This page now contains any breaking news and recent developments for ACWT, please refer to this for the latest information.
We will endeavour to keep you up to date with any recent ACWT related happenings...
This page now contains any breaking news and recent developments for ACWT, please refer to this for the latest information.
We will endeavour to keep you up to date with any recent ACWT related happenings...
Breaking News: 1st May 2017
Adoption of the Sefton Local Plan
At its meeting of 20th April 2017 the Council resolved to adopt the Local Plan.
Copies of the Local Plan and associated documents are available online here, at the Planning Offices at Magdalen House and each of Sefton Libraries.
The Adoption Statement for the Local Plan is available at click here
The Sefton Local Plan replaces the saved policies from the 2006 Unitary Development Plan and will be used to determine planning applications.
Team Leader – Planning Policy
Breaking News: 7th April 2017
Download the report here: Sefton-LP-Inspectors-Report.pdf
Download the appendix here: Sefton-LP-Inspectors-Rpt-Main-Mods-Appendix.pdf
Dear Sir or Madam
Examination of the Local Plan for Sefton – Receipt of Inspector’s Report
The Council has received the Inspector’s Report into the examination of the Local Plan for Sefton. This is has now been published by the Council and is available at the following locations:
• Online at www.sefton.gov.uk/localplan
• At each of Sefton’s libraries
• At the Planning Offices at Magdalen House, Bootle
Following receipt of the Inspector’s Report the Council now intends to adopt the Local Plan at its meeting of full Council on Thursday 20th April 2017 [6.30pm at Southport Town Hall].
The Council will notify people when the Local Plan is adopted. Following adoption the Local Plan will be used in the determination of planning applications in the borough
Local Plan Team
Breaking News: 4th July March 2016
The Sefton Local Plan is a planning document which sets out the priorities and location for growth in the borough to 2030.
The Sefton Local Plan was considered at examination hearings earlier this year. The Planning Inspector has indicated that the plan is sound subject to modifications.
The Council are seeking views on these modifications. The list of modifications and supporting information is available to view at www.sefton.gov.uk/mods, at each of Sefton’s libraries and at the Planning offices at Magdalen House, Bootle.
Please note we are only seeking comments at this stage to the modifications to the Local Plan and not to the Local Plan in general.
Comments will be accepted until Wednesday 3rd August 2016.
or Planning Department, Magdalen House, Trinity Road, Bootle L20 3NJ. There is also an online form available at www.sefton.gov.uk/mods
or by post [see above] by Wednesday 3rd August 2016.
Team Manager – Planning Policy
Breaking News: 1st March 2016
Sefton Local Plan examination - Inspector's Initial Findings
Please find attached the Inspector’s initial findings regarding the Sefton Local Plan examination. Please note that he has not included his findings on Retail, which will follow in a couple of weeks.
The inspector has agreed with the Council a timetable going forward:
- Modifications and Interim Report approved by Council – Thursday 9 June 2016
- Period for comment [6 weeks] – Wednesday 15 June to Tuesday 27 July 2016
- Process and submit comment to Inspector [3 weeks] – Wednesday 17 August 2016 [Note copies of comments by 3 August]
- Receipt of Inspector’s full report – Early September
- Council fact check Inspector’s Report – Mid September
- Receipt of Final Inspector’s Report – Late September
- Adoption of Local Plan – January 2017
INSPECTOR’S INITIAL FINDINGS
- I have carefully considered all the written evidence and the
discussion at the examination hearings. My initial conclusion is
that, subject to the modifications proposed by the Council and a
small number of other changes, I am likely to find the Sefton Local
- At the beginning of the examination I indicated that if Main Modifications
(MMs) are required to enable me to find the Sefton Local Plan sound, the
modified Plan would be subject to public consultation. The purpose of
these initial findings is to ensure that this consultation includes all the
MMs that, on the basis of the evidence given to date, I consider necessary
for the Plan to be found sound. I will take the representations on the MMs
into account before the final stage of the examination, the completion of
my report to the Council.
