Thank you to everyone who has been in touch with additional information, following the various concerns that have been raised now that Wirral Council is, finally, preparing a Local Plan.
For those who attended or watched last night’s Extraordinary Council meeting, you may (or may not!) have heard how:
- The Local Plan (outstanding since 2004) should be based on needs assessed locally, working within the overall National Planning Policy Framework.
- Changes in how housing needs are assessed nationally followed consultation by the Ministry of Housing in September last year (see here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/planning-for-the-right-homes-in-the-right-places-consultation-proposals). Wirral Council failed to take part in that consultation.
- The Council’s own most recent assessment of housing need (undertaken by Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners, at a cost of £56,020) implied higher needs than the initial figure suggested by the Ministry’s formula (see here:https://www.wirral.gov.uk/sites/default/files/all/planning%20and%20building/Local%20plans%20and%20planning%20policy/Local%20Planning%20Evidence%20Base%20and%20Research/Wirral%20Documents/Wirral%20SHMA%20Final%20Report%20May%202016.pdf
- A copy of the letter sent to the Leader of the Council by Peel Holdings yesterday can be found here: https://www.wirralconservatives.com/sites/www.wirralconservatives.com/files/2018-09/Letter%20to%20Cllr%20Phil%20Davies%20Sept%2010th%202018.pdf
As Wirral's Conservative Councillors made clear last night, we will NOT support a Local Plan that:
- fails to reflect the TRUE housing needs in the Borough
- fails to meet the urgent need to regenerate and direct investment into the urban areas
- diminishes our Green Belt.
Independent, Green and Liberal Democrat councillors made similar remarks.
The final vote last night (28 votes to 26) was the closest vote for many years, on any issue. We very much hope that, when it comes to the adoption of a Local Plan, we can persuade a majority of councillors, regardless of Party, to support the protection of Wirral’s Green Belt.
For those who would like to know more about the Local Plan process, click on this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-plans