Wirral’s Local Plan consultation will provide communities with the chance to permanently preserve areas of green space in their areas.
Subject to Cabinet and Council approval a major eight week consultation is due to start later this month on Local Plan options for Wirral.
This outlines 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 and other uses.
The Council’s preferred option is to focus development and regeneration on urban and brownfield locations primarily on the east side of the borough to meet its housing requirements up to 2035, focused on high quality design and energy efficient homes to help meet the Council’s Green agenda.
But cabinet member for the Local Plan, Cllr Anita Leech, said this does not mean communities will have to lose areas of open space.
Cllr Leech said: “Early in the process of developing the options for the Local Plan I made sure that many small areas of green spaces which people use in urban areas were not put forward for potential development to keep them available for their local communities.
“But in addition to that, under our proposed consultation, it would be possible for communities to request the designation of land as Local Green Space, allowing them to identify and protect green areas of particular importance to them.
“As part of our consultation on the development of our Local Plan we are specifically asking people if there are areas in the communities that they believe should be formally designated – and given the protection that involves.
“It is important to communities that as well as good housing, roads and supporting good sustainable public services that they also have areas where children can play, people can walk their dog or just relax.
“When we have a Local Plan in place it will give the Council more control over how areas develop in the future.”
Local Green Spaces may be designated where those spaces are demonstrably special to the local community, whether in a village or in a neighbourhood in a town or city and can only be designated through Local Plans or Neighbourhood Development Plans.
The consultation document for the emerging Local Plan sets out in detail the Council’s proposals for land use over the coming 15 years and seeks the public’s views. As well as housing* and other land uses such as employment and agricultural sites, the draft Local Plan will outline the infrastructure needed to support extra housing, and how this will be delivered.
Options for the emerging Local Plan will be presented to a special meeting of the full Council (on Monday January 13) and if approved will be followed by consultation, including roadshows and events across the borough alongside a specially created website to allow everyone from residents to businesses to have their say, starting later in January.
Residents and interested parties are being asked to register with a specially developed online website portal which allows people to comment directly on the evidence and documents which form the basis of the emerging Local Plan. 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 and internet access which can be used to take part in the consultation.
* The Government determines how local authorities across the country calculate how many houses need to be built in each area – this is referred to as the area’s ‘housing requirement’. Wirral’s has been calculated to be of 12,000 new homes by 2035 – the Council’s preferred option is to meet this through use of urban and brownfield sites as part of wider regeneration.