Inspector’s Initial Findings are a clear endorsement for the approach and strategy of the Local Plan.”

Labour councillors voted unanimously to accept the Inspector’s findings and send the plan to the next stage of consultation.

Labour’s Nina Killen said: “We must ensure that we build enough homes for people in Formby and the rest of Sefton. If we don’t then the borough will go into decline as the population ages and fewer young families can afford to live here.

“Through the planning process we will ensure that the right types of homes are built that are affordable for people living here. We will ensure that pressure on school places and GPs is addressed.

“We will deal with flooding and drainage issues and plan for growth and a successful future for Formby.

We don’t want Formby to stagnate.

“We want young families to be able to live here, to spend money here and send their children to school here but presently it is incredibly difficult for young families to move here due to price and availability.”

Reports: Sefton Council meeting agenda and link to Inspector’s report:

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