- The report I submit to the Council will contain full details of the reasons
why the MMs are necessary to make the Plan sound. The majority of the
MMs have been suggested by the Council before, during and after the
hearings as a result of its consideration of the evidence and/or in response
to points raised by me. The reason for these changes will be familiar to
most participants at the examination and in these Initial Findings I only
comment briefly on the main issues that arose.
- However, to assist the Council and representors, I have provided more
detail in this note on the following matters:
a. The objectively assessed housing needs and land supply;
b. The objectively assessed employment needs and land supply;
c. The need for an early review; and
d. The few instances where I consider that new MMs are required to
make the Plan sound.
- As those who participated in the hearings will be aware, the evidence base
which underpins the Plan was not fully complete when the Council
submitted the document for examination. This has led the Council to
propose more MMs than would often be required, sometimes quite late in
the proceedings. Discussion of retail policy was not possible until mid-
January 2016 and led the Council to reconsider its approach to various
issues. Because soundings with the main interested parties are still taking
place, I will issue a separate “Initial Findings on Retail Matters” shortly.
Overall Strategy and Council’s Main Modifications
- During preparation of the Plan, three alternative growth options were
identified – urban containment, meeting identified needs, and optimistic
household growth. The evidence leads me to conclude that the Council
was right to choose the ‘meeting identified needs’ strategy. The urban containment option would fail to accommodate the population growth
forecast for Sefton by 2030, whilst the optimistic growth option would
require a substantial level of in-migration which would have potentially
significant implications for neighbouring authorities. Given the formidable
constraints faced by Sefton as a result of the tightly drawn Green Belt,
international nature conservation designations, high quality agricultural
land and areas susceptible to flooding, a difficult balance has to be struck
between meeting growth needs and protecting the environment. In broad
terms I consider that the middle option, meeting identified needs, gets
this balance right.
- In principle the aim of meeting the need for homes, jobs and services as
close as possible to where they arise is sound. In practice the expansion
of settlements in proportion to their size has not always been possible due
to the environmental constraints, the limited availability of land within the
main urban areas and the borough’s restrictive administrative boundaries.
In these circumstances I consider that the selection of housing allocations
and safeguarded land has been rigorous, objective and robust. I also
endorse all but one of the employment allocations, the exception being
the land south of Formby industrial estate (MN2.49) for reasons set out
later. Moreover, apart from the Shorrock’s Hill housing site at Formby
which emerged during the examination, there is no compelling case for
allocating any of the alternative sites considered during the examination.
- Many of the MMs to policies are necessary to ensure that the Plan is
consistent with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), the
associated Planning Practice Guidance and recent changes to national
policy. This particularly applies to HC1, HC2, HC7, EQ3 and the ‘Natural
and Heritage Assets’ chapter. Some MMs are necessary to better reflect
the evidence base, often in response to the new studies published during
the examination; this applies to policies ED3, ED8A, IN2, EQ9 and EQ10.
Reflecting the legitimate concerns of local people, other MMs are required
to ensure that new development properly addresses the impacts it will
have on existing communities. The MMs to site allocation policies MN3-6A
and Appendix 1 mostly fall into this category, as well as policies IN1 and
Objectively Assessed Housing Needs and Land Supply
- The 2012-based DCLG projections indicate household growth of 576
annually over the Plan period. I do not accept the argument that this
figure is based on over-estimates of in-migration because of factors such
as unattributable population change. And though I agree that some
upward revision of the household growth figure is necessary, I find the
scale of upward revision to be smaller than proposed by the Council and
some representors. I am not persuaded that an adjustment to household
representative rates is necessary, but I do consider that a slight lowering
of the current vacancy rate is justified. As to market signals, I find that
the upward revision required for reasons of affordability and past underdelivery
should be small. Overall I conclude that the demographic-led
dwelling requirement is 640 dwellings per annum (dpa). With historic
provision averaging 383 dpa (net) over the past 10 years and 416 dpa
over 25 years, this scale of housing development would boost significantly
the supply of housing, as sought by NPPF.
