Tuesday, 7 February 2012

700 Houses in the wrong place

SHOCK OVER PLAN BY WEST LANCASHIRE COUNCIL TO BUILD 700 HOUSES ON SOUTHPORT BOUNDARY

Lib Dem councillors in Birkdale and Kew Wards have spoken out over proposals from Ormskirk-based West Lancashire Borough Council to build hundreds of house on prime agricultural land on the fringes of Birkdale and
Kew.

On Wednesday this week (8 February), Sefton Council's Planning Committee is due to discuss the controversial proposals set out in the "West Lancashire Local Plan".  In total around 700 houses could be build in these areas on the outskirts of Southport.

The main part of the area earmarked for possible future development is the ‘Birkdale Irrigation Allotments’, together with surrounding fields, amounting to 19 hectares (or 47 acres) in total.  This land is located between

Benthams Way and Moss Road on the eastern boundary of Birkdale.  The Business Park at Kew adjoins the site.

Birkdale Lib Dem councillor Richard Hands is a member of Sefton planning Committee.  He is worried that what West Lancashire planners are proposing will place enormous burdens on Southport services.

“I understand that there is the potential for something like 570 houses to be built on land opposite Christ the King School and Dobbies as well as another 130 on two smaller sites off Moss Road and New Cut Lane,
all in Birkdale.”

”Although these areas are actually part of Southport, they come under West Lancashire Council.  This means that our own local council would no say over planning applications to build these houses.”

Councillor Mike Booth represents Kew Ward which lies immediately adjacent to the the main potential development site at Benthams Way. He has also expressed concerns about the proposal:

“I am not at all happy that West Lancashire planners want to locate hundreds of new houses in Southport.  Although most of the children who might live in those new houses would go to Southport schools, it would be West Lancashire Council that receives the council tax income as well as the Government’s ‘New Homes Bonus’ and so on.”

“In fact it is entirely possible in the future that some Southport parents will lose out on their first preference of school to parents who live in these new houses in West Lancashire.  Surely that cannot be right?”

Birkdale councillor Iain Brodie Browne is a long standing allotment holder at the ‘Birkdale Irrigation Allotments’.  He said:

“This land was bought by the Birkdale Local Board in 1894, so it dates back to even before Southport County Borough as well as before Sefton.  There are over 100 allotment plots here.  As well as the threat to the allotments, much of the rest of the land is prime agricultural land.”

“It just seems plain wrong that West Lancashire Council is trying to achieve its house building target by building houses in Southport.”

Any Birkdale Blog reader who wants to read the full report to the Sefton Planning Committee can find it here:





According to the Planners, the four sites have areas and estimated house capacities are as follows:

    
     Site

    
       Area
  (hectares)

    
  Est Housing
     Capacity


  1. Fine Jane’s Farm, Moss Road
  2. New Cut Lane
  3. Moss Road (West)
  4. Moss Road (East)


   2.2
   2.4
        8.0
      11.0


            60
            70
          240
          330


               Total



      23.6 ha.

          700 houses

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