Society Member’s Letters In Wirral Press

Wirral Greenbelt Loss Concerns Highlighted In The Press

Wirral Globe Letters PageAs the Wirral Council Local Plan disaster unravels itself to Wirral’s public, the Society finds itself in the letters page of the local press (Wirral Globe) with some hard-hitting points about how Wirral’s Greenbelt has been left to the threat of developers, thanks to Wirral Council’s untimely delivery of their Local Plan.

Our Chairman, Rod Tann writes as follows:

THE Wirral Society is horrified at the proposed loss of so much of the Wirral Green Belt.

We believe this is driven solely by the council’s very optimistic predictions for economic and population growth, for which there is no evidence.

The Government seem to have accepted this, and are now expecting Wirral to build over 800 houses in the borough each year until 2035.

The society is not opposed to housing development as such – only where it is in the wrong place, or is unjustified.

As the peninsula is geographically/administratively an island, there is no room for outward expansion, so our Green Belt is already doing its main job of separating townships.

Much of it is also in production as farmland – and we all need food!

The society would welcome more members to strengthen our voice to oppose this destruction.

Adding to the criticism is Society member, Nick Lauro:

IN reply to Cllr Davies’ response to Prof Gregg’s letter, it seems Cllr Davies is trying to defend the indefensible.

It was his council who have failed to deliver their Local Plan on time, now paying the price for being asleep on the job.

Instead of leaving this until the 11th hour, they should have been taking care of business, perhaps utilising those skills of the “best people” they hire on six-figure remuneration.

We hear incredible sound bites from the Council leader about the future panacea to all Wirral’s problems – the Wirral Growth Company – yet when it comes to basic obligatory housekeeping, like delivering a Local Plan, they fall at the first hurdle.

Wirral Council under its present leadership have brought this situation upon their own heads and they cannot simply blame Peel Holdings for putting our Green Belt under the threat of development.

The council made the decision to put all their eggs in one basket with Peel.

Did they not think to have a contingency plan, should their golden goose fail to lay all of its eggs?

It’s a bit like the naughty schoolboy failing to deliver his homework on time, despite repeated warnings of the consequences, then complaining when the teacher delivers the punishment for failure; except in this scenario, the whole class end up suffering.

We must stress, we are not the only people to write in with our concerns, there are many none-Society Wirral residents who also share our shock and anger at the way our elected representatives have left our Greenbelt wide open for assault. As always, we remain apolitical on this issue, though we do note the increase in heated exchanges by local Councillors of all political persuasions on the issue of the Local Plan.

We also note a surge in our membership as a result of this latest threat to Wirral’s green lungs; by standing together, we have a collective voice and a richer base to draw ideas from. This is the greatest threat we have seen to Wirral’s Greenbelt for some years and we urge all to join us in a collective voice saying “No!” to this ideology.

Wirral Conservation Service Update

Wirral Conservation Areas’ Forum Respond

Wirral Conservation Area Forum-Newsletter-September-2014As reported in our previous post, there is an impending threat to the future of Wirral’s council-run Conservation Service. Wirral Conservation Areas’ Forum have responded to this in their newsletter which you can download in full from this website.

Here is their quoted response to this worrying news:

In a shock announcement at a meeting between Forum officers Alan Chape and David Allan and the Council’s Head of Regeneration David Ball, it was disclosed that Wirral’s Conservation team, together with the post of Tree officer, was being disbanded.
David Ball gave an assurance that the Council will still deliver its Conservation service but in a different way. It would mean they would cease to employ specialist in-house officers but would set aside a sum of money to buy-in specialist advice previously provided by the Conservation team and Tree officer.

At the moment the conservation officers provide advice to the case officers on planning applications that have conservation and heritage implications. In the future, where specialist advice is required, this will be provided either by in-house, re-trained case officers or by buying in such advice from external sources.

In relation to the Tree officer the Council has a Technical Services department responsible for the care and maintenance of 6000 trees. This resource of staff would be linked to tree work applications together with specialist advice provided by external sources.
The Forum representatives expressed deep concern that the consultation process was being limited to staff and trade unions to the exclusion of the Conservation committees. Given the statutory obligations of the Council to Wirral’s 26 Conservation Areas, including two of international renown and several which had been designated ‘at risk’ by English Heritage, it was felt that the proposals would lead to an unacceptable diminution of service. They pointed out that the proposals did not address a whole range of other matters relating to maintaining the character of Wirral’s Conservation Areas such as overseeing their simple day to day care and management.

Forum chairman, Alan Chape has written to Wirral’s Chief Executive, Graham Burgess expressing concerns about both the process and the content stressing the need for wider consultation with local Conservation and Civic societies who make up the Wirral Conservation Areas’ Forum. Subject to agreement by the Chief Executive, David Ball will attend the General Meeting of the Forum scheduled for 15th October at Port Sunlight where he will explain his proposals and answer questions.

The Wirral Society will be following all future developments on this issue and offering their support where necessary.

Thurstaston Beach Erosion

Old Farm Building Lost To Eroding Cliff

Photo of Thurstaston beach cliff erosionThe west coast of Wirral is eroding – it’s official. Perhaps, one of the best areas to view this invasive activity is from the beach at Thurstaston, constantly at the mercy of the incoming tides sent up the River Dee from Liverpool Bay.

This was the subject of consultation between interested public parties and the Environment Agency back in 2009 when there was a Wirral Society presence in attendance at a meeting held in Hoylake to discuss the problem. The immediate result of discussions seemed to be to do nothing and let nature take its cours Continue reading “Thurstaston Beach Erosion”