No appeal on country park road decision
Council decides not to object to Rimrose route but will press for tunnel later:
SEFTON Council’s leader has said the fight goes on over the Rimrose Valley road scheme – but the council will not appeal against the judicial review decision relating to it.
Last month the council lost its legal fight to order Highways England (HE) to re-consult on proposals to build a dual carriageway through the country park in Litherland.
Mr Justice Kerr ruled that he would not order Highways England to re-consult and include the tunnel option for the proposed port access route through Rimrose Valley.
The government-owned company believes the project would improve access to the Port of Liverpool.
Council leader Ian Maher said there will be no appeal about this decision and the council will now only follow its statutory duties on the matter and, in its words, ‘‘not co-operate further with HE’.’
Cllr Maher said: “This was a difficult decision for us as we still firmly believe Highways England should engage with our communities on a tunnel option.
“We also believe Highways England should try much harder to find a better solution which would not have such a detrimental impact on the health and wellbeing of our residents.
“Not only will their plans deprive us of a much loved urban green space, it will also, by Highways England’s own admission, have a negative impact on vehicle pollution, which goes against the Government’s own agenda to improve air quality.
“One of our major considerations for not appealing was the statement in court by HE’s legal counsel that we would be able to object later in the process by advocating for the tunnel as a less environmentally damaging alternative.
“So, while we will not appeal this particular judgement, we will be watching carefully the actions of Highways England throughout the statutory consultation stage to ensure that it is conducted in such a way that all affected communities can have their say on Highways England’s disastrous plan. In no way is it a closed matter and we will continue to fight for the benefit of our communities.
“If the process moves through to the Examination Phase we will be making appropriate representations on behalf of our communities regarding the significant adverse impacts the current preferred option has on everyone who lives and works in the area.
“We will continue to comply with our statutory responsibilities in this process and will always look after and advocate for the interests of our residents.
“However, we will not otherwise cooperate with Highways England in a scheme which, in our view, will leave all our communities much worse off.”
Rimrose Valley Country Park and, inset, Mr Justice Kerr