Plans for huge development of 1,685 homes
DEVELOPERS have revealed their plans to build more than 1,600 homes on former Green Belt land east of Maghull.
Formal planning applications have now been lodged with Sefton Council by three property firms.
Countryside Properties and Persimmon Homes are proposing 830 homes on land on the south of a site off Poverty Lane.
East Maghull Consortium has submitted plans for up to 855 homes to the north of School Lane.
The huge “new community” of 1,685 properties would be built on a stretch of largely arable farmland associated with Bridge Farm and The Poplars between residential Maghull and the M58. The site is about a mile from Maghull town centre and 7½ miles north of Liverpool city centre.
The council agreed to remove the land from the Green Belt to allow it to be used for homes and a business park in April this year.
It would represent the biggest scheme under Sefton Council’s plan to solve the significant housing shortage in the borough, as it aims to have more than 11,000 homes built under its 20-year Local Plan.
Building work has already begun on a new Maghull North Railway Station to provide public transport for the new residents. A planning application for two west-facing slip roads to Junction 1 of the M58 at the junction of Maghull Lane and School Lane will be heard by Sefton Council’s planning committee next Wednesday (October 18).
The plans for 855 new builds include an older persons housing scheme, a mixed-use local centre including a supermarket and public open space, on land to the south of School Lane and north of Whinny Brook.
The second area envisages 830 new homes after the demolition of existing buildings, new accesses for traffic off Poverty Lane, public open space, and an older persons housing scheme, on land bounded by Poverty Lane to the south, Whinny Brook to the north and the M58 motorway to the east.
The development in Maghull has already proved controversial, though, with campaigners objecting to such a large scheme being built on local farmland – while council leader Ian Maher recently branded builders “arrogant” for the way they had gone about bringing the plans to fruition.
Speaking in August, he said: “I am really disappointed in the approach the developers have taken.
“Sadly, there has been no meaningful dialogue with communities or councillors before these plans were submitted, which smacks to me of arrogance and a desire to ride roughshod over the views of local people.
“They have also failed to recognise that these developments must be of good quality and design, preferring a rushed application which has no coherent masterplan and scant documentation to justify their approach.”
The firms involved point to extensive local consultation and say several meetings have been held with officers from Sefton Council to discuss the draft proposals, with comments provided by the officers taken into account during the design process.
Representatives from Countryside Properties and Persimmon Homes met “stakeholders” in March, including Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson, Cllr Robert Owens, Cllr Matt Gannon, and members of Maghull Town Council. Public consultation events were also held by Countryside Properties and Persimmon Homes at Summerhill Primary School on Poverty Lane.
Representatives from Countryside Properties, Persimmon Homes and White Peak Planning answered questions from the public at the events.
In total, 189 visitors attended and 80 feedback forms were received.
Writing on the online Maghull Community Page, former Sefton Council leader Tony Robertson was dubious about the plans.
He said: “The fact that this urban extension will be built on some of the highest grade of agricultural land in England says it all. For goodness’ sake, it grows the food we eat! Environmental madness.”
In addition to the new homes, the plans will also provide:
A 20ha (49½ acre) high quality modern business park to include office and light industrial, general industrial and storage and distribution uses, creating dozens of jobs.
A 1.4ha (3½ acre) local centre to include a small supermarket, shops, restaurants and cafes, hot food takeaways, and commercial development and community uses. The local centre will be located at the main entrance to the site fronting School Lane.
Approximately 18.5ha (46 acre) of green infrastructure including a new linear ‘main park’ alongside Whinny Brook, public open space, an equipped play area and a multi-use games area.
A new main road and bus route running through the centre of the site from Poverty Lane at the south to School Lane at the north.
Developers say they want to create “a broad mix of housing types and tenures to cater for a range of local needs, while maintaining the character of the local area”.
The majority of the homes would be between two and two and a half storeys in height with taller, up to three storey, houses along the distributor road.
Sefton Council’s Local Plan requires up to 30% of bed spaces in the scheme to be from affordable housing.
The exact proportion has not yet been confirmed by developers, who say: “The exact mix of dwellings type and tenure mix will be determined through viability testing and ongoing discussions with Sefton Council at reserved matters stage.”
The developers said: “The vision for the site is to provide a sustainable development that respects the site’s existing features, retaining and enhancing them where possible resulting in an inclusive and integrated residential led scheme for the land east of Maghull.
“The site will provide a number of key facilities that will serve both the new and existing community.
“The new local centre, located at the north of the site, will be a focal point at the entrance to the site.
“Close to the new Maghull North Station, it will operate alongside the existing local centres on Deyes Lane and Station Road.”
The area earmarked for the development