- Government insists a minimum 803 new homes a year needed in Wirral
- Council deputy leader pledges ‘brownfield first’ development policy
- 12,000 new homes must be built in Wirral by 2035
Maximising use of brownfield sites in Wirral for new homes will be the top priority as development of the borough’s Local Plan moves to the next crucial stage, the Council’s deputy leader pledged today.
The Government has said the Plan must require the building of at least 803 new homes every year across Wirral over the next decade and a half – over and above any existing empty homes.
Wirral Council cabinet member for housing and planning, Cllr George Davies, said the focus will be firmly on brownfield sites for the newly built homes – areas which have already had development on them – and on maximising the use of this land to provide as many homes as possible, and protect Green Belt from unwanted and unneeded building.
He said: “It’s also important to highlight that although we will look to maximise development opportunities in brownfield sites we will not compromise on quality and we will ensure that the approach of creating sustainable and vibrant communities for all is at the heart of everything we do.”
All local authorities are required by the Government to produce a Local Plan which determines what sites should be made available for development, and what type of development.
This includes where there should be housing, new employment and mixed uses following an in depth review of land across the borough.
Wirral was set a target of allowing for 12,000 homes to be built by 2035, or just over 800 a year, which was determined based on the Government’s formula using the available economic and demographic data. All councils must use Government data and the Government formula to set its housing target.
Last year the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released revised figures indicating the target could be lower – closer to 500 – which would have significantly reduced pressure on Wirral’s Green Belt.
Wirral Council, along with other areas, asked the Government if this revised figure could be used. However, the Government has now said council’s must use the original estimates.
Cllr Davies said: “It’s disappointing the Government want us to use the higher figure but despite this I am determined that we will do everything in our power to protect Wirral’s most beautiful natural locations.
“As we go through the process of developing the Local Plan we are becoming more convinced it is possible to develop even more brownfield sites.”