Say NO to a Golf Resort and Housing Development in West Wirral - SAVE OUR GREEN BELT!
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Wirral Council is proposing to override planning policy to allow a private developer to build a golf resort and luxury housing estate on a huge 295 acres of Green Belt Land between Hoylake, West Kirby and Meols.
The development includes a 90 bed - hotel, conference facilities and spa, 2 golf courses and clubhouses, a links academy, large car park, a new link road, maintenance buildings and, so far, 160 luxury houses and 40 luxury apartments (all Band H).
It is clear that this is, in fact, a Green Belt Housing Development with the “smokescreen” of a Golf Resort attached!
This would set a VERY DANGEROUS PRECEDENT for development on Green Belt Land. Already a developer has submitted plans for a further housing estate in West Kirby adjacent to the proposed Golf Resort! There are other submissions for Green Belt Land in Greasby and Saughall Massie and across the Wirral.
THE PREFERRED DEVELOPER HAS A DUBIOUS TRACK RECORD
The “Nicklaus” Joint Venture Group (NJVG) is actually a group of developers from South Wales. Jack Nicklaus is not a director but he will be paid a massive fee for designing the golf course. The NJVG has a dubious track record, including a bankruptcy and failing to deliver a promised Hilton Hotel at their previous “resort” development in Llanelli. However they did build 175 executive homes on the site - they then put their housing construction company into liquidation owing over £1million to local businesses. Their other company, which sold the houses, was not affected by the bankruptcy. To date, the promised hotel in Llanelli ,and all the associated jobs and tourism, have failed to materialise.
Despite the Developers record, the Council plan to lend £26million of public money to this Developer to fund the development!
PLANNING & FINANCE
The development contravenes planning policy. Once planning permission is approved for the Golf Resort Houses, then more houses could be built on Wirral's Green Belt..
Wirral Council is undertaking millions of pounds of cuts to essential services and the say they have no money to fund the rebuilding of New Ferry Town Centre following a devastating explosion. The Council have already spent £237,000 on the resort. In December 2017 they committed to spending a further £600,000 of Council Tax Payers money to undertake surveys and studies ON BEHALF OF A PRIVATE DEVELOPER who then stands to make a massive profit from a luxury housing estate. This spending may not be the last that we are asked to pay for! With satff costs and other hidden /non disclosed costs it is estimated they may have spent between £1million and £2million already.
Consultants’ reports have stated that the resort IS NOT FINANCIALLY VIABLE without the enabling housing development. In 16 years of trying to promote this resort, the Council has not been able to find a developer until the luxury housing estate was added to the plan. After the tender exercise, all the developers pulled out apart from NJVG.
The site is on bio-diverse farmland which is home to a wide variety of fauna and flora, including species of national and international importance. Golf courses are highly mechanised and intensively managed with high volumes of water, pesticides and fertilizers. The proposed course is an American-style parklands resort which will be exactly the wrong kind of habitat for the species which currently use the area as an undisturbed refuge.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRAFFIC
The housing development and resort would have an impact on local infrastructure and services (such as schools and GP surgeries). The new Hoylake By-pass will significantly increase traffic from the M53 through Saughall Massie and put pressure on the surrounding area. The developer will not be funding this By-pass - the Council are to seek grant funding or will use the profits from selling the land - for a By-pass that is only being built because the land is being sold! The Council propose to spend £16.6 million constructing the new road and upgrading the surrounding roads to enable the new resort and housing estate.
The site is on the River Birket Floodplain. Over recent years, we have been reminded time and time again of the perils of building on flood plains. Surface water run-off from the large paved areas of the development (car parks, road, large roof areas and the housing estate) will increase flood risk for Meols and Moreton.
Wirral Council has undertaken only a weak public consultation exercise. Of the 1400 responses that the Council received, 1311 were either opposed or had concerns. Wirral Council has not consulted the community about alternative options for the site.
JOBS AND TOURISM
Wirral Council states that the resort would promote tourism and provide just 170, mostly low paid, low skilled jobs. We already have plenty of golf Courses on the Wirral. The tourism case is not proven and 5 star resorts are designed to keep tourists “in resort”. The hotel and spa would be a competitor to the businesses in West Kirby, Hoylake, Meols and beyond. The golf resort would be a competitor to many of the hotels, leisure facilities and golf courses in the area, some of which are already struggling.
A recent Council Visitor Study revealed that over 90% of visitors come to the Wirral for the Coast, Countryside, Parks and gardens. Just 0.2% visit for golf!
The Council have probably spent at least £1million so far, combined with the £16.6 million for the roads, that equates to an investment / cost to the public of over £100,000 per job!
Wirral needs affordable houses, not Band H houses that most can not afford. There is space for 18000 houses on Brownfield sites on the Wirral. There is no need for houses on the Green Belt.
Wirral has an outstanding natural heritage, with fantastic country parks and coastline. We should be enhancing what is unique to Wirral and already brings many tourists to the area. The RSPB has membership of over 1 million and is growing. Golf club membership is 700,000 and declining.
An alternative use of the site could be an eco-resort with Martin Mere Style wetlands centre. Martin Mere supports many jobs, boosts the local economy and has 200,000 visitors per year
The Widfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) are proposing to undertake a Feasibilty Study into an alternative wetlands resort. The feasibility study would cost just £10k but the Council are refusing to fund the study.
Investment in jobs and tourism in sustainable projects such as an eco-resort or the Wirral Docklands would provide significantly better outcomes in terms of employment, housing, regeneration and tourism – without destroying OUR PRECIOUS GREEN BELT.
This petition is intended to show the Council the extent of the local communities’ opposition to its outrageous waste of taxpayers’ money pursuing its “vanity” golf resort and green belt housing development. This is an ill-thought out project, it has unfounded benefits to the people of Wirral and huge negative impacts which would destroy the beautiful character of the area!
ONCE THE GREEN BELT HAS GONE – IT HAS GONE FOREVER!
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