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Tuesday, 27 November 2012 (3033047)
by David Simister

CONTROVERSIAL proposals to build 500 new homes on farmland near Lydiate have prompted a huge response from residents, parish councillors in the village have said.

A fortnight ago The Champion reported on plans to build hundreds of new homes on a greenfield site between Moss Lane, Sandy Lane, Lambshear Lane and Liverpool Road, with councillors in the village concerned that while no planning application has yet been made a property company, Mactaggert and Mickel, had approached Sefton Council to seek an opinion on the proposals.

Now members of Lydiate Parish Council said they have received “a huge response” from residents concerned about the proposals, following the launch of a written and online petition over the matter.

Councillor Dave Russell, chairman of Lydiate Parish Council, said: “It was the keen ears of residents that initially picked up on this proposal and we are very grateful to the alert locals who then tipped us off.

”I ask for residents to get in touch with Lydiate Parish Council if they pick up on other Green Belt sites where they think a developer may be working up proposals to develop the land. It is clear that many locals are prepared to try to defend the rural aspect of Lydiate field and field if necessary and I am one of those residents.“

Members of the parish council said that the crucial issues moving forward will be whether or not Sefton Council seeks to remove any land from the Green Belt as a consequence of its ongoing review of land use. However, they are added they are worried that developers might ”strike first“ by submitting formal planning applications to gauge reaction.

Councillor Andrew Blackburn, a Sefton councillor who represents Park ward for the Liberal Democrats, said: ”The response to the petitions has been extremely good and it is very clear that Lydiate folks and indeed those who want to defend Sefton’s Green Belt over a wider area are backing the parish councillor’s campaign.“

The area's MP, meanwhile, has highlighted the plans in Parliament due to the area being at risk from flooding, where he was told by Secretary of State for Environment Owen Paterson that the national planning policy framework advises against building new developments of this scope in flood-prone areas.

Bill Esterson, MP for Sefton Central, said: ”The Minister made clear that any future developments ‘should be located away from flood risk'. It is perfectly clear that land which developers have their sights on in Lydiate is prone to flooding. Great swathes of those stretches of land are regularly submerged whenever we get heavy or prolonged rain.“

”In the last few days we have seen roads around this part of the world submerged as water levels rose. Just a couple of months ago we had people in Sefton Central being forced out of their homes because of floodwater. Some are still not back home as their houses are still being repaired.“

The petition highlighting residents' views about the plans are expected to be submitted to Sefton Council later this year.


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