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