Wirral’s Labour and Lib Dem councillors vote against Conservative motion that recommended restricting future development on Council owned land in the greenbelt
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Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Wirral Council) 5th July 2017 starting at agenda item (Notice of Motion – Green Belt) 1:18
ED: Edited to add quote from Wirral Society at end. 8.7.17 16:58
Yesterday evening, Wirral Council’s Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee discussed Cllr Chris Blakeley’s motion about Wirral Council owned land in the greenbelt.
The Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee is made up of 9 Labour councillors, 5 Conservative councillors and 1 Lib Dem councillor. However 1 Labour councillor couldn’t make it which meant on the evening in question there were 8 Labour councillors, 5 Conservative councillors and 1 Lib Dem councillor.
Cllr Chris Blakeley wanted an “unconditional guarantee” that it wouldn’t be “developed under any circumstances”.
The Labour councillors disagreed with Cllr Chris Blakeley and Cllr Foulkes gave the example of Arrowe Park Hospital as a development that Cllr Foulkes approved of that was on Council-owned land in the greenbelt. The Conservative councillors agreed with Cllr Chris Blakeley.
However when it came to the vote, the Labour councillors (plus a Lib Dem councillor) voted down Cllr Chris Blakeley’s notice of motion, replacing it instead with a Labour proposed notice of motion.
The text of the replacement motion proposed by the Labour Chair Cllr Paul Stuart was as follows:
The Council recognises the value of the greenbelt, which should only be developed in special circumstances.
We await the Emerging Core Strategy: Local Plan and the consultation around this with specific reference to the national guidelines.”
The Labour notice of motion was agreed by a 9 (for): 5 (against) vote. This recommendation has to be agreed by a future meeting of all Wirral Council’s councillors before it becomes policy.
The Wirral Society “applauds the commitment by Wirral Councillors to uphold the integrity of the Wirral Green Belt and especially of land within its ownership.
As the legislation makes provision for exceptions to be made for development in the Green Belt under Very Special Circumstances, we accept that it would be difficult to for the Council to say it would never allow any development on its Green Belt land. However, the Society was disappointed that the Motion passed made no mention of the need to pursue a policy of giving priority in all cases to developing ‘Brown-Field’ (ie previously developed) land as a priority.”
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