Oct 8 2013 by Mark Johnson, Formby Times
SEFTON Central MP Bill Esterson has called on Sefton Council to listen to the views of the community, rather than succumb to government pressure over the Local Plan.
It puts the Labour MP in opposition to Sefton Council leader and Sefton Labour Group leader Cllr Peter Dowd, who is putting forward Sefton’s Local Plan, under pressure from targets being set by the Government.
Mr Esterson has now submitted his formal response to Sefton’s Local Plan (2015-2030) consultation, in which he says the proposals should be considered “only by working with the communities affected, rather than being imposed on them.”
He said: “The plan is based on guidelines drawn up under the coalition government National Planning Policy Framework and this indicates that there is a presumption in favour of development.
“In this context, the creation of a plan is very challenging.
“The proposed draft plan suggests significant building in the Green Belt, mostly in my constituency.
“Most people would prefer not to see building in the Green Belt for good reason.
“The proposed developments around Maghull, Formby, Melling and Thornton would alter the character of the nearby towns and villages because of a significant increase in the size of those communities.
“Any such proposals should be considered only by working with the communities affected, rather than be being imposed on them.”
Last month Sefton Council approved plans by Bellway Homes to build 75 homes at the former Power House site in Formby, while the authority will soon decide whether to grant permission to David Wilson Homes and Barratt Homes to develop 274 homes on land off Liverpool Road.
A Sefton Council spokesman said the 12-week consultation on the preferred option stage of our Local Plan has now closed.
More than 1,200 people have submitted their comments.
Sefton Council leader Cllr Peter Dowd said: “The comments from Bill Esterson acknowledge the difficulties facing the council.
“However, unless this or the next government changes the rules, the council's hands are tied.
“I would ask Bill Esterson and John Pugh to work together in the interests of Sefton as a whole. I’ll be there to support their endeavours.”