Nimbys criticised over opposition to extra care housing

Wirral councillors have hit out at NIMBYs over opposition to extra care housing in their area.

Extra care housing is supported living accommodation for people with disabilities, special needs or are elderly offering them security and privacy in their own home. Wirral Council is currently considering several sites across the borough but these have not progressed forward.

A NIMBY is an acronym for Not In My Back Yard, used to describe “a person who claims to be in favour of a new development or project, but objects if it is too near their home and will disturb them in some way”.

A council report brought to a local authority health and social care meeting on 28 November also said, “Some areas have multiple sites for consideration, and officers are mindful to develop where there is an evidenced need or gap in provision, and not overdevelop.”

Sycamore Place, one of two developments moving ahead this year, was completed in July 2023 while the second, Spinnaker House, is due to be completed in February 2024. These were funded via Homes England.

During the meeting, Bidston councillor Julie McManus said she was concerned about developments being refused, adding, “I’ll be straight, I think we’re talking about nimbyism sometimes, and that comes from ward councillors as well, I have to say, where they don’t want things built in their backyard because they’re getting pressure from residents.

“I think that it’s important for people that are moving into these extra care homes that they are in places that they recognise.”

She added, “Why are we pushing people to other parts of the ward where it takes ages or you can’t get public transport to them if you’re visiting people? You’re actually uprooting people.”

Councillor Phil Gilchrist had asked for a briefing on the future plans so the council could “get in at the right moment if we can’t get other providers to come up with money”.

Committee chair Cllr Janette Williamson agreed calling for a better approach to planning decisions, adding, “Everyone recognises the need for supported accommodation but no one seems to want it in their wards.”

She criticised “a lack of joined-up thinking,” adding, “I still see a lot of silo work* and I know that was meant to be a thing of the past but it’s just human nature isn’t it but I am getting a bit concerned things are not going through planning.”

Cllr Mary Jordan also wanted to see the health committee work with planning going forward and “find out what it is that allows them to refuse a planning application”.

She added, “It would be useful if we understood and they understood and we work together on this rather than just say no, it’s all the planner’s fault.”

*”Silo work” is defined by the Business Dictionary as “a mindset present when certain departments or sectors do not wish to share information with others in the same company”.

Image: An illustration of an 80-apartment block providing extra care housing granted planning permission and moving ahead in Moreton. Credit: Wirral Growth Company

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