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PLAN PASSED: Shop unit set to become flat

PLAN PASSED: Shop unit set to become flat

Seaview Road in Liscard, Wirral, Image: Google

A former Wirral shop is set to be turned into a flat after the plan was passed earlier last night.

Wirral Council’s Planning Committee approved the proposal for the conversion of what used to be a clothes recycling shop at 215 Seaview Road in Liscard, into one flat.

The plan was passed with Labour, the Conservatives and the sole Liberal Democrat councillor in favour. The sole Green councillor, Harry Gorman, voted against the proposal.

But Conservative councillor Ian Lewis spoke against the plan, saying it could harm the retail parade in the area.

Cllr Lewis is not a member of the committee, but addressed it as a Wallasey ward member, saying there were 18 retail units along the parade, all of which were occupied.

He added that the parade had not suffered from the broader problems which have seen high streets across the country struggle in recent years.

The Wallasey councillor also claimed that most of the parade’s trade came from customers who walked, rather than drove, to it, helping to reduce unnecessary car travel.

The application went to tonight’s committee due to Cllr Lewis’ objection and because 25 people objected to the proposal in a previous form, when it was for two flats rather than one.

Although these objections could not be discounted due to the scaling down of the plan to just one flat, only three objections were received in relation to the specific plan being debated tonight.

Green councillor Harry Gorman voted against the proposal, saying that if too many shops were converted into residential flats along the parade it could become no longer a parade over time.

Cllr Gorman added that a shop in this location allowed those living nearby to walk to it rather than driving somewhere else, this meant that changing the use of the premises to residential would go against the borough’s efforts to tackle climate change in the Prenton councillor’s opinion.

But Cllr Stuart Kelly, the Lib Dem chair of the committee, disagreed, saying there is another clothes recycling shop in the same road.

Cllr Kelly also thought that if the premises did not become residential, it could end up as another business which may also attract objections.

Therefore, any harm caused by the loss of a single retail unit could be equalled by the potential consequences of rejecting the plan before the committee.

Labour’s Steve Foulkes also voted in favour of the plan, saying the unit’s former function as a clothes recycling shop would have attracted people from a wider area than the immediate locality, as customers would turn up in a car to drop clothes off.

Therefore, Cllr Foulkes thought blocking the plan for a flat may actually encourage more vehicle movements, something which would not help in tackling climate change.

 

Words: George Morgan, Local Democracy Reporter


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