Posted by: westlancashirerecord | May 24, 2016

Aughton Resident Kicks Back At Parrs Lane Bully Boys

In a hard hitting speech to the Parrs Lane Public Planning Inquiry local resident Colin Atkinson told of the analytical, legal and statistical issues that would be discussed but spoke with some passion and vehemence of the human face of the opposition to plans to build on the high quality agricultural land.

It goes without saying that right at the core of this issue was the decision by the WLBC Cabinet and Council, including all 5 Aughton councillors at the time, to vote into being the Local Plan. As Colin Atkinson reminded the Inspector, Redrow have had a 30 year history of interest in Parrs Lane. The local community soon discovered they had a fight on their hands to stop Parrs Lane becoming a housing estate. By comparison residents of Derby Ward had an easy passage into a denial of building on Altys Lane, namely the vacancy of a Tory held Derby Ward council seat. You may well ask what the outcome would have been for Parrs Lane if there had been a council vacancy there, something we all know only too well!

So Colin Atkinson spoke from, as he put it, his period of mixed emotions. Anger, when Parrs Lane lost its green belt status…relief and a degree of security when the land was safeguarded as Plan B…frustration when these developers submitted their planning applications…relief again when the applications were refused by WLBC…and back to frustration when the developers lodged this appeal.

As Colin Atkinson told the Inquiry…”The developers may “dress up and present” their desire for this development in numerous guises, but as local residents know, at the bottom of the pile regarding our wishes and opinions, we know that vast profits are the driving force on the part of developers and landowners with little or total disregard as to how those proposals will drastically and detrimentally change the characteristics of Aughton”. He also referred to his “equation” as LANDOWNERS +DEVELOPERS+ UNWARRANTED AND VAST COMMERCIAL GAIN = RESIDENTS’ PAIN.

He then asked “Please don’t allow these developers to drive their bulldozers straight through the Local Plan and the recommendations of the National Planning Policy Framework document”. He concluded by referring to the Local Plan being “unsound” and the whole plan should be rejected if these appeals were allowed. In other remarks Mr Atkinson referred to WLBC being the arbiter, to the wishes of local residents, and after all do we have Localism or don’t we?
Mr Atkinson received support when James Mourici QC maurice representing WLBC stated in his closing speech that “The Residents Group have hit the nail on the head in terms of what these appeals are about. They do indeed seek to “circumnavigate” the Local Plan and also to “override local democracy”.

What wasn’t discussed, at least as far as I can discover but give me time there are reams to be read, was the vast land banks these wretched companies hold, thousands upon thousands of plots all reported in their company accounts. So why SHOULD we, being local democrats, have to add yet more?

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