Council push back planning decision on car parking at residential property

Wirral residents will be able to have another say on controversial plans to change car parking designs in redevelopment plans for a residential site in Hoylake.

Wirral Council’s planning committee decided on 11 January to push back a decision about whether to grant permission for surface level car parking linked to the development of 10 apartments at 100 to 102 Meols Drive in Hoylake.

When it was approved in August 2022, the development included plans for underground car parking, but Blueoak Estates, the developer behind the project, said they were suggesting the changes to avoid disrupting neighbours.

The public will be able to have another say on the application after mistakes were found in the scaling of the designs in Blueoak’s latest plans.

The council said it took “accurate digital measurements from the plans which, for the avoidance of doubt, confirm that there is no change in the overall height of the building which remains at 13.4 metres to the ridge and in its width which remains at 28.4m.”

With this in mind, councillors unanimously decided to push back the application and allow the public to have another look to avoid any confusion about the size of the building and be open and transparent.

Cllr Steve Foulkes said, “Clearly there are people who are either for or objecting to the application and I think it’s reasonable given the controversy that has been around the application that we do defer and look at it properly.”

Concerns were raised by Cllr Kathy Hodson about whether it was right for the application to be considered under section 73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, an area of planning law that allowed changes to be made to planning applications after they have been approved.

Cllr Hodson pointed to a previous court case arguing there were restrictions on using the law and the surface level car park might be too significant a change. However, council legal officers said it was appropriate.

Blueoak has argued the scheme would be built with “with fine point attention to luxury and detail, offering breath-taking views,” but the plans have been opposed by local councillors and neighbours who argue they are harmful to the area and the car park out front “is not consistent with preserving the historic character and setting of the conservation area.”

The developer was also accused of “attempting to cynically exploit planning rules to its own advantage.” Blueoak said the changes would “not only reduce the disruption and construction length, but would achieve a vast carbon saving of 183,900kg” and argued it would “preserve the character and appearance of the Meols Drive Conservation Area.”

Image: How the new Links development on Meols Drive is expected to look. Credit: Blueoak Estates

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