What are the new powers of the Metro Mayor to decide on planning applications?
How planning applications are decided will change after a new Metro Mayor is elected next month. The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority will have the power (from the 8th May 2017) to decide on planning applications of “potential strategic importance”.
Whether a planning application is of “potential strategic importance” is defined in the legislation in categories such as large-scale developments, major infrastructure and development which may affect strategic policies.
The last category includes planning applications in the green belt that involve constructing buildings with over 1,000 square metres floor space.
For example the controversial Saughall Massie fire station planning application is in the green belt, but is for a building of 645 square metres (originally 737 square metres) so this would be decided by Wirral Council’s Planning Committee.
However the equally controversial Hoylake Golf Resort project will involve a planning application for the construction of buildings over 1000 square metres so could easily be deemed to be of “potential strategic importance” and be determined by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and not Wirral Council’s Planning Committee.
Interestingly, the revised planning application for a fire station at Saughall Massie includes the proposed Hoylake Golf Resort as a reason for a fire station at this location.
The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority will be meeting on the 21st April 2017 to revise their constitution ahead of gaining these new powers.
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