Posted by: John Brace | 6th December 2018

Greenbelt consultation returns to Cabinet on 17th December for further decisions

Greenbelt consultation returns to Cabinet on 17th December for further decisions

                                 

Councillor George Davies (Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety) and Chair of the Birkenhead Constituency Committee 28th July 2016

Councillor George Davies (Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning) 28th July 2016

The papers have been published for the long awaited special public meeting of Wirral Council’s Cabinet to discuss and make decisions on the ongoing omnishambles that is local and national policy on Wirral’s greenbelt.

I sometimes wonder if Baldrick from Blackadder has a relation who works for Wirral Council, as the Cabinet report can be summarised thus and requires a certain amount of cognitive dissonance to get your head around:


  • The quote from Cllr George Davies states that Wirral Council can’t use the new lower household figures released by the ONS (which would result in almost no Green Belt land being released) and he blames this on the Government.

  • Legal advice received (4.8 of the report) states the Government policy is the opposite of what Cllr George Davies states it is and that Wirral Council have to use the new ONS figures for now.

  • These two positions are somewhat mutually contradictory.

  • The Baldrick bit is that the recommendation to Cabinet is that in a recommendation on a rewrite of Wirral Council’s constitution, some major decisions on the Local Plan are taken out of the hands of councillors (as presumably a Wirral Council employee, Wirral Council employees are easier to scapegoat without backlash than the entire UK Government)

  • Responses to the recent consultation that Wirral Council ran on the Local Plan are now kicked into the long grass (which may or may not end up in the greenbelt) and are planned to be published in February 2019.

  • There are plans to appoint consultants (4.3).

  • The collection and analysis of the consultation responses is being done by only two temporary administrative staff (7.1) – I’m not sure if this is a reference to agency workers or not.

  • There are ten themes emerging from the consultation responses which I summarise as opposition to Green Belt release, concern about the methodology used, scepticism about the data underlying the calculation of local housing need, concern about affordability of properties, a view that brownfield sites should be used first, issues about Wirral Waters and empty properties, environmental impacts and infrastructure, site-specific concerns about sites in the urban areas, lobbying from developers and requests for further information.

Wirral Council’s Cabinet meets for a public meeting on Monday 17th December 2018 in Committee Room 1, Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street, Seacombe, CH44 8ED in a meeting starting at 10.00 am to discuss the Local Plan and acquisition of properties in New Ferry.

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Responses

  1. I think your ‘Baldrick’ reference has left out the opinion that Wirral Council are a bunch of turnips!

    • Thanks for your comment Will.

      No references to turnips in this one, just Baldrick and beans!

  2. Well this is Wirral Council who seem to do as they like, i would be be impressed if they want people to come here and invest, thus create jobs, with the recent rain over the last few days they gets the drains sorted out! They pay firms millions of pounds of our money, and year in, year out we get bit of rain and most of the roads are flooded, so looking around why would you want to come here and set up?
    Get you’re act together Wirral Council!
    Turnips is right!

    • Well in October 2018 (around 2 months ago), Bam Nuttall ended its relationship with Wirral Council and the management of road maintenance came back in house.

      So now Wirral Council don’t have a contractor to blame for its poor management of the situation!!!

      If I remember correctly the depot in Prenton that was handed back to Wirral Council used to have recurring flooding problems so there are times people can’t get in and out of it!

      Wirral Council kept the same contractors and subcontractors though (and yes the contractors get paid £millions each year)!

      Wirral Council expect the people to report blocked drains and gullies to it on their website. But if there is surface water flooding, Wirral Council will put the report onto its computer system, scratch its management head and think maybe should someone be sent to sort it out? Thinking and making decisions being two areas Wirral Council has trouble with, if it’s decided to do something you then enter a third area Wirral Council has trouble with communication!

  3. Hi John,

    I notice there is an ability to raise an e-petition to what Councilor George Davies is stating. Have you any experience using this? I think as you state above the report is contradictory and doesn’t align with what Central Government have actually stated regarding use of ONS data.

    I would be more than willing to raise an e-petition to this effect, before I do though just wondered what your experience of using this was?

    Kind Regards

    Michael Thomas

    • Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Generally I don’t sign petitions (or e-petitions) on issues I’m reporting on because of the inherent conflict of interest it causes.

      However based on other people who have used the e-petition system of Wirral Council, it’s time consuming to set up and only accepts e-signatures from those who have first registered with Wirral Council. The problem you have though is you only have 10 days to collect e-signatures of petitioners on it before the Cabinet meets on the morning of the 17th December 2018.


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