Planning Minister Nick Boles Meets Fragoff!


Planning Minister Nick Boles takes a tour of Sefton with FRAGOFF and meets concerned residents

Planning Minister Nick Boles spent Thursday afternoon visiting areas around Sefton and speaking to residents concerned at green belt release and other proposals within Sefton's Draft local Plan.

During his time here and at the invitation of FRAGOFF the Minister visited areas of Bootle, Thornton and Formby, before meeting with an invited audience of representatives from Southport, Formby, Lydiate, Maghull, Thornton and Bootle. The Minister spent a further hour listening to residents and answering questions at Formby's Gild Hall.

Residents and campaigners from Thornton, Churchtown, Lydiate, Maghull and Formby discussed concerns about flooding and drainage and demonstrated how the proposals in Sefton's Draft Local Plan would increase flooding problems in exisiting homes adjacent to these sites. They urged the Minister to learn the lessons from the flooding in the South of England this Winter, and sought assurances that lessons learned would help to shape Local Authority Local Plans.

The meeting also turned to the subject of what amounted to "exceptional circumstances", the term used to justify green belt release, and how this applied in Sefton and the subject of housing back logs. Time was also spent discussing the Little Klondyke estate in Bootle and Sefton's continuation of the now redundant Housing Market Renewal Initiative and large scale demolitions, against the present Governments housing policy guidlines.

Lastly a petition was handed to the Minister signed by residents from around the borough asking for greater protection for Sefton's green belt land.

Unsurprisingly FRAGOFF are at odds with some of the Minister's views on the green belt, however we remain very grateful to Mr Boles for spending the afternoon with our group and fellow campaigners, and for him taking the time to listen to our concerns, we hope he feels he has learned something from his visit. We would contrast this with Sefton Council's Chief Executive, Sefton Senior Planning Officers, and the Leader of the Council Peter Dowd, none of whom, despite our requests to meet, have not agreed to talk to FRAGOFF.

We will be holding a public meeting on Monday 3rd of March, at the Gild Hall at 8pm, to give everyone an account of our meeting with Mr Boles and to discuss all the issues raised and answers given, hope to see you there!



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