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Posted by: John Brace | 22nd December 2016

How was the planning application for a fire station at Saughall Massie (APP/16/00985) introduced to Wirral Council’s Planning Committee (part 1)?

How was the planning application for a fire station at Saughall Massie (APP/16/00985) introduced to Wirral Council’s Planning Committee (part 1)?

                                            

Wirral Council’s Planning Committee 19th December 2016 starting at agenda item 6 ( APP/16/00985: Land adjacent to Saughall Massie Road, Saughall Massie, Wirral)

Over a hundred people were in the Civic Hall for a public meeting of Wirral Council’s Planning Committee held last week at Wallasey Town Hall to hear what the Planning Committee would decide on planning application APP/16/00985. This planning application was for a single storey two bay community fire station with accommodation, offices, meeting space, external drill, training facilities and car parking on land adjacent to Saughall Massie Road in Saughall Massie.

The applicant was Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service.

A 21 page report on the planning application by Wirral Council planning officers recommended that the Planning Committee approve the application subject to referral to the government minister.

Councillor Anita Leech (Chair, Wirral Council's Planning Committee) 15th December 2016 planning application APP/16/00985

Councillor Anita Leech (Chair, Wirral Council’s Planning Committee) 15th December 2016 planning application APP/16/00985

After the Chair of the Planning Committee Cllr Anita Leech (pictured above) introduced the item, Matthew Parry-Davies (a manager from Wirral Council’s Planning Department pictured below) explained that the planning application had been subject to a site visit by councillors on the Planning Committee two days earlier (as reported on and filmed by this blog).

Matthew Parry-Davies (Wirral Council) Planning Committee 15th December 2016 planning application APP/16/00985

Matthew Parry-Davies (Service Manager (Development Management), Wirral Council) Planning Committee 15th December 2016 planning application APP/16/00985

Planning permission was sought for a single storey two bay community fire station, together with operational and welfare accommodation, offices and meeting space, external drill and training facilities and associated car parking.

Continuing, he said that the site was in the green belt and as such the development applied for constituted, “inappropriate development”. Having regard to national planning policies and Wirral’s Unitary Development Plan and policy GB2 which set out guidelines for development in the green belt, such inappropriate development should be refused unless “very special circumstances” had been put forward that would outweigh any potential harm to the openness and character of the green belt.

Mr Parry-Davies explained that there were not a national or local definitions of what constituted “very special circumstances” and as such each [planning] application needed to be judged on its individual merits.

Referring to the applicant’s case, he stated that the need for a new fire station in this greenbelt location centred on the unavailability of suitable alternative locations outside of the green belt and the need to provide the best achievable emergency response to west Wirral locations.

Mr Parry-Davies said that Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority were rationalising their property portfolio of operational fire stations arising from cost efficiencies which resulted in the closure of fire stations. As a result of this either West Kirby Fire Station or Upton Fire Station would have to close as a result of budget cuts, with Upton Fire Station remaining crewed because it covered a more extensive area.

It was the applicant’s case that the provision of a new fire station in this location to cover both the West Kirby and Upton coverage areas, would result in a reduction of response times to west Wirral by an average of two minutes.

He mentioned a link between response times and the level of damage to property, severity of injury and the likelihood of death. The quicker the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service could respond, the less likely major damage, significant injury or fatalities would occur. Closing West Kirby Fire Station and Upton Fire Station and building a new fire station at this location, would result in faster than average response times which could mean the difference between the level of damage and/or the severity of injury or even death.

Mr Parry-Davies said that the new location would allow Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service to maintain acceptable response times and it was argued that this demonstrates very special circumstances that outweighed the potential harm to the greenbelt.

Commenting on the site, he said that the site was opposite residential properties on Saughall Massie Road to the north and Woodpecker Close to the east. The nearest residential properties were 281 Saughall Massie Road and numbers 68, 70 and 72 Woodpecker Close. Mr Parry-Davies wanted to spend a little time explaining the relationship between the proposal to the residential properties and he was putting a different plan up for councillors to see.

Referring to the appliance bay, he explained that the appliance bay was the part of the fire station where the fire engines would be housed. The operational bay was the other side of the proposal where the meeting rooms, sleeping accommodation, kitchens and those sorts of things would be.

So firstly, the properties that front on to Saughall Massie Road which were 286 to 296 Saughall Massie Road. These were thirty metres to forty metres from the site perimeter. 296 Saughall Massie Road was located fifty-five metres from the front of the operational and welfare part of the proposals and fifty-nine metres from the appliances bay which would house the fire engines.

