Local Issues Roundup, May 2017

Local Issues

Proposed new Fire Station at Saughall Massie

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).

As expected, the Merseyside Fire Authority has lost no time in spending yet more public money in submitting another Application to Wirral Council to build in the Wirral Green Belt. They have carefully moved the car parking around the building, which they consider will meet residents’ objections and the Planning Committee. However, the Application would still require the operational fire station to be built on protected land close to sheltered housing and just a mile from its Upton station, against resident’s objections. We cannot understand why it is possible for such re-Applications to be made, which barely differ from a previously refused Application. Whilst we have objected most strongly to this new Application, we are however under no illusions that despite all objections, the Planning Committee will give its approval this time around.

At Storeton Village

There is an application for a housing development, the funds from which will be ‘Enabling development’ to facilitate the restoration of the 14th Century Storeton Hall, which is a Scheduled Historic Monument.   ‘Enabling Development’ seems to be the new phrase designed to persuade the Planning Authority to agree to ‘Very Special Circumstances’ to allow building in the Green Belt, where it would otherwise not be allowed.

At Thornton Hough Village

There are proposals by a ‘Retirement Complex’ developer to develop flats, assisted living accommodation on a former farm, located within the Wirral Green Belt, in this historic village. We have contacted the two opposing groups and hope that they work together and that we can assist in opposing the Application when it arrives.

In Hoylake

The Society has been pleased to note that local Councillors have now decided to oppose the 15-year long Council sponsored (taxpayer funded) Hoylake Golf Resort.  However, we remain concerned that they seem instead to be backing a smaller scale scheme, which had been put forward in the locality, some years ago. We trust this will not be taken forward.  The website www.hoylakegolfresort.uk has many interesting revelations.

The Gilroy ‘Scrape’, West Kirby

Gilroy Scrape
Photo by Richard Smith, www.deeestuary.co.uk

Our contact from the Dee Estuary Birding group advises that the scrape remains largely empty and the dry spring weather has meant that the mud has been rapidly drying out making it a sad sight. Nevertheless, some shallow water does remain and this has attracted small numbers of birds including Black-tailed Godwits, Redshanks and Shelducks – demonstrating just how important site this site is for our bird life. As the group now has a good understanding of how the scrape was emptied and why it is not refilling, they are confident it can be restored relatively easily. They are hopeful this work can be carried out in time for the returning Black-tailed Godwits in late July; this being one of the most important sites in the country for this species.

We are also advised that at a meeting of the Local Wildlife Sites Partnership in January, the decision to make a large portion of the Hoylake Langfields, including Gilroy Scrape, into a Site of Biological Interest (SBI) was temporarily put on hold whilst more data on bird numbers was gathered. Now this data has been acquired it is expected that SBI status will be given the go-ahead, later this year.

Green Belt in Wirral Borough

The Conservative group on the Council has been able to call a special Council Meeting, to seek clarification from the Council Leader on his recent statement supporting the Wirral Green Belt and the apparent conflict relating to various Council support for possible developments in the Green Belt.  We await the outcome of that meeting with interest.

Proposed Development at Caldy Cross Roads, Caldy

The Society has been approached by the Caldy Society to support them over an approach from a development company which is interested in developing the triangle of land bounded by Caldy Road, Telegraph Road and Stapledon Woods, for housing. It is a large area and, if successful, would be looking to build at least a hundred and probably more houses there.  As the fields are in multiple ownership, there would need to be unanimity in wishing to sell their respective portions of land. With the land being within the Wirral Green Belt, we will be advising the Caldy Society, that the developer would have to be able to make a very good case for proving ‘Very Special Circumstances’ to build there – but we must take such possibilities seriously, in these uncertain times.

