Oct 24 2013 by Sophie McCoid, Ormskirk Advertiser
HOMES will be built on Green Belt land in West Lancashire despite passionate protests from the community.
Councillors voted last Wednesday to adopt the Local Plan as angry residents descended on the council offices in Ormskirk to protest about the proposed 210 homes.
The plan has been plagued by controversy since its inception – with residents claiming they were not properly consulted about proposals.
The 210 homes will be built in Halsall as council officers decided it was the most suitable site for the extra housing allocation required by the planning inspector.
The Local Plan guides how the borough develops over the next 15 years. It covers everything from new homes, jobs, infrastructure and leisure facilities.
All 28 of the council’s Conservative councillors voted for the new policy – which became effective immediately – while the 24 Labour councillors voted against.
Speaking at the meeting, Conservative council leader Ian Grant said: “It’s not easy to be a councillor. We have to make hard decisions for West Lancashire.
“I sympathise with those affected but we have no brown-field sites remaining and we have been forced to build on the Green Belt.
“The adoption of the plan is the right thing to do and will secure the future of West Lancashire for the next 15 years.”
Labour councillor Cynthia Dereli said at the meeting: “The council has refused to listen to residents’ concerns repeatedly through this process.
“There has been a marginalisation of the local voice as the council has presented its own version of reality.”
Lynn Campbell is head of the Halsall protest group who are firmly against the proposed development. She said: “We are left wondering if we actually have anyone representing us as we require in the borough council.
“We feel completely let down and we will continue to protest against what we feel is an unfair and flawed judgment.”
There were fears that Parrs Lane in Aughton would also be built upon as it has officially been removed from the Green Belt under the Local Plan.
However councillors have said that the land is no longer considered a prime site for development.
Colin Atkinson, chairman of Aughton Residents Group said: “We’re very angry and disappointed by the council’s decision even though it was expected.
“We feel we’ve been ridden over roughshod for the benefit of land owners.
“This is not the end however. We plan to fight on against any planning applications that may be put in.”