Thousands sign petition protesting Leverhulme plans for Greasby land

By Ed Barnes

2nd Feb 2023 | Local News

Pictured behind banner left to right: Cllr Tracy Elzeiny in blue, Cllr Max Booth, Conservative candidate David Fairbairn, Cllr Jenny Johnson. Credit: Edward Barnes
Pictured behind banner left to right: Cllr Tracy Elzeiny in blue, Cllr Max Booth, Conservative candidate David Fairbairn, Cllr Jenny Johnson. Credit: Edward Barnes

More than 6,000 people have signed petitions against a controversial plan to build 240 homes on greenbelt land in Wirral ahead of it being voted on next week.

The plans would be on land surrounding Greenhouse Farm (also known as Appleby's Farm) near Greasby and is the latest in a series of applications by the Leverhulme Estate to build homes on countryside and farm land across Wirral.

Leverhulme said the 240 homes, 76 being affordable, will become "an attractive extension to Greasby providing beautiful homes, set on leafy streets, reflecting the design ethos of Leverhulme" with "new green spaces including a community orchard, wetland features and play areas."

Council officers have proposed the application is rejected ahead of a meeting on Thursday February 9.

In total, eight housing applications have been submitted by Leverhulme that would see more than 1,000 homes built as well as plans for a green space.

Seven housing applications and the green space have already been rejected by Wirral Council but Leverhulme appealed the decisions asking for a public inquiry.

Nigel McGurk, Leverhulme's head of land and planning, said it was making the applications because "this need has arisen because of Wirral Council's failure over many years to provide for any meaningful delivery of new homes, especially affordable homes."

Wirral Council's Local Plan is currently being reviewed by the government and includes a policy of house building on brownfield land which is already developed. Councillors said this will help boost areas like Bromborough and Birkenhead.

People have protested against the plans in the hundreds with opposition from Wirral West MP Margaret Greenwood as well as councillors from different political parties.

The reasons for rejection put forward by officers are that it is "an imposing and obtrusive urban built form of development and urban encroachment into this attractive undeveloped countryside and rural landscape location, which would detract from and have a permanent detrimental impact upon the natural rural character and appearance."

Officers said the development would result in the loss of good quality farmland and "the application fails to demonstrate how it would protect and enhance the biodiversity and geodiversity of the borough, especially those areas designated as international, national and local importance.

Despite more than 100 documents linked to the application, council officers said there was "a lack of information on these issues" including whether protected species would be affected.

Officers also raised concerns about potential archaeological remains on the site. In the area, Roman coins and pottery have been found as well as even a blade going back to the Stone Age. Wirral Council argues there have been "insufficient" investigations at the site to allow the development to be approved.

Flooding is also an issue that's been raised by campaigners, concerned increased run off into Arrowe Brooke could lead to flooding downstream in places that are already at risk.

Wirral Council said the proposed drainage for the area doesn't "meet the minimum required standards" and an agreement relating to school, sports and roads provision as well as affordable housing hadn't been completed by Leverhulme.


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