Planning Committee 30th May 2013 (Wirral Council): Vote on new play area in Leasowe splits Planning Committee 7:6

Planning Committee 30th May 2013 (Wirral Council): Vote on new play area in Leasowe splits Planning Committee 7:6f

Planning Committee 30th May 2013 (Wirral Council): Vote on new play area in Leasowe splits Planning Committee 7:6

                                                                                                                                                                

If there was ever a part of a meeting that sums up both the Kafkaesque bureaucracy of Wirral Council, item 12 (and its appendix) would serve very well.

It all started as usual with an officer saying it would’ve been decided by officers under their delegated powers if Cllr Lewis hadn’t asked for it to be decided by the Planning Committee (however with a qualifying petition against it and nine letters of objection it would’ve been decided by the Planning Committee anyway). The officer continued by stating that the planning application was for a children’s play area comprising five items and dated back to a 1997 agreement with a developer building a new housing estate. The area proposed for the play area was part of an area of open space established for the residents, residents had concerns, but environmental health had no objections to the proposal despite the area being a flood risk.

A representative of the petitioners, Steven Lindsay of 5 Aintree Close thanked the Planning Committee for attending the site visit on the day before the meeting. He pointed out it had been sixteen years since the original agreement for the play area had been signed and that since then many families had grown up, he referred to a survey conducted eighteen months ago of one hundred and forty-seven properties. Ninety percent had been against the play area, six and half percent for and three and a half percent hadn’t expressed a preference. Mr. Lindsay referred to another brand-new play area nearby which was well used by children and a further play area that had been built as the result of a section 106 agreement with a developer.

The concerns of the petitioners were of vandalism, theft of the play area equipment, antisocial behaviour and people gathering there who were not from the area. Another concern was that the site of the proposed play area was too close to adjoining properties and that a nearby play area had had equipment stolen. Two other play areas at a distance of 200m and 300m were nearby as well as Leasowe Common.

Miss Jackie Smallwood, of Wirral Council’s Parks and Countryside Service address