The Independent Inquiry into Wirral Council's draft Local Plan continues. Today proposals for land use in Upton, Leasowe, Moreton and part of Saughall Massie were considered by the inspectors, Mike Worden and Tom Bristow.
The Inspectors' task is to consider the soundness of the submitted plan, covering the years up to 2037, based on the criteria set out in the National Planning Policy Framework.
Councillor Vida Wilson reports back on the hearing into sites around Moreton, Leasowe and Saughall Massie (referenced as Policy WP5 in the documentation):
- The first site presented was the land on Pasture Road, where the sale of the land is (so we heard) due to be completed today and will see houses, an 80-unit 'extra care' facility and extension to the library and youth centre. The council's ability to deliver such plans was again questioned by representatives of developers, highlighting the time this key town centre site has lain dormant.
- Next was the site of the former Foxfield School on Douglas Drive. Plans for 66 houses on the site have been received from Lovell's and are currently out for consultation.
- The former Dodd's Building Yard was discussed next, with council's Head of Planning stating that she believed 14 homes could be built on the site by 2026. This followed a planning application that was approved in 2018 but never developed. As no evidence to justify the claim had been submitted, or shared with councillors, we have contacted the department today to see what discussions, if any, have been held with the owners of the site.
- There was no objection to our request for the Ditton Local Nature Reserve, off Ditton Lane, being given extra protection in the Local Plan as a 'Local Green Space'. Well done to those residents who worked on securing this.
- Various areas in the community are listed as 'Open Space' including Lingham Park, Orchard Grange Recreation Area, the land either side of the by-pass on the Moreton Spur and land along the Arrowe Brook.
- The representatives of the developers then moved on to general points about the lack of proposed housing within the area, no doubt preparing the Hearing for their attempts, likely tomorrow, to persuade the Inspectors that Green belt around Saughall Massie should be released for the 1,000 houses mentioned in the counter proposals submitted by Taylor Wimpey, Bloor Homes and Russell Homes.
This afternoon, the Hearing will be looking at matters in West Kirby and Hoylake and tomorrow, we believe, will be looking at land use in the 'rural area' between Moreton, Saughall Massie and Greasby and Hoylake, West Kirby and Meols.