Mike Amesbury has raised questions over infrastructure and affordability.
AN East Runcorn MP has hit out at plans for hundreds more homes in the area, saying ‘enough is enough’.
Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury is asking residents to raise any concerns in a consultation by Government agency Homes England over proposals for up to 850 houses, which has a response deadline of October 1.
There are plans for a 250-home extension to Sandymoor and a further 600 houses south of the Chester-Warrington railway line on farmers’ fields either side of Red Brow Lane.
This follows other greenfield schemes in the area either being built, or with planning permission, for almost 1,500 homes plus a large commercial development.
Mr Amesbury, who is Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister, said: “I am all too aware we have a housing crisis that desperately needs addressing.
“I am pro-housing but there needs to be a mix of tenures, including homes available for genuinely affordable rent, with help for first-time buyers. Very importantly it needs to be in the right place, which this isn’t.
“Homes England is working hand-in-glove with developers to achieve quick wins and big profits for shareholders but at the expense of our precious green space.
“Enough is enough. There are run-down previously developed areas in my constituency crying out for regeneration.
“If this scheme goes ahead we will lose agricultural land, nature and wildlife will lose its habitat and residents will lose the ability to walk through a beautiful green space on the public footpaths that cross it.”
The latest 850-homes plan follows other greenfield schemes locally including a Homes England project for 335 homes under construction in Actons Wood Lane, an 800-homes Redrow development being built off Delph Lane and permission granted for 320,000 sq ft of offices and up to 350 homes to the owners of the next door Daresbury Park.
Mr Amesbury said that as well as a housing crisis there was an ‘affordablity crisis’, with many of the new houses being built being out of most people’s reach. He also questioned the impact on local infrastructure.
A spokesperson for Homes England, said: “We are working closely with Halton Borough Council to deliver its Local Plan, building on our successful delivery of homes and infrastructure in Sandymoor to date.
“We are proposing up to 850 new high quality homes in the area, including up to 120 affordable homes.
“These sites have long been identified for housing, forming allocations within the adopted Halton Local Plan since 2005.
“Under our plans, the scheme will create local jobs and provide infrastructure such as new roads, a new canal bridge, and generous green spaces, supporting biodiversity.
“We are consulting on our proposals and will continue to engage with the local community, the local authorities and other partners, as we further develop our proposals.”
To comment on the plan by the October 1 deadline, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PLANS to build up to 850 new homes on green belt land have been met with cries of ‘enough is enough’ from an MP.
Mike Amesbury made the comments after more plans emerged to build homes on vast areas of green space in Daresbury and Sandymoor.
The Weaver Vale MP is asking residents to raise concerns in a consultation by Government agency Homes England over proposals for up to 850 houses, with a ‘tight’ response deadline of October 1.
There are plans for a 250-home extension to Sandymoor and a further 600 houses south of the Chester-Warrington railway line on farmers’ fields either side of Red Brow Lane in Daresbury.
This follows other greenfield schemes in the area either being built, or with planning permission, for almost 1,500 homes plus a large commercial development.
Mr Amesbury, who is Labour’s shadow housing minister, said: “I am all too aware we have a housing crisis that desperately needs addressing.
“I am pro-housing, but there needs to be a mix of tenures, including homes available for genuinely affordable rent with help for first-time buyers.
“Very importantly, it needs to be in the right place, which this is not.
“Homes England is working hand-in-glove with developers to achieve quick wins and big profits for shareholders, but at the expense of our precious green space.
“Enough is enough. There are run-down, previously developed areas in my constituency crying out for regeneration.
“If this scheme goes ahead, we will lose agricultural land, nature and wildlife will lose its habitat and residents will lose the ability to walk through a beautiful green space on the public footpaths that cross it.”
The MP, who aims to spearhead a campaign against the plan after receiving emails from a number of concerned constituents, added: “As well as a housing crisis we have an affordability crisis.
“Many of the new houses being built at the moment are large executive homes out of most people’s reach.
“I will be interested to find out what proportion of the Homes England homes are available at affordable and social rent levels.
