There was a double win for residents of Wallasey tonight, as two planning applications before the Council's first-ever 'virtual' committee were kicked out by councillors.
The meeting, held using Microsoft Teams, meant councillors on the planning committee could discuss and vote on applications without breaking current guidelines against the spread of Coronavirus. The meeting was also webcast, enabling the public to watch without leaving their homes.
The first application to be rejected was for a 53 unit building behind Leominster Road in Liscard for the housing company Magenta Living.
After hearing concerns about the loss of trees covered by a 28 year Tree Preservation Order, it was moved by the Chair of the Committee, Cllr.Stuart Kelly, and seconded by Cllr. Ian Lewis, that the application be refused.
This was supported by a majority of the Committee (7 votes to refuse, 4 votes against refusal and two not voting). Several Labour Councillors spoke in favour of the application and voted accordingly but lost.
The second application thrown out was for yet another 'house in multiple occupation' in the Seacombe and Egremont area.
Councillor after councillor spoke against the growth in 'HMOs' - and heard of concerns from the local community how such developments, when concentrated in an area, can blight a community.
The Committee heard how, in Liscard and Egremont, there are now at least 16 HMOs, with a further 17 in nearby Seacombe and 20 in New Brighton. Across the Borough, at least 800 people are living in HMOs, often sharing kitchens, living space and even bathrooms. The committee voted unanimously to reject this application.
Conservative Councillors Kathy Hodson, Mary Jordan, Bruce Berry and Ian Lewis voted against both applications.
Wallasey Councillor Ian Lewis said: "Both of these applications, if approved, would have been detrimental to Wallasey.
"Both reflect failure by some so-called social landlords to listen to communities or to provide the homes that some of our most vulnerable residents need.
"Liscard and Egremont are better off because of the decisions tonight.
"I urge the applicants for both sites to listen to what was said and to come back with proposals that are more acceptable."