Here’s an update on where we are with the Local Plan.
St Helens Council has released the version it will put before the government’s planning inspector. This is the council’s FINAL version.
Across St Helens, they have reduced the amount of protected land to be built on. In Rainford, the number of houses planned for the village has fallen from at least 1,140 to 259.
The number of green belt sites in Rainford impacted has reduced from six to one. Five sites in the village have been taken out of the plan entirely. The land between Rookery Lane and Higher Lane remains earmarked for development as part of the local plan.
This is a significant improvement upon the original plan. All of your efforts undoubtedly made this happen. The response from the Rainford community to the last version of the plan was immediate and effective. Thank you for your support.
So what happens now? On Monday January 14th, the next stage begins. We will be able to have our say on this new version of the Local Plan before it goes to the planning inspector. Our comments and concerns will then be considered by the inspector. This is a critical stage that requires your input to make an impact.
Although we are pleased with the current outcome, we will be raising several concerns.
Firstly, our objection to the numbers St Helens Council has used remains. If the council used the latest population predictions, there would be no need to build on green belt land anywhere in St Helens. Rookery Lane/Higher Lane could be saved.
Secondly, 259 houses is a huge development. It could put nearly 1,000 extra cars on Rainford’s roads with implications for air pollution, congestion and road safety. Higher Lane is already a busy road and, at certain points, dangerous.
Thirdly, the field in question is grade one agricultural land – and in use. The farmer who rents the land says the loss of the field would have a significant impact on their business.
In the coming days, we’ll be outlining our objections in detail. And we’ll be explaining how you can have your say.
We’ve already achieved a lot. We now need one final push. Please keep a look out for updates in the next few days. Together we can make a difference.