Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 17, 2018

Labour Voter Says Vote Out Local Labour?

QLocal’s  delighted to post this reader’s letter written in response to a missive published in last week’s Champion’s letters page.

‘I am writing in response to Councillor Gail Hodson’s letter published recently.

‘Two things to say before I comment on the actual content of the letter. Firstly, I am a lifelong Labour supporter so I have no party political axe to grind. Secondly, I think the tone of Mrs Hodson’s letter is disgraceful, to describe the arguments of Council Tax payers who stand to lose their homes and livelihoods as ridiculous is arrogant and dismissive. The fact that she doesn’t go on to state which particular arguments she sees as ‘ridiculous’ only makes matters worse.

‘Mrs Hodson  tries to lay the blame for this Plan at the door of the Tory party. However, this is not supported by the facts. She is correct to say that a 5 year review of the existing plan was required. The Planning Committee tasked a sub-committee with carrying out this review. Instead of this the sub-committee, led by Mrs Hodson’s husband, came up with a totally new plan that they saw as lasting until 2050, 23 years longer than the existing one!

‘When this plan was put before the full Planning Committee they rightly pointed out that this was not what they had been asked to do. A motion was raised asking them to go away and look again. This motion was defeated by Mr Hudson and his cronies.

‘If this was, as Mrs Hudson suggests, the consequence of a Tory Government directive why did the Tory councillors not see the need for the new 2050 Plan? In fact it appears to have come as a shock to some of the Labour councillors, including our own Bickerstaffe representative. Unfortunately we can’t see what was considered and discussed at the sub-committee meetings as the Council, despite a Freedom of Information request, is refusing to release the relevant minutes.

I won’t comment on all the points raised by Mrs Hodson but I do find her description of the ‘Garden Villages’ as some sort of Truman Show world where the poor, old and infirm are to the fore as quite charming. The only shock is that the Plan does not guarantee permanent fluffy clouds and hoppy bunny rabbits as well. Unfortunately the truth is more likely to be that once the Day 1 sell off has taken place the developers will run rings around the Planning Committee and they will build properties aimed at maximising profit.

‘Cynical you may think but this is the same Planning Committee that has allowed developers to turn Ormskirk into a town of HMOs occupied by students. Surely it is a case of stable doors and horses to now be talking about affordable housing. Interestingly they want to give up Green Belt land for Edge Hill to build yet more student accommodation at a time when the student population appears to be in rapid decline, falling from 18,000 to 15,000 in the last four years.

‘The Plan is just the Day 1 sell off aim padded out with statements of the obvious which are not supported by credible solutions.

‘The most obvious of these is the road problem. Mrs Hodson says only 1.7% of the available Green Belt land will be used. However, she fails to point out that most of this is concentrated in a very limited area. If it was spread over the whole of the WLBC area then it may be less of a problem, maybe even using some of the Green Belt that surrounds Chez Hodson in leafy Tarleton?

‘In truth I think there would still be a problem as the aim of building 16,000 new homes at an average of 3 inhabitants per home, maybe a total of 50,000, will cause insurmountable infrastructure problems for a Council area with an existing population of only 110000. In reality there won’t be the luxury of the increased population being spread across WLBC, they will in fact be concentrated in a very small area which relies on only 2 roads to get into Ormskirk.

‘The Plan acknowledges there is a road problem but does not suggest how it will be solved. If there is a Day 1 sell off Plan surely there needs to be a definite road plan now as if the Council rides rough shod over public opinion the Day 1 developers’ feeding frenzy could occur very soon.

‘It pains me to say it but the only practical objection to this plan will be to vote out the Labour councillors who seem intent on changing the whole nature of WLBC at one fell swoop”.

Eric Lupton Bickerstaffe.


  1. A well balanced and carefully considered letter from Mr Lupton. Labour have introduced a level of dictatorship and secrecy that the Conservatives could only dream about. The cartel brings shame on this council, in my opinion.

    • Yes, it is a very revealing view of the feelings around the plan.

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