For or against 350 New Homes on greenbelt land in Southport?

ots-southport-bankfield lane- resident

350 New Homes are set to be built on greenbelt land off Bankfield Lane, Churchtown if “Wainhomes” gets the green light for the development.

Southport residents do not want developer Wainhomes to succeed in its application to build 350 houses on greenbelt when there plenty of local brownfield land that would be better used.

ots-southport-Bankfield Lane-Planning

Local resident Fiona Townsend has documented why the build should not go ahead below.

Fiona needs 3000 signatures from local resisdants in order for Sefton Council to meet with her.

If you agree with Fiona you can sign the e-petition

ots-southport-bankfield lane -grangeAbove: The proposed Greenbelt land off Bankfield Lane

Fiona Townsend’s objection to the Wainhomes Bankfield Lane development proposal.

1.     The Emery Planning Partnership consultants report is factually incorrect in places and also , makes the consultant ecologists reports are not conclusive and indeed confirm that further reports regarding t various wildlife need to be carried out.

I will deal with each point in the report below:


2.5  In addition to open market housing , the local plan is integral to the delivery of affordable housing. Paragraph 4.12 sets out an extract from the SHMA which states that in the current economic climate a figure of 246 per annum should be pursued and over the long term the Council should use a figure of 350 per annum, The 350 dwellings equates to 67% of the annual requirement therefore achieving the full need is not possible on the requirement as currently proposed.”

There is not a need to build 350 homes in Southport every year, it is for the whole of the borough, if the development went ahead there would be 116 affordable houses built on bankfield lane alone, regardless of proposals to possibly build on Rufford road , which is less than 800 metres away , so the whole affordable housing for the whole of Sefton is proposed to be built in Churchtown ?



3.9 There are no local highway capacity or safety issues along the road frontage and the route operates at the posted speed limit.

The area has had considerable issues with traffic and road accidents and is a very dangerous area . There is a chief officers report which I have annexed confirming the position, that led to speed bumps being installed finally after years of residents having to endure road traffic accidents, and indeed a recent death of a motorcyclist . I myself have witnessed a lamp post being destroyed , numerous vehicles colliding with fencing opposite my property. A vehicle hitting a wall further down Rufford Road and bursting into flames by Veno’s off licence.

There is  a park entrance on Bankfield Lane, which is also an entrance used by parents taking their children to Churchtown Primary School, so at rush hour and school run time, the road is subject to extremely busy traffic, children crossing, parked cars etc, the school is one of the largest in Europe, and has 1200 primary school children, so as you can imagine the entrances to the school can get very busy at the start and end of the day.

The Botanic gardens are very busy at the weekends and during the week with the bowlers too and when the brass bands play during the summer, Bankfield lane is full of cars parked, and the road it a main artery into the town coming from the Plough roundabout and is as a result extremely busy.

To say that there are no highway capacity issues or safety issues is a complete nonsense and factually incorrect.

I will be filming and photographing the road at busy summers days and nights and on the school run for the benefit of the Councillors so that they may see for themselves the position.

I dread to think of the mayhem if you add another 350 cars ( possibly more as most families have at least 2 cars per household now ) notwithstanding any cars coming from the Balmoral drive ( old phillips factory site ) development.

“3.10 walking and cycling are catered for by direct connection onto Bankfield lane which is planned to be improved with an on highway cycle lane”

This is ludicrous, the buses cannot pass easily now, and often have to give way to on coming traffic in order to manouver around the speed bumps, if a cyclist was on the road too then the traffic would simply come to a halt . .

“Ground Vibration

3.25 Therefore we can confirm that there is no risk to existing dwellings from the construction of the site “

No vibration was measured in the surrounding areas, the vehicles will be passing down Rufford Road, my and my neighbours house already shakes whenever the 49 bus goes over the bumps in the road, and there have been media reports of other residents stating that they have had issues too. To say there is no risk to existing dwellings is simply untrue and factually incorrect.


5.5 The  release of the site would not result in the unrestricted sprawl of large built up areas as the site is constrained by the existing residential development along Bankfield Lane etc”

The developer proposes to build up to the west lancs boundary, if west lancs decide to build , then there will be unrestricted sprawl

5.6 The second criterion is to prevent neighbouring towns from merging into one another .The development of the site would not result in conflict with this criterion as there are no other towns or villages in close proximity .

The development is so large that it starts in churchtown village and ends up encroaching into Crossens village.

5.7 The third criterion is to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment. The Council accepts that greenfield land and indeed Green Belt will be required therefore encroachment of the countryside will be a consequence of meeting Sefton’s housing need .

