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Bill Esterson MP meets with residents to discuss controversial plans to build on farmland

Bill Esterson MP with residents Phil Chadwick (right) and Mark Hudson (centre) with the site of the proposed planning application off Chapel Lane Melling in the background.

BILL Esterson MP met with residents to discuss a controversial application to build 149 homes on former green belt land in Melling. ​Residents said they had concerns about the plans to build on Wadacre Farm off Chapel Lane regarding privacy, flooding, pressure on the sewer system and the impact on School places and GP services. Mr Esterson met with residents and discussed their concerns. He has written to Sefton Council planning department to ask these concerns are considered fully as part of the planning process and used to refuse the application if appropriate.

Mr Esterson said:- "I visited the site to discuss with residents their concerns. These included where flood water will be stored and released and the danger posed by flooding from the canal where a culvert collapse led to widespread flooding of the site in 2018. The residents also had concerns about the impact on the sewerage network which already backs up in heavy rain. The proposed exit from the site onto Chapel Lane has only ​the minimum visibility which is a safety concern. And the residents told me they felt the barn that is going to be demolished has heritage value. There are concerns about whether there will be enough School places and the impact on local health services. Bats, red kites and water voles are in the area and the residents feel the environmental impact has not been properly considered. They were unhappy with the public consultation and felt it was inadequate as the member of staff that was there to answer questions was unable to answer many of the queries the residents had. I have written to Sefton Council to reiterate what the residents raised with me and I expect these points to be fully considered as part of the planning process."

CLA statement in response to Julian Glover's landscapes review

FOLLOWING the UK Government's response to Julian Glover's Landscapes Review, Country Land and Business Association President Mark Tufnell said:- "This announcement is a missed opportunity for the countryside. Designated areas make an important contribution to maintaining our national identity and rural heritage, protecting the countryside from unnecessary and undesirable development. Yet all too often they can be used to hold the countryside back from sensible and sustainable development, depriving those who want to live and work in rural communities of the chance for a good home and a good job. We know that young people are leaving these areas due to lack of opportunity, taking their talents with them. Nothing in this announcement will entice them back. By viewing the countryside purely through an environmental lens, Government is missing out on significant economic and social opportunity; which flies in the face of its supposed Levelling Up agenda. Put simply, the countryside is not a museum and Whitehall should stop treating it as such. We strongly encourage the Government to show some ambition for the countryside; including supporting businesses in designated areas. Allow us to protect its inherent beauty, but help us to create jobs, share prosperity and strengthen communities at the same time."

The Landscapes Review, published in 2019 only affects England. It set out a series of recommendations, including:-

More should be done to support nature's recovery in these landscapes.

The status of AONBs should be strengthened.

There was a need to bring the family of protected landscapes closer together with more strategic oversight and greater opportunities for career progression.

That more funding should support public access to protected landscapes.

The Government's response to the Landscapes Review can be found on:- Gov.UK also the consultation can be found online as well.

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