Rainford campaigners set to march on town hall

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Campaigners are preparing to march on St Helens town hall aiming to “make their voices heard”.

The Rainford Action Group will lead the protest ahead of the next full council meeting, which will take place on March 1.

They will be joined by groups from Billinge, Eccleston, Rainhill, Garswood, Newton and Haydock in demonstrations over St Helens Council’s Local Plan.

Consultation on the plan, which could see houses built on the borough green belt, has now closed.

However, campaigners are becoming increasingly frustrated by the belief that their voices are being ignored.

A letter sent to the council from all the groups, representing thousands of St Helens residents, questioning the council’s position has been ignored.

During the consultation period, the groups asked council representatives and local councillors to attend their meetings but the invitations were declined.

James Wright, chair of Rainford Action Group, said: “It’s clear now St Helens Council doesn’t want to listen to residents or engage with those who have concerns about their plan.

“So we’re going to stand outside the next full council meeting and make as much noise as we can. It will be peaceful in one sense but loud in another. We want people to bring horns, musical instruments, loudspeakers, vuvuzelas; anything that makes a noise.

“They’ll hear us even if they won’t listen.”

Groups from Billinge, Eccleston, Rainhill, Garswood, Newton and Haydock will join Rainford campaigners.

The meeting takes place at St Helens Town Hall at 6.15pm.

St Helens Council wants developers to build on 15 per cent of the borough’s green belt - building 4,000 houses on currently protected land.

Mr Wright said: “We should all be concerned about the unfair cuts the government is inflicting on St Helens Council. But building on the green belt is not the answer to the council’s financial troubles. The green belt should be maintained for important agricultural, environmental and social reasons.

“The huge impact the proposed cuts will have reflects the council’s long term failure to revive the borough’s economy in the way neighbouring boroughs have successfully done.

“What St Helens needs is a sustainable, innovative plan for development that will help the council overcome its financial challenges and provide a better future for all residents.”