Rainford greenbelt protest group: Draft Local Plan is unworkable

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A new protest group - set up to campaign against proposals to build on Rainford’s greenbelt land - have branded the council’s housing plan as “unworkable”.

The Rainford Action Group was formed last month to challenge St Helens Council’s Draft Local Plan, the consultation for which will end on January 30.

Town hall chiefs want to build an extra 1,140 homes in Rainford on existing greenbelt land.

Protestors say if the plans go ahead they would increase the size of the village by a third.

James Wright, who lives in Rainford with his young family, is chairman of Rainford Action Group.

He said: “We believe the Draft Local Plan in its current form is unworkable, unreasonable and unnecessary.

“We’re a group of residents working in our own time to make sure everyone in Rainford knows about these plans and has their say during the consultation period.

“We want people to understand the scale of what is being proposed and the impact it will have on the village.”

The group is also concern the council has no action plan in place to cope with the impact on Rainford’s roads and schools.

It also claims:

* Under the plans, Rainford will take a disproportionate number of new homes.

* It will create more houses than are needed, according to an independent report.

* There are already 3,500 vacant houses in St Helens.

* Home ownership in St Helens is higher than the regional and national average.

The group’s first meeting attracted nearly 100 people, with a second meeting due to take place at Rainford Village Hall on Sunday, January 15 at 7.45pm.

The group delivered more than 3,000 leaflets to homes in Rainford over the Christmas period.

Mr Wright added: “The council says there is insufficient brown field land available but we believe this is a blatant green belt grab and makes a mockery of the council’s pledge to build on brown field sites first.

“How can there be insufficient brown field land in a place like St Helens which has lots of brown field land from its industrial past?

“Those sites might not be as easy to develop as green field sites but that’s not an excuse to bulldoze the countryside.

“In the next few weeks, we’ll be working hard to make sure the council appreciates the level of opposition to their plans in Rainford, and across the rest of the borough.”