Feb 21 2013 by Rob Pattinson, Ormskirk Advertiser
PUBLIC hearings to discuss the council’s proposed Local Plan covering the next 15 years of development in the borough began this week.
The plan covers everything from new homes and jobs to retail and leisure facilities, transport and local services and energy and the environment, ensuring they are in the most sustainable parts of the borough.
The council’s publication version of the Local Plan was submitted to the planning inspectorate for consideration last October.
Roger Clews, from the planning inspectorate, has been appointed by the Government and the first of a series of public meetings and hearings to discuss important issues began on Tuesday.
Several groups have campaigned against development in their area in the last year.
Key areas of protest have revolved around proposals to build 850 new homes in Burscough, including 500 on Yew Tree Farm; for the fields at the top end of Parrs Lane in Aughton to be set aside for the development of up to 200 houses as one of the Plan B sites; and sites allocated for development in Up Holland.
Last week, MP Rosie Cooper presented a petition of 4,016 names to the Commons on behalf of the Burscough Action Group (BAG) against the Burscough proposals.
And on Valentines Day, a giant card in an envelope addressed “FAO- WLBC, 182 Irreplaceable Acres, Green Belt Land, Burscough” was delivered outside Yew Tree Farm as campaigners expressed their love for the Green Belt in a novel way.
Ahead of this week’s hearings Cllr Roger Bell, who will speak on behalf of the Labour group, outlined the issues the group have with the plan:
Issues with consultation in the way the Ormskirk option was removed and an Up Holland site introduced later in the process
Concerns over a submission from United Utilities stating “common ground” had been reached with the council over infrastructure concerns. It means restrictions on development at Grove Farm in Ormskirk and Yew Tree Farm in Burscough until 2020 to allow infrastructure to be put in place have been lifted, meaning development could start earlier.
Cllr Bell said he would also be speaking about how the group objects to the plan grouping Lathom and Up Holland in the Skelmersdale developments – which they see as separate communities.
One of the key issues of debate – Yew Tree Farm – was set to be discussed at a hearing yesterday, with Burscough Action Group scheduled to answer questions from the inspector following their submissions of evidence they say shows the justification for this site is flawed.
Colin Atkinson, from Aughton Residents Group, will speak at later hearings against the Plan B option of Parrs Lane grounds.
The group has previously claimed that there has been a failure to properly consult, that there are no new exceptional circumstances for the removal of Green Belt in Aughton as well as infrastructure concerns.
For more information on the hearings visit westlancs.gov.uk/2027