Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 13, 2018

Affordable Housing To Meet Local Need

The West Lancashire Labour Election Manifesto 2018 I received committed them to “HOUSING- provide affordable housing to meet local need” . That commitment was given while the proposed new Local Plan was being drafted. “We undertook consultation on the Issues and Options papers between March 16 and April 28 2017”. The Borough Council described the new plan as “innovative” with “exciting proposals”. The proposed Preferred Options will also ensure that the rural areas of the Borough will continue to be strongly protected from inappropriate development (over 88% of West Lancashire will remain as Green Belt). This will allow the agricultural sector to continue making its significant contribution to UK food production and ensuring that the natural environment of the Borough will be protected and enhanced”.

There is a WLBC topic paper which covers the legal Duty to Co-operate that the Council are required to demonstrate compliance with as they prepare a new Local Plan. This involves co-operating with neighbouring authorities and a series of key stakeholders to prepare the Local Plan. The paper states that the number of people in the Borough is increasing relatively slowly. The affordability of housing is an issue for West Lancashire, the median house price being almost seven times the median earnings.

Option C is approximately based on the SHELMA’s Economic Growth scenario for housing plus an assumption that West Lancashire would have to meet an unmet housing need from the Liverpool City Region or other surrounding authorities of 100 extra dwellings a year if those areas are unable to meet all of their own housing needs.

In the light of various comments made to this website, I have visited the Labour West Lancashire Facebook. Some are so interesting I have copied them here. Draw your own conclusions.

Maggi Huyton I was at the meeting and have no particular affiliation to either side, though I am a member of the national Labour Party – I will read everything for myself and form my own view. I join a variety of groups to ensure that I get a balanced picture. I went to the meeting to find out what was happening. HOWEVER – I can categorically say that the version represented in the post above, is NOT a fair representation of what happened. There was a large but initially polite and orderly crowd, who listened in silence to what was said, with an occasional ‘hear hear’, and who then listened quietly to the ‘answer’ (I use that term very loosely, since it answered none of the questions asked). It was the arrogance and dismissive nature of councillors towards the public, which caused outrage amongst them, with some councillors even laughing at the members of the public. Many people asked for proper answers and this was loud, due to numbers of people. However, at NO time was the crowd aggressive. There was certainly NO incident of spitting in the chamber, and I was talking to police and then a friend outside until after the leader left. At no time did I see any spitting. There were no threats and no fighting. Police were called because the councillors had decided not to engage with the public. They did not answer the questions asked and at no time was process or procedure explained to them, so most did not know what was expected. Councillors ignored those there, seeming to try and pretend they did not exist. They then called police. I spoke to a policeman who told me that the report they had was of an unruly crowd who were aggressive, shouting and fighting. Hence 3 riot vans and 3 cars were sent. The police officer himself could see that the situation they were called to did not exist. This, in my opinion, was a complete and profligate waste of police time and resource by an arrogant councillor and was an action guaranteed to stir up antagonism, rather than calm a situation. I cannot agree with the version given above, which is misrepresentative at best and untrue at worst, (I cannot comment on OWL’s motives – though they seem to be more open in their dealings with the public), and if this is the way a Labour council behaves, I will seriously have to consider my affiliation. I will bring this to the attention of my own MP.

Liz Leadbetter I was there did not see any violence what so ever, I didn’t see anyone spit either, yes the people were angry, but what do you expect when we wanted our questions answered, it was an utter disgrace, the councillors walked out on us, then most sat there and discussed the situation between themselves, at no time was anyone in any danger.

Maggi Huyton I have commented at length on this page, with a different view to that expressed above – from my own perspective, having been at the meeting, (which I also recorded, so I have evidence to support my comment), and apparently my comments are being hidden from view by page administrators. Hardly a democratic or fair action from a group who have nothing to hide. I will continue to post. I am ashamed of this Labour group.

Kevin Wright  As a Cabinet Member and locally elected Councillor I am appalled at the conduct of some residents and your denial now. Council officers were screamed at with abuse and threats, Councillor including me were threatened and the leader was spat at. This isn’t democracy, threats and abuse have no part in our democratic process. A sad day for democracy in West Lancashire.

Ryan Ballard I wonder how long it will be before you all finally realise that we have had enough of being rough shod over. Skelmersdale has been abandoned by both parties for all my life (37) and it’s another 30 year plan. I have grew up travelling out of my hometown for everything, no entertainment, poor shopping, awful transport links and too read yet another plan that is all about building more houses ramming more people into an area that offers nothing to its current population under the guise of at least we will have more council tax funds. This is not what is needed in this town, more social housing, a train station, a proper shopping complex instead of the extortionate rent concourse, fit for purpose factories owned by the council rather than hedge funds from timbuck too with zero interest or concern for the local population. This town has been failed over and over again, and that’s why the independents are coming forward. And unless you listen too your electorate you are going too find more and more independents and a loss of seats for both Labour and conservative as folks are sick of the blame him blame them mentality instead of fixing the problems at hand. Regards from a long time Labour voter.

Neil Russell What’s the point? You can protest all you want to this council and nothing gets done. My mums still waiting for her bus/rail pass enabling to travel across west lancs and Merseyside without incurring charges. Gordon Brown gave funding to West Lancs council years ago. We’re still waiting to hear where that money went to? Also how many houses being built or have been are actually affordable? Fact none.

Annette Finnigan I was one of the concerned residents who was able to gain access to the meeting last night. The meeting did become rowdy but I did not witness ANY spitting or violence. Whilst I, and many other concerned residents may not be aware of ‘council protocol’ I personally feel we were treated with contempt by the councillors, who acted with total arrogance towards the very people they’re there to represent! Absolutely NO NEED to have Police riot vans and several Police cars called. Disgusting, yes! But not the residents!!!

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