WIRRAL: Green belt clarity in local plan
Wallasey Town Hall, where Wirral Council meets in normal times
Wirral Council’s Local Plan, which could see around 12,000 homes built over the next 15 years, is set to block plans on green belt land.
The authority said the vital document will not include any “green belt allocations” and that major housing plans will be focused on the east of the borough.
Responding to an email by Wirral Conservative group leader Cllr Tom Anderson, Alan Evans, the council’s director of regeneration, said: “The preferred option from the Regulation 18 consultation that has been progressed is for Urban Intensification – ie a Brownfield Strategy.
“This strategy has been progressed with identification of a pipeline for housing across the east of the borough with regeneration at its heart.
“There will be no green belt allocations within this plan and we are confident we can deliver the number of homes prescribed by the government using its standard method calculation.”
Mr Evans noted the huge sums of money which have been given to the council in grants to redevelop Birkenhead, with plans for hundreds of new homes, a new base for Birkenhead Market and top quality office space moving forward at pace.
The regeneration director added: “To date, over £110m has been secured from central government and other sources. We are also currently working strategically with Homes England to secure a programme of further Housing Infrastructure Funding.
“The Local Plan (in which the authority will set out its development priorities for the next 15 years) is now in draft form and being finalised with a view to be recommended to council in March.”
Mr Evans said the plan will then be submitted to the government following a short consultation period.
In response, Cllr Anderson thanked green belt groups and local residents for “fiercely defending” the green belt.
He added: “Wirral’s Labour-led council had an appalling record when it came to green belt.
“They voted to build 200 homes on green belt in Hoylake as part of the failed golf resort project. They voted to build a fire station in Saughall Massie on green belt land.
“Now after 15 years we finally have a promise of a Local Plan. A promise that protects green belt and identifies brownfield sites only for development.”
Speaking in response to a similar criticism from Cllr Anderson last year, Gail Jenkinson, Labour’s candidate for Greasby, Frankby and Irby in the local elections, said: “Wirral Labour is not only opposed to building on greenbelt land, but a Labour-led team has developed a viable and robust local plan that makes provision for all of the government’s housing quota to be built on brownfield sites.”
Ms Jenkinson reiterated her opposition to green belt development yesterday.
She said: “We must make it abundantly clear to developers that people in Wirral don’t want to lose their greenbelt, and Wirral Labour is completely opposed to building on it too.”
“Wirral’s greenbelt isn’t for sale, and it’s vital that we all stand up for our green spaces, for now, and for future generations.”
Words: George Morgan, Local Democracy Reporter
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