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18/07/2018

Wirral Council considers green belt land release in local plan

Words: Laura Edgar
Birkenhead on the Wirral / iStock-494340852

The deputy leader of Wirral Council has said releasing green belt land in the area’s local plan to meet housing will be a ‘last resort’, as the cabinet is set to meet to discuss plans.

In a report published ahead of the meeting next week (23 July), George Davies, who is a cabinet member for housing and planning, highlighted that the government has set Wirral a target, meaning the council “must make enough land available for 12,000 new homes to be built … by 2035”.

An extensive programme of community consultation is set to take place over the coming weeks, he said, about the release of green belt land because the area does not have enough brownfield or urban land to provide this amount of housing.

In March, then housing secretary Sajid Javid said England’s chief planner Steve Quartermain would visit the council for not having a local plan to assess whether the government should take over the process.

“We are legally obliged to review our green belt land and, while making any of those sites available for development will be our last resort, it has been made unequivocally clear to us that if we do not do it, it will be taken out of our hands”, writes Davies.

But he insisted that the council would “do everything” it could to protect Wirral’s “special character”.

The report sets out 91 brownfield sites that could be used for housing, including former schools, bars and churches, while almost 50 green belt sites are to be consulted on.

The consultation results should be reported to cabinet in December this year, the report recommends.

It, and maps of the proposed sites, can be found on the Wirral Council website.

Image credit | iStock

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