Chairman’s Report 11-01-2021

Marton Moss Neighbourhood Forum

Update 11/01/2021

Stephen Woodhouse Chairman

Dear Member,
It has been a while since our last communication so I will attempt to bring you up to speed on the progress and problems so far.
We were almost ready to publish a second and final draft of the Neighbourhood Plan. We had listened to the feedback and made alterations as far as was possible to accommodate the suggestions made. However the document had to go out to all interested parties, such as United Utilities National Grid, Natural England Historic England, etc. In fact a very long list. Everyone was happy with the document except Natural England who want more studies done before they will sign it off.
Natural England want:
Strategic Environmental Assessment
Strategic environmental assessment alone can be required in some limited situations where sustainability appraisal is not needed. This is usually only where either neighbourhood plans or supplementary planning documents could have significant environmental effects.

Habitats Regulation Assessment
A Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) refers to the several distinct stages of Assessment which must be undertaken in accordance with the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended) and the Conservation of Offshore Marine Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended) to determine if a plan or project may affect the protected features of a habitats site before deciding whether to undertake, permit or authorise it. European Sites and European Offshore Marine Sites identified under these regulations are referred to as ‘habitats sites’ in the National Planning Policy Framework.

We have applied for funding to do this work. It cannot be done by us, or our advisor from Envisionuk so we have had to find experts in these fields. We have instructed AECOM to do the work. We have used them in the past for other work requiring expertise and have found them easy to deal with. This will delay the publication of the final draft of the plan by 3 to 4 months, although in these times it may be longer.

WE have also raised issues with Blackpool Council in regard to their secrecy in planning projects which affect ‘The Moss’. We have asked questions about:

Midgeland Farm site. We discovered that Blackpool Council were working on their own plans for this site together with Blackpool Civic Trust. This site is in our area and much interest has been shown in developing the site for use as green space for residents and visitors. Indeed the Council initially asked me to attend meetings and we formulated plans in the Neighbourhood Plan for it’s use. However questions we had went unanswered and emails got no reply. We think this is wrong. The Council and Blackpool Civic Trust were kept informed of our actions at all times but they just kept silent. They should have engaged with us in formulating their plans and we could have worked together as was first said.

They say on the website: Blackpool Council constitution
2. Purpose of the Constitution
2.1 The purpose of the Constitution is to:

enable the Council to provide clear leadership to the community in partnership with citizens, businesses and other organisations
support the active involvement of citizens in the process of local authority decision-making
help councillors represent their constituents more effectively
enable decisions to be taken efficiently and effectively
create a powerful and effective means of holding decision-makers to public account
ensure that no one will review or scrutinise a decision in which they were directly involved
ensure that those responsible for decision making are clearly identifiable to local people and that they explain the reasons for decisions
provide a means of improving the delivery of services to the community.
We need to hold them to these fine words.

The other issues are the proposed new junction at Common Edge Road and Amy Johnson Way. We have seen plans that show:
The corner house of School Road/Common Edge Road as being in the Enterprise Zone
The Road widened on it’s southern side to the first terrace.
Traffic lights at the junction of Amy Johnson Way and Common Edge.

We have asked but received no answers to:
Has there been a new study of traffic since the one which showed School Road Common Edge junction at over capacity?
Why are they not using the entrance/exits on to Squires Gate Lane as was first envisioned and the traffic studies assume will be used.
Why do they propose to do work in the Marton Moss Conservation Zone without asking the residents or the Forum?
Are they proposing to send HGV’s down School Road because the Wild Lane bypass is not yet built?
Why have they not done the paperwork to enforce the 7.5T limit on School? Despite the Forum asking for it for over a year.

The Forum and I suspect most residents do not think sending HGV’s down School Road is a good idea. There is not room to pass two lorries, especially at busy school drop off and pick up times. People already park on the pavement because of the width, or they have no garage. To say nothing of more pollution next to the infant playground!
But worst of all is they are not engaging with the residents as they should.
Emails have gone unanswered and so we have raised a formal complaint. We have spoken to our MP and our councillor on two occasions and even they cannot get answers. Sadly they think that this is ‘Just what happens at some Councils’ Well we don’t think it should be allowed and they should be held to their word in their own constitution. That we will try to do. This just reinforces the opinion that was stated in our first meetings ‘ The council won’t listen they’ll just do what they want’
My reply then was ‘I won’t let that happen on my watch’ I intend to honour that statement.

The good news is, we have a Plan, it’s mostly written, it reflects the residents views and it’s well researched and as far as we can tell legally correct.

We will get on with the next stage and hopefully we can meet again when this pandemic is over.
I will try from now on to do monthly emails and post more often on Facebook.
Any questions please email me at:
chairman@martonmossforum.org

Stephen Woodhouse Chairman on behalf of Marton Moss Forum

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