The next version of the Local Plan has been published today. This is the version that will be put before the planning inspector by St Helens Council.
We wanted this version to be radically different to the last – and it is. The number of sites in Rainford earmarked for housing has been cut from six to one, i’ll Repeat that, six to ONE. Another site close to Sandwash Close has been earmarked for an industrial unit.
This is obviously a good result for the village. Even better news is the council is no longer stretching its plan over 30 years but 15 years. This means it is more realistic.
The bad news is that the Rookery Lane/Higher Lane site has been earmarked for housing consisting of 259 houses in total. This is grade one agricultural land. Where farmers currently grow crops but, if plans go ahead, there will be housing expanding across that land in the future.
Our concern is this will be the thin end of the wedge. If planning permission is granted on that site, all the neighbouring fields could be threatened in the future.
We’re going to take time now to look more closely at this plan and read the small print before making official comment. We suggest you do too.