Why did hundreds of residents go to a Planning Committee site visit on the Saughall Massie fire station proposal?
In a muddy field on a cold winter morning, Wirral Council’s Planning Committee met to visit the site for a proposed fire station in Saughall Massie on Wirral Council owned land just off Saughall Massie Road.
Many local residents and the three local councillors (Cllr Chris Blakeley, Cllr Bruce Berry and Cllr Steve Williams) were there to observe what happened on the site visit.
The only person there with a placard in favour of the planning application was vastly outnumbered by those with placards opposing the planning application for greenbelt reasons.
Cllr Anita Leech, Chair of the Planning Committee opened the site visit by apologising for being late and explained the purpose of the site visit and the procedure that would be followed. She asked a planning officer to introduce the planning application.
Matthew Parry-Davies (who works in Wirral Council’s planning department) explained that the planning application was for “a single storey two bay community fire station”.
He explained that access to the fire station (if planning permission was granted) would be from Saughall Massie Road. Mr Parry-Davies described the distances to the nearest properties on two different sides of the site.
The outline of the proposed building had been pegged out. A question was asked of Mr Parry-Davies as to where vehicles would exit and enter the proposed fire station.
Cllr Anita Leech (Chair of the Planning Committee) asked if any ward councillors for the area had any questions.
Cllr Chris Blakeley (a councillor for Moreton West and Saughall Massie ward) pointed out that the pegs that were laid out were for the building only, not the curtilage of the site.
Therefore the area of the pegs didn’t include the training area or car park and that if the pegs had been put round whole of the proposed development it would appear much bigger.
There was applause for Cllr Chris Blakeley from many of the residents.
Once the applause had died down, he pointed out that the nearby properties were sheltered accommodation. He referred to a survey of the people in the sheltered accommodation which had shown 85% opposed to the planning application.
Cllr Blakeley received more applause.
The Chair of the Planning Committee asked if any councillors on the Planning Committee wanted to ask questions.
A question was asked by Cllr Kathy Hodson and an answer was given by Matthew Parry-Davies.
After another point was made, Matthew Parry-Davies pointed out that the pegs marked out the footprint of the building. He added that there were different pegs that showed the outline of the site proposed.
The Chair then asked Members of the Planning Committee to look at the boundaries of the site that were in the planning application.
Moving away, the Planning Committee discussed the proposed development around the building, such as the car park. There was a lot of pointing at this point. Distances and elevations were referred to by Mr Parry-Davies.
After more discussion and pointing the Planning Committee returned to its original spot.
The site visit ended with the Chair, Cllr Anita Leech thanking everyone for their attendance and that she may see some of them on Thursday evening.
Pictures below this article are of the green belt site, banners and people present for the site visit.
Wirral Council’s Planning Committee will meet to decide on planning application (APP/16/00985) for a fire station on land (owned by Wirral Council) adjacent to Saughall Massie Road in Saughall Massie at a public meeting starting at 6.00 pm on the 15th December 2016 in the Civic Hall, first floor, Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street, Seacombe, CH44 8ED.
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