THE leader of St Helens Council will urge councillors to back a motion to lobby central Government to provide extra funding for brownfield development.

The motion will be proposed by Cllr Derek Long and deputy council leader Andy Bowden at Wednesday’s full council meeting.

Cllr Long will tell members that 78 per cent of recent housing development in the borough has been developed on brownfield land.

However, to make much of the remaining brownfield land feasible for development, the council will require funding in excess of £40 million.

Cllr Long will propose the council lobby James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to press for immediate funding to ensure more brownfield land can be released in the borough.

The Labour council leader is also expected to criticise the Government for ordering local authorities to produce Local Plans without providing the resources to bring contaminated sites back into use.

St Helens Council is expected to publish the next version of its Local Plan this summer.

The council faced a backlash from campaigners after the previous version of the draft Local Plan proposed to reduce the borough’s green belt from 65 per cent to 56 per cent.

In May’s local elections, independent candidate, James Tasker – who campaigned heavily on opposition to green belt development around Rainhill – beat Labour’s Stephen Glover by a landslide in Rainhill.

Following the victory, he told the Local Democracy Reporter Service that Rainhill had been “completely ignored” over green belt opposition.

Days later, Cllr Long told councillors the council had a “responsibility” to bring forward brownfield land for development as part of a “balanced” Local Plan.

The council leader said the council will set up a group to look at how it can further strengthen its “brownfield first” approach to development.