Posted by: westlancashirerecord | February 11, 2019

Man Versus Nature – Sometimes Mother Nature Kicks Back And Wins!

OTS News

reports that Kew wildlife habitat loss and recent flooding problems were fully predicted years ago. *SSGB (Save Southport Greenbelt) has campaigned, since circa 2005 against the destruction of wildlife habitat at flood-prone Kew for housing development. SSGB was greeted with some hostile political and developmental scorn yet found support with Phil Rodwell of SGB website. Phil could also see the foolishness of building on the soggy Kew flood plain.

“Will they listen? Parts of Kew housing estate are already clearly highlighted on the Flood Map produced by the Environment Agency so why does Sefton Council apparently want to ‘increase’ this hazard, via further developments, to families that currently dwell in this area? In the event of a genuine flood, many Kew roads could be worst hit, according to the EA Flood Map.”

From Motherwell Crescent to Handsworth Walk, and for ‘extreme’ floods, roads from Markham Drive to Aintree Crescent may be affected. Campaigners believe “Adjacent properties may also be at risk. Any further developments could amplify this flooding danger greatly. It takes only inches of water to destroy properties and their contents, making this issue an insurance nightmare.

Changing the ground structure

by concreting over large areas of Blowick Moss countryside could perhaps also have an adverse effect on ‘other’ previously developed areas of Kew. If ground-water alone is prevented from running into the earth on Blowick Moss then it will have to soak in elsewhere, hence the FLASH-FLOODING danger!”.

History testifies that the council and its loyal supporters did NOT (would not) listen to common sense. Everything that happened back then is logged for posterity, so that irate homeowners new to this appalling issue will be able to know exactly where the blame rests!

In January 2016 indications of earlier SSGB flooding predictions started to emerge. OTS News reported that one resident of Ruddington Road said

The water level keeps going up and down, the diggers have created a moat supposedly to take the water away, my neighbours had one of the workmen peering over her fence, when she asked him what he was doing he said “Just checking to see if your garden has flooded yet?”

Back in 2005 SSGB said “The Council’s destruction of valuable wildlife habitat at Kew continues regardless of the fact that they are partners in the ‘North Merseyside Action Plan’ – a vital eco-initiative set in place to conserve wildlife and their habitats. Contrary to the views of belligerent council planners, our countryside is not a disposable commodity that we can simply wipe out at a moment’s notice (or at least it shouldn’t be!) We would like to thank Phil Rodwell of SGB website for helping us to keep this appalling situation in the public eye.”

The ground itself, an old landfill site, is contaminated.

“The latest news from the Kew swamp estate simply gives additional; confirmation of what SSGB was chasing up all those years ago – so no, they failed to listen and are NOW reaping what they sowed…“The ground itself, an old landfill site, is contaminated. Naturally, seepage of toxic gases and also possible flooding risk were something that campaigners accentuated numerous times before. Many reasons made the land unfit for human habitation, but would they listen? No, they just palmed campaigners off as eco-fanatics with an axe to grind.

“SSGB was even informed by the Environment Agency that with respect to water voles

on the Kew Business Park location, their Biodiversity Team has records of this legally-protected species on Fine Jane’s Brook down 600m stream of the site.

They also informed us that they believed the site to have a “biodiversity value” with some un-common wetland plant species being recorded. The biodiversity team has also observed feeding stations next to Fine Jane’s Brook that were the correct size to mark evidence of water voles. The E.A. also told SSGB that Sefton ecologists are also interested in the site. The EA. Thanked SSGB for bringing the situation to their attention and assured them that they will do all they can to protect the biodiversity of the site with the powers available to them.

Just because a part of the countryside was earmarked for development many moons ago, by some uppity grey-suited executive with a map and a biro, did not mean that its obliteration was a fine idea. Surely the authorities that make up the regulations on the native UK landscape can find it in their cold hearts to accommodate a little room for our green spaces that are vitally essential to so many species of wildlife. Reports in the local press previously indicated that the high cost of treating this contaminated ground to a development level could leave the Council without any profit for it. Furthermore, SSGB previously wrote that only 23 out of the proposed 650 houses planned would be available to first-time buyers under the affordable homes arrangement. Has that latter point changed? Why build more properties on a clearly defined flood zone when many of the houses in town are not selling?

