Adrian Tayler of Tanhouse asks in Letters to the Champion “Why no mention of proposed Skem railway station in Local Plan Review?”. There is, actually, as WLBC stated in its summarised bumph, “This proposal would make a significant contribution to the business case for creating a Skelmersdale Rail Link”.
Not that the bumph should be read as biblical tablets of stone. Far from it. The Tory Local Plan was written by the same people who now write the Labour Local Plan. Perhaps its origins lie with consultants “sleeping with the enemy” ie developers who, evidence suggests, are looking for long term profits from the destruction of much of the West Lancashire green belt.
A public document entitled West Lancashire Local Plan Review Issues and Opinions was published in April 2017 to make “Representations by Redrow Homes and Wainhomes North West Ltd”. Emery Planning Partnership is instructed by Redrow Homes and Wainhomes North West Ltd to submit representations on the West Lancashire Local Plan Review (March 2017). Our clients have a specific interest with land at Parr’s Lane, Aughton, which is allocated as a Plan B site in the adopted West Lancashire Local Plan”.
Two options are set out for consultation these being: 2012 to 2037; or, 2012 to 2050. Our view is that the plan period for West Lancashire should be 2012 to 2050. Our reasons for this are as follows. The first is that West Lancashire will require Green Belt release. On that point Government guidance is clear. Paragraph 83 states that “At that time, authorities should consider the Green Belt boundaries having regard to their intended permanence in the long term, so that they should be capable of enduring beyond the plan period”.
And “As the Council will be aware they reviewed their Green Belt as part of the adopted Local Plan and the LPR is clear that further Green Belt releases will be required for the majority of the housing options. Therefore with a review being necessary using either plan period, it would be in the interests of all parties and in accordance with Government guidance that the plan period is to 2050…A concern we had at the Local Plan Examination was how development was distributed in Policy SP1 where Burscough was given 850 dwellings whereas the significantly larger and more accessible Ormskirk with Aughton was given 750 dwellings…The clear and compelling needs for Ormskirk with Aughton must be addressed and its role in West Lancashire and the wider region recognised which reflects its services, facilities and rail links and the growing status of Edge Hill University…It is therefore apparent that with Burscough being able to deliver that level of development provided all sites come forward, then Ormskirk with Aughton and Skelmersdale are the two most sustainable locations to meet need”. Persistent buggers, aren’t they? They lost the Parrs Lane appeals!
You can read the full submission here, surprisingly under the name of Harris. https://www.westlancs.gov.uk/media/537918/60-Harris-4-_Redacted.pdf
Also in Letters, Paul Coney states “We don’t need 15,000 new homes!”. Agreed, Mr Coney. Local planners can and should do better than to impose ridiculous pie in the sky guestimates on an intelligent populous. As we all know, the fight has started.
Back to the Skelmersdale Railway Station issue, WLBC states “There are the proposals for a new Skelmersdale Rail Link (with connections to Liverpool and Manchester) and for West Lancashire to accommodate a share of the growing demand for logistics space (emerging from the anticipated growth of shipping through the Port of Liverpool) on the M58 Corridor. This therefore means that the need for housing in West Lancashire (especially around Skelmersdale and the M58 Corridor) will naturally increase because of this growth in jobs and improved access to Liverpool and Manchester.
“The Local Preferred Options would provide new homes and employment space in and around Skelmersdale, including an ambitious initiative to create three new Garden Villages and a Logistics Park alongside the M58. The three Garden Villages will offer comprehensively planned new settlements which enhance the natural environment. They will provide new high-quality and imaginatively designed homes, including affordable homes, and access to local employment, all combining the best of town and country to create walkable, vibrant, healthy and sociable communities with good access to cycling and public transport infrastructure. This proposal would make a significant contribution to the business case for creating a Skelmersdale Rail Link”.
From which you might deduce people, residents, must be considered as part of a “business” rail link. Now think that one out? Because the Tory slap down of elderly and disabled residents who have always wanted off peak equality on the Liverpool-Ormskirk service was simply discrimination, not business.