Will the Formby Neighbourhood Plan Pass its Final Inspection?

Finally, after six years in preparation, Formby and Little Altcar Parish Councils have submitted the Formby Neighbourhood Plan to Sefton Council.

Neighbourhood Plan Title Page

Six years is a very long time but presumably, the plan is the very best the two Parish Councils can produce?

So it's disappointing to note that the Sefton Council reception seems to raise some doubts. I've highlighted them in bold.

The Sefton document starts by setting out the Parish Councils'  purposes. Almost immediately they add some notes of concern. You can read them in the following extract. 

3.1 The Formby Neighbourhood Plan sets out a shared vision for Formby and Little Altcar Parishes. The whole of both Parishes were designated as a neighbourhood area’ for the purposes of preparing a neighbourhood plan and approved by Cabinet Member on 12th September 2013. The plan contains policies on the following areas

 General Policies
 Housing
 Working and shopping
 Getting around
 Community, leisure and wellbeing
 Environment, sustainability and design
 Flooding

3.2 Consultation on the draft plan (known as Regulation 14 Consultation) was undertaken by the Parish Council between 31st October 2016 and 12th December 2016. The Parish Council took account of comments received during this period in the submitted plan.

3.3 There are some concerns about some of the submitted documents and whether they fulfil some of the basic conditions. 

In particular:

 The Neighbourhood Plan needs have regard to the National Planning Policy Framework and the Local Plan. The Neighbourhood Plan and the Basic Conditions Statement repeatedly refer to the 2012 NPPF that has since been superseded.

The Neighbourhood Plan includes some policies that are contrary to strategic policies in the Local Plan, this includes a radical change to the affordable housing policy.

 The consultation framework is required to show people’s comments from the reg.14 consultation, what they said and how they have been considered. Whilst all comments are either summarised or included verbatim, it has not been shown how resident’s comments or the comments of other bodies have been considered, the statement simply says what they said.

3.4 The Neighbourhood Plan steering group did not accept the offer of advice from Sefton Council before submitting the plan.

3.5 It is up to the Examiner to decide whether the policies and content of the plan meet the basic conditions. The Council will make comments at the reg.16 stage.

(Source: Sefton Council: Report from Chief Officer Planning to Cabinet Officer Building and Planning Control for decision)

In my view, the most significant comment is item 3.4. It raises a number of questions.

  • Did both Parish Councils agree to 'disagree' with the Sefton Council advice?
  • Why did the Parish Councils reject the advice from the highly experienced Council officers?
  • Is there a conflict of views on some or all of the issues involved between Sefton Council and the two Parishes?
    • What are those?
    • Is this difference of views related to legal interpretations over the relative powers of Parish Councils and District Councils?
    • Has it to do with the Green Belt redesignation and the new housing developments, which have received official inspectors approval, thus confirming the status of the Local Plan?

Then there's the matter of the 2012 NPPF policy (National Planning Policy Framework)? Why have the Parish Councils not acted, after all, there's a seven-year gap between that change and now?

It is a remarkable passage of time, why have the Parish Councils not make the necessary adaptations?

Finally, on the question of the representation and response to the public views generated during the consultations is likely to compromise the whole plan. It is supposed to be a shared, collective and agreed public policy - not simply the Parish Councils policy.

Sefton Council closes in 3.5, with two observations:

  • A comment about the function of the Official Inspector, It's difficult not to draw the conclusion that the plan could be failed at this stage.
  • Sefton Council has also highlighted they will make comments at the 'Reg 16' stage of the process, could there more potential issues for the viability of the Plan? 

If you want to read more about the Neighbourhood Plan process I advise you to visit the Formby Parish Council website. There's a dedicated section with access to the various reports but following the plan through the Formby Parish Council minutes of meetings is more difficult. At one stage I noticed a reference to the near completion of the plan sometime in 2017, apparently, it just required some relatively small updates.

It seems to have taken over two years to make those additions and of course, the late submission date means that the current membership of both Councils is due for re-election, retirement or replacement, in the May elections. 

It begs the questions, why so long, what of the notion of electoral accountability, what has it all cost, what happens it the whole plan fails, who will be to blame?

To read the full report on the Sefton Council website follow the link: http://modgov.sefton.gov.uk/moderngov/mgIssueHistoryHome.aspx?IId=56436&Opt=0



Formby Parish Council & Little Altcar Neighbourhood Plan

Formby Parish Council and Little Altcar Councils finally publish the Local Neighbourhood Plan.

Neighbourhood Plan Title Page
Formby Parish Council members will consider the final version of the Neighbourhood Plan at their meeting on Tuesday 5 February. The second paragraph of the 91-page document states:

The Formby and Little Altcar Neighbourhood Development Plan, [NDP] has been produced jointly by the Parish Councils of Formby and Little Altcar, starting back in September 2013. The Parish Councils wanted the people of Formby and Little Altcar to have a say in all aspects of the future of the town; addressing the issues surrounding housing, infrastructure, health and wellbeing, the environment, and include natural/heritage assets. However, most importantly, it wanted local people to decide what they wanted in their community.

Observers may very well ask why it's apparently taken 6 years to prepare and at what cost in financial terms and human time. Both Parish Councils are to be renewed in an all-out election this year and there only 2 more meetings before the elections.

