Oct 29 2013 Formby Times
Developers withdraw plans to build 274 homes in Formby
DEVELOPERS have with- drawn their application to build 274 homes in Formby after town planners rejected the proposal.
Barrett Homes and David Wilson Homes announced their decision days after Sefton Council published their report which recommended refusal.
However, in a joint statement, the developers reaffirmed their commitment to building on the greenbelt site off Liverpool Road at some point in the future.
They also pointed out that the project would have provided key workers and first-time buyers with homes, and boost Formby’s economy by around £1m per year.
A spokesman said: “‘David Wilson Homes and Barratt Homes have taken the decision to withdraw the Liverpool Road planning application ahead of next week’s planning committee meeting.
“We are disappointed that Sefton’s officers have chosen not to support the application at this time. However, we remain confident that the site will be brought forward as part of the Local Plan process.”
Councillors were due to make a final decision last night, although the meeting was cancelled following last week’s announcement.
Sefton’s planners recomm- ended that the bid should be rejected because the proposed site was on green belt land and outside the primary residential area.
Formby Civic Society, Formby Parish Council and 301 Formby residents opposed the initial plan.
The parish council was concerned that the new homes would place too much demand on Formby’s existing infrastructure, and they were particularly concerned about the implications for drainage and flooding.
Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson, who opposed the application and submitted a formal written objection to the plans, said he welcomed the withdrawal.
He said: “"I am pleased about the decision on behalf of the residents of Formby.
"Throughout residents have raised concerns about the impact of this develop- ment on the community of Formby.
"There were very clear reasons why residents were worried about these plans, most notably under the existing local plan is the fact that it is on greenbelt. As it stands, Sefton Council has a clear policy of no building on the greenbelt, so there was no other logical recommen- dation.”
However, Mr Esterson also said that the national plan- ning policy framework could change in the future, allowing greenbelt developments.
He added: “We clearly need housing, we clearly need jobs and growth but it needs to be done with the community in Formby and the way that this planning application has been handled shows that council and community have worked together.”
Ward councillor David McIvor said: "I'm delighted that the planning application has been withdrawn.
“I've been the only ward councillor to consistently oppose this, However, I fear they may still come back with another application in the near future. Its estimated that they've spent £250,000 so far.”
A spokesman for Formby Residents Action Group Opposition From Formby said: “We welcome the decision to withdraw the application to build on the Liverpool Road site.
“We are now calling on the council to reconsider the inclusion of this site within the Local Plan and fully re- examine the greenbelt study that deemed the Liverpool Road Site appropriate for development.
“We would like to thank the people of Formby for suppor- ting us in this campaign; they have been a true example of what the community can achieve when they all pull together.
“Although clichéd it is no less true to say the FRAGOFF couldn’t have achieved this without them.
“We also fully acknowledge the help and support of residents from all over the borough, but particularly from Maghull and Lydiate, set to suffer most from the local plan. They have stood by us from the very beginning and we would assure them and others that we will be stand- ing shoulder to shoulder with them when the developers come knocking on their doors.”