Will you be having your say on the WLBC Local Plan Review? The plan will change West Lancashire unbelievably, perhaps unacceptably, for the foreseeable future. The Council’s Cabinet claims it to be an innovative and ambitious long term strategic plan that will help deliver new development to support the growth of the Borough until 2050.
But should the Council’s Cabinet be the arbiter of how 30 years will change the Borough? It will, if the residents of the Borough don’t let them know via the consultation what THEY feel about some aspects of the Review. This is an example of what WLBC claims, that “The protection afforded by Safeguarded Land is not what it used to be, and the pattern of “planning by appeal” that Safeguarded Land has attracted across England in recent years is not a sustainable way to plan. This has been seen in West Lancashire with three appeal inquiries on Safeguarded Land in the past few years. While the Council successfully defended these Inquiries (primarily because the Council could demonstrate a five-year housing land supply), they all have unnecessarily taken up Council resources on defending planning decisions on sites which, in previous years, would not even have generated an application such was the status of Safeguarded Land. For this reason, designating sites as safeguarded land provides no certainty for local residents concerned about when, and how, those sites may be developed. £81,248.35 unnecessarily spent! Yet they spent it!
Cllr John Hodson says “If people are objecting to a proposal, we would always encourage them to also set out how they would change the policy they are objecting to or what site they would suggest the Council should allocate instead of the one they are objecting to, and to give planning reasons for their objections. This will help the Council prepare the best possible Local Plan”.
To read the Local Plan Review Preferred Options document, and for more information on the Local Plan Review, please visit the Council’s website http://www.westlancs.gov.uk/lpr, where you can also give your views to be considered as part of the consultation. Printed copies of key consultation documents will also be available at libraries and the Council Customer Service Points (at the Council’s Derby Street offices in Ormskirk and at the Concourse Shopping Centre in Skelmersdale).
The easiest way to provide your comments will be online, through the consultation webpages, but a standard form can also be downloaded from the website or picked up from the above locations. Remaining dates and venues for the Local Plan consultation events are Wednesday 31 October – Skelmersdale Ecumenical Centre; Monday 5 November – Tarleton Cricket Club; Wednesday 7 November – Ormskirk Chapel Gallery; Tuesday 13 November – The Grove Youth and Community Centre, Station Approach, Burscough; Wednesday 14 November – Skelmersdale Ecumenical Centre; Thursday 15 November – Halsall Memorial Hall.
Communities already feeling disenfranchised by the events at the WLBC September meeting might benefit from resident drops of the printed copies of the consultation documents around their areas, door to door. Every single submission to WLBC has participation value. Remember whose Borough this is, ours!