Sep 10 2013 by Mark Johnson, Formby Times
GROWING opposition over plans to build more than 250 properties on Formby’s Green Belt land are mounting.
Hundreds of residents have raised concerns with pressure group FRAGOFF (Opposition group Formby Residents Action Group Opposition From Formby) about the David Wilson Homes & Barratt Homes’ application to develop 274 homes on land off Liverpool Road.
Anyone objecting to the application is being urged to submit their views to Sefton Council’s planning committee.
The deadline for views to be submitted was scheduled for yesterday, (September 9), but Sefton Council has extended it for a “few weeks” longer.
Maria Bennett, spokesman for FRAGOFF, said she has been inundated with complaints.
She said: “There are many objections that we as an organisation have addressed by obtaining professional help from planning consultants.
“Many residents feel that this application is a foregone conclusion and it is already passed.
“This is not correct and in order to win we need to fight and that is why we have urged all residents of Formby to object. Areas of objection include the flooding and drainage on the site, traffic problems that will only get worse, infrastructure that cannot cope, the environment, human rights and not to mention one of the most important, building on Grade I and II agricultural land which is Green Belt.”
Other concerns surround the health and safety of how the current flooding issues will be dealt with.
A Green Ribbon campaign has now been launched and the group urged residents to tie a green and white ribbon to trees, fences and gateposts.
Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson has written to the planning committee, outlining his opposition to the scheme.
He said: “Residents have raised with me their concerns about the impact on Formby of the additional traffic which will be generated as a result of the development.”
In his letter, he also called on the planning committee to ensure that any housing developments must guarantee affordable housing for existing Formby residents.
He said: “This is an application that has huge repercussions for Formby and the whole of Sefton. There are a number of concerns about the impact of this development on the wider community of Formby and its infrastructure.”
Conservative Cllr Denise Dutton, representing Harrington Ward, said: “It’s unacceptable to build on Green Belt because once it’s gone, it’s gone. It was put there for a reason – it was to stop the urban sprawl – and it’s not ok to take it away now.
“As for the application, there are not enough doctors, dentists, or schools and we have problems as it is with traffic.
“We have now got two main drains and they would not be able to take the strain with the new properties.”
A Sefton Council spokesman said: “More than 250 letters were sent to properties in the neighbouring area in mid-August, and notices have gone up near the site. Although the letters asked for responses by September 9, we will still accept comments after this date and people still have plenty of time.
“Of course no decisions have been made at this stage and the application will be determined in line with Sefton’s own development plan and national planning policies. Our planning committee will eventually consider all the planning issues involved, including traffic, drainage, infrastructure, etc, and will make its decision in the open at a public meeting. The date for this meeting has not yet been decided, but we would expect it to be some time in the autumn.”
FRAGOFF will hold a meeting next Monday, September 16, at 8pm at the Gild Hall, Church Road, to update the public. The group can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting www.fragoff.co.uk.