- I do not believe that other factors warrant a further increase of this figure.
I acknowledge that the full affordable housing need would not be met, but
substantial additional Green Belt releases would be required to meet even
part of the shortfall. Given the implications for neighbouring authorities
who would experience much higher out-migration to Sefton, the case for
increasing the total dwelling requirement is not compelling. Moreover,
there is clear evidence of the potential for those in need of affordable
housing to continue to occupy private rented accommodation, though this
is unlikely to fully meet their needs.
- As to the econometric projections, I have reservations about the
robustness of forecasts which give a dwelling figure of 1,286 or 1,180
dpa. I appreciate that Sefton’s ageing population structure will result in a
shortage of working-age residents, but I am not convinced that largescale
additional in-migration is appropriate to meet a level of business
growth which I regard as uncertain. Moreover, as indicated above, this
would have implications for neighbouring authorities and would require
major additional Green Belt releases. It is possible that the situation may
change once the forthcoming sub-regional Strategic Housing and
Employment Land Market Assessment (SHELMA) is complete, but that
would involve joint decisions by all affected authorities under the duty to
co-operate and would trigger an early review of the Plan. In the
meantime, based on the evidence for Sefton that is before me, growth
above the demographic-led 640 dpa is not justified.
- I am satisfied that delivery of the identified housing supply is achievable.
The urban supply of about 6,200 dwellings is likely to be a minimum yield
given the cautious assumptions about windfalls. Nevertheless, the
contention that appreciably more dwellings could be built within the
existing settlements is not supported by evidence. The remainder has to
come from Green Belt sites; the strong developer interest suggests that
these will also be built out. The proposed 11,460 dwellings total averages
637 dpa, broadly in line with the objectively assessed need; moreover,
this is a conservative estimate given the likelihood of higher windfalls and
increased capacity on some allocations. The staged delivery (500 dpa for
years 1-5 and 694 dpa for years 6-18) is necessary to satisfy the five year
land supply requirement of NPPF and is sound. In these circumstances an
early review of the Plan to meet the higher housing need arising from the
2012-based household projections is not necessary.
Objectively Assessed Employment Needs and Land Supply
- The two methodologies used recently to assess the employment land need
produce very different results. 23.5ha of land would be required under
the blended employment sector change analysis, whereas more than
double this figure (54.7ha) comes from projecting forward the long term
average land take-up. I acknowledge that historic jobs growth forecasts have not been a good indicator of actual market demand, so greater
weight should be placed on the land take-up figure. However, this creates
a significant tension when considering the balance between new jobs and
resident workers. Because of the declining economically active workforce
in Sefton, the higher jobs growth arising from the larger land requirement
is likely to require a greater level of in-migration than is justified, at least
in advance of the SHELMA sub-regional review. I therefore believe that
the land take-up figure is on the high side. In addition, the generous
estimates of losses of existing employment land to other uses and the
increase in supply to provide a five year buffer (a further 31.8ha) produce
a total land requirement of 86.5ha which, again, is on the high side.
Consequently I consider that this figure should at present be regarded as
the upper point in a range of acceptable provision for employment land.
- Turning to the distribution of employment land, the availability of larger
sites and good strategic accessibility rightly make south Sefton the focus
for new employment development. I acknowledge that the future needs
of Liverpool port may not be met once the Liverpool2 container terminal
opens this year, but this will impact across the sub-region and is properly
being addressed by the SHELMA; any shortfall in Sefton will trigger an
early review of the Plan. Meanwhile, south Sefton’s needs would be met
by sites within the urban area and the 20ha Green Belt allocation east of
Maghull. Although such provision may not cater for the largest portrelated
logistics operations, this does not justify additional Green Belt
releases in advance of the SHELMA study.
- Most of the existing B-class employment in North Sefton is in the eastern
part of Southport and this is the desired location for new development.
Much of the need would be met by land at Southport Business Park; other
potential locations in east Southport were discounted because of poor
accessibility and concerns over viability. Whilst the proposed Green Belt
sites at Formby are the nearest alternative opportunities, they are some
distance away (7-8 miles) and would not fully address Southport’s needs.
