Posted by: westlancashirerecord | November 5, 2018

The New Local Plan, Information For Those Who Need To Know

We wrote about the “peat bog builders” a week ago, after the meeting in Halsall, and the organisers “Thank you for coming to the meeting about the Borough Council’s Local Plan. I promised you a copy of the objection document I am using, it is attached [below] as a word document; feel free to use it for ideas for your response and to forward it on to anyone you know may be interested.

“There are some important meetings coming up about the Local Plan that you may want to attend, the details are below.

“There is a meeting of Aughton Parish Council on Monday 12th November at 7.15pm in Aughton Village Hall, Winifred Lane, Aughton (parking is available). Aughton Residents Association will be attending to make known their objections to the Local Plan as a guest from the Borough Council will be present. Residents from Halsall are encouraged to attend this meeting too.

“There is a meeting of Halsall Parish Council on Wednesday 14th November at 7.30pm in St. Aidans Hall, Renacres Lane. Please encourage attendance at this meeting as it is vital that we encourage the Parish Council to continue to support us.

“The Borough Councillor for Halsall  holds a surgery immediately before the Parish Council meeting residents are encouraged to strongly share their views with her so that she can feed them back to the Borough Council. Parking is tight at this venue.

“Finally, the Borough Council will be meeting residents on Thursday 15th November in the Memorial Hall, Halsall. This is an all day event 9.30am to 9.30pm but the Borough Council insist that no more than 6 residents can attend at any one time and so have created half-hour slots; these slots must be booked in advance. Book by phone 01695 585 194.

“Those who volunteered to distribute hard copy objection forms are in the process of doing so at the moment. Alternatively you can object on line at https://westlancs.citizenspace.com/local-plan/local-plan/

A guide for making an Objection Statement to West Lancashire Borough Council’s Local Plan Preferred Option to build in Carr Moss Lane, Halsall, is provided below.

The Local Plan Preferred Options have been produced with evidence that relies on incorrect data, assumptions and speculation, in particular as to the needs of Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council’s needs post 2037, in seeking to plan for so many residential properties including the estimated 6,000 said to be needed under the “duty to cooperate”. There is NO evidence that any of the assumptions are correct. It is both unwise and unfair to residents of Halsall to base such a significant decision, one which will profoundly impact on the amenity, quality of life and sense of community, on incorrect data, assumptions and speculation.

The land identified in Carr Moss Lane is green belt land and land designated as “best, most versatile agricultural land” of Grade 1 quality. It is land that is used in the production of food and provides an income to the farmer who leases it and employment to agricultural workers who are employed on it.

Planning law and policy is clear that the release of green belt land should only be considered in “exceptional circumstances” and when all other options have been exhausted. This is not the case with Carr Moss Lane; there are other more suitable sites that have been overlooked such as the unused, overgrown land at Segars Lane or the unused, overgrown land at Mere Lane/New Street. Both these plots have been unused for decades and would provide for suitably modest development sites for the construction of bungalows by local builders appropriate for the future needs of an ageing Halsall population thereby freeing up existing, larger family homes within the village. The Council has acknowledged this demographic and their needs and yet the Preferred Option of the Local Plan does nothing to sustainably plan for this need.

What is not required in Halsall is a large scale development of more family homes. There have been a significant number of these built or granted planning permission, including a modest development of houses on Carr Moss Lane itself, in small developments around the village over recent years, but there has been no increase in amenity for the growing population, nor is there any planned. The Council have concluded and clearly stated in the Local Plan documentation that Halsall (Western Parishes generally) cannot accommodate sustainable development. The data the council has used in the production of the Preferred Option exaggerates the amenities available to residents of Halsall and is incorrect. Halsall does not have a Post Office nor does the village have a pharmacy.

Halsall has one primary school; it is heavily oversubscribed. Children currently living in the village travel, by car, for schooling to neighbouring towns and villages, Scarisbrick, Ainsdale, Birkdale, Aughton and beyond. It is not sustainable to increase the number of school age children in a village that does not have the provision it currently needs, thereby increasing further travel by car at peak times.

The road infrastructure is something the council acknowledges as poor in the Western Parishes generally and Halsall particularly. The moss roads, which built on peat, are subject to subsidence and difficult to travel on. Carr Moss Lane is a moss road, this means that the majority of traffic, domestic, agricultural and commercial enter and exit the road at the junction with New Street (A5147). Carr Moss Lane is very narrow at this junction, to ease congestion and ensure safe access to and egress from Carr Moss Lane the County Council put parking restrictions on this junction some years ago. Vehicles can be seen mounting the very narrow pavements at times in order to pass each other. The increase in traffic the proposed development will bring will exacerbate an existing problem. Of further concern for safety of pedestrians, this junction faces the entrance to Halsall Primary School.

Further down Carr Moss Lane, at the proposed site, the road bends sharply and has an adverse camber which has resulted in a number of road accidents year-on-year. Residents of properties in numbers 43-61 inclusive have suffered property damage to fences, walls, hedges and vehicles. One property has suffered such damage that insurance for this type of damage is now not possible. Telegraph, electricity poles and a street light have also been damaged and had to be replaced. The hedge on the opposite side of the road has also suffered damage from cars. Lancashire County Council have, exceptionally, sited and support a salt grit bin, exceptional as it is their policy to only site such bins on sloping roads. Residents of Carr Moss Lane grit the road themselves when conditions require in order to minimise the risk of incidents and damage to property. Residents have also long maintained the hedge along the length of the agricultural field to a height which allows drivers to have better lines of site for the same purpose. An increase in traffic on such a road is both unwise and unwelcome.

The proposed site on Carr Moss Lane is at the edge of a “Nature Conservation Site” which has significance for a number of domestic and over wintering species. Depending on the crop grown on this land over wintering birds (pink footed geese and whooper swans) use this land as a feeding station. They do not know where the Nature Conservation Site boundary lies. Domestic species such as barn and short eared owls are seen, or heard, as are species of bats, hunting prey on this land. The wooded area behind the field, the “Bee Gardens”, provides a rich haven for wildlife with human activity kept at a distance by the fields. Brown hares live on the margin of the fields. These species would be disturbed by any development of this agricultural land and the associated noise and human activity such a development would bring.

Development of the green belt agricultural land would also impact on the amenity of existing residents, an increase in noise from any property built would change the character of the area significantly and would be unwelcome.

The loss of “best, most versatile agricultural land” of Grade 1 quality in the green belt must be avoided. This is recognised in national law and policy which allows green belt development only in exceptional circumstances. The proposed development in Carr Moss Lane does not meet that criteria. Agricultural production of food is an important industry to the UK, West Lancashire and Halsall in particular. It provides employment for agricultural workers and contractors in the production of food, transporters in the supply chain and retailers who sell the food to the consumer. The UK  currently produces less than 50% of our food domestically. This must and will change over coming years. As a society we have come to rely on cheap food and yet food cost is predicted to increase in coming years as the UK competes on the world market with ever increasing wealthier markets in Asia. In our society some already face food challenges now and have no option but to rely on food charity. This is not sustainable. There is no economic justification for destroying land that has been used for centuries to feed us, particularly when the evidence to do so is based on unqualified assumptions and speculation and alternative options exist.

 


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: