Say No to releasing Wirral’s Green Belt Land for Development – Brownfield First!
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In February 2018 the then Leader of Wirral Council, Councillor Phil Davies stated “I am not prepared to allow our Green Belt land to be built on. I am resolute about that commitment. It is the Jewel in Wirral’s Crown and greatly valued by our residents”
In March 2018 the Minister for Housing, Sajid Javid MP, informed Wirral Council that the Government was considering intervening in the Council’s Local Plan. A Local Plan is a Statutory Requirement of all Councils. They set the framework for planning decisions and, when produced properly, protect Boroughs like Wirral from untapped urban sprawl and unwarranted approaches from developers. It is the policy which determines and guides how Wirral can be developed in the coming years.
Wirral Council has consistently failed to produce a Local Plan since the last Plan was adopted in 2000. The Council has failed to meet milestones in published Local Development Schemes at least six times since 2004.
In July 2018, writing in the Wirral Globe, Councillor Phil Davies stated that “some level of Green Belt release is inevitable”. The following week a “leaked “document showed the extent of Green Belt land being considered for release across Wirral. Nearly 50 sites are being considered in all areas of the Borough.
The Council has a target of building 12000 new homes by 2035. There is space for 18000 homes on Brownfield sites on the Wirral. Wirral Waters alone already has planning permission for 13000 homes – more than enough to meet our target – but currently only has plans to build 2700 homes over the next 15 years.
There are also 6000 empty properties on the Wirral, it is scandalous that the Council is considering releasing precious Green Belt Land while these properties lie empty.
Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Combined Authority, Steve Rotheram, has pledged a “Brownfield First” approach to new housing developments across the City Region (which includes Wirral).
We urge Wirral Council and Steve Rotheram to significantly increase their efforts to work with Developers such as Peel Holdings (who own Wirral Waters) and to use all the powers that they have at their disposal to ensure that such Brownfield sites are brought forward for development.
The Mayor of the Manchester Combined Authority, Andy Burnham, has ordered a radical re-write of Manchester’s Spacial Framework with the objective of achieving “ a substantial reduction in the loss of Green Belt”. Andy Burnham stated that the rewrite is to demonstrate “to the public that we are taking account of the issues raised at the recent local elections”. The publication of the Manchester Spacial Framework has now been delayed even further to take into account recently published population projections which show slower than originally projected population growth.
We urge Wirral Council and Steve Rotheram to challenge Wirral’s “unrealisitic” housing targets and to work ensure that housing targets for Wirral are realistic, represent Wirral’s housing needs and do not require the release of precious Green Belt Land.
Furthermore we urge Wirral Council to abandon its plans for the Hoylake Golf Resort and a luxury housing estate of 160 Band H houses on Green Belt Land. This resort would set a very dangerous precedent for building on the Green Belt. The Council plan to spend £17million of public money on new roads for the resort and have already spent at least £1million on Consultancy Studies. We urge Wirral Council to invest this money in infrastructure for Brownfield sites such as Wirral Waters.
Save Wirral’s Green Belt – Once its Gone, its’ Gone Forever!
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