No ap­peal on coun­try park road de­ci­sion

Coun­cil de­cides not to ob­ject to Rim­rose route but will press for tun­nel later:

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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

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