Given the slow pace of employment development in Southport over the
past decade, coupled with my finding on the overall employment land
requirement, I consider that only one of the two Formby employment sites
is justified, not both.
Early Review of the Plan
- The proposed new part 5 of policy MN1 enshrines in policy the Council’s
commitment to an immediate review or partial review “in the event that it
is demonstrated that further housing or employment provision is needed
in Sefton”. The focus is primarily on the sub-regional SHELMA and the
intention is to submit any review within two years of this Plan’s adoption.
The accompanying text makes clear that the SHELMA study will address
any needs associated with the expansion of the Port of Liverpool. As
modified, the commitment to an immediate review is sound.
- Modified paragraph 4.44 elaborates the circumstances which would trigger
an immediate review and states “…..if either the Inspector’s report or the publication of the sub-regional SHELMA identifies a need for more housing
or employment……..”. In these Initial Findings I conclude, on the
evidence available thus far, that the Plan (as proposed to be modified)
does meet the objectively assessed needs for housing and employment.
Consequently the phrase “either the Inspector’s report or” could be
deleted from paragraph 4.44.
New Main Modifications to the Plan
- The most significant further change necessary for the Plan to be found
sound is the deletion of one of the two employment allocations at Formby.
In my view the Land North of Formby Industrial Estate (MN2.48) is clearly
the preferred site. It was the sole employment site at Formby throughout
the early stages of plan preparation and has less severe constraints than
the Land South of Formby Industrial Estate (MN2.49). For both sites the
most significant constraint is flooding, but the flood risk for the northern
site is appreciably less than that for the southern site, 42% of which is
functional floodplain. The impacts on the Green Belt are broadly similar,
but in landscape terms the southern site has more open vistas and
development would appear as a more prominent extension of Formby into
the surrounding large-scale, flat agricultural landscape. On the other
hand the ecological value of the northern site is greater, though the
impacts are capable of mitigation.
- The scale and nature of any enabling development is highly significant. A
small number of trade counters and hybrid uses may be necessary to
cross-subsidise delivery of the 8ha of B1/B2/B8 floorspace on the northern
site (MN2.48). In contrast, the mixed-use development proposed on the
southern site (MN2.49), which includes a new home for Formby Football
Club, would require about 7,400 sq m of retail floorspace and some leisure
uses to be viable. Fundamentally, a sizeable new retail development off
Formby by-pass is not consistent with the Plan’s retail strategy. There is
no current capacity for new retail floorspace in north Sefton, and as the
retail implications of a scheme that would be over 40% of the size of
Formby district centre have not been tested, compliance with the
sequential and impact tests is far from certain. It is also unclear whether
the phasing of policy MN5 would be met, for the latest viability study
suggests that the 7ha of employment floorspace would be built after,
rather than in tandem with, the retail and sports uses.
- I appreciate that the football element of the development would be a
major benefit for Formby, but I consider this to be clearly outweighed by
the amount and type of enabling development necessary to deliver this
mixed-use scheme. Because only one employment site at Formby is
required, factors including the less serious flooding constraint and the
absence of potentially serious conflict with retail policy mean that the
Land North of Formby Industrial Estate (MN2.48) should be allocated.
Consequently the Land South of Formby Industrial Estate (MN2.49), policy
MN5 and the associated text should be deleted from the Plan. The total
provision of employment land (policy MN1) should be adjusted from
88.59ha to 81.59ha. Given my finding that the 86.5ha objectively assessed need for employment land is on the high side, a replacement
site is not required.
- The other modifications I propose, albeit necessary for soundness, are
relatively minor and affect the details of three housing allocations rather
than the acceptability of the sites in principle. The first two concern the
buffer zones proposed in the Plan around designated heritage assets. In
relation to the housing site at Liverpool Road, Formby (MN2.16), I accept
that the setting of the Grade II listed Loveladys Farmhouse should be
preserved, but I am not convinced it is necessary to leave the far west of
the site open to achieve this. Such a detailed matter is best resolved at
application stage, so the clause “by leaving the far west of the site (south
of the existing gymnasium) open” should be deleted from Appendix 1.
