Residents’ fury over green belt home plan

Coun Ian Moran and Coun John Fillis at Mill Lane
Coun Ian Moran and Coun John Fillis at Mill Lane

A DECISION not to hold a public meeting for residents about a proposal to build a 120-home development has been slammed.

Up Holland councillors Ian Moran and John Fillis say West Lancashire Council’s decision not to hold a public forum over the proposed development on greenbelt land in Up Holland is “a disgrace.”

The Local Plan Preferred Options document set out the council’s plans for future development in West Lancs right up to 2027, but up until November last year Coun Fillis says there was no suggestion to build in Up Holland.

He said: “There has been a series of proposals for West Lancashire over a number of months, but Up Holland was never part of those proposals until November.

“The council now wants the new Local Plan done and dusted by February 17 and so local residents only have an extremely short time period in which to have their say over the proposal to build 120 homes on the greenbelt land off Mill Lane.

“When proposals to build on greenbelt have been made in the past they have been strongly objected to by residents and so I think they should be given a fair amount of time to get to grips with the proposals and have an informed say on them.”

At a meeting of the Executive Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Planning Committee in December it was agreed by members from all parties that a public forum would be held in Up Holland.

But a later vote by the ruling Cabinet ruled that a separate forum meeting would not be held and instead Up Holland would be grouped with Skelmersdale and there would be one meeting for both areas. The reason given for the decision was based on the cost of holding a forum, which was estimated at £500.

The consultation period is now open until February 17.

Coun Moran said: “This is an absolute disgrace; Cabinet has completely dismissed the decision of both these democratic committees.

“What has happened to open and honest government in West Lancashire? This is a real slap in the face for Up Holland residents.”

Gaynor Owen, a local resident, said: “How can they tell the people of Up Holland that they’re not worth it. We pay our council taxes the same as everyone else.”

Coun Fillis added: “We are not just angry about the lack of a public forum we think the whole think is being rushed as far as Up Holland is concerned. We will be working with local people to ensure they have a say.”

Local people can view the Local Plan proposals online by visiting plan_preferred_option.aspx