Notice of Meeting

All members of the Council are hereby summoned to attend the next Ordinary Meeting of the Parish Council, which will be held at Formby Library, Duke Street, Formby, on Tuesday 5 February 2019 at 7pm

Claire Jenkins
Clerk to Formby Parish Council


  • 1.0 To receive Apologies
  • 2.0 To Receive Declarations of Interest
  • 3.0 Public Forum (the meeting will be adjourned for this item)
  • 4.0 Previous Minute
    • 4.1 To consider and approve the Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting held on 8 January 2019.
  • 5.0 Matters of Report from Previous Meeting – for information only
  • 6.0 Planning Applications – (Sefton’s weekly list email, also available on Sefton Council’s website).
  • 6.1 To note current position on Formby Development Sites in Sefton’s Local Plan.
  • 7.0 To discuss and resolve the following:
    • 7.1 To receive the Neighbourhood Plan, Consultation Statement and Basic Conditions Statement and to approve the submission to Sefton Council for the second stage (Regulation 16) consultation.
  • 8.0 To authorise Payments (enclosed)
  • 9.0 Chairman’s Report
  • 10.0 To receive the following reports – enclosed for information only
    • Clerk’s report
    • Environment Group
    • Finance and General Purposes Group minutes
  • 11.0 Date of Next Ordinary Meeting– Tuesday 5 March 2019 to be held in the Meeting Room, Formby Library at 7pm

Members of the press and public are welcome to attend

The final version of the document (dated 30-1-19) is available here: http://www.formbyparishcouncil.org.uk/images/Formby_Plan_-_Final_31.01.19.pdf



Work begins on new over-55s development in Formby

Work has begun on Mayflower Manor, a new over 55’s residential development in Formby.

Situated on the disused former Mayflower Industrial Estate, it will consist of 32 apartments, and a care home on the same site will have 76 bedrooms and be run by Newcare.

Mayflower 2

Liverpool-based property developer Primesite Developments has begun works on Mayflower Manor, a new over 55s residential development in Formby.

Mayflower Manor will be comprised of 32 quality one and two bedroom apartments, the result of two years of planning work and consultations since Primesite purchased the site in 2016. KDP Architects has designed the scheme, which is situated on the former Mayflower Industrial Estate, which had previously been vacant and in a state of disrepair.

Also on the site will be a 76 bedroom care home, to be run by Newcare, currently being built by McGoff Construction. Residents of the apartments will benefit from the facilities and support of the care home if required.

Primesite sold the care home section of the site to McGoff for £3million, with the resulting funds being invested back into the scheme. Funding partner A Shade Greener Finance Ltd has partnered with Mayflower Manor Limited to fund the scheme and will be working closely with the developers for the duration of the project.

Kerry Tomlinson, director at Primesite Developments and Mayflower Manor Limited, commented:

“It has taken two years of hard work to bring Mayflower Manor to this point, so we are incredibly proud to be starting construction. Our aim is to transform a derelict eyesore into something of value for the local area. Working with KDP Architects, with a track record in successful health developments, and our site neighbours Newcare, known for top-quality care provision, I have no doubt that Mayflower Manor will achieve that goal. We will continue to work with them, our funding partner ASG Finance, and the local residents, who we thank for their support throughout. Our next imminent milestone is to launch the sale of the flats.”

Stuart Duffy, director at KDP Architects, said:

Mayflower HousingThe former brownfield site presented a great opportunity to create a private and almost semi-rural development; however conveniently located off a main road with great transport links and local amenities. In discussion with the Local Planning Department (Sefton) we have looked to provide traditional design elements, such pitched tiled roofs and walls being predominantly face brick; which helps the scheme to sit well in the local context. However, the elevations do have some modern touches such as grey windows, rendered panels and Juliet balconies, giving the scheme a contemporary edge.

The apartments themselves are large in area and above the national space standards, which will provide residents with a spacious and comfortable environment, with plenty of light to the lounges with full height doors. The development also affords residents with onsite parking spaces and a communal private garden area to the rear; with some of the Ground Floor units having their own private terraces.”

Mayflower Manor is within walking distance to the Marks and Spencer’s Simply Food, the Post Office, and a gym. It is a 30-minute drive to Liverpool City Centre, and 15 minutes to Southport. Construction is due to be completed towards the end of 2019.

Primesite Developments is a family run, Liverpool-based property developer. This is Primesite’s first foray into the over 55’s residential market, although it follows the developer’s success in care home schemes, including Hazelwell in the Wirral, dubbed “the most luxurious care home in Britain”.


Constituency Forum

Local residents now have a new way to engage even further with Sefton Council and its partners. Exchange-of-ideas-222786_640

Constituency Forums are being introduced as a more relaxed way for residents to talk to agencies, councillors and Council departments about any issues they have.

The forums will be held twice a year in each of the respective Parliamentary Constituencies within Sefton; Bootle, Central Sefton and Southport.

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Cabinet Member Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services, said:

After consulting about the old and aged style of Area Committees, we decided to take a look at how we engage with our communities and came up with the idea of the Constituency Forums.

The format of the Constituency Forum will be a market-place style at which there will be a number of tables for ward Councillors, internal Sefton departments and partners to attend.

This will give our valued residents the opportunity to arrive, get a drink and talk to agencies, councillors and departments about any issues they have, moving from table to table depending on the resident’s particular needs.

We hope that this new format will remove the formality of the old Area Committee process and attract residents to a more relaxed public meeting at which they feel that the Council and its partners are more accessible and friendly.

Dates for the forums have been announced and I really hope people take the time to attend them.

The planned dates for the Constituency Forum across Sefton are:

  • Bootle – Thursday, June 21 at 6.30pm in Bootle Town Hall’s Ball Room
  • Central Sefton – Thursday, June 28 at 6.30pm in Crosby Lakeside
  • Southport – Thursday, July 5 at 6.30pm in The Atkinson’s Studio Room

Each forum is expected to finish around 9 pm.