The sites included in the draft Local Plan are:
- Areas in front of and behind the historic Hoylake and West Kirby War Memorial on Grange Hill (18 homes)
- Two pieces of land next to Grange Road (a total of 38 dwellings)
- An area next to Beatty Close in Caldy (four properties)
- The former Ashton Court sheltered housing complex on Banks Road (14 houses)
In total, 74 houses could be built on the plots of land which have been identified for development – all are classed as ‘brownfield’ because they have previously been used for a specific purpose, or are derelict.
More controversially, the council is reviewing a number of Green Belt sites – including Column Road Fields (excluding Stapeldon Wood), and a site to the west of Meols Drive in Hoylake (not including Royal Liverpool Golf Course).
Signs opposing any development at Column Road Fields have already appeared, and a petition has gathered more than 1,000 signatures.
The council is at pains to point out that it has to review Green Belt land because the Government’s Local Plan methodology has set it a target of building 12,000 homes across the borough over the next 15 years, but there is only brownfield land available for around 7,000 properties.
It says it is challenging ministers on the methodology, but in the meantime has no choice but to go through the process – particularly as earlier this year the Government criticised the local authority for not acting quickly enough to deliver its Local Plan, and threatened to intervene.
Cllr George Davies, Cabinet member for housing, said: “Our efforts to identify a more accurate and meaningful house building target for Wirral will continue. The government has recently announced it wants to revisit its calculations around demographic change, and we hope that this will help reduce the pressure on green space the current targets are creating.
“While the campaign to reduce the Government’s mandated house building target goes on, we also want to hear what local residents and businesses have to say, and how you suggest we provide the homes Wirral residents need today and tomorrow, but also maintain the character and charm of the borough.
“While we have serious misgivings about the formula and targets, we have no option but to complete a Local Plan. And because the Government has to approve our submission, and we will provide all the evidence and responses made, it is vitally important local residents get involved in the consultation. Only by showing we are listening to local residents can we support our efforts to minimise the impact on our borough these house building targets are creating.”
How else to have your say
Paper feedback forms are at One Stop Shops, Libraries and Leisure Centres for those residents unable to get online.
Residents can also submit their views in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org or Local Plan Consultation, Forward Planning Section, Wirral Council Economic and Housing Growth, PO Box 290, Brighton Street, Wallasey, CH27 9FQ no later than 5pm on Friday 26th October 2018.
The plan will only be adopted following approval from an independent planning inspector appointed by the Government.