Knowsley Council Vote to Give Away Greenbelt

By on Friday, January 8, 2016

knowsley_council_greenbelt_meeting_january_2016Knowsley Council have voted unanimously to approve the Local Plan, which releases roughly 1,000 acres of the borough’s greenbelt for residential development.

Councillors say that government housing targets have forced them to give up once-protected greenbelt, but they promise the overall plan will see “transformational change across Knowsley through new housing development, new employment opportunities and new and improved retail developments.”

The move means that private owners can sell greenbelt land to developers.

Campaigners say that communities can’t cope with the influx of new residents, however, citing strain on already-struggling schools, health services, roads and other infrastructure.

Others are concerned about the effects on the environment, and the loss of valuable natural, open spaces that have served towns such as Whiston for generations.

A council meeting in December 2015 was adjourned after officers called police to deal with interruptions from members of the public.

The reconvened meeting on Wednesday 6 January 2016 lasted less than ten minutes and ended with a vote. Every councillor present approved the plan.


The meeting was fraught with tension, however. Police were already present in the Municipal Building, Huyton, when members of the public arrived, and security guards appeared on “high alert.”

Most of the public – several dozen, it appeared – were forced to wait in the foyer, as the public gallery in the council chamber was standing room only.

Inside the meeting, Cllr Edna Finneran, the Mayor of Knowsley, entered to calls of “It’s a stitch-up!”

She swiftly called a vote on the Local Plan, amid shouting from protesters. Several called for a referendum to let the people decide what should happen to Knowsley’s greenbelt.

Watch the full video of the proceedings below:

Prescot Online plans to publish more facts and analysis in the coming weeks.

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