Developer slams ‘absurd’ plans decision

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Plans to build 14 dwelling houses on land west of Damfield Lane. Pic © Sefton Council

A frustrated developer is pressing on with a scheme to build new homes in Maghull, despite what he calls the “absurd” rejection of his plans.

Roman Summer Associates’ Director, Richard Gee, has lodged a second appeal after Sefton Council dismissed a proposal to create 14 detached houses as it “conflicts with local plan policy”.

For over 10 months, there have been talks between the council and the developing consultancy, but in January the decision was taken to block the move.

In addition to the new dwellings, an access road was part of the blueprint, alongside associated landscaping, a pond feature and a nature trail on the green land west of Damfield Lane in Maghull.

The area falls between Maricourt High School, Deyes High School and St Andrew’s Church and Primary School, with Maghull station a few minutes down the road.

Speaking at Sefton Council’s planning committee meeting at Bootle Town Hall last Wednesday, Councillor Paula Spencer gave reasons for rejecting the plans. She told the floor: “The overall form of the development and the removal of a number established trees and partial removal of a stone wall will mar the character and the appearance of the conservation area.

“The development would also obscure views of St Andrew’s Church, a designated heritage asset… it therefore conflicts with local plan policy.”

YouTube: Stephen Killen

After the verdict was given, JMU Journalism spoke to Chief Planning Officer, Derek McKenzie, who said: “The Maghull Neighbourhood Plan was used for the first time to determine a planning application, unfortunately, the application was recommended for approval, but it went against officer recommendation.

“To understand a brand new plan and policies, it wasn’t easy to do on the spot as had been done in the past, so we needed to get a better understanding of the specific reasons that we raised last time to allow us to put these forward to put the council in a stronger position to defend the appeal.”

Mr Gee was left disappointed when the committee gave the reasoning behind its decision.

He told JMU Journalism: “While the reasons for refusal were ‘clarified’ at the committee, that was one part of what has been a somewhat farcical committee process. When I say that, I exclude officers of the council, who have performed admirably and professionally throughout, and can hold their heads high.

“I and my colleagues were obviously extremely disappointed with the outcome of the planning application. The reasons for refusal of the application are, frankly, absurd.

“The performance of the planning committee, ably reinforced by Maghull Town Council, has not only been disappointing, depressing and dismal, but is embarrassing.”

Roman Summer’s new appeal could take five months before a decision is reached.

About Stephen Killen, JMU Journalism