1. We do not consider that the population estimates that underpin the Local Plan publication draft are sound. There are assumptions about sudden increases in inward migration that are simply not backed up by credible evidence. The figure of 615 houses a year seems to us to be a considerable over-estimate of the actual need.
2. Producing a Local Plan based on flawed assumptions means that Green Belt land, including high grade agricultural land, is being wrongly designated for housing.
3. Some of the actual need for housing can be met by measures such as reducing the number of empty properties to the national average, taking into account existing brownfield sites earmarked for development, and encouraging 'flats over shops' and 'shared accommodation'.
4. We believe that there are existing brownfield sites that can be used for housing without impacting on the prospect for jobs in the future and we welcome the inclusion of the old Phillips site off Rufford Road, Southport for housing development (MN 2.3).
5. It is vital that development at MN2.3 includes ancillary developments such as a school, GP surgery, and shops. This development should also recognise, and be sympathetic to, the heritage of the site of the old Vulcan Motor works.
6. We have particular objections to the inclusion of two Green Belt sites in the north of Southport as housing allocation – site MN2.2 land off Bankfield Lane / Three Pools and site MN2.4 land off Moss Lane.
7. Our objections to both these sites (MN2.2 and MN2.4) are on three grounds:
• Agriculture – the land is prime farming land. We need to grow more of our own food. There is a strategic national interest in preserving good farming land.
• Wildlife – the area is a recognised Local Wildlife Site.
Cllr John Dodd
Cllr Jo Barton
25 March 2015