Wirral is one of 15 councils in England that have this week been warned that Government intervention is likely on where new homes should be built, following failure by the Council to produce a local plan for the last 13 years.
The Planning Act of 2004 required local councils to have a clear plan for development, that would clearly state those areas which were to be protected and conserved, such as the Green Belt, and those areas which would be considered for development for housing and commercial use.
In the 13 years that have followed, Wirral Council has failed to produce a plan and, during that time, various sites around the Borough have been lost as developers and builders exploit the absence of a plan that can be enforced by the Council’s Planning Committee.
The failure to protect the Green Belt at Saughall Massie, the care village at Thornton Hough and the threat posed by houses for the ‘Golf Resort’ at Hoylake are examples where the absence of a Local Plan is having a detrimental impact on Wirral.
In a letter yesterday (attached), the Department for Communities and Local Government notified the Leader of the Council that the formal process of Government intervention has begun. In the letter, the Secretary of State expresses concern at the lack of progress by the Council on making a plan, adding: ‘In the 13 years that have passed since the 2004 Act was introduced your council has failed to meet the deadlines set out in that timetable.’
Councillor Adam Sykes said: “Opposition councilors, green space campaigners and residents have been asking for the protections that a Local Plan would give yet, every time, we have been met with waffle and inaction.”
“A Local Plan would clearly show which parts of Wirral could be developed, such as brownfield sites, and which should not, such as our Green Belt.”
“Now, because of the failure to meet even the most basic timetables in coming up with a plan, the Council is facing Government intervention to produce one.”
“The Leader of the Council has been given until 31 January to explain Wirral Council’s failure over these 13 years and to come up with ways to rectify it. He needs to act quickly if Wirral’s Green Belt is to be saved.”
The other 14 local authorities are: Basildon, Brentwood, Bolsover, Calderdale, Castle Point, Eastleigh, Liverpool, Mansfield, North East Derbyshire, Northumberland, Runnymede, St Albans, Thanet and York.
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|Letter to the Leader of the Council on failure to produce a Local Plan||261.85 KB|