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Monday, 27 March 2017

George Drive: Impact on residents and loss of all trees 'acceptable' says Council

Once we get past the typical authoritarian spin and the lame attempts to appease eco-campaigners and local residents the mists of doubt begin to clear.

Concerned parties were initially informed that the majority of trees in the lovely little woodland at George Drive would be saved. However, the Council’s latest conclusion admits that the ‘majority of trees will be lost’. It goes on to say that new residents will want any existing trees cut down as well to provide more light.

The fact that such a felling operation will have a devastating impact on wildlife (including several legally-protected species) and the quality of living standards of existing residents clearly means nothing to Sefton Council. In their report they dismiss existing residents, via saying:

So what they really mean (behind all the smiles and spin) is …. Smash that annoying little woodland down and cram them in like sardines as fast as possible. Once lip-service has been paid to flexible regulations we can get it sorted out fast. Give ‘em the usual razzle dazzle and it will be a big fat – cat Council win!

So the Council now needs to come clean and state that the REAL plan, right from the start, was to demolish the entire woodland to give One Vision Housing the opportunity to develop this green area.

Lancashire Wildlife Trust has mentioned that surveys have made no mention of red squirrels that are “regularly sighted in the vicinity.” In the report they go on to quaintly highlight plans for planting trees to replace ones that will be lost; but the Council admits that reality is quite a different thing altogether

Above: Red squirrels in Ainsdale vicinity but Sefton Council has no concern about this. They continue to 'recommend' that the destruction of the woods goes ahead.

Where are our councillors and WHY are they not banging the drum over this ongoing madness?

Sadly, Lancashire Wildlife Trust  seem totally unaware of the latest Council report that admits to total woodland devastation herein. 

So will we see the Trust challenge the Council over this situation now? If not why not? 

Basically a lack of communication between authorities is evident and this in itself is highly suspicious. Are the Council and developers seeking to bully the proposal through as fast as possible before other parties have really got to grips with what is actually going on here?

As I have stated before, even the Tree Officer opposes the proposal as being legally questionable and considers it contrary to Local Plan policy EQ9. This policy expressly makes provision, stating that developments must NOT result in ‘unacceptable loss of or damage to, existing trees or woodland.’ 

This harsh Council undoubtedly has no concern about the damage it does to the natural environment or the way its trite recommendations affect the lives of many existing Southport residents.

Does the Council's CEO, Margaret Carney, have any ecological concerns about this ongoing situation? Is she happy to see her minions recommend that what's left on Southport's green space be left to the chain saws and bulldozers? Moreover, what about Local Plan policy EQ9, is the legality of the situation of any concern to her? Will she perhaps give a statement or will we just get silence from their boss lady? 

The land, the fragile countryside, is ours and it’s simply not right (or potentially even legal) that it can be trashed at will by an uncaring and hopelessly out-of-touch Council. 

Campaigners and residents that DO care urge all councillors to vote against this appalling development plan. We call on all councillors to finally speak up for the community they serve and strongly oppose this disgusting Council recommendation to destroy the local Southport countryside.

See also:

Sefton Council: happy to ignore Local Plan policy and recommend wholesale woodland destruction?

Save our Woods Facebook page:

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