Wirral Council abandons 250-home project amid environmental concerns

Wirral Council removed plans for 250 homes to be built in the borough after a survey found odour and pollution levels in the area were too high.

The plans would have seen homes built in Scott’s Quay on Birkenhead Road in Seacombe. However, the council had to change its plans following a 2022 assessment by RSK Group, a construction engineering company.

“Sniff tests” were carried out at 13 different locations for odours as well as tests for pollutions including nitrogen dioxide, small airborne particles and sulfur dioxide. These tests found that concentrations of nitrogen and sulfur dioxide “are predicted to be exceeded within approximately 60m of the dockside” over short periods linked to ship engine fumes.

As for odours, it was determined that nearby shipping and a tank farm “may cause ‘slight adverse’ and ‘moderately adverse’ effects at the potential development site respectively.” Odours from a nearby sewage pumping station were not detected.

The report said these were initial assessments and more work would need to be done in the area but recommended that a 100m buffer zone was created in the area.

Following this report, Wirral Council removed the plans for the homes from its housing trajectory in August 2023 which were expected to be delivered between 2028 and 2034. It is now proposing the area is used for commercial or employment use.

The local authority is currently developing its masterplan for Scott’s Quay which could see 3,200 apartments and 300 houses built in the area but many of the homes are a long way off with only 450 expected to delivered by 2040. The masterplan will support the council’s draft Local Plan, a major housing and development policy, which is currently under government inspection.

According to the draft masterplan, “it aims to create a new high-density mixed-use sustainable living area maximising the potential of its setting, combining existing and new homes to create a quality and thriving waterside community.”

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