News that all seven appeals by Leverhulme Estates to build on Wirral's Green Belt have failed has been welcomed by Conservative Councillors in the Wallasey constituency.
The independent Planning Inspectorate upheld the decision of Wirral's Planning Committee to reject the applications, following wide spread anger at the plans.
Back in 2018, when Labour had majority control of the Council, their Cabinet secretly backed plans to build on swathes of the Borough's Green Belt, including farmland between Saughall Massie, Greasby and Meols.
As a result, Labour lost the 2019 council elections, enabling long-delayed work on the Borough's Local Plan to start soon after.
Speaking after the Inspectorate's verdict today, Councillor Jeff Green, Leader of Wirral's Conservatives, said:
“The concern among Wirral residents, and the cost to the taxpayer of these appeals, could have been entirely avoided had the Council adopted a Local Plan at any time since 2004. Had it not been for the tireless work of the campaigners, and council officers, much of Wirral would soon be lost under bricks and mortar.
“Those councillors who, back in 2018, secretly voted to consent to some of these sites for development should be thoroughly ashamed of their actions.
“At the same time I hope that Leverhulme Estates, and indeed any potential developer, will finally get the message – our Borough’s Green Belt is not an asset to appear on your balance sheet. Instead, the Council will work with you, but in the parts of the Borough that need regeneration and where people want to live.”
One of those who has welcomed today's decision is Councillor Vida Wilson - a member of the Saughall Massie Conservation Area Society, seen here with colleagues Gary Bennett and Colin Baldwin:
"While these seven applications would have directly affected areas such as Greasby, Pensby and Heswall, the refusal to uphold the appeal is a good sign that our opposition to 1,000 houses around Saughall Massie is justified.
"If the three developers seeking to build here had any sense, they would withdraw their counter proposals to the draft Local Plan and, instead, work with the Council and the Government to redevelop the run down and neglected areas in our Borough."
Three times Labour has proved they can't be trusted with Wirral's Green Belt:
- November 2016: Labour Councillors vote to build on Saughall Massie's Green Belt (Wirral Globe)
- April 2019: Labour Councillors vote to build on Green Belt (Liverpool Echo)
- May 2023: Labour will build on Green Belt to boost housing, says Starmer (Sky News)