Councillors have backed plans to begin consultation on the future development and regeneration of Wirral.
Leader of Wirral Council, Cllr Pat Hackett said: “We’ve come an incredibly long way in a short space of time – just a year ago we were at risk of Government intervention.
“Now we are moving ahead with a credible option which I believe not only responds to people’s concerns about the local environment, but offers us a chance to bring much-needed regeneration to those areas which need it most, respond to the climate emergency and provide sustainable options for the future.
“We have come from the Government giving us 10 weeks to develop an action plan to bringing forward exciting proposals which could be the blueprint for the future prosperity of Wirral.
“This agreement of the Council tonight will change perceptions of what this authority can achieve.”
Wirral Council’s cabinet member for the Local Plan, Cllr Anita Leech, added: “We carried out consultation on the Green Belt just over a year ago and listened to what people had to say, their concerns about the local environment, about regeneration, climate change and having the infrastructure to meet our needs into the future.
“The options we have agreed to consult on, show how we can meet our obligations and look ahead to a future for all those who live and work in Wirral, from housing to jobs, education and health – and do so in a sustainable way.
“We now need everyone with an interest in the future of this borough to take part in this new consultation and help us shape the final draft document which we will submit to the Government later this year.”
The options for consultation agreed by councillors indicate how the council proposes land should be made available in the future for housing, as well as for industrial and commercial uses, agriculture and open spaces.
The Council’s preferred option is to meet the borough’s housing need target using urban and brownfield sites only and the options document put forward identifies how this can be achieved, as well as outlining how future regeneration will shape the future development of the borough to bring future jobs and prosperity.
Under the proposals key urban regeneration sites including Wirral Waters and locations in Birkenhead will play a crucial role in helping deliver the housing and jobs needed in the future, but many more brownfield sites across the borough are also being put forward to provide sites to meet the housing need, opening up the chance for major regeneration of large parts of the eastern side of the borough.
However, most brownfield land is privately owned and although the Council is working with landowners and developers to ensure sites are made available and delivered it may not be possible to meet all the housing need using only brownfield sites.
In the event that not enough sites can be identified the Council also has to consult on other potential options to deliver the housing requirements for Wirral. The only other options would be to use Green Belt land and therefore these options must be included in the consultation. Release of Green Belt is, however, not the Council’s preferred option. Council Officers will continue to undertake further intensive work to seek to increase the supply of deliverable and developable land in the urban areas.
The eight-week consultation begins on January 27 to March 23 and will include drop-in events across the borough (full details of times and locations here) alongside a specially created website to allow everyone from residents to businesses to have their say.
Residents and interested parties are being asked to register with the specially developed online website portal which allows people to comment directly on the evidence and documents which form the basis of the draft Local Plan proposals. You can register to comment at www.wirral.gov.uk/localplan
You can register on the portal ahead of the start of consultation, and you will then be notified when the consultation period begins. For those unable to access the online portal all documents will be made available at libraries across the borough, which also have free IT facilities with internet access which can be used to take part in the consultation.