Strategic regeneration across Wirral could be the key to ensuring the borough’s Green Belt can be protected from development.
Key locations have been identified across the borough which if developed to their maximum potential could play a key role in Wirral’s future regeneration – and protecting Green Belt from development.
Wirral Council is now preparing to ask residents for their views to help shape the new Local Plan which will set out how land should be used to meet tough housing targets over the next 15 years.
The draft document will also outline how land should be used for industrial and commercial uses, agriculture and open spaces.
Cabinet member for the Local Plan, Cllr Anita Leech, said: “We listened to what people had to say in the Development Options Review last year and many people have been concerned at any risk to the Green Belt. This new draft document shows we are doing everything in our power to protect it.
“It identifies how we can use only previously developed sites and urban land to meet the housing needs target, and these regeneration areas will play a key role in helping us meet this target.”
Under the proposals key urban regeneration locations including Wirral Waters and areas in Birkenhead and Wallasey will play a crucial role in helping deliver the housing needed into the future.
Broad regeneration areas identified are:
- Hind Street, Birkenhead
- Woodside, Birkenhead
- Town Centre, Central Birkenhead
- Wirral Waters, Wallasey/Birkenhead docks
- Hamilton Park, adjoining Wirral Waters
- Scotts Quay, Wallasey
- Seacombe-New Brighton riverside corridor
- New Brighton
Cllr Leech said: “However, many of these sites are privately owned and the Council is working with landowners and developers to ensure all potential locations are made available and delivered.
“We are now relying on developers and key regeneration partners to deliver the new homes they have told us they can provide, because if they don’t it will place our precious Green Belt at risk.”
At a special meeting of the full council next Monday (January 13) Councillors will be asked to approve consultation on a document which sets out the Council’s preferred option for meeting its future housing and employment land requirements.
The Council’s preferred option is to meet the demand using only urban and previously developed – or brownfield – sites to meet its future housing and employment needs.
The housing requirement for Wirral is determined using Government guidelines and data and is calculated to be 12,000 new homes up to 2035.
While the sites highlighted are expected to play a key role in helping Wirral deliver its housing requirement the Local Plan consultation indicates many other, smaller brownfield and urban sites across Wirral which could also help the borough meet the targets.
The Council is working closely with landowners and developers to ensure that urban and brownfield sites are made available and delivered. However, should it not be possible to meet all the housing requirement using only urban and brownfield sites the Council’s legal advice is that during this consultation, known as Regulation 18, it must also consult on other potential options. The document therefore includes two other options which would involve the use of Green Belt land. Release of Green Belt is not and never would be 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.
If approved by councillors at a special meeting of Wirral Council on Monday January 13, consultation will take place from Jan 27 to March 23. You can register to have your comments included on the Wirral Council website.
Roadshows will take place during the consultation period and the documents are available from local libraries, where free IT facilities are also available. Full details of dates and times of consultation drop-in events are available here.