Wirral Greenbelt Continues To Come Under Fire

More Alarming News For Our Greenbelt

“Things come in threes” So the saying goes, but in this case, we have no less than four worrying Greenbelt issues to contend with at the time of writing.

1. Hoylake Golf Resort

Potential Hoylake Golf Resort LocationWirral Council’s very own ‘vanity project’ rumbles on, threatening to remove a large piece of Greenbelt land between Hoylake and West Kirby for a so-called ‘Golf Resort’. We, along with many other people in the locality believe the idea is doomed to failure and is actually part of a more elaborate plan to remove the land from the Greenbelt for future housing expansion. This would be a long, drawn out process, but removing the Greenbelt status with outline planning permission would be the first step to a very lucrative goal. Call us cynical if you like, but we’ve been watching Wirral change since the 1920s and this has many hallmarks of a different, long-term plan.

However, in an unexpected twist, we saw Wirral’s current council leader, Phil Davies publically declaring his support for Wirral’s Greenbelt against Government housing targets. Our Chairman, rightly so, wrote to Councillor Davies welcoming his statement to support the retention of our Greenbelt and recognising the difficulties in satisfying unrealistic housing targets set by central Government. Although we welcome his open commitment to protecting Wirral’s Greenbelt, we do find it at odds with the council’s current investment policy to remove a large swathe of land from Greenbelt and build a golf course, Hotel and ‘luxury’ houses in its place. We can only hope our council have a change of heart and echo the commitment of their leader’s words to retain the few green jewels left in Wirral’s crown. In the meantime, we ask supporters of Greenbelt to sign the online petition against Hoylake Golf Resort.

2. Saughall Massie ‘Community’ Fire Station

Street view visualisation of proposed 'Community Fire Station at Saughall Massie
Street-view visualisation of proposed ‘Community Fire Station at Saughall Massie (minus unhappy local community).

Far from being welcomed by the local community, the saga of this proposed ‘community’ Fire Station continues, despite being refused planning permission in December 2016. Although we welcomed the Wirral Council Planning Committee’s decision on the matter, we were quite alarmed that the majority of the Planning Committee did not put the retention of the Greenbelt as a major deciding factor.

They were certainly correct in identifying the negative impact it would have on adjacent residents in sheltered housing accommodation, but we find their overlooking of the Greenbelt issues quite worrying. It seems that the Planning Committee are mainly concerned with judging any resubmitted application on the content which addresses improving the negative impacts the original plans had on local residents. However, there seems to be little concern shown amongst the committee for their obligations to Wirral’s own UDP and National Planning Policy Framework regarding the building on Greenbelt.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority have also applied to have ‘Jenny’s Wood’ (a piece of land home to a wood of young trees on the surrounding Greenbelt) to be exempt from an Environmental Impact Assessment which is another hurdle that slows down the planning application process. Environmental Impact Assessments are the responsibility of those making planning applications on sensitive areas and we believe that having had their original plan rejected, they should not be exempt from any part of due planning process when the loss of precious Greenbelt is at stake.

The Wirral Society will continue to play their part in trying to ensure that the decision-makers on this unwanted application are made well aware of the many reasons why the move to this site is both unnecessary and unsuitable. You can register your opposition to the resubmitted plans on the council’s planning portal and we ask as many readers to do so to send a clear message supporting the retention of the Greenbelt.

3. Eastham Greenbelt Issues

Proposed new housing at Eastam Village
Proposed new housing on part of the site owned by Old Anselmians Rugby Club, Eastham Village

We learn from the Eastham Village Preservation Association that a piece of Greenbelt lying within the ancient Eastham Village is under threat from housing development.

Old Anselmians Rugby Club wish to redevelop land they own inside Eastham Village with a view to building 21 houses, a new clubhouse and 150 space car park, plus a new access road. Eastham Village is also a Conservation Area, which makes any such application doubly contentious.

We would urge people to sign the online petition against this development and make their objections known to Wirral Council Planning Department on their website.

4. Thornton Hough Greenbelt Worries

Thornton Hough Community Trust logoThornton Hough Community Trust inform us that the Greenbelt within their area is under threat from Leverhulme Estates who have plans to build a ‘Continuing Care Facility’ at the heart of the village. Anyone who has visited Thornton Hough knows that it is quite like a time capsule to old Wirral, probably very much in keeping with the era of ‘Nomad’ himself, Norman Ellison.

Some things are better left untouched and Thornton Hough is certainly well worth protecting so we would ask people to support the village Community Trust and sign their online petition against any future development of the village.

Hoylake Golf Resort – Public Meeting

Your Chance To Ask Golf Resort Questions

Hoylake Golf Resort meeting flyerTo discuss the Hoylake Golf Resort, an independently chaired public meeting will be held on 29th March 2016 at 7:00pm in West Kirby United Reformed Church, Meols Drive, West Kirby.

For the first time, Wirral’s Tax-payers will be able to give voice to their concerns, make comments and ask questions.

So that the Chairman may compile an agenda and make due time allowance for speakers, please send your questions to contact@hoylakegolfresort.uk

Because of limited road access from A540 and M53, of particular interest to tax-payers of Frankby, Greasby, Irby, Leasowe, Moreton, Saughall Massie, Thurstaston, Upton and West Kirby is the disturbance from construction and visitor traffic.

Other concerns raised, so far, have been archaeology & history, consultation process, council’s conflict of interest, council’s management skills, economic & environmental impacts, flooding risk, Greenbelt, housing, jobs, links academy, municipal & other golf courses and clubs, petro-chemicals usage, planning and rights of way & footpaths.

The Wirral Society are particularly concerned about the removal of land from Wirral’s Greenbelt and the loss of existing Agricultural land that has a better soil quality than declared by the council. We will of course, have representatives there on the night.

If you want to know more about the organisation behind this meeting, please Hoylake Golf Resort website for more information.

Chance To Question Council Over Hoylake Golf Resort

Potential Hoylake Golf Resort LocationIf you live in Wirral West constituency, there is a public constituency meeting to be held on Thursday, 11th February 2016 at 7.00 pm at Hilbre High School, Frankby Road, West Kirby, CH48 6EQ.

There are a number of items on the agenda, including an update on West Kirby flood alleviation proposals (item No.4) and also a 20 minute presentation (item No.7) given by David Ball, on feedback regarding the recent public consultation about the proposed ‘Golf Resort’ earmarked for Greenbelt land just outside Hoylake.

50 minutes will be allocated for ‘Community Question Time’ when members of the public in attendance can raise questions on the issues raised during the meeting.

The Wirral Society will have representation attending this meeting for the purposes of gathering information about ‘Golf Resort’.