- Secondly, the south-western boundary of the site at Moor Lane, Ainsdale
(MN2.11) has been set back more widely from the Grade II listed Formby
House Farm than is necessary and is an arbitrary, undefined line across a
field. The edge of this field (ie up to but excluding the hardstanding and
modern barn) represents a more robust boundary; the Policies Map would
need to be amended by the Council accordingly. To ensure that the
heritage constraint is properly addressed at application stage, the
requirement “Preserve the setting of the Grade II listed Formby House
Farm” should be added to Appendix 1.
- Finally, during the hearings the Council proposed to halve the size and
dwelling yield of the site at Former Ainsdale Hope School (MN2.8) in
response to ecological concerns. The Council’s ecology advisor stated that
the site does not currently merit “Local Wildlife Site” status. I consider
that the need to forego 50% of the proposed development on ecological
grounds is questionable, though I accept that the western and northwestern
areas of the site would provide an important wildlife buffer to the
internationally designated sites beyond. Moreover, without detailed
surveys to determine exactly which part(s) of the site merit protection,
the modified site boundary is arbitrary. At this stage a better approach is
to revert to the site area of the submission Plan, and to further modify
part 4A of policy MN2 to read “Site MN2.8 Former Ainsdale Hope School,
Ainsdale will include an Ecological Improvement Area to be developed as a
nature reserve alongside the housing allocation”. This allows the Council,
as both site owner and planning authority, to subsequently determine the
boundary between the two uses after taking into account future evidence.
22 February 2016
Sefton Local Plan Examination.....Update 22nd January 2016
Following our pre-hearing attendance at Bootle Town Hall we have also been part of an examination on 8th December at the Professional Development Centre (PDC) in Formby.
Under the locations discussed was the former Ainsdale Hope High School Site which gave us the opportunity to raise further issues relevant to the site and covering the proposed housing (243) and retaining the playing fields for junior football.
Our submission in March 2015 covered the environmental aspects of the site recognising its important location.
While recognising and supporting the unsuitability of the area for house building,for many reasons which had been put forward by others ,our major issue as ACWT concentrated on the environmental aspects and its importance to Ainsdale, and the wider area of Sefton.
Following our 8th December examination slot, when we had raised concerns on both the proposed house building and retaining the land for football ,we returned on the 13th and 14th January 2016 to Bootle Town Hall for an update.
The Council following the 8th December meeting had put a revised proposal forward ....an allocation of 120 properties instead of the original 243 and the remainder of the land to be a nature conservation area.
Recognising the rare plant and animal wildlife on site ,and in close proximity,and the environmental importance of the location(areas of special scientific interest and special areas of conservation) the planning of this site may have to be managed in a special way.
Both the planning and access to the site would be determined through advice from the appropriate department.
Retaining the land for football was not a proposal put forward by the Council but other areas within Ainsdale were not opposed as football pitches....St John Stone playing fields and additional land on Sandbrook Road Park.
The Inspector Mr Martin Pike has advised he will be returning to many of the sites he has already visited and we are to be advised of dates/times if relevant to the individual groups/organisations/individuals.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT:
- The Inspector will follow up on various issues following work that the Council have agreed to undertake...approx: 2-3 weeks.
- The additional site visits will be made during the first week in February.
- Mr Pike will reflect on all that he has heard ,seen and raised with the Council and produce his initial findings on soundness and legal compliance.
- He will aim to do this....week commencing 15th February.
If the Inspector is mindful to find the Local Plan sound,subject to modifications,he will make this clear in this initial paper . He will not mention minor modifications but in his main report at a later date he will provide more detail.
Dependent on what is in the initial findings the Council will need to reflect and decide how to proceed, taking any proposed action through their committee cycle.
There is a fairly long lead in for Council Meetings so it could be April before getting a decision but they will attempt to streamline the process to speed it up.