Burton’s Biscuits Site, Pasture Road, Moreton

As nothing appeared to be happening, following the recent granting of planning permission for new housing on this site, we have been in touch with the Company’s Agents to find out if any progress is being made. We are told the site has been advertised to house-builders, who have had until the end of April to bid for the option to develop the site. The successful bidder is due to be announced in a few months time, and the Agents expect that site-development work will begin early next year. It was confirmed the important Water Feature alongside Pasture Road is definitely an integral part of the redevelopment proposal. This Application has the full support of the Society, as it puts much-needed housing into the urban area, where it belongs, and hopefully will help bring more economic prosperity to Moreton itself.

At Eastham Village

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

The local Rugby Club is applying to sell off some of its land for housing to enable the club to continue financially. We have objected as the Green Belt is not to be used as a ‘cash cow’ just because an enterprise in in difficulties.  We fear that there will be a repeat of the problem in a few years time and yet more Green Belt will have to be sacrificed. This application is ‘muddied’ by the inclusion of a replacement ‘Community Facility’ for which Wirral Council seems to have been able to pledge some £350,000….if it decides that the planning application should be approved. There are many issues that worry us about this application.

Liverpool City Region

A major change will have taken place on 4th May, when the ‘Metro Mayor’ is elected as part of the introduction of the new Liverpool City Region. The Region includes the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, along with 5 Boroughs north of the River Mersey. This new Combined Authority, under the control of the Metro Mayor, will have significant planning powers in its role of Strategic Planning Authority over the Region.

Amongst those powers will be the overall identification of land suitable for development, notably for new housing. The Mayor will thus become a key player in directing the type and location of development across the 6 Boroughs. We have been encouraged to note in election prospectuses that each of the candidates has pledged to protect the Green Belt and direct new development onto previously-used (‘Brownfield’) land. We hope that those candidates proposing ambitious house-building targets will still be able to honour their commitment to maintain the existing Green Belt, especially in Wirral Borough.

‘Gilroy Scrape’ Under Threat

‘Gilroy Scrape’, seconds out, round 1…

Gilroy Scrape
Photo by Richard Smith, www.deeestuary.co.uk

It has been brought to the Society’s attention about the recent environmental damage done to a piece of land that is home to wildlife and also lies within Wirral’s Green Belt. ‘Gilroy Scrape’ is located just to the North of Gilroy Road in West Kirby, adjacent to the Gilroy Nature Park and ‘The Langfields’ Continue reading “‘Gilroy Scrape’ Under Threat”

West Wirral Issues, May 2016

Our monthly news report for West Wirral

Potential Hoylake Golf Resort LocationWe are helping the newly created Hoylake Golf Resort Committee, formed following the open meeting on the 29th March to raise awareness of the impacts of the proposed (for 15+ years) Hoylake Golf Resort. The traffic from the new road into Hoylake and the 100+ new houses will obviously impact the already busy Saughall Massie Road towards Saughall Massie ad the Motorway.

They will be holding an open meeting on Thursday 26th May at the Hoylake Chapel. All welcome, please spread the word.

We understand that the Hoylake Neighbourhood Plan has passed the approval of the Inspector and so there will be a referendum for the people of the Hoylake Neighbourhood Plan Area in the near future.

We remain very concerned that the area taken by the Hoylake Neighbourhood Plan exceeds the reasonable boundary of Hoylake, conveniently fitting in with the proposed Hoylake Golf Resort. We are further concerned that the only proposal for Hoylake in the Hoylake Neighbourhood Plan is the out of town Hoylake Golf Resort. Surely there must be ideas more focussed on regenerating the centre?

We were pleased to read that Cllr Watt (West Kirby and Thurstaston) has publically raised doubts about the Hoylake Golf Resort. A welcome comment, but we wish his Hoylake colleagues would share his views.

We still have the situation of a Council crying “poverty” reducing social services but yet able to fund the continuing Hoylake Golf Resort “scheme”!

We learn that “our” Community Fire Service are still spending our money with their plans to “merge” West Kirby and Upton fire stations into a new station at Saughall Massie, a mile down the road from Upton. This is despite the Council advising them that they need to show far better reasons for building on Green Belt land. As the service seems able to operate from Upton to cover Hoylake and West Kirby, it seems a gross waste of money to spend some £4m on a new station “just down the road”.

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.