Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 7, 2018

Dear John In West Lancs, We Love Your Land, From Stuart In Sefton

We stumbled upon this letter, below, dated 12th December 2017, and it follows the post 2030 Sefton Plan period. The letter mentions they have sufficient green and brownfield land in their published Local Plan inclusive and beyond 2030, but then almost out of the blue they don’t think they have any after the 15 year period and are discussing this in a meeting with WLBC a couple of months after their local plan is adopted and implemented. 

“Dear John [Harrison]

“West Lancashire Local Plan Review

“Thank you for the note of the meeting and for coming over to Sefton to discuss our concerns with you in July. I would like to apologise for our delay in getting back to you with our formal comments. We have now had the opportunity to discuss our thoughts with our Cabinet Member.

“Further to Sefton’s comments on the Issues and Options paper, I would reiterate that in the post 2030 period covered by the recently adopted Sefton Local Plan, there is likely to be a need for West Lancashire BC to meet a considerable proportion of Sefton’s future housing and employment needs. To quote the Local Plan Inspector, “the [Local Plan] examination has identified tensions relating to Southport’s development needs which may have cross-boundary implications going forward” (paragraph 16). However, it is not only Southport that may not be able to meet its future needs in the longer term – Formby and Maghull/Lydiate are already developed close to the West Lancashire boundary, whilst Bootle has no Green Belt or other undeveloped into which to expand. So, it is possible that we will be looking for West Lancashire to meet more of Sefton’s employment and housing needs in the future.

“Without any assessment of what this might be, we can only continue to project our housing needs forward form the Local Plan, which takes account of the most recent (2014-base household projections). This would give a requirement of about 576 dwellings a year (Local Plan Inspector’s OAN) – 594 (SHELMA OAN), of which potentially at least 50% would have to be located in the Green Belt in Sefton or West Lancashire.

“The issue of where any unmet need should be located is difficult. Ideally, this should be located as close as possible to the areas in Sefton where the need arises, particularly in the case of affordable housing. A robust assessment of potentially suitable land close to the Sefton boundary would be needed, as we remain of the view that our needs should be met as close as possible to where they arise. Furthermore, if it were to be the case that any future unmet Sefton housing need could be met in West Lancashire, it would need to be transparently demonstrated how this could be accommodated. Simply allocating sites generally in West Lancashire, without demonstrating exactly how they could accommodate such unmet need, would not be sufficient and would not pass any test of local plan soundness in our view.

“For future employment needs, this is much more difficult to calculate, but it is probable that as our brownfield supply is already included in the period to 2030, any future provision to meet both local needs and a need for strategic B8 logistics uses that may arise through the SHELMA would have to be developed on land currently in the Green Belt, and potentially in West Lancashire. As the SHELMA does not calculate requirements in the same way as the Local Plan, it is difficult to estimate what our future need might be, although our current Local Plan is based on an employment land OAN, excluding any port-related needs, of about 78ha.

“With regard to accommodating port related logistics need, this has to be looked at on a sub-regional basis, and will need to be informed by the final SHELMA study (and any future sub regional commissioned work on accommodating any unmet sub regional need/demand).

“I appreciate that no work has been carried out yet on infrastructure improvements related to future development in West Lancashire. Given the proposed Local Plan Review’s end date of 2050, we would urge West Lancashire BC to consider seeking the reinstatement of the Burscough Curves  to improve the accessibility of Southport to Ormskirk and the national rail network, and also commission a study that assesses the impact of future development in West Lancashire on Sefton’s roads, notably links into eastern Southport, and along the A59 corridor, which are already operating at over capacity.

“Contributions will be required from any development in West Lancashire to support and expand physical, social and environmental infrastructure in Sefton. [Well, that will  be a bloody miracle!] The method for achieving this will need to formalised and agreed. I hope this is of assistance”.

Yours sincerely

Stuart Barnes


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