Outrage at changes to Prescot greenbelt

Knowsley Liberal Democrat leader Carl Cashman
Knowsley Liberal Democrat leader Carl Cashman
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A leading Prescot politician has branded town hall councillors “disgraceful and shocking” for voting through changes to the borough’s greenbelt.

Councillors approved controversial proposals to remove nine areas from the greenbelt to allow thousands of homes and businesses to be built.

But Carl Cashman, chairman of the local Liberal Democrats and a former parliamentary candidate, said the vote shows councillors are out of touch with voters.

He added: “The news that every single Labour councillor in Knowsley has voted to release precious greenbelt land is both disgraceful and shocking.

“It shows how out of touch our local councillors are with the opinion of the public in our communities.

“What is worse is that some of these councillors voted against these proposals at town council level only to hypocritically vote for them at a Knowsley Council meeting earlier this month.

“I have no doubt that some councillors that I know personally will have battled hard with their conscience, but ultimately they have bowed to the party whip rather than listen to their constituents.

“It is now clear, because of the level of public anger, that there should be a referendum on the issue.

“Town councils can hold such public votes, such a referendum was held in Prescot when Prescotians voted 70-30 to leave Knowsley Council.

“However, Knowsley Council has a tendency to ignore vital issues, one being the dismissal of the vote taken on Prescot Leisure Centre when nearly 70 percent of the public voted against its demolition.

“I hope that, come the elections in May, this issue will be at the forefront of Prescot people’s minds and that local residents will remember this betrayal from their Labour councillors.

“There can be no fair debate and no proper representation when every single councillor on Knowsley Council is a Labour councillor.

“I believe that this year is critical with the entire council up for election, the public really does have a chance to change the way things are being currently operating in Knowsley.

“This year there will be a substantial challenge to the Labour Party from the Liberal Democrats and many independent candidates.”