Save Wirral’s Green Belt: Residents urged to have their say on Leverhulme plans

Leverhulme has submitted outline planning applications that propose the development of housing across more than 110 acres of green belt land in Wirral.

Wirral Council’s recent draft Local Plan sets out a commitment to a brownfield-led policy on delivering almost 18,000 new homes, with the green belt being protected. 

The outline planning applications submitted by Leverhulme concern building on the following sites:

  • North of Gills Lane between Dale View Close, Gwendoline Close, and Thorncroft Drive (92 houses) OUT/22/00941
  • North of Gills Lane between Thorncroft Drive and Gills Lane Farm and stables (15 houses) OUT/22/00942
  • North of Milner Road and West of Barnston Road (120 houses) OUT/22/00943
  • Land West of Barnston Road, North of Gills Lane, Wirral (153 houses) OUT/22/00944
  • Land West Of Raby Hall, Raby Road, Raby Mere, CH60 0NN (38 houses) OUT/22/00945
  • Land East Of Glenwood Drive, Irby, CH63 1JD (290 houses) OUT/22/00946
  • Land East Of Raby Hall, Raby Road, Raby, Wirral (80 houses) OUT/22/00947

Wirral West MP Margaret Greenwood is opposed to the development of green belt land and is urging residents to have their say on planning applications that have been submitted to Wirral Council as part of Leverhulme Estate’s plans to build up to 788 new homes on the green belt. The applications are now live on the council website and people can submit their objections.

It should be taken into account that the council can only refuse the proposals due to certain criteria as listed in the National Planning Policy Framework. Objecting to the proposals by claiming a loss of their personal view over greenfield sites is not a consideration, however devastating this might feel.

The objections that can be raised that will be taken into account are:
(a) to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas;
(b) to prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another;
(c) to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment;
(d) to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns; and
(e) to assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.

Other site-specific factors people could include in their comments include the impact on wildlife, especially if a site is of biological importance or suffer the loss of public rights of way.  

“We are in the midst of a biodiversity and climate crisis and our green open spaces have never been so important,” said Labour Cllr Liz Grey, earlier this year. “We need to protect them for environmental reasons and we need them for our own well-being and the two are very much connected.

“Our green open spaces should be available for residents and visitors to use and enjoy, not gated off for a select few. We want to see the improvement and regeneration of our urban areas, particularly Birkenhead, and have a brownfield first policy for the upcoming Local Plan which we intend to stick to despite any moves by the Government to reduce greenbelt protection or increase developers’ rights.

“Residents can and should object to unwanted plans to build on their green spaces but objections must be based on Greenbelt functions (if the land is designated Greenbelt) and Planning Law if they are to be effective.”

Wirral West Labour MP, Margaret Greenwood, “I urge everyone in Wirral West who cares about the environment to submit their objections to these proposals as soon as possible.”

Commenting on Leverhulme Estate’s plans, Margaret Greenwood said, “People in Wirral West value the green belt highly for the quality of life it provides. It is immensely important in shaping the character of the landscape. 

“It also has a vital role to play in our response to the climate and ecological emergency that we face, supporting habitats for wildlife and allowing nature to flourish. 

“The green belt is there to protect towns and villages from urban sprawl and to improve the wellbeing of those who live and work in the area. 

“There is a need to build new affordable homes and it is important that these are on brownfield sites, not on the green belt.” 

The Labour MP added, “I believe that it is vital that we protect the green belt, not just for the health and wellbeing of people today, but for future generations. 

“I would encourage everyone who cares about the environment to make sure they submit their objections to these proposals.

“We need to send a message loud and clear: no to building on the green belt.” 

The Leverhulme Vision brochure has a passage that reads, “While supportive of Wirral Council’s commitment to brownfield regeneration, the reality is that there will need to be some release of Green Belt land in order to meet the Borough’s housing need. Leverhulme offers a vision and scale of opportunity that enhances Wirral for everyone.”

It is, however, hard to reconcile their claim that the plan “enhances Wirral for everyone” and is supportive of “Wirral Council’s commitment to brownfield regeneration” whilst building on green belt sites.

Main image: GOOGLE

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