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Hundreds of extra homes and new business park needed as threat to Crosby’s Green Belt grows

MORE than 500 homes a year will have to be built in Sefton by 2031 to meet the borough’s housing needs.

Hundreds more homes than previously expected will be required to avert a housing crisis, while a new business park is also recommended for South Sefton.

The news will worry campaigners against development on Green Belt land as the demand grows for more homes and business land.

After reviewing the borough’s housing situation, independent consultants Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners (NLP) identify that 510 homes a year will have to be built to meet growing demand. This could see a loss of at least 2.1% of the borough’s Green Belt – 144 hectares (ha).

Between now and 2031, NLP predict 5,900 people will move into the borough from elsewhere in the UK, and 8,760 from abroad, swelling the need for new homes.

From 2015 – when it is expected the plan will be adopted – to when it expires in 2031 this means more than 7,500 homes will have to built. The number could rise if Sefton council fails to meet targets to fill vacant homes, which NLP describe as being “a challenge”.

A separate study on the need for employment land in Sefton is also included in a report that went before Sefton council’s planning committee last night (Wednesday).

Figures reveal 77.28 hectares of employment land will be needed as well as the land for housing development.

Only 53.78 ha of this can be built on brownfield sites – meaning 31ha of Green Belt may have to be sacrificed to meet requirements.

The document, read by councillors before planning committee at Bootle Town Hall, explained: “Sefton has a comparatively small pool of employment sites relative to other Merseyside districts, and that these sites are of varying quality.

“A key challenge will be to ensure the delivery of identified development sites, and the remodelling of currently under-used land.”

The report reveals a new business park also needs to be built in south Sefton.

Campaigners across the borough have united for the anti-Green Belt development campaign. FRAG OFF, a protest group fighting housing plans in Formby, took their campaign to last month’s full council meeting, presenting a petition of more than 4,000 signatures calling for protection of the Green Belt.

Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson has also spoken out on the issue, saying in Parliament recently: "We have to fight to ensure that the Green Belt, which Labour created after the Second World War as the country's green lungs to protect against over-development, is safeguarded against the Tories and their developer friends as far as possible.”

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