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Council extends Local Plan consultation deadline due to Coronavirus impact

Due to the impact of the Coronavirus, the Council is extending the Local Plan consultation period to 5pm on 6 April 2020.

Councillor Anita Leech, Cabinet Member for the Local Plan, said: “Businesses and residents are obviously dealing with the immediate impact of the coronavirus in an ever-changing situation. While many consultation responses have been received, some are asking for additional time, which is understandable in these unprecedented times. Therefore, the Council has decided to extend the consultation period by two weeks. This will ensure that everyone has the opportunity to let us have their comments.”

The consultation document on the options for the Local Plan sets out in detail the Council’s proposals for land use over the coming 15 years and seeks the public’s views.

This Issues and Options paper outlines how Wirral will meet the requirement for new homes and employment space – and the regeneration of key areas across the borough.

In addition, the Council is putting forward proposals on how the infrastructure needed to support extra housing will be delivered, focusing on regeneration in key areas.

Alongside a new online portal to allow comment on Wirral’s emerging Local Plan, a series of drop-in sessions were held across the borough.

Residents, landowners, developers and anyone with an interest in how Wirral meets its target for building new homes and providing employment sites is able to comment on the current proposals.

Cllr Leech added: “It’s important that as many people as possible take part in this consultation and let us know what you think of the proposals we’re putting forward.

“Only by doing this can we be confident the final Local Plan will, when it is completed, meet the needs of our many communities across Wirral.”

Under the proposals key regeneration locations in Birkenhead and Wallasey will play a crucial role in helping deliver the housing needed into the future, with many more brownfield and urban areas across the borough also being put forward to provide sites to meet the housing need, and opening up the chance for major regeneration of large parts of the eastern side of Wirral. The housing requirement for Wirral is determined using Government guidelines and data and is calculated to be 12,000 new homes up to 2035.

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 case enough sites identified cannot be delivered the Council also has to consult on other potential options to deliver the housing need in the draft Local Plan. 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 and council officers will continue to undertake further intensive work to seek to increase the supply of land in the urban areas.

Residents and interested parties can comment through the specially developed online portal which allows people to have their say 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