“I have also heard very little about the infrastructure that will support all these new houses – more than 2,330 in total across the area – in terms of roads, drainage, shops, schools and health facilities.”
The latest 850-homes plan follows other greenfield schemes locally, including a Homes England project for 335 homes under construction in Actons Wood Lane, an 800-homes Redrow development being built off Delph Lane and permission granted for 320,000square-feett of offices and up to 350 homes to the owners of the next door Daresbury Park.
Mr Amesbury would like concerned residents to email him at email@example.com or write to him at his office: Keckwick Lane, Halton, Daresbury, Warrington WA4 4FS.
To share your views with Homes England by the October 1 deadline, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Sandymoor and Wharford Consultation, c/o Hive Land & Planning, First Floor, Swan Buildings, Swan Street, Manchester, M4 5JW.
Government officials in many countries today have been using State power to advance their and their collaborators’ interests, and transforming what should be the rule of the many into the rule of the few — of “private tyrannies.” The Philippines, where such a tyranny rules in the guise of democracy, is no exception, and neither is that self-proclaimed bastion of liberty, the United States of America.
In a series of speaking engagements in Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra, Australia, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Emeritus Professor of Linguistics Noam Chomsky said the term “private tyrannies” describes the use by some US politicians of the powers the electorate has delegated to them to advance their private interests and those of their cronies in the business sector
The politicians who benefit from that partnership craft policies advantageous to a handful of corporations that, as a result, decide the conditions of work and hence the very terms of existence of millions of people. These are not only structures of corruption but also of tyrannical rule by private non-elected entities and by the politicians involved who personally profit from them.
Chomsky noted that both Republicans and Democrats have been guilty of it, with the former being arguably more hypocritical. Republicans are, after all, identified with “conservatism,” which in the US is popularly assumed to mean being opposed to government intervention in the conduct of the economy as well as the political and social life of the nation. They oppose and have in fact dismantled welfare programs such as support for the unemployed, and subsidies for inexpensive meals for disadvantaged school children.
Democrats are, on the other hand, identified with “liberalism,” which in the US is usually understood to mean a preference for greater government involvement in those areas. For example, it was a Democratic Party president of the US, Lyndon B. Johnson, who, in his first State of the Union address in 1964, launched a “war on poverty” under government auspices which included a number of federal social welfare programs that were supposed to end poverty in the richest country in the world.
“Conservatives” opposed those programs on the argument that they were being imposed by “big government,” but they themselves have proposed and won tax cuts and favored federal grants and contracts for big business. A succession of both Republican and Democratic Party administrations has also enriched a handful of corporations through government contracts, purchases of the weapons the US military machine uses in its endless wars, and arms sales to mostly non-democratic regimes as well as US client-states like the Philippines.
The late US President Dwight D. Eisenhower was a five-star general. But when leaving the White House in 1961, he called attention to the threat to democracy posed by the influence and power over government and the whole of US society of the “military-industrial complex” — which is what he called the partnership between the defense establishment and the arms-making industry.
The Philippines may not have a military-industrial complex to speak of, but it has long had private tyrannies at both the local and national levels. The local variety consists of the warlords’ practice of transforming public security forces into their private armies so as to assure their continuing control over a region or province. The security forces that are usually involved are local police and military personnel, plus elements from such government-supported paramilitary groups as the Civilian Armed Force Geographical Units (CAFGUs) and Civilian Volunteer Organizations (CVOs). By harassing, terrorizing and even murdering rivals as well as voters, these private armies make a mockery of democratic rule. Rather than the popular will, what prevails in some localities are the personal, familial, and class interests of the ruling few.
In 2009, the entire country and the rest of the world witnessed how brutal the private tyranny called warlordism can be. To prevent its rival’s contesting the Maguindanao governorship, the ruling Ampatuan clan planned and carried out through its private army of hired killers and police, military and CVO personnel the massacre of 58 men and women including 32 journalists and media workers.
