Green Belt – Keep calm and listen to ‘The Prof’

Nobody knows

‘The Great Wirral Green Belt Debacle’ shows no sign of abating with Wirral Council and central government playing pass the parcel (of land) and continuing to dispute statistical information which is being used to influence Wirral’s future housing needs . Read more  here

It all gives the impression that politicians and public officials don’t know what they’re doing or that the continuing threat to Wirral’s Green Belt is borne of  ignorance of the facts or from questionable political/financial motives.

Thankfully we have ‘The Prof’ on hand to waft the smoke away from the mirrors . Here’s his take on the latest developments and a copy of a letter he’s written to James Brokenshire ,the  Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

This council never seems to learn