Wirral Borough’s V Leverhulme Estates’ Building Consortium
Good news! As we go to press we have heard the welcome news that the Planning Inspectorate has rejected all 7 of the Leverhulme Estates’ building consortium’s attempts to build 2,000 plus houses in Wirral Borough’s Green Belt on grounds of ‘Prematurity’.
This follows a tedious 17-day Inquiry in May.
It would appear the inspector was wisely convinced that, had she allowed any of these appeals, the outcome would undoubtedly have seriously compromised a key objective of the Council’s Local Plan i.e. the protection of the Green Belt in favour of urban regeneration.
This is clearly a success for the Council. Also, for environmental groups, especially including the Wirral Green Space Alliance (of which the Society is a key part).
We can take pleasure in the knowledge that combined efforts of lobbying and, especially, of briefing and helping fund professional planning and legal support, made a significant contribution towards this outcome. We are grateful to donors for their help.
This was to have been the first of 3 proposed phases of the ‘Leverhulme Vision’ which proposed development on its Green Belt land, initially comprising some 2,200 houses – which, if successful, could have potentially led to the building of some 7,000 houses in total
Wirral Council’s Local Plan
The resumed Examination of the Local Plan is currently the subject of a public hearing, at Birkenhead Town Hall, at which we are represented, along with legal and planning professional support, by other specialists in population statistics and in ecology.
The first 3 days of this saw legal teams representing some ‘volume’ building companies challenging Wirral Council’s Local Plan objective to concentrate on urban regeneration in the east of the Borough, with no need for giving up any Green Belt land.
We are therefore hoping that, given the Government’s recent well- publicised stance on its wish that new housing development should take place on Brownfield (i.e. previously used) land and not on Green Belt, the Inspector will recognise that Wirral Council’s Local Plan strategy in seeking to do just that, and would help satisfy the Government’s ‘Levelling-up’ Agenda. The key point we argue is that due to intervention by Government, Homes England and large private sector partners e.g. Peel Land & Property, there is now more certainty that these Regeneration schemes can be delivered .
Greenhouse Farm, Greasby
We now learn that Leverhulme Estates’ building consortium has now lodged an Appeal against Wirral Council’s refusal for building on one of its other major Green Belt sites at Greenhouse Farm in Greasby, which will be heard in December. With the outcome of the Local Plan still unlikely to have been decided, we wonder whether the Company will again risk being defeated?