Open Letter To Residents Of West Lancashire

from Council Leader, Cllr Ian Moran

“At a meeting of the West Lancashire Borough Council Cabinet this evening, the Labour administration requested that the timescale for developing a new Local Plan be changed, in order to take into account the concerns raised by residents during the recent public consultation.

“We have said from the outset of this Local Plan process that we wanted this to be a meaningful consultation, in which the public could see that their concerns were being listened to.

“When the last Local Plan review took place, the Conservative administration, which included OWL Cllr Adrian Owens, completely ignored the concerns of residents across the borough over plans to build significant numbers of housing in the area, not least Burscough residents’ overwhelming referendum result.

[Do you want the West Lancashire Borough Council to release green belt land at Yew Tree Farm and Red Cat Lane for developments disproportionate to the size of Burscough, without thoroughly investigating and exhausting all suitable alternatives and prioritizing non-green belt land first We refuse to treat residents with such contempt. Yes 55, no 1,438]

“The proposals put forward for a new Local Plan were intended to try and stop the problem of housing developments being built without any guarantee of infrastructure improvements, to roads, schools and GP surgeries.

“Our next Local Plan needs to be much more strategic than the current one. We need to ensure that it brings benefits to our residents and puts in place the improvements we need to create jobs, affordable housing, and accessible housing that meets the needs of the elderly and disabled. We need to guarantee that such developments are placed where they are most needed across West Lancashire. It also must address key issues like limits on student housing in residential areas and adequate sized parking spaces and garages on new build developments.

“However, we refuse to drive this through against residents’ wishes, and so we will review the responses and update the evidence used in formulating the plan, to ensure that a more effective set of proposals can be brought forward in future.

“This Conservative government has placed local authorities under huge pressure to deliver new housing, without giving them sufficient powers to tackle the problems of developers sitting on development land and trying to cherry pick the best sites, as happened last year with our successful defence of Parrs Lane in Aughton. If we don’t review our Local Plan regularly, the government will impose the housing on us without any regard for local infrastructure, so we need to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep control.

“We would like to thank all of the residents who responded formally to the consultation, and the many more who have spoken to their local ward councillors to raise issues in their local areas. Despite claims by opposition parties that this plan was a “done deal” we have always said that we would listen take seriously the views of residents and that is exactly what we are doing”.

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