This follow up to yesterday’s bogus Stressed Eric ‘Green Belt’ Wirral Globe story is a timely reminder that on Wirral there is a need to question every front page ‘exclusive’ , especially when it comes to timing and motivation.
We are grateful for ‘The Prof’ for giving us a sneak preview of this letter to the Globe editor
The Globe report on Green Belt development, quoting Eric Robinson, is puzzling.
We are told that ‘there is no other option’ than to build on the Green Belt and it’s the wicked government’s fault. It seems we must build 12,000 new homes by 2035 or ~700 per annum. This is all very strange.In February Phil Davies wrote to the CLG & H minister, Sajid Javid, to reassure him all was well.
Here are the key bits:
‘Planning permission is currently in place for 16,098 homes, including 2,577 on existing urban and previously developed sites and up to 13,521 dwellings at a large regeneration site …at Wirral Waters…The council’s SHLAA to April 2017 shows the potential for a further 4,531 dwellings, subject to viability…’Taking these numbers in total we have 20,620 homes with planning permission, or 29 years worth at the required rate of building. We are also told that ‘1,315 new dwellings were under construction in April 2017 compared to only 475 in April 2016’ an average of 895 homes per year in recent years compared with the average needed rate of ~700.
Clearly the ‘government’ required rate of building is possible to meet. Robinson’s view that new Green Belt land must be used is therefore puzzling. I also note Javid’s comment that Wirral ‘is not an area of high housing pressure’ which is interesting. Javid’s attack was not about numbers but about Wirral’s failure to meet the statutory duty to have a Local Plan in place. The last plan was published in 2000 !
To conflate statutory plan duties with Green Belt release issues is arguably mischievous. Is all this blather something to do with forcing through pet council Green Belt schemes like the ‘Golf Resort’? Tax payers might reasonably ask, Quo Bono?
Professor D P Gregg (retired)