Once the Council has decided how to proceed it will be up to them to publish the modifications for consultation...for a minimum of 6 weeks.
The Inspector expects that by that time sustainable appraisal work will have been completed.
All comments through the consultation will be forwarded to Mr Pike to be considered.
Mr Pike will then complete his report and submit it to the Council. It will go through various stages such as Quality Assurance and fact checking before the formal submission ...and then it will be published by the Council.
In exceptional circumstances it may be necessary to have further hearings , for this reason Mr Pike did not formally close the hearings.
However he has stressed that other than matters outstanding at this point he was not going to accept any new evidence .
Respondents would have the opportunity to comment as part of the consultation .
Any unsolicited material will be returned.
The Inspector,Mr Martin Pike , thanked the Council and all participants for their work and contributions to the hearings.
He commended local groups for their active engagement in the process.
- The current proposal through the Council and put before the Inspector for the former Ainsdale Hope High School Site.
- Reduction in proposed housing ...243 to 120 properties.
- Recognition of the site as environmentally important.
- Remaining land to be nature reserve/conservation area, Playing Field not to be retained for football.
We have just been advised that the Inspector is to revisit the Ainsdale Hope High School Site for a second visit and will be accompanied.
Thank you to all those who have given us support it has been appreciated. Those who sent in submissions and those who attended the hearings ....thank you.
We will keep you updated and I will report back following attending our planned site visit with the Inspector.
20/10/2015 - Programme Officer Information
Below is information sent by the Programme Officer, it is the official notes/information given at the Pre-Hearing on 24th September at Bootle Town Hall:
PRE-HEARING at Bootle Town Hall Thursday 24th September 2015 10am.
This meeting provided a procedural insight into the Examination hearings and was well attended by campaign groups,local residents and developers.
The Government appointed Inspector Martin Pike gave detailed information on the procedure and other relevant information that was helpful to those present.
Also in attendance at the meeting was the Programme Officer Carmel Edwards , all enquiries,information and clarification of details to go to her in the first instance.
Seftons Planning Dept was represented at the meeting and available to answer queries from both the Inspector and also the audience.
The hearings will take place over a 4/5 week period and as agreed by the Inspector Martin Pike. They will start on the 16th November 2015 1st Session...17/18/19th November 2nd Session..24/25/26th November 3rd Session...1/2/3 December 4th Session...8/9/10 December All Sessions will take place on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday if found necessary,and on the judgement of the Inspector,Friday's may be used as a working day for the hearings.
Sessions will run between 10am-1pm...mornings and 2pm-5pm afternoons.
THESE SESSIONS MAY RUN LATER IF THE INSPECTOR CONSIDERS NECESSARY
An evening session will be organised if the Inspector considers it appropriate and there is a need.
The Inspector advised all submissions will be read and those attending the hearings are asked not to repeat their original submission, it can be referred to but the same dialogue must not be verbally submitted.
All site visits will be made prior to the hearing and requests for accompanied site visits must be made through the programme officer.
Contact Details for Programme Officer:
Carmel Edwards Programme Officer
c/o Local Plan Team Sefton Council Magdalen House
30 Trinity Road
From the dates provided the Ainsdale Community Wildlife Trust will attend the hearings during the 4th Session. Venues were provided but open to change as the availability in Southport at this time was proving difficult and Formby had been selected if other venues in Southport are not identified.
Sefton will list all proposed venues on their website after further investigation.
We will keep you updated as other information is provided.
Attendance at the above meeting was productive as many issues were raised that are to be clarified more fully prior to the hearings.
On the instructions of the Inspector relevant information re policies/planning guidance etc, will be made available,and may be useful to the general public.
COUNCIL INFORMATION: Updated 26th August 2015
Examination of Local Plan
This Plan is now subject to an independent scrutiny by way of an examination into its soundness and legal compliance.
The Secretary of State has appointed an independent Inspector
Martin Pike BA MA MRTPI, to conduct the Examination and appointed as the independent Programme Officer Carmel Edwards to work under the Inspectors direction.