How much concrete can we get down?

The authoritarian building ploy at Kew seems to have been ‘Let’s see how much concrete we can get down before anyone moans about the loss of old Southport countryside and flooding, etc?’ However, they were fully warned; they failed to listen to common sense and are now seeing the consequences it seems.

In 2012 SSGB were informed that so-called ‘development’ land at Blowick Moss may be ‘uninsurable’ for future homeowners, due to potential flood risk. Campaigners pointed out several Kew areas that already appear on the Environmental Agency (EA) flood maps and one insurer advised “Looking at the EA map of your postcode area there are some streets that would seem to be affected from rivers without sea defences if a flood occurred”.

This reference to local watercourses apparently indicates that housing people on any new developments in the region could create an insurance nightmare for many families. The insurer added “If we decline cover, but you object as you live at the top of a hill (as an example) you would be requested to get a report from the EA, send it to us and we would reconsider our decision.” The only consolation offered by this one insurer was “If we do offer cover, your premium would probably be higher than normal by approximately 10%.” Source of quotes: Norwich Union.

Clearly, after previous season’s UK flooding, insurers are understandably not very eager to take risks on families housed on areas having the potential to flood. Consequently, why did Sefton’s Council and their development supporters dismiss these valid concerns years ago? Were perhaps generated development profits placed ‘before’ any real concerns for residents’ wellbeing, safety and the native ecosystem? SSGB have already accentuated the dangers of developing on this part of our countryside.

The Crossens catchment was previously mainly under water until it was claimed from the sea over a hundred years ago. It has since been drained by a system of watercourses pumped by various pumping stations in the area, the main one being Crossens Pumping Station. If the EA were to stop pumping and remove defences, or if they were to ‘fail’, the land would unquestionably flood once again and devastate the housing infrastructure.

This is why the EA is required to indicate this risk on their flood mapping system. So to recap, any development in this area is: • Ecologically detrimental • A risk to legally-protected species like the water vole, which is resident in this area • Potentially a risk to human health or even life • Illogical as many large in-town plots are empty, abandoned and unused • Based largely on fat cat profiteering • Prone to serious flooding risk and toxic gas seepage from the old landfill site • A potential traffic gridlock disaster • An overcrowding/pressure on services problem that can only get worse

When are the authorities that be going to come clean over the Kew issue? Southport author, Pat Regan of SSGB, had articles printed on various sites and letters in the local media and even highlighted the issue in one of his books ‘Dirty Politics’

Despite much political shouting, sabre-rattling and foot -stamping at the time, the truths in that book still remain.

Today, some concerned locals at Kew are highlighting fears about additional flooding. This is because new buildings on the estate are being erected higher than the houses that are already there. This may, of course, be to comply with insurance concerns over foolishly building on EA specified flood plain sites. Residents, however, say this move will simply push even more water onto their dwellings on the original Kew estate.

NB. Land at Kew was not ‘officially’ designated as ‘greenbelt’ and this has been made clear several times in the past. Nevertheless, the area is a rich haven for birds, insects and animals, which utilise it for survival. Sefton Council’s inglorious white elephant

(crime against nature) at Kew appears to have finally introduced itself to most people now. However, the authorities were warned years ago not to undertake this absurd folly on Southport’s answer to the Everglades!

The entire Kew Estate plan was tarnished from the very onset. Council officials and politicians failed to listen to concerns about the stupidity of building on an old tip site that may slowly leak toxic gasses (for decades) and is constructed on marshland. Bad ideas never get better, no matter how much promotional spin is pushed out by trusty council officials and this is a classic example. Leave the old place to the water voles and the geese; enough damage has been done already.

Man versus nature – sometimes Mother Nature kicks back and wins! Thank goodness for that!

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