Chairman’s Report – May 2023

News Update

Rod Tann discusses some of the Society’s current environmental issues which affect us in this area and the Peninsula more generally.

Wirral Borough’s Draft Local Plan and Leverhulme Estates’ housing Applications

Wirral from the air.

We reported previously that Wirral Council had refused all 9 Planning Applications submitted by the Leverhulme Estates. As expected, the Company has appealed to the Planning Inspectorate.  As Appeals are required to be heard within a specific space of time, the Inspectorate says it has no option but to pause the Examination of the Local Plan, The hearing is expected to last some 16 weeks.

We, as part of the Wirral Green Spaces Alliance, were supporting the Council, and have written to MPs, asking for this decision to split the Local Plan Examination to be over-ruled by the Government.

To make matters worse, Leverhulme Estates has recently submitted even more documents to support their applications, as have other developers. These amount to around 600+ pages of documentation and will need to be read by all concerned. 

We also petitioned the Inspectorate that these late documents shouldn’t be allowed – but our objections were overruled.  This new timetable is already disrupting the Local Plan Examination process, with the Council having had to call for a postponement of parts of the Plan hearings – now re-scheduled, most inconveniently, for September.

This will mean that those of us taking part in these Local Plan hearings, which will focus on the key issues of need for more housing and types of housing, will not be heard now until AFTER the Leverhulme hearings have been dealt with.

It is apparent that the builders’ consortium know exactly how to ‘work the system’ to their advantage.  We just hope that the Planning Inspectorate are not unduly influenced by their arguments – and recognise the obvious fact that this area doesn’t need more houses built in the countryside in Wirral Borough’s Green Belt.

May we make our plea again regarding the cost of fighting all these proposals?  With the level of professionalism needed these days, the financial stakes are high, as the need for us to employ specialised help is even more essential and the Building Consortia is making it as difficult as possible for those who oppose them. We know that the planning and legal support we have already engaged, in order to make our voice felt at the Inquiry in defending the Green Belt, is posing heavy financial strain on volunteer WGSA member groups.

This Society, along with others, have already made significant donations,  but if you would also care to make any personal donation to the WGSA ‘Just Giving’ fund set up through this Society to help pay for that help, please go to the donation page here.

Update Summary

The Ring O’Bells, Village Road, West Kirby

The Ring O'Bells pub, 2023
This lovely old pub seems to be getting a long overdue revival!

Another of the oldest pubs in West Kirby, we have noted that work on the refurbishment of the building and the construction of an extension had been delayed because of Covid restrictions, and we made known our concerns at the continued deterioration of its exterior.

Since then, we are pleased to see that scaffolding is in the process of being erected, which suggests that badly-needed remedial work on the building may be taking place.

Ashton Court, Banks Road, West Kirby

Those passing the end of Ashton Drive will by now have seen that the site, previously occupied by the two sets of flats, has now been cleared. We repeat our wish that their replacements will fit well into these two corner sites. 

‘Greenfields’ / Barclay’s Meadow, Grange Road, West Kirby

Following Wirral Council’s refusal of Planning permission for housing development on these fields, we indicated that it would come as no surprise if the owner decides to lodge an Appeal with the Planning Inspectorate, challenging the Council’s decision.  Well, we were right; an Appeal has indeed now been lodged.  We, along with many others hopefully, will be writing to the Inspectorate, saying this Appeal should not be decided until the outcome of the Wirral Borough Local Plan Examination has been decided.

Jellicoe Water Feature,’ Pasture Road, Moreton

'Jellicoe' water_Feature_Pasture_Road_Moreton_2023
Still anticipating the long-awaited restoration…

Bellway Homes has now told us that  80-90% of the Water Feature has been restored.  The Company confirm that the final work will be taking place over the next few months.  We can look forward then to seeing the water cascade in full operation later in the year.

And Finally…

Can’t see much of the sea!

The emerging ‘view’ of the Marine Lake and the Dee Estuary over to North Wales as seen from seats on West Kirby Promenade outside Coronation gardens.

The Society’s main aim is to seek the best for the Peninsula. Amongst other things, we take an interest in changes that are put forward; constructively criticising poor proposals and supporting those that enhance the local environment. We are keen to invite people to give us their support, by joining the Society, which would add to our lobbying strength.

2 replies on “Chairman’s Report – May 2023”

Good to hear the Jellicoe water feature at Pasture Road has been repaired by Belway the developers of the housing site but this does raise the question who is to maintain them in the future, Belway, the Residents or Wirral Council.
I believe it should be the owners of the land .
The Birkenhead Institute Old Boys found Belway extremely co-operative to maintain the area of landscape outside of the curt ledge of the properties including our small area of new memorial trees mhen they acquited the Memorial Playing fields from Tranmere Rovers for housing.

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