A pre hearing is to take place prior to the start of Examination hearings
Purpose of Pre Hearing:
- Will consider the scope of the examination and matters to be examined in light of the Councils recognition that the Plan does not fully meet Seftons increased housing needs.
This arises from new household projections published in February 2015 and consequently an early review of the Plan is necessary
- To discuss the management of the Examination including the overall programme, how representations will be heard and the timetable for submission of supplementary statements.
Pre Meeting to be held on THURSDAY 24th September 2015 in the Ballroom Bootle Town Hall, Oriel Road, Bootle L20 7AE starting at 10am
There will be no detailed discussion on the merits of the Sefton Local Plan this will take place at Examination hearing sessions which are likely to commence in November 2015.
At these hearing sessions those that made representations on the Plan will have the opportunity to present their views, and where the soundness and legal compliance of the Plan will be tested.
COUNCIL UPDATE………6TH JULY 2015
Sefton Councils Cabinet Members met on Friday 3rd July 2015 to take the decision on whether to submit the Draft Local Plan to the Government Inspector.
Background……The Department for Communities and Local Government updated their household projections in February 2015. Further work is being carried out to assess the housing requirements for Sefton which has risen.
The Councils current housing land requirement is 615 a year, this is based on a purely demographic assessment unrelated to any economic growth.
With the latest employment scenarios this rises to between 710 to 1290…the range which objectively assessed the needs for Sefton within which the Council should determine its “ housing requirement figure”.
Since the Draft Local Plan was approved in January 2015 further information from the Department for Communities and Local Government in March 2015 suggests a revised housing requirement from the 615 originally quoted.
There are three potential options as to how the Council might respond to this updated analysis of objectively assessed needs for housing:
OPTION 1…..Withdraw the Plan
This would allow for the new figures to be fully considered in a revised Local Plan. However this approach would lead to a significant delay and uncertainty, and potentially to “planning by appeal” as a new plan is prepared. It would result in an unacceptable delay in plan –making with all the attendant problems of not being able to guide development to the appropriate locations. further information see council website.
OPTION 2….Proceed with 615 dwellings a year as the Councils “objectively assessed need”.
This would be a very high risk approach as the housing figure of 615 is out of date and based on national projections that have been superseded…. further information see council website.
OPTION 3….Submit the Local Plan as it stands
On the basis that it would be impossible to meet needs in full, at least in the short term, but commit to an immediate review linked to wider sub regional work. Further information see council website.
Legal …… recommended OPTION 3
Councillors at Cabinet on 3rd July 2015 agreed on Option 3.
Early July: representations made on draft Local Plan to be published on website.
End July: submit Plan for examination
Early September: possible exploratory meeting with Inspector.
Late Oct/Nov: start of oral examination.
24/06/2015 - Update Council Information
Building on Green Belt
A supplementary report is to be prepared adding any latest information and will be published prior to going to Cabinet.
Cabinet: Friday 3rd July 2015
Council: Thursday 16th July 2015
Submission to the Inspector anticipated end of July (we will advise when clarified).
Possible exploratory meeting with the Inspector - mid September (we will advise when known).
That would be the soonest we would have any indication of the hearings, part of the examination, or any major concerns the Inspector may have.
We Will Keep You Updated.
Following the closing date of 27th March 2015 for your objections to the Local Plan.
All submitted objections will be forwarded to the Government Inspector for examination.
Prior to this happening report will be submitted to Council in July.
However key issues raised will be reported to an Overview and Scrutiny Committee (date to be confirmed) and Cabinet on 2nd July before going to Council.
We thank all those who have supported our campaign and we will keep you updated.
The Merseyside Amphibian and Reptile Group have identified a colony of protected Sand Lizards 50 metres from the School Playing Fields...this information has been submitted to go before the Inspector.
The following information was provided at the meeting together with a visual vision of our proposed Nature Reserve if successful in securing the land at the former Ainsdale Hope High School.
The literature is to give support to those wishing to raise objections to Seftons Local Plan.
