PROGRESS to develop a new Local Plan for Wirral is set to step up a gear as the Council confirms a public consultation to launch later this summer.
Wirral Council has been in discussions with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government in recent weeks regarding the development of its plan. The Local Plan is the statutory document which guides where housing and other developments can be built in an area.
In July, the council’s cabinet will meet to launch an extensive public consultation on the content of Wirral’s Local Plan, which will include a review of Green Belt land in the borough.
Chief Executive of Wirral Council, Eric Robinson, said: “We have housing targets which must be met, and we are legally obliged to run this Green Belt review. The Local Plan is a statutory, government-mandated process which every area in the country has either done or in the process of doing.
“To increase the pace of the development of Wirral’s Local Plan, the Council will also be taking steps to streamline decision making processes, creating a Local Plan advisory committee, increasing delegation to officers on technical matters, and holding special meetings of the cabinet and council to review proposed policies and evidence.
“The Local Plan is important. It is the policy which determines where housing can be built, where employers can create jobs, and where new developments can be brought forward to ensure Wirral can continue to grow.”
Investment in additional staff and expert support has also been agreed to ensure the Local Plan is delivered quickly, and at a high quality.
Cllr Phil Davies, Leader of Wirral Council, said: “We must have a Local Plan for Wirral. The Local Plan we develop will make sure we can protect our environment and can meet our residents’ current and future housing and employment needs.
“It’s a vital policy, and one which we will be working on throughout the year to make sure we get it right for local people.
“We have said since the start – making Green Belt land available for development is our absolute last resort. I am committed to reviewing every last square inch of the borough, including every available brownfield site, before looking at the Green Belt.
“My pledge to Wirral residents is to put their needs and their views at the heart of our decision-making. We need a Local Plan which is lawful and which Government ministers sign off on, but we also need a Local Plan which our residents understand and which is right for Wirral.”
“We’ve got to protect Wirral. It is a fantastic place to live, work and visit. To keep it that way, we need a solid, well designed Local Plan, which has what residents need and want at its heart.
“This is exactly what we are going to deliver, and I hope every Wirral resident has their say in the upcoming consultation.”
A special meeting of the Cabinet is being scheduled for late July. This meeting will consider the content of the public consultation – including maps explaining what development could take place in Wirral, in order to meet housing and employment needs.
Subject to Cabinet agreeing the reports, public consultation would commence in August 2018 and run for six weeks.