CAMPAIGNERS against plans to build hundreds of homes on Burscough Green Belt land spoke of their delight at the “overwhelming” results of a parish poll on the issue.
West Lancashire Borough Council’s local plan publication document proposes to build 850 new homes in Burscough, including 500 on Yew Tree Farm, by 2027.
The plan will be submitted to a planning inspector for consideration, along with consultation representations which need to be submitted by October 5.
Over 96% – a total of 1438 – of those taking part in the poll voted no to the question: “Do you want 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 prioritising non-green belt land first?”
Michelle Blair, of the Burscough Action Group, said she was pleased with the turnout of 19.93% of the electorate for the poll. The group is now putting together its final representations against the Local Plan – which will include the results of the poll. They include issues with the soundness of the plan and Green Belt Study, allegations that flawed evidence was used in identifying Yew Tree Farm and the way it was parcelled, and queries about whether other sites should have been put forward for consideration.
She said: “We didn’t expect so many to turn out, it was quite overwhelming. People were happy to sign our petition which has now reached more than 3,500.We were concerned at the forums that there were a disproportionate amount of people not from the area, so we feel this poll shows how the people of Burscough really feel and we hope the planning inspector will look closely at the information we have put forward. We would also encourage people to lodge protests against the Local Plan with a representation by October 5.”
In response to the results of the parish poll, a spokesman for the council said that the object of a parish poll was to check that an opinion expressed by a parish meeting is that of the majority of electors, and 80% of those eligible did not vote. The spokesman also said that: majority vote for “no” was “unsurprising, given that few people would want Green Belt land to be released anywhere without thoroughly investigating and exhausting all suitable alternatives” and said the Local Plan has been informed by a “thorough investigation of all the alternatives and it does prioritise the development of non-Green Belt land first, as far [as] possible.”
For information on making a representation, call 01695 585171 or visit www.westlancs.gov.uk/2027