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Shorrocks Hill decision - is that it?


In any community there are many ways of seeing something, even a matter that has caused so much outrage and debate as the plans for building 60 houses on the Shorrocks Hill site.

We have now learned that not all the plans have been approved as the Paddock area has been reprieved. However, permission has been given for nearly 40 houses to be built on the site of Shorrocks Hill itself, together with a car park and a toilets block as requested by Sefton Council in order to develop options for tourism to Formby at this particular access area to the shore.

There is no one single argument for or against but rather a range of different viewpoints and opinions about what it means for that area of Formby. Two members of Formby Civic Society, Yvonne Irving and Des Brennan have put powerful arguments forward, although we have no ‘official’ position and respect all our members’ opinions.

The Ascot Property Group owns the site and understandably wishes to sell it. Sefton Council want their car park and toilet block. Formby will lose the site of a night club that caused much so much negative comment from local householders over the years because of noise and late-night offences. Is it enough for the members of the community who are opposed to the development to accept that a cut in the size of the area to be developed and a reduction in the number of houses that may be built should be enough? We are living in times when more housing is needed nationally and Formby has a part to play in that. In particular, many people are concerned to see more ‘affordable’ homes being built her to provide realistic options for children growing up here and who want to continue to live in the area in which they grew up and to be near to family and friends.

Our FCS members who have campaigned against the proposal still argue that so many houses at that particular site is not appropriate and that Formby has already made a very significant contribution to local house building. They argue that if you are going to build more houses again, at least they should be placed somewhere more fitting. I am a relative newcomer to Formby – 17 years makes me a ‘blow-in’ not a Sandgrounder! So many people who came to live here much earlier than me have described just how lovely the town was and just how much it has been affected by continuing development. Yet it is still a treasured place for me and a stroll out to Chapel Lane at the weekend is still something I enjoy.

It is still a community that we have with a village feel about it. Each generation, however, remembers only what it has seen and experienced itself. Society changes, adapts and develops – though not always as we wish it would.

We have been told what must happen now, but I would still argue that a community should still pursue a development that is more in line with the wishes of local people. How much do local people’s feelings really count for anyway in the wider scheme of things? It may well be that we end up with those houses, the car park and the toilet block. Yet I still believe there may be options that might be considered that would lessen what so many local people see as the negative impact of this plan. Are so many houses needed to make a worthwhile profit? Are there different options within the decision that has been handed down to us? Is building the car park and toilet block at that particular point the best solution in the circumstance? What alternatives might there be?

There is still much thought to be given to this issue and work that can be done by locals who oppose it.

John Phillips

Formby Civic Society

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