Fears over luxury housing estate and car park plans at Formby beach side plot
The plans include 23 bespoke or custom-built homes, a public car park and toilet, plus new road layouts.
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People living close to Formby’s Lifeboat Beach and picturesque pinewoods fear plans for a new luxury housing estate and car park would have a terrible impact on the area.
Dozens of residents have objected to the proposals, which would involve up to 23 houses and a car park with 100 spaces as well as a public toilet at Shorrocks Hill on Lifeboat Road.
Objections raised have included fears over potential impact on wildlife, including the borough’s rare red squirrel population. Other concerns have been raised about traffic pressures on a single lane road in an area often “overwhelmed” with vehicles.
The hybrid planning application for the housing development and car park was submitted to Sefton Council by the site’s owners, Ascot Property Group, in 2022.
The site: The 4.7 hectare plot used to be a country club and also houses horse stables. In recent years it has been used for paintballing activities.
The site includes a disused swimming pool, which images provided on behalf of the developer show is filled with discarded items alongside a number of “beach huts” in various states of disrepair.
The plans: According to planning documents submitted on behalf of Ascot Group’s company Shorrock’s Hill Ltd, the plans involve replacing existing buildings with an estate of 23 bespoke or custom-built houses, alongside the public car park, with capacity for 100 cars. The application would also involve additional roads and changes to the road layout to enable access to the site.
Initially the application had been for 25 houses, but this had been reduced following consultations which had drawn some strongly worded objections from people living nearby.
The exact details of the house designs will depend on the requirements of individual buyers according to the application – although a number of computer generated images depicting different house types have been included in the planning documents.
The objections: A consultation was carried out in February with several local residents objecting to the plans. An engagement report submitted on behalf of Ascot after that consultation closed stated that most concerns from residents related to the plans for the car park on the site.
The report also stated that the car park has been part of the wishes of Sefton Council should the site be redeveloped, in response to the parking pressures brought to bear from visitors flocking to the area, particularly in the summer months.
It said: “In accordance with the aspirations of the Council, the proposals retain the 100-space public car park and toilet block. It is highlighted however that this approach is in direct opposition to the views expressed during the recent public engagement exercise carried out by the applicant, where the inclusion of the car park and toilet block was identified as the main issue relating to the development of the application site.”
A further consultation was launched earlier this month with a number of objections lodged so far showing a range of concerns around wildlife and fears for the impact on habitats of rare species of invertebrates and amphibians as well as bats, birds and the area’s red squirrel population.
Others spoke of concerns the development would bring with it associated noise and dust issues during construction which could impact on nearby habitats.
Some concerns related to the loss of trees proposed as part of the development, while others objected to the car park claiming it was too big and would risk bringing even more vehicles into the area.
Have your say: The application is open for comments until August 26 and can be viewed on the council’s online planning portal.