Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 7, 2018

Beware Of People Bearing Gifts To Burscough

In Burscough planning matters are often not for faint hearts. Who could ever forget the desperate antics of developers for Yew Tree Farm, while the residents used democratic tools like petitions and a referendum, notwithstanding which the outcome being the dreaded West Lancashire Local Plan.

Memories of it returned on Wednesday, as there were around 50 members of the public at the Burscough Parish Council  meeting that considered the Burscough Football Ground Planning Application Meeting BPC 5/9/2018. Burscough Flooding Group (BFG) strongly objects to it, because it will “increase the offsite flooding risks from Burscough’s watercourses and foul sewage network, due to insufficient capacity within both systems”.

A resident wrote “I witnessed controversial Councillor Roger Bell talking during the BPC planning meeting about Burscough’s football ground. He insisted on speaking despite it being apparent that there was no support and some hatred for his views in the room. At one point he violently battered the table with his fists to stop residents interrupting him, and once everyone was calmed by other Councillors, he plodded out his view that building on Burscough’s football ground was essential to supply Burscough with affordable housing. He spoke of his long term commitment to affordable housing, criticised the state of the current ground, praised the high ideals of the development company and finally made a suggestion that all of the affordable houses be reserved for Burscough’s residents and relatives.

“When the vote finally came, only Roger voted in favour of building on the football ground and only Roger voted for his own amendment. One resident summed up the vote and debate by saying that, “as there was so much opposition for the development in Burscough and the parish council, the development couldn’t succeed”. To which Councillor Bell quietly responded “We’ll see”.

“My concerns, as a member of Burscough Flooding Group, are that the development will add to the serious sewer and surface water flooding problems in Burscough and to the Crabtree Lane crossing area in particular. And that the additional flooding problems won’t be completely overcome by the promised SUDS system, because they can only be overcome through UU building additional main sewers and LCC digging additional drainage ditches, as well as adding and/or enlarging culverts.

“As someone who was very involved in the now defunct Burscough Action Group (BAG) who regularly attended BPC meetings during the last local plan consultation. I think it’s only fair to share my own experiences which seem relevant to the current football ground application.

“During the last local plan consultation, some councillors promised affordable houses for Burscough residents only, subsequently WLBC planners told residents that it wasn’t legally possible to do so. So I was surprised to hear the former chair of planning, Councillor Roger Bell, put forward the suggestion that all of the affordable houses be reserved for Burscough’s residents and relatives.

“In addition, during the last local plan consultation, lots of Councillors including Councillor Bell, expounded the view that taking Yew Tree Farm (YTF) out of greenbelt was necessary to build affordable housing during the Local Plan. As we all know that came to nought as we have no affordable homes on YTF. Finally, some councillors and WLBC (as part of its policy documents) strongly expounded the view that large scale development in Burscough was the only way to secure the funds for the infrastructure improvements it needs. We all know that came to nought also as we only have the additional flooding and traffic problems”.

“Beware of people bearing gifts”.

Gavin Rattray – Resident of Burscough

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