Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 12, 2016

The Built On Greenbelt That Is Safe Under Westley?

The Conmerchants Party made a claim in its manifesto that “the greenbelt is safe under us” but failed to add “but there might be exceptional circumstances”.

The local, West Lancashire, Conmerchant leader Westley whose part in making the West Lancashire greenbelt unsafe is well enough known, recently wailed that “The Conmerchant Group is bitterly disappointed westleypram with the Planning Inspector’s decision to allow on appeal one of the two Applications that had been refused by the Council’s Planning Committee”. The second application will be allowed shortly.

In a grotesque claim Westley states “The Conmerchants took the very difficult decisions that were necessary to deliver a robust Local Plan…just robust enough to bust wide open when Wainhomes came to claim their right to exceptional circumstances…The Council’s most recent Annual Monitoring Report dated 31 March 2015 [Conmerchants in control of the Council] stated there was then a Housing Land Supply of 6.1 years yet the Inspector concluded there was only a supply of 4.2 years. It is apparent that part of this difference was down to the Council including in its calculation a substantial number of Use Class C2 accommodation for older people in residential institutions. The Inspector discounted these and by way of justification referred to oral evidence provided by the Council at the original Local Plan Public Enquiry…the Labour Leader and Planning Portfolio Holder have put out a joint press statement that simply tries to make political capital out of what is a very serious matter. They should not forget they have been in control of the Council for the past 15 months [since May 2015] and have questions to answer on their failure to effective delivery of the Local Plan”.

By way of rebuttal Labour might consider not having questions to answer on “their failure” but rather to ask more of the Conmerchants on theirs. There is one simple question posed from the Aughton Parish Council, that in May 2015 the Clerk wrote to the Borough Council in respect of the Wainhomes and Redrow appeals, “Housing Delivery Targets are being achieved” and if these “delivery targets” were being achieved, whose “6.1 years supply” lies were exposed as being only 4.2 years?

15 April 2015 “Parrs Lane – Question from Councillor Dowling gareth on Behalf of the Labour Group
“Could the Leader guarantee that within the adopted Local Plan, Parrs Lane will not be built on unless all conditions for release of safeguarded land are met? And if he can’t guarantee it, what reassurance can he give to local residents?”

Response (From Councillor Wesley, leader of West Lancashire Council). “Parrs Lane is identified and safeguarded as a Plan B site in Policy GN2 of the Local Plan. Policy RS6 of the Local Plan clearly states that the Plan B sites will only be considered for release for development if one of three triggers set out in Policy RS6 is met. All proposals for development have to be determined having had regard to relevant policies contained in the adopted Local plan. At the time of writing this, none of the three triggers set out in Policy RS6 have been met and so Parrs Lane, along with all other Plan B sites, is still safeguarded from development. The Council has recently received two planning applications (both of which are currently invalid) for development on the Parrs Lane site. The planning applications are unwelcome, but the Council does not have the powers to prevent their submission. However, as we do not believe that any of the triggers set out in Policy RS6 have been met, there is no basis for the Council to set aside its Local Plan Policy and as such there is a clear presumption to refuse the application…”

Redrow redrowmorg claimed that after only 18 months the Local Plan was out of date, that the planning officers were wrong in their statistical analysis of various issues, and that the Local Plan, the plan that wasn’t Labour’s plan, was not being delivered. It’s a simple enough question. Who in the Tory led WLBC released those untrue figures so as to justify the APC Clerk to make the untrue claim?

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