These distances decreased slightly with 288 being fifty metres from the operational bay and fifty-seven metres from the appliances bay before increasing again as you move east along Saughall Massie Road.

The blank elevation of 281 Saughall Massie Road which was a bungalow was located thirteen metres at its closest point to the perimeter of the site and thirty metres to the operational bay. The appliances bay would be forty-five metres from that property but sits behind the operational bay.

Numbers 68, 70 and 72 Woodpecker Close would have their front elevations facing the site and they were bungalows. These properties were sheltered accommodation for elderly people. At its nearest point 68 Woodpecker Close is fourteen metres from the site boundary, number 70 is fifteen and a half metres and number 72 is seventeen metres from the boundary.

Number 68 Woodpecker Close is thirty-two metres from the operational bay, number 70 is thirty-four metres and number 72 is thirty-five metres away. The operational bay sits between those properties and the appliance bay, acting as a buffer for the appliance bay where the fire engines would be housed.

A sprinkler and generator compound, the area edged red on the plan is located in the southeast corner of the site, located twenty-five metres from the rear elevations of 47-51 Woodpecker Close. These properties were located over forty metres from any part of the proposed buildings.

The training yard was the yellow hatched area of the plan which would be located to the rear of the bays and would be over fifty metres from the nearest residential property. He pointed out a retractable training tower located at the southern part of the site. Training would typically be carried out at monthly intervals, during the working day without the use of sirens. The training tower would fold down when not in use to minimise its impact on the green belt.

A noise assessment had been submitted with the application, which had examined noise sensitive receptors including residential properties. Measures were proposed to minimise noise impact, although the fire station would be operational twenty-four hours a day, the yard would only be used when returning from an incident between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am and would only be used for operational and training purposes between 9 30 in the morning and 4 30 in the afternoon. Sirens would only be used at times when there was significant road traffic and at night restricted to calls where life was at risk. A number of conditions were proposed should the application be approved, to avoid and or minimise noise impacts.

In terms of highway movements and the impact on the safe use and flow of the highway, the development is likely to generate low levels of vehicle movements onto the adjacent network and are therefore unlikely to have significant impact on traffic conditions in the area.

The Saughall Massie Conservation Area boundary site thirty-five metres to the north-west. However given the use of materials proposed, existing vegetation providing screening and distances involved, it was not considered the proposals would adversely impact on the Saughall Massie Conservation Area.

Substantial weight must be given to any harm these proposals would have on the green belt by virtue of the permanent loss of openness and any visual harm that may result. Councillors on the Planning Committee must be satisfied that very special circumstances exist that outweighs any harm caused by inappropriate development. The reduced response times enabling Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service to attend emergencies in parts of west Wirral would be two minutes quicker on average and has led to a finely balanced recommendation of approval.

A number of measures proposed in terms of site layout, boundary treatment, together with planning conditions outlined in the report, serve to mitigate against any harm to residential amenity. On balance the application was recommended for approval and there was a qualifying petition of objection.

The Chair Cllr Anita Leech thanked Mr Parry-Davies for his presentation. As there was a qualifying petition of objection she asked if the lead petitioner would like to come forward?

Cllr Steve Williams (Moreton West and Saughall Massie) explained that the lead petitioner did not wish to speak.

The Chair thanked him for that and explained that as the lead petitioner hadn’t spoken, then the applicant wasn’t able to speak according to the constitution.

She asked if the ward councillor would like to come forward and speak and asked him to give his name before he started.

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Responses

  1. G’day John

    How many Davies are there at wirral?

    Are they all tarred with the same brush as “Phil the Very Very Very Very Slimy and Evasive Deluded Dill” and his “Ugly Twin Brother with the Comb Over From Hell”?

    Paul Davies was totally incompetent at best at Wirral “Funny” Bizz..

    I’m tired of talking about this crud and dross tonight John………

    Sleep well they may give “Dill Balls” his P45 tomorrow.

    Ooroo

    James

    • Hi James,

      I don’t know how many people with the surname Davies there are at Wirral Council.

      However Davies is a common surname.

      John

  2. G’day John

    Talking of “Phil the Very Very Very Very Slimy, Elusive and Deluded Dill” he hasn’t written to “Highbrow” yet with his answer to his question.

    Surprise surprise.

    I bet it will be another lie or a non-answer.

