Green Belt land set to be excluded from Local Plan

Protest sign next to land in Caldy
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Wirral Council’s leader has signalled Green Belt land will be excluded from its local plan, sparing two significant sites in West Kirby and Hoylake from potential development.

Cllr Pat Hackett was speaking earlier this week at a development conference hosted by Place North West.

He said: “There won’t be Green Belt release as far as we’re concerned: it’s a brownfield-first policy.

“To prove that point, the Combined Authority see Wirral Waters, for instance, as one of their priority projects and it’s the biggest brownfield site in the North West.”

It would mean land, pictured top, on Column Road Fields by Caldy Roundabout (excluding Stapeldon Wood), and a site to the west of Meols Drive in Hoylake (not including Royal Liverpool Golf Course), would not be made available for building on.

Land behind the memorial, towards Lang Lane could still be built on

The council would not comment further on Cllr Hackett’s remarks, and it is not known if local ‘brownfield’ sites on the draft list, which are earmarked for up to 74 homes, will still be included. They are:

  • Land in front of and behind the historic Hoylake and West Kirby War Memorial on Grange Hill (18 properties)
  • Land next to Grange Road (30 homes) and adjacent to the east (eight dwellings)
  • An area next to Beatty Close in Caldy (four houses)
  • The former Ashton Court sheltered housing complex on Banks Road, where plans for 14 townhouses have already been thrown out three times by the Planning Committee
Land off Grange Road which was included in a list of brownfield sites in the draft local plan

The council had previously said it does not have enough ‘brownfield’ land to meet the target of 12,045 homes, which the Government estimates the borough needs over the next 15 years.

However, there had been a vigorous debate over the numbers, with the local authority arguing the target should be slashed to 7,000 following the publication of new population growth forecasts by the Office of National Statistics.

Cllr Hackett confirmed the local authority is “on target” to complete the Local Plan next year after the Government threatened to step in because one had not been implemented.

West Kirby Today understands that consultation on the final version will begin early in 2020, subject to council approval.

The plan will only be adopted following approval from an independent planning inspector appointed by Whitehall.