- MN2 Housing ,Employment and Mixed Allocations
- MN 2.8 Former Ainsdale Hope School
Objections against Seftons Local Plan……Unsound/Unjustified
- Past objections will not be taken into consideration . YOU MUST RESUBMIT YOUR OBJECTIONS.
- Giving reasons for your objections will give you added support.
- Suggestions for “Another Use” should be supported with your reasons and evidence. To be covered at the meeting.
- Ensure information re location and policy number as above.
- Do objections have to be completed online and/or using the form provided by the Council?
ONLINE FORMS DO NOT HAVE TO BE USED ALTHOUGH EASIER TO PROCESS. LETTERS OR E-MAILS CAN BE USED.
Letter: Planning Services, Magdalen House ,30 Trinity Road, Bootle, Merseyside L20 3NJ
- Can petitions be forwarded to the Council and will they be forwarded on to the Inspector?
YES ALL PETITIONS WILL BE FORWARDED TO THE INSPECTOR.ALL PETITIONS MUST BE MADE NEW AT THIS STAGE AND NOT CARRIED OVER FROM THE PREVIOUS STAGE.
- What is preferable for local communities… to send petitions or individual letters?
INDIVIDUAL LETTERS ALWAYS CARRY MORE WEIGHT THAN PETITIONS.
- Following the deadline of 27th March 2015 how soon after should there be a response from the Inspector?
ANY KEY ISSUES EMERGING FROM THE REPRESENTATIONS ARE LIKELY TO BE REPORTED MID JULY. IF THIS HAPPENS THE EXAMINATION WOULD TAKE PLACE IN THE AUTUMN. AFTER THE EXAMINATION IT IS HIGHLY PROBABLE THERE WILL BE A “modification stage” LATE 2015/EARLY 2016 The examination will be carried out by an Independent Inspector from the Planning Inspectorate, an executive agency of Government.
- Is there any direct contact with the Inspector by members of the public?
THOSE MAKING REPRESENTATIONS WOULD LIKELY BE OFFERED THE OPPORTUNITY TO PRESENT THEIR VIEWS TO THE INSPECTOR , THOUGH HE or SHE WOULD ASK ONE PERSON TO REPRESENT A GROUP. ALL CONTACT WITH THE INSPECTOR IS THROUGH THE PROGRAMME OFFICER (an independent person still to be appointed).
Some Of The Identified Objections
- Proximity to National and European protected Habitats on bordering land. Site adjacent to the Sefton Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
- Ecological surveys in the summer of 2013 and 2014 identified eight regionally or nationally notable species. The fields therefore qualify for Local Wildlife Site status.
- The western half of the fields support fixed –dune vegetation listed as a priority for conservation in Annex1 of the EU Habitats Directive.
- Presence of specially protected Sand Lizards on adjacent land which would be susceptible to increased disturbance and predation by domestic cats. This follows survey work by the North Merseyside Amphibian and Reptile Group in 2014.
- A major intrusion into the Green Belt and loss of recreation space in a sensitive location….close proximity to SSSI and SAC locations.
- An alternative proposal has been put forward by Ainsdale Community Wildlife Trust to establish a low dune Nature Reserve. This would protect existing habitats , which have flourished and expanded since the closure of the school in 2007, and provide additional habitats for further plant and animal wildlife to develop and be protected. This would allow nature to be enjoyed by all including the elderly, those with disabilities and young people.
- Recognising the Sefton Coast Partnership who follow EU principles in developing plans and strategies for the Sefton Coast a)involve communities in nature conservation. b)restore nature recognising that the playing fields were originally created from levelled sand dunes . c)all development sites must not adversely affect the integrity of internationally important nature sites or their supporting habitats…this site is adjacent to both SSSI and SAC locations.
- The site holds high environmental interest with many rare plant and animal wildlife and should be protected …an HRA (Habitats Regulations Assessment) should not be dependent on a planning application.
Dr Phil Smith and Patricia Lockwood’s 2014 Ecological Report was also available and can be accessed on this web site.