Cllr Catie Page hits back at Sefton Tories calling them 'hypocrites', also Bill Esterson and
Planning permission was granted on Wednesday evening to build over 300 houses on Liverpool Road in Formby despite much opposition to the development. Labour Councillor Catie Page voted in favour on 26th September to the plans. Catie hit out at Conservative Councillors calling them hypocrites. A statement from Catie Page to Formby Bubble said: “I cannot believe the hypocrisy from the Tories in Sefton.” “In 2012 a motion was brought to Sefton Council by, the then Chair of Planning Cllr. Paul Tweed, who asked the Council to dispatch a letter to the then Con-Dem government asking them to review their legislation regarding their changes to planning law. He described the law changes as a developer’s charter, which was both laughed and voted down by the Tories and Lib-Dems as nothing like that!” “Amongst those voting that the legislation was nothing to worry about for the residents of Formby, or Sefton generally, were Cllr. Denise Dutton, Cllr. Jones as leader of the Tories and Cllr. Dodds from the Lib-Dems. These three councillors voted against the plans for the Liverpool Rd development. They are hypocrites. They know full well that the legislation in place means that there is very little anyone can do to prevent the development and if the Council was to have refused it the Developers would have taken the Council to a judicial review and have won hands down, as all issues had been covered. Added to that, the Council would have ended up with a huge bill to cover all the costs. And with the cuts to Sefton’s budget of in excess of £210 million per anum that this Conservative Government have inflicted on this Council, there can be no waste of money, nor officer’s time.” “Over the years I have queried the figures presented to the Local Plan, and the needs of our Community. I have never accepted them at face value, but officers have been able to justify needs of the immediate and wider Sefton community. With that in mind the Local Plan is in place and there is a need for building homes in Formby.” “Residents have spoken to me who want these developments, affordable homes for their families to potentially buy or rent, enabling them to live nearby, as I was able to, to my parents. Both Cllr Killen and I have written to the developers asking them to ensure the water clearance from the development to be appropriate and sustainable, to protect the whole environment.” “The flooding on the Redgate estate has happened fairly regularly over the years, but that is due to poor drains, as put in by the developers in the 70’s and as it is sewerage overflow it is obvious where it has come from. The Council officers have assured us that the planned drainage flow will be improved under these new plans.” “Photographs were presented to the Committee on Wednesday night as the site; however, they were actually over the road, which was just confusing. Arguments that there insufficient school places in Formby were also inaccurate, as there are several primary schools with worries as to how they can fill all their places and therefore maintain their budgets. Then the children attending those primary schools in Formby will have a direct entrance into either of our excellent secondary schools. As an example, currently in Range there are over 400 children who do not live in Formby. A Condition was also added to encourage local employment and apprenticeships, which could bring local employment and training opportunities to Sefton.” “Finally the big one for me has been the tail backs from the bypass junction, which yes I did challenge on the night. However, the officer, Mr Brian Mason, assured the Committee that there were going to be changes to that junction which would increase the flow of traffic and therefore cut the traffic build up at those certain times of the day.” “After all this, even if I had had the luxury of a choice as to whether I personally felt I wanted or didn’t want this development on a whim, as the Tories, Lib-Dems and the Independents seem able to do. I had had my reservations and questions but found that they had all been answered. It was then up to me to consider all I had read and heard both before the Committee, from residents who DO want the development for Formby, as well as those who don’t, and what I read and heard on the night itself and come to a balanced decision of my own. It was not the decision of anyone from Bootle. It was my decision based on everything I was presented with. Just because it was a unanimous vote on the Labour side does not make it a wrong decision for Formby and Sefton, as the Tories and Lib-Dems have proclaimed. It was for me the only decision for Formby in the end.” Cllr. Catie Page. Ravenmeols, Sefton.
This is part of the land where the 300+ houses will be built
Sefton MP Bill Esterson also spoke to Formby Bubble, he said, “The Conservative government set the planning rules to help developers build where they wanted and to ignore the needs of people already living in the area. Independent councillors in Sefton have of course been voting with the Conservatives in Sefton. The rules make it more likely that building will take place in the countryside as developers make more money there than in urban areas.” “Government inspectors approve plans even if councils say no and charge the council for the extensive legal costs when developers appeal against council decisions. The independents and Conservatives have supported the cuts made by the government to council services and can’t have it both ways.” “Now that planning consent has been granted, I will be pressing the developers to build the homes that people in Formby need and to make sure the concerns raised by the existing community are taken on board during construction and afterwards. Better road links and drainage have been included in the plans. I shall also be calling for more support for our health services in Formby to cater for extra residents. It is vital that the developers stick to planning conditions and my office will support residents in making sure promises are kept as we have tried to do at Andrews Lane." Councillor Nina Killen also commented to Formby Bubble on the Development: “Cllr Page will have listened to the guidance by the planning officers and listened to the representations made from both sides.” “The Tories' planning guidelines set out clear criteria regarding what is acceptable development. If Liverpool Rd had been refused the developers would have appealed directly to the Government and would have been granted permission by them, taking all the powers away from the council with regards to the conditions that could be placed on the development, such as road widening at the bypass and safety improvements such as a new puffin crossing to replace the zebra crossing on Liverpool Rd. This site will deliver 89 homes that are for social rent or part-rent, part-buy, which is very welcome in Formby where house prices are so high. It is also important to note that there are surplus places predicted for Formby schools in the next five years due to fewer children being born here. The flood risk will be mitigated by the drainage system that will be put in place. New homes will also bring an economic boost to the village. I am happy to speak to any resident who wants to talk about this or any other issue in the ward or Formby as a whole.”