Rosie Cooper MP has worked with Burscough Action Group and local residents over the controversial plans that could see up to 500 homes and 10 hectares of employment land developed during the lifetime of the Local Plan.
Rosie held a meeting by the site with representatives from West Lancashire Borough Council, United Utilities and the Environment Agency in February 2012 to raise concerns about the development’s impact on flooding, as there are existing problems with flooding from surface water. There are also homes that have been flooded with the contents of foul water drains in the vicinity of Yew Tree Farm.
Rosie is concerned that residents’ needs are not the overriding priority and that this change will not offer the long-term solution needed.
MP Rosie said:
“Burscough residents know what happens when there is sustained rainfall. In September last year the intensity of the rainfall saw people’s properties flooded and acres of fields disappear under water decimating crops.
“The Local Plan stated the public sewer/wastewater treatment capacity issues needed to be resolved before development begins. I even had a meeting with the Environment Agency, West Lancashire Borough Council and United Utilities at the Yew Tree Farm site in February 2012, at which they assured me the upgrade would be needed before any new homes could be built.
“Now just as the planning process is drawing to a close they’ve changed their minds. All of a sudden the capacity and flooding problems can be resolved by diverting the water in watercourses rather than the sewer.
“I have written to each of the agencies as I need reassurances that West Lancashire residents are top priority, not the priorities of private companies like the developer and United Utilities.
“From the outset, I have been angered that United Utilities only appeared willing to prioritise this investment because of extra homes going on the system. Now there are fewer homes, it seems they are backing off this investment and leaving it to the developers.
“All the while there are homeowners and businesses who have had to suffer the consequences of an inadequate sewer system, who have been treated dreadfully, and who have been disgracefully ignored for too long. Their water rates entitle them to proper protection and services rather than simply suffering the additional water threat from new developments.”