    Ooroo

    James

    • I’m still waiting for an answer to a supplementary question I asked (albeit not of Cllr Phil Davies but one of his fellow Cabinet Members) in December 2014!

      So he’ll just have to wait in the queue! 😛

      And yes I have given the Cabinet Member a reminder…. all that happened was I got asked what was the question (again).

  3. Dear Mr Hobro,

    In the spirit of openness and transparency and with a view to fully discharging the stringent obligations set out under the Council’s 2020 Vision pledges, this email represents a full and comprehensive response to your supplementary question submitted to the council meeting of Monday 8th December 2016.

    It has been a privilege and an honour to address each of your points with care and due diligence.

    Should you have any subsequent queries, please get in touch with junior office assistant Mandy Fairfax who is your designated single point of contact from this day forward.

    I remain your obedient public servant,

    Yours faithfully,

    • Surely you mean Mr. Hobro’s question submitted to the Council meeting on the 19th December 2016 (especially as there was no Monday 8th December 2016)?

      Having had personal experience of waiting for a written answer to a supplementary question asked at a Wirral Council meeting, if it does come at all it takes months and arrives by post.

      To my recollection however I’m still waiting for the answer to a supplementary question I asked of Cllr Tony Smith in December 2014.

      I reminded Cllr Tony Smith in March 2015, as a result got an email from a Council employee asking for the supplementary question (again) but an answer seems to have got lost in the system somewhere!

  4. G’day John

    I’m sure “Phil the Slimy, Elusive, Very Very Very Very Deluded Dill” has forgotten “Highbrow’s” question already as he is not even the brightest between him and “His Ugly Twin Brother with the Comb Over from Hell”….not even the best looking.

    Was in Liverpool City Centre yesterday and saw the biggest gang, clot or whatever you call a big group of smackeads and homeless and looked up and saw I was in Basnett Street.

    Ooroo

    James

    just sayin!

    • Is there really a Basnett Street in Liverpool or is this all just a shaggy dog story?

      I’ve looked at a map, there is. It’s one of those back streets, a bit off the beaten track near the St Johns Shopping Centre.

      Mind you even that bit of Liverpool doesn’t seen rough to me.

      In fact I usually feel safe in most parts of Liverpool.

      Mind you in Chinatown in Liverpool, I do sometimes get stares from people looking at my hair like I’m something historical and from about 1912 at the end of the Qing dynasty.

  5. G’day John

    Told ya told ya it was only a matter of time till the good news stories came out and Peel got linked to the Premier League billions.

    Their next comic from Fartin Lobsterpot will be linking it to Kev and Stella’s Stinking Stagnant wirral Waters.

    We now live in Disneyland with Jack in the Beanstalk golf resorts and a new stadium.

    This time next New Year John they’ll roll out their fantasy again and again and again.

    Ooroo

    James

    • If there’s one thing that gets people talking in Liverpool, it’s Liverpool Football Club and Everton Football Club.

      Surely the people of Wirral want Wirral Council to get the basics done right like road repairs, street lights that work etc before Wirral Council starts on the more high profile type projects?

      This time next year, some councillors will be facing an election in 2018.

      This year in May, barring byelections I think it’s just the Combined Authority Mayor.

      That is if national government doesn’t grind to a halt because of Brexit. 😛

      • G’day John

        I hope you have a great 2017.

        Been up to St Andrews for 36 hours to a funeral.

        The most notable thing about the town which “Phil the Very Very Very Very Deluded Dill” would love Hoylake/West Kirby to equal (impossible) is the clean streets, they are spotless.

        His wirral is a garbage tip at best in comparison.

        I bet they don’t have as many incompetent clowncillors or overpaid neighbours like Fartin Lobsterpot on the books either.

        Ooroo

        James

        • Fife Council (where St Andrews is) has 78 councillors compared to Wirral’s 66.

          However, the area covered by Fife Council has a larger population than Wirral.

          The councillors in Fife are elected by proportional representation (not first past the post) which means the Labour Party doesn’t get a majority there.

          • G’day John

            HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and Leonora.

            Yes it shows John in St Andrews there is far less slime, crud and dross in the streets.

            The friends family funeral I went to was a councillor in days gone by and a very decent hard working man and on the committee at the R&A.

            Ooroo

            James

            wirral could be nice with a decent moral and hard working council.

            Without the deluded fools, cheats and liars that are firmly ensconced.

            Have a great 2017 John.

            • Happy new year to you too James.

              As to your comments on politicians.

              The moral, hard working, honest people realise that if they do stand in elections, the public will elect their immoral, lying opponents instead.

