CPRE Cheshire and the Wirral Green Space Alliance submit a joint response to the Wirral Local Plan consultation

27th July 2020

‘Good progress’ made on refreshing the evidence base, but concerns over agricultural land and the value of landscapes remains.

CPRE Cheshire and the Wirral Green Space Alliance (WGSA), a consortium of over thirty local societies, have submitted a joint response to the Wirral Local Plan consultation.

The response focuses on the following areas:

Agricultural Economy and Land

We believe that protection of the Best and Most Versatile (BMV) farm land is vital for the rural economy, job creation and retention and food security. Additionally, the importance of soil, long highlighted by CPRE, has been recognised in the Government’s new Agriculture Bill. CPRE highlights in the response the role of healthy soil both in food supply and in tackling the climate emergency.

Wirral Landscape Sensitivity Assessment

CPRE Cheshire and the WGSA highlight the importance of the imagery used in order to assess landscape sensitivity. In addition, the response highlights the fact that the landscape is more than just ‘the view’ – it reflects the ever-changing relationship between people, place and nature.

Wirral Local Landscape Designations Review 2020

We agree the local landscape designations are important to steer development to the right places in the future. However the identification of sites is problematic and the approach to scoring gives the public the impression that there was a predetermined outcome and therefore the objectivity is questioned. Site selection for local plan allocations must be based on sound sustainable development criteria and protect intrinsic landscape qualities, including visual impacts and other important planning issues to ensure our ecological, heritage and other asset value is best protected for future generations.

Exploring the Computation of Housing Need in Wirral 2020

WGSA has considered the expert opinion of Piers Elias an independent demographer (this analysis forms part of the response, which can be downloaded below). We think his approach is correct, and the evidence justifies his recommendation for an Objectively Assessed Housing Need of 380 dwellings per annum for the period 2019 to 2035, based on ONS 2018 SNHPs and a 10 year (within UK) migration trend should inform the housing requirement, and land supply policies of the local plan. We trust that the Council will amend the housing policies accordingly and thereby take away the unnecessary development pressures from Wirral’s green spaces.

Download the full report below.

2020 July 24 WGSA & CPRE comments to Wirral LP Evidence Base

Thurstaston Common © Copyright Jeff Buck and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons