Why did over a hundred residents go to a Planning Committee site visit on the Saughall Massie fire station proposal?
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In a grassy field on a summer morning, Wirral Council’s Planning Committee met to visit the site for a proposed fire station in Saughall Massie on Wirral Council owned land just off Saughall Massie Road.
Many local residents and two of the three local councillors (Cllr Bruce Berry and Cllr Steve Williams) were there to observe what happened on the site visit.
There were many with placards opposing the planning application for greenbelt reasons.
Cllr Eddie Boult turned up much earlier for the site visit than the other councillors on the Planning Committee.
Cllr Anita Leech, Chair of the Planning Committee opened the site visit and explained the purpose of the site visit and the procedure that would be followed. She asked a planning officer (Matthew Parry-Davies) to introduce the planning application. Unfortunately Matthew’s voice wasn’t very loud.
Matthew Parry-Davies (who works in Wirral Council’s planning department) explained that the revised planning application was for “a single storey two bay community fire station”.
He explained that access to the fire station (if planning permission was granted) would be from Saughall Massie Road. Mr Parry-Davies described the distances to the nearest properties on two different sides of the site.
The footprint of the proposed building and site perimeter had already been pegged out (both the footprint and the building had been reduced compared to the original planning application). The orientation had also been changed. The generator and sprinkler had been relocated and the training tower had been moved too.
Cllr Anita Leech (Chair of the Planning Committee) asked if any of the Planning Committee had any questions.
Cllr Eddie Boult asked for the differences in distance to adjoining properties between the original planning application and revised planning application. Matthew Parry-Davies answered.
Cllr Steve Foulkes asked if there would still be access to the rest of the site for the general public.
Cllr Treena Johnson asked questions about the retractable tower and its height when down and up. Matthew Parry-Davies answered her questions.
Cllr Anita Leech asked how long it would take to put up and down.
Cllr David Elderton answered with how often it would be up.
Cllr Anita Leech (Chair of the Planning Committee) asked if any ward councillors for the area had any questions.
Cllr Steve Williams (a councillor for Moreton West and Saughall Massie ward) pointed out the distance between the perimeter and nearby houses.
Cllr Anita Leech (Chair of the Planning Committee) asked Colin Schofield of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service to confirm which tape and posts marked the site boundary. He did.
Cllr Anita Leech (Chair of the Planning Committee) confirmed that the blue posts were the site boundary and the red posts were for the building.
Cllr Bruce Berry (a councillor for Moreton West and Saughall Massie ward) asked a question about car parking and asked how vehicles would go on and off the site.
Matthew Parry-Daives answered him.
The Chair of the Planning Committee asked if any ward councillors had any more questions to ask?
Cllr Steve Williams (a councillor for Moreton West and Saughall Massie ward) asked if there would be any controlled burning on the site.
The Chair of the Planning Committee referred to a planning condition in relation to this.
She then asked if anyone else wanted to point out anything “of significance”?
Various residents asked questions or made points about flooding, traffic issues, the site of the generator, vehicles leaving and entering the site, site levels, where fire engines were called out to, traffic, residential amenity and where the optimal position for a fire station to replace West Kirby and Upton was.
Cllrs Eddie Boult and Cllr Steve Foulkes (both on the Planning Committee) made further points.
The site visit ended with the Chair, Cllr Anita Leech thanking everyone for their attendance.
Pictures below this article are photos of the green belt site and people present for the site visit.
Wirral Council’s Planning Committee will meet to decide on planning application (APP/17/00306) for a fire station on land (owned by Wirral Council) adjacent to Saughall Massie Road in Saughall Massie at a public meeting starting at 6.00 pm on the 20th July 2017 in the Civic Hall, first floor, Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street, Seacombe, CH44 8ED.