Public Meeting Update
Thank you to everyone who contributed and attended our Public Meeting on Wed 18th January. More than 400 of you came along and to hear about the St Helens Local Plan, Green Belt, and development in our area. Thank you too for contributing to our fighting fund, it is very much appreciated. We will be consolidating all the questions and feedback from the evening over the next day or two and will post it here in due course. In the mean time if you need to contact us please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The online objection form link can be found below.
Simple Objection Form
If you want to object to the removal of Green Belt and huge impacts of the planned developments in the St Helens Preferred Options consultation, you can do so very easily by using our online objection form. All you need to do is enter your Name, Email Address and some optional comments, and our system will email you back a fully completed form for you to send to the Council. It works great on tablets and mobiles as well as your laptop or PC and takes about 5 minutes to complete and send. All your family can use it too, so please spread the word. If you need any help please email email@example.com.
Click here to access the form.
Langtree Consultation in January
Langtree held two ‘drop-in’ sessions on Tuesday 10th January and Thursday 12th January to consult people on their plans, or perhaps lack of them. Of note Langtree or the Council were not actually present. Langtree sent along their consultants instead!?
It was explained Langtree plan to submit a planning application in April to build some warehouses and offices on part of the land to the West of the M6. They do not plan to build on all of the land on the West side because the A49 has insufficient capacity to cope with the extra traffic (no kidding Sherlock). Once they have figured a way to get access to the East side of the M6 and built a link to J22 then they would build on the remainder of the land. Of course as you might expect they had no answers to how they would manage which way the traffic went or the impact to air quality.
A better picture of the Council’s strategy is now emerging. Langtree will develop Parkside West (the original old colliery site) as Warehouses or offices with a token railway line to convince the planning authorities that what they are building is somehow related to a Rail Freight Terminal. They have to convince people its a Rail Freight Terminal to overcome the existing Green Belt protection. The old slag heap stays too, they finally figured out that perhaps its not such a good idea to try and move it.
The Council will promote Parkside East and attempt to get a developer to build a container based freight terminal there (this is detailed in the Rail Freight consultation document for the New Local Plan). Parkside East runs from the Parkside Road junction near Trebaron Garden Centre, all the way to the M6 J22 at Winwick, a huge expanse of land, think of it as an Omega 2 style development. Similar to the Prologis scheme, Parkside Road will be built over, but the guys at the drop-in had no idea how it was planned to be replaced.
So generally Langtree 5/10 for effort, 1/10 for content, and next time don’t be a chicken, turn up and answer the questions yourselves!
Council Drop In Sessions Reveal a Plan with Little Substance
In December the Council held several drop-in sessions for people to ask questions about the New Local Plan. A few simple questions revealed little thought had gone into the viability of what has been proposed. Here are some examples of the questions raised and answers received.
Q. Where is the strategic local traffic plan that underpins the new plan?
A. There is no transport plan.
Q. Given that the plan for the first phase of Parkside is to send all the traffic onto the A49, how do you plan to manage the traffic given that it is already congested?
A. Our preference is to send HGV vehicles South (really?!)
Q. Where is the report on the Local Scoping Plan that summarises the objections people made to removal of the Green Belt back in February this year?
A. We forgot to publish it. We hope we can get it onto the Council web site as soon as possible (still not published!)
Q. What are the plans to measure air polution in key areas like Newton High Street given that traffic volumes are likley to increase significantly?
A. There are currently no plans to do this.
Q. Once the plan is approved and all the Green Belt is released, although the provision is for 15 years, couldn’t developers apply for planning on all of it straight away?
Q. How will the uptake of jobs created by developments be measured to ensure that the forecasted value from the release of Green Belt is realised?
A. There are currently no plans to measure this.
Q. Given the entire commercial development argument is based on projected jobs, what steps have been taken to validate the Council’s 15 year forecast for jobs?
Q. Why so many houses?
A. In order to convince the governement that we need to release land for commercial development, we need to build a certain number of houses to go with it.
So there you have it. A plan focussed on commercial development with scant disregard for our community, health or our environment. Please please make your views known before the end of January.
Click here for The St Helens New Local Plan Documents and Comments Form
If you are unfamiliar with the New Local Plan click here for more information.
Update: 13 Jan 2017