Please see below an extract from :

Green Belt

Standard Note: SN/SC/934

Last updated: 14 May 2014

Author: Louise Smith

Section Science and Environment Section


“The NPPF also states that new green belts should only be established in “exceptional


The general extent of Green Belts across the country is already established. New

Green Belts should only be established in exceptional circumstances, for example

when planning for larger scale development such as new settlements or major urban


It also makes clear that the construction of new buildings should be regarded as

“inappropriate” for the green belt, although there are exceptions:

89. A local planning authority should regard the construction of new buildings as

inappropriate in Green Belt. Exceptions to this are:

 buildings for agriculture and forestry;

 provision of appropriate facilities for outdoor sport, outdoor recreation and for

cemeteries, as long as it preserves the openness of the Green Belt and does not

conflict with the purposes of including land within it;

 the extension or alteration of a building provided that it does not result in

disproportionate additions over and above the size of the original building;

 the replacement of a building, provided the new building is in the same use and not

materially larger than the one it replaces;

 limited infilling in villages, and limited affordable housing for local community needs

under policies set out in the Local Plan; or

 limited infilling or the partial or complete redevelopment of previously developed

sites (brownfield land), whether redundant or in continuing use (excluding

temporary buildings), which would not have a greater impact on the openness of

the Green Belt and the purpose of including land within it than the existing


also from “ planning policy 2 green belts – Infilling

C3 Limited infilling at major developed sites in continuing use may help to secure jobs and

prosperity without further prejudicing the Green Belt. Where this is so, local planning authorities may in their development plans identify the site, defining the boundary of the present extent of development and setting out a policy for limited infilling for the continuing use within this boundary. Such infilling should:

(a) have no greater impact on the purposes of including land in the Green Belt (paragraph 1.5) than the existing development;

(b) not exceed the height of the existing buildings; and

(c) not lead to a major increase in the developed proportion of the site.( this development is the size of a small village – 350 houses, @600 people @ 600 cars, )

It is clear from this recent document , that the building of 350 homes only 116 of them affordable, in Churchtown and encroaching into Crossens is against the policy set down by government,especially when you take into consideration the proposal to build a large number of houses on Brownfield land opposite the development .

So when the developers claim that the Council accepts this is the case, then they are insinuating that the  Council are acting outside of the policy guidelines . Is.  this the position of the Council ? Or are the developers again , as they have done throughout their document , made false claims and come to invalid conclusions in order to achieve the financial gain.

“5.8 The fourth criterion is to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns. There is no protection of the character of Southport for any historic reason .However due to the site being flat and with the back drop of the existing residential development there would be no impact of the setting of Southport in any case”.

It is interesting that the ground vibration report refers to listed buildings in Churchtown village , and indeed we have numerous conservation areas all over the town , yet there is no protection of the character of Southport for any historic reason??!! Again factually incorrect.

Also, although the fields and green belt  they propose to ruin are flat, the surrounding area is not , my children and I enjoy walking down the hill to School viewing the beautiful fields and am sure that all the residents whose properties back onto the stunning scenery will beg to differ, as will the scouts and the footballers and the allotment holders and the dog walkers . Be under no misapprehension, this development will have a considerable negative  impact on all who live and work in this area .

“5.9 The fifth and final criterion is to assist in urban regeneration by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land .”

This land is not derelict , it is GREEN BELT , and as stated in the recent guidelines

“The policy on protection for the green belt is contained in section 9 of the NPPF, which sets

out the fundamental aim of green belt policy:

79. The Government attaches great importance to Green Belts. The fundamental aim

of Green Belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open; the

essential characteristics of Green Belts are their openness and their permanence”

By building to the boundary with West Lancashire, leaving a small public open space is against the governments guidelines. Incidently, in the “public open space” what is this going to become? Who is going to own it ? maintain it ? probably become a dumping ground for the 600 residents or a huge dog toilet! Agricultural land again will be lost , and the area will become wasteland .


6.4 Our client’s land , which serves no Green Belt purpose”

In the planning policy guidance 2 document it states :

1.6 Once Green Belts have been defined, the use of land in them has a positive role to play in  fulfilling the following objectives:

– to provide opportunities for access to the open countryside for the urban population;  – to provide opportunities for outdoor sport and outdoor recreation near urban areas;

– to retain attractive landscapes, and enhance landscapes, near to where people live;

– to improve damaged and derelict land around towns;

– to secure nature conservation interest; and

– to retain land in agricultural, forestry and related uses

The area of land the developers are proposing to build on satisfies all of the above criteria , so how they can say that the land serves no green belt purpose ? again factually incorrect and misleading .