              However from time to time an honest politician is elected!

              The moral, hard working, honest people sadly realise that their skills are better employed in other areas.

              So the public get what they deserve and what they vote for.

              Why do you think I haven’t stood in an election to Wirral Council since 2012?

              Just to show the calibre of the area I live in which elects three councillors. One former councillor (Harry Smith) was suspended as a councillor for a week for bullying and not apologising, another former councillor Crabtree is on trial later this month on a criminal matter.

              You think I ever had a chance at winning more public support than people like that? Believe me I tried!!!

              Harry Smith even asked the Lib Dems to subject me to disciplinary procedures for mentioning him in a leaflet!!!

              The phrase “pot calling kettle black” was used by a party member in a verbal discussion of his letter.

              • G’day John

                When is “Crapapple” in court?

                I could have looked it up if I could be bothered but it needs advertising for all his drinking and clowncillor mates so they can turn up in their hundreds so he looks a popular upstanding citizen for the beak.

                Ooroo

                James

                See ya there John?

                Hope they don’t forget to empty the judges bin that week.

                • Last I heard it was scheduled for the afternoon of the 11th January 2017 (which is a week today) at Wirral Magistrates Court (which is just off Hamilton Square).

                  The press don’t get access electronically to the Magistrates Court lists (although the Crown Court lists are available electronically), so I don’t know the specific time and court. As you can guess a lot is still done on paper.

                  Is your comment a reference to do with what you refer to as the brawl in the charity hall and Foulkes’ step-son?

                  As to whether I’ll see you there, it’s down as a possible reporting matter for next week, we usually have a meeting to decide each Thursday. Hope that helps.

                  • G’day John

                    My reference wasn’t to “Ankles”, “The ex-Dunny Chain Wearers Brawl at the Hall in the name of a Charity Ball”.

                    It is more to do with his dodgy mates on The Fudge It and Risk It Mis-Management Committee that would pile in his work bus and go to the pub after effectively telling Grant (Chocolate Teapot) Thornton eff off we will do whatever we want you mind your own business.

                    Ooroo

                    James

                    They did well getting “The Pretend Friend” to chair it cos’ as he tells “Highbrow” I’ve always got an audit trail because I am a clever cheat and liar.

                    • Well let’s face it, say I chaired the Audit and Risk Management Committee and you and Nigel were on it too, would it be less “political”?

  6. Sorry John

    Forgot to attach the headline from the rubbish paper from over Kev and Stella’s Stinking Stagnant wirral Waters.

    Peel: Everton fans should ‘watch this space’ on waterside stadium plan

    Ooroo

    James

    You can ‘watch this space’ in yer footie shirt with your name on the back if yer like Kev “IMA LIAR” with the sponsor on the front “LEP”.

  7. G’day John

    The predicted holiday fairy tales from the rubbish paper from over Kev and Stella’s Stinking Stagnant wirral Waters

    What’s actually happening at Liverpool Waters?

    John will you tell them or will I?

    N O T H I N G

    Ooroo

    James

    We will get the golf resort of “Phil and “Fartin Lobstererpot’s” dreams next.

    Do they treat Merseysiders’ as stupid or are they?

    • No idea about Liverpool Waters.

      As to the golf resort, there’s not even been a planning application yet.

      Maybe it will go the way of the Saughall Massie fire station. Lots of public money spent (6 to 7 figure sum), then refused by Planning Committee.

  8. G’day John

    You say

    Well let’s face it, say I chaired the Audit and Risk Management Committee and you and Nigel were on it too, would it be less “political”?

    I can guarantee, and, would stake my left testicle that it would be different.

    These people are beyond crude, rude and disgusting.

    They have that accountants are just a nuisance sense about them.

    They are like the old chancers down the pool of a morning debating how they will get their filthy hands into the next tranche of lucre.

    Ooroo

    James

    I bet you would also ask Grant (Chocolate Teapot) Thornton to earn their money.

    • Well James, a majority of independent members on the Audit and Risk Management Committee and an independent chair was a recommendation of the last LGA Improvement Board (never implemented by Wirral Council).

      No, if I was Chair, I’d reverse the decision to outsource finding Wirral Council’s next auditor to the LGA.

      I’d set up an auditor panel to do it.

      Then I’d request Grant Thornton do a series of public interest reports.

      How about the first on councillors expenses and allowances?

      And after a week of doing the above, there’d be calls for my removal or resignation!!!


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