To Cllr David Westley                                                          

Councillor Westley,

You maybe aware, the CPRE recently launched the following #WasteofSpace campaign.

They state that “more housing is needed in England and we support the Government’s policy that brownfield land should be used for new homes. However current planning policy doesn’t priorities building new homes on brownfield land before building in the countryside. More needs to be done to use suitable sites in our towns and cities rather than forcing development into our precious green spaces”.

The CPRE goes on to ask “Send us your waste of space photos, to help us find out how much brownfield land is available and where it is, we are launching the #WasteOfSpace campaign to raise awareness of the ‘brownfield first’ solution.   Please help us by nominating brownfield sites in your area that could be suitable for housing development in the future.

Well, as it happens, a resident of West Lancs responded about a Newburgh site, with the following message:- 

“Dear CRPE, Please find attached a link showing the unused farm building and road on the outskirts of Newburgh.

“During the compilation of the recently passed local plan search this land was not identified by the council as suitable for house building in the plan despite the government’s insistence of a huge amount of land be identified for building.”

What the residents of New Cut Lane, Halsall require, is an explanation as to why this land was not put forward. Had the government inspector been aware of its existence, it could have saved the greenbelt release on New Cut Lane. For many residents the release of the land at New Cut Lane was seen as unjust and politically motivated, in order to protect a certain Conservative ward seat, and this does nothing to change that view, in fact it merely reinforces it.

The public will draw their own conclusions as to the speed at which development seems to forging ahead on New Cut lane, with the extensive clearing of land even before an application has been submitted.

Why is there such a rush to push through the development of the greenbelt, as the Local plan’s housing policy to build new homes is over a significant period of many years.  Why not slow down on the Green belt and look at the brownfield first? This would be right thing to do, and apparently in line with government policy, which is allegedly to develop brownfield before greenbelt, although the residents of Halsall, Burscough, and Aughton can see no evidence of that policy in action in West Lancs. Once again people will probably draw one conclusion from this, I’ll let you guess what it is.

I realise that the Conservative Council of West Lancs would like this argument and the residents of New Cut Lane to just ‘go away quietly’ and accept their fate, something which has been demonstrated on many occasions by the utter contempt shown to them by their elected ward Councillor and now (not elected or wanted by them) Mayor Doreen Stephenson. Well I’m sorry, but we will not go quietly!

It might be worth mentioning that Councillor Stephenson only won the Halsall ward by 29 votes, hardly a landslide victory! I think it’s safe to assume there is a lot more than 30 unhappy residents in New Cut Lane, without taking into account the rest of Halsall.

We are also very interested to hear from Labour who did oppose the ‘Local plan,’ on how they intend to be proactive in highlighting these potential sites and what they would do to push development on brownfield, and hold back greenbelt as the last resort within the ‘Local Plan’  rather than the first option.

There are potentially tens and may be hundreds of sites like these in West Lancashire, and if this is proved to be the case, as more people identify available Brownfield sites. We expect the Council to act and put these forward before allowing building on greenbelt. Here’s a radicle idea for the Conservative Council to contemplate, just for a change put the people first and the house builders and profit second.

Lastly but still very important. Can you confirm if Sefton is ‘on board’ with your plan to site 150 homes on their border with Birkdale, which will undoubtedly impact on their infrastructure services, even though CIL, any New Home levy, and of course ongoing council taxes will be paid to West Lancs?


Yours sincerely,

Lynn Campbell

(Member of Halsall Residents Action Group)

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