  1. 2.     Ecological Survey and Assessment August 2013

In the Summary and introduction of the appraisal (ii)  it admits that” further surveys are required to determine the status of the Water Vole, Whooper Swan and ground nesting birds at the site. “

Their conclusion at (xi) states “ Further surveys are required to determine the presence or absence of protected and notable species at the site.

It states under the heading “ Water Vole” 3.3.14 the ditches provide suitable habitat for foraging and sheltering water vole” and at 3.3.16 “ recommendations for further survey to determine the presence or absence of Water vole at the ditches and Three Pools Waterway site are made at section 5.3”

It states at 4.1.7 “ the site also lies within a Whooper Swan regularly used site. Further wintering bird surveys are recommended at Section 5.5 of this report to determine the actual usage of the site by the Whooper Swan. “


The Water vole Survey and assessment of site for Whooper Swans September 2013

The summary of the later report states this :

“(iii) Evidence of Water vole was detected within ditch 2 “ and “ (iv) The evidence found at Ditch 4 is considered to be indicative of a population of Water Vole present at Three Pools Waterway , adjacent to the eastern site boundary . The Three Pools Waterway could not be directly surveyed due to Health and Safety considerations , however it was considered to support favourable “habitats for foraging and sheltering Water Vole. “

(vi) The habitat within the site boundary is suitable for use by feeding and nesting Whooper Swan . Further survey effort is recommended to determine the status of Whooper Swan at the site.”

Therefore, there is still surveying to be completed , in the developers report under the heading “Ecology” at 3.19 they state “ as with any site further survey work is required however the Key conclusion from the ecological assessment is that there is no constraint to the whole site coming forward for development “

So how can any conclusion be drawn without all the evidence ?

Also, the backdrop of this is that the land directly across the bank of the Three Pools Waterway has been classified by West Lancashire Council as a NATURE CONSERVATION SITE I have today requested details of the reasons why such a designation exists , as it seems peculiar that the land not a metre away should be fit for development ? I am waiting to hear back from West Lancashire Council and I am sure they will be interested and worried about the impact that such a huge development will have on their Nature Conservation Site .

So , I consider that I  have demonstrated that the consultant’s report submitted by the developer is factually incorrect , and should not be relied upon when considering the Council’s Local Plan .

My main concerns regarding this development are :

  1. 1.     The proposed access in and out of the site is  the ONLY access  out of a development of 350 houses, home to at least 350- 700 people , and at the least 350 cars, this to me, is dangerous and submit that if there were a fire at the entrance to the development then nobody could get in or out , which is ludicrous.
  2. 2.     The extra traffic generated by such a huge development coupled with the extra traffic caused by the possible development on Rufford Road .
  3. 3.     There is nowhere for the children of the development to go to school, the local schools are at full capacity
  4. 4.     Where will these people go to doctors ? , dentists ?
  5. 5.    There simply is NOT the infrastructure to support such a large development

I understand the need for housing, I welcome the building of houses across the road from my own house ! which is a derelict brownfield site, which serves only to be an eyesore, and no manufacturing is being carried out there as the building has been demolished.

However, I consider that the building on the proposed development at Bankfield Lane, goes against all the guidelines and policies set down by Government ,to protect green belt land , especially as there is land across the road that could be utilised.

It is abhorrent to me to destroy countryside , green belt land for the sake of 116 affordable houses , therefore building 232 houses that our villages do not need. The local estate agents are full of houses that would be in this price bracket for sale, in fact , the most recent development “ the mallards “ has numerous houses for sale and indeed rent , therefore providing affordable housing , so to me, there is no housing shortage for housing of this type, as there are empty houses already built , right next to this site. So the claim that this development is providing affordable housing is frankly a myth, generated by the consultant to suit the owner of the land, the developer, but NOT the residents of Sefton , who will ultimately be the losers in all of this.

 I moved to Bootle at the age of 19 , I have lived and worked in Sefton for 20 years and have lived in Southport for 14 years ,  and hope that the Council view VALID objections favourably and hope that we do not leave unsuitable housing developments as our legacy to the borough and future generations of Sefton. Each parcel of land within Sefton is precious, and we must consider the justifications for building on each piece of land carefully, and I feel that there is NO justification for building this development on this site and that the Developer has not demonstrated that there is .

The Legislation is clear and the developer has not demonstrated that there is an exceptional circumstance for releasing this green belt land .

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