Readers’ letters - January 16

Brownbelt sites such as Parkside Colliery should be considered for development before greenbelt says a reader
Brownbelt sites such as Parkside Colliery should be considered for development before greenbelt says a reader

Greenbelt is wrong site

To Yvonne Fovargue, MP

RE: Proposed Haydock Point Logistics Hub (and Florida Road Industrial Estate).

You’ll no doubt be aware of the St Helens Local Plan Preferred Options December 2016 Sustainability Appraisal: Interim SA Report. It does include proposals for Parkside as well as Haydock Point, which could blow the local ‘alternative site argument’ out of the water but I think not. I think its inclusion is nothing more than a red herring.

Parkside was identified in the NW Regional Economic Strategy back in 2008.

I was involved in numerous attempts to tempt developers in taking it on but without success.

Should we not be insisting that this site is developed before all others as it clearly is a brilliant option – as agreed by St Helens Council, its former MP and current Labour peer?

And so the local arguments against Haydock Point still stand.

n It does appear to me that Peel are taking the easy and cheap option of building on this site and that St Helens Council is looking to quickly generate business rates rather than develop a local unused, brownfield, strategic site as a first priority.

n Planning permission was refused for this plot some years back. I was informed the council is looking to re-designate the ‘use of land’ from greenbelt and it’s important to know WHY?

n It appears that no ‘increased traffic impact analysis’ has been undertaken. The commercial cost of the resulting mega traffic jams will be enormous to the companies who rent these units.

n Peel (at the consultation meeting) could not provide any details of why this site is the best option. There is a massive brownfield site at old Parkside Colliery site nearby which still has a train line – this will be a positive impact on environment.

I agree we need the jobs and accept there’ll be increased traffic wherever a logistics park is situated, but we should keep greenfield sites that are also a gateway to the region so we give visitors the best impression.

Massive swathes of greenbelt are being sacrificed, this is an environmental disaster.

Nobody locally wants this – you are our elected MP and, along with councillors, should be doing everything you can to stop this happening.

Norman Williams

Ashton in Makerfield


The expensive failure of PFI

Some top civil servants convinced Gordon Brown and then Tony Blair they’d thought up a terrific new policy to finance new hospitals called PFI.

Who knows what peerages and knighthoods were handed out to civil servants because of it?

Unfortunately, PFI is a failure costing the taxpayer much more than anyone realised it ever would, even those in Whitehall who thought it up for us.

It is time for us all as a nation to admit PFI has been a massive expensive failure.

We need to take these NHS assets back into public ownership urgently, by nationalisation if necessary. PFI contracts leasing hospitals and big pieces of equipment to us at huge cost can be brought to an end by a simple Act of Parliament.

A fair price can be paid for those assets taken into public ownership if we want to.

After all, isn’t that what the founding fathers of the NHS did back in 1947?

Couldn’t many of the financial problems in the NHS be brought to an end this way? Then maybe Whitehall would allow us to keep all our A&E departments after all.

Nigel Boddy

Address supplied