There’s anger all over the place. You name a village in West Lancashire that won’t be touched by the “Local Plan Review Preferred Options” and its eventual implementation. Action groups will proliferate and hope to emulate the success, short-lived as it happens, of the Aughton Residents Group 2012 (ARG).
In todays campaigns we already see a big difference from the previous plan. ARG was opposed by its own Aughton Parish Council (APC). There was bedlam, walking out of meetings , meetings suspended, anger and disbelief at the proposals. But then the APC was known as the local “Tory party at prayer” whose plan it was. Who can forget the insults we suffered? We started building a remembrance wall of those who voted for the plan. Looks like it might come to pass after all!
So far, evidence is emerging of parish support. Good news. The fight is on. But when the West Lancashire urban sprawl ambitions spread into another borough council area, Rainford, St Helens Borough Council, up popped the already active Rainford Action Group (RAG) . As quoted by James Wright of RAG “The people of Rainford won’t be consulted on these plans to build two villages and two industrial estates on their doorstep but Rainford will be directly impacted”.
Adding insult to injury, Mr Wright declares that St Helens council has plans already for building on protected land in the centre of Rainford. There is “a growing sense of the village under siege from profit hungry developers, greedy landowners, and local authorities who ignore the wishes of the people they are supposed to serve”.
I hate to say it, but what the hell! Campaigning against greed is bound to fail. Even while ARG was celebrating its success for Parrs Lane and our own WLBC having paid the huge legal bill, the new draft Local Plan was in being and it includes the very same land Parrs Lane land plus another great chunk on the other side too. Burscough fought, Halsall fought, and now everyone will fight.