Private tyranny has similarly been of long standing at the national level, but not only in the form of the ruling dynasties’ use of public power to advance and defend their personal, familial, and class interests through their privatization of State funds, resources, and organization. Mostly unremarked prior to the Marcos martial law regime were the links of politicians to private business interests or their control over this or that corporation and the implications of those connections on governance. During the 14 years of military rule (1972-1986), cronyism — in which government favored only certain groups, especially those controlled by its officials, at the expense of others — dominated Philippine business. The Marcos kleptocracy made sure that those favored groups would prosper by institutionalizing such regime interventions as banning strikes, and reducing taxes.
Though still a fact of life in Philippine governance, cronyism abated in succeeding administrations, but is in resurgence in the present regime, if we are to believe the findings of both the Commission on Audit (CoA) and the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
What the Senate hearings found suggests that it was the Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp.’s closeness to those in power that enabled it to make billions through its contracts to supply the government with personal protective equipment (PPEs), face masks, face shields, and other supplies for coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. These supplies, according to a Senate source, “passed inspection” even before they had arrived in these shores. But quite apart from that anomaly is the distinct possibility that not only were these imports from China overpriced, that local manufacturers could have provided them at a lower cost. Had they been sourced from Filipino suppliers, they could have also created thousands of jobs, and helped revive the ailing economy.
These revelations imply that Pharmally was, from the very beginning, the preferred supplier of the current dispensation despite the above disadvantages. There is thus the attendant implication that something illegal had transpired. But rather than assure the public that such suspicions are unfounded, President Rodrigo Duterte, who had earlier berated CoA for doing its job, instead went on one of his usual rant rampages.
This time the targets of his tirades were the senators involved in the hearings, particularly Blue Ribbon Committee Chair Richard Gordon and Senator Panfilo Lacson. In another fit of vindictive pique, he vowed to find something onerous in their public and even private lives to criticize, and hold them responsible for. He later declared that only with his permission could the members of his Cabinet testify at the Senate hearings. His abettors in the aptly named Lower House of Congress and other apologists echoed his outbursts in what seems like an orchestrated attempt to prevent the public from getting at the truth in the Pharmally scandal.
Mr. Duterte has always looked at government as his private property to which he can do as he pleases. The police are in his view “my police,” the military “my soldiers,” and the Philippines “my country.” Neither civility, concern for the public welfare, nor statesmanship is his strong suit. Whether as mayor or president, he has seldom gone beyond the defense and advancement of his personal and political interests. In the process he has empowered himself and his cronies both in and out of government to decide who lives and who dies.
Hopefully this too will pass, as Ferdinand Marcos’ own private tyranny did.
Luis V. Teodoro is on Facebook and Twitter (@luisteodoro).
How should communities be engaged in the planning process?
Homes England should be stopped from riding roughshod over local authorities and residents. Homes England’s remit is, in their own words ‘… to unblock [sites], get them shovel-ready and back on the market so that housebuilders and housing associations can build them out’. So they’re driving the gravy train for developers and their financiers that converts agricultural and recreational land into profitable greenfield sites. Central government buys the land and then leans on the local authority to drive the proposal through. And indeed our experience of Homes England is of undemocratic and heavy-handed practices such shady land purchases, selective and partial consultations, and presumption of success. So much for all the talk about consultation and community engagement in the NPPF.
Proposals to build should not be presented as faits accomplis to local residents. Rather residents should be consulted at several points in the planning process, by independent agents, not in exercises led by the developers. The development at Ifield has been presented as job-creating, environmentally-friendly and meeting desperate local housing needs, where in fact none of these is the case. The area already has high levels of employment and the jobs and homes being created are predominantly not for the local community, but rather to accommodate people making a lifestyle choice, or being forced out of London by lack of affordable housing caused by distorted investment in the London property bubble. The idea that building houses and industrial zones on a golf club and green fields, and tearing up ancient hedgerows, will increase biodiversity is patent spin.
If local communities are very clearly opposed to developments (around 90% of those polled living in the West of Ifield development zone oppose the development) this should not just be dismissed as nimbyism and the strength of opposition should be accorded some respect. The impact on rural communities of being enveloped by housing estates, motorways, building sites and clogged roads surpasses the positive impact on house movers obtaining a marginal improvement in their options.