Leverhulme appeals green belt planning refusals

Leverhulme is appealing the decisions by Wirral Council to refuse planning permission for up to 800 new homes on seven separate sites.

Wirral Council has a ‘brownfield first’ policy that is also the policy of the current government.

In response to a question from Wendy Morton MP on 26 October, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in PMQs, “We must protect our greenbelt and we are adopting a brownfield first strategy. I’m pleased we had a record number of new homes built in the last year, but it’s important that we build those homes in the right places.”

An eighth application made by Leverhulme, providing a further 240 homes, is currently with the Council awaiting a decision.

Leverhulme says it had no hesitation in lodging the appeals because it believes in the importance of the applications to meet Wirral’s need to provide for market and affordable housing and to do so through the delivery of “beautiful and sustainable communities.”

In October, when the council rejected the applications, Labour campaigner Gail Jenkinson, who started the campaign against these developments, collecting almost 5000 signatures, said, “Congratulations to the council and to everyone who signed the petition or put in objections. 

“The developments would have been catastrophic, in my opinion. They are close to Arrowe Brook which has a history of flooding near the brook in Greasby and four sewage release spots in Greasby and Saughall Massie. New building nearby is not going to help matters in the least.”

Wirral Labour opposes building on greenbelt land, with a policy of regenerating brownfield sites into new homes.

Recently, Wirral West MP, Margaret Greenwood said, “People in Wirral West value the green belt highly and have made it abundantly clear that they do not want to see it built on.

“We need more affordable homes built to high energy efficiency standards and we need them to be built on brownfield sites.  

“The green belt is important to people’s health and wellbeing and for the role it plays in supporting wildlife habits, allowing nature to flourish and mitigating the effects of climate change.”

Leverhulme say that the proposals would deliver family homes, flats and bungalows, including more than 300 affordable homes.

Nigel McGurk, Leverhulme’s Head of Land and Planning, said, “Leverhulme is uniquely placed to be able to deliver the new homes that Wirral urgently requires and to deliver them in the most sustainable way.

“In delivering these developments, Leverhulme would ensure multiple other benefits in ways that no other proposal in Wirral can including the opening up of the countryside, the creation of new cycleways and footpaths and the enhancement of biodiversity and habitats.

“Crucially, our developments would stimulate essential economic growth across the Wirral – providing urgently needed homes, creating jobs and supporting services. They would serve to strengthen communities and promote wellbeing.

“We are disappointed that Wirral Council did not support our comprehensive, planned and unique solution to meeting Wirral’s needs in a way that provides for direct, ongoing reinvestment back into Wirral through a sustainable and realistic approach to development.”

Nigel added: “We are committed to delivering the Leverhulme Vision which provides a deliverable and viable plan for sustainable development and for reinvestment back into Wirral.”

Leverhulme is also appealing the Council’s refusal of its application for a Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) in Barnston.

Appeals have been submitted for the eight applications below:

  • A 0.82-hectare site located to the north of Gills Lane in Pensby, between Thorncroft Drive and Gills Lane Farm and stables. To provide up to 15 new homes.
  • A 7.35-hectare site located to the north of Gills Lane in Pensby and to the west of Barnston Road. To provide up to 153 new homes.
  • A 3.92-hectare site located a short distance from the local centre of Pensby Road, Pensby. It sits to the north of Gills Lane, between the existing residential streets of Dale View Close, Gwendoline Close and Thorncroft Drive. To provide up to 92 new homes.
  • A 17.38-hectare site located to the north of Thingwall Drive, to the east of Glenwood Drive and to the west of Arrowe Park, Irby. To provide up to 290 new homes.
  • A 3.60-hectare site located to the north of Raby Hall Road between the Autism Together complex and the residential neighbourhood on Blakeley Road at the edge of Bromborough. To provide up to 80 new homes.
  • A 3.30-hectare site located to the north of Raby Hall Road, with built development proposed to the west of Raby Hall and a footpath link to the east. To provide up to 38 new homes.
  • A 8.36-hectare site located to the west of Barnston Road and north of Milner Road within easy walking distance of Heswall town centre and Heswall railway station. To provide up to 120 new homes.
  • A 22.6-hectare Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) west of Barnston Road.

Image: Artist’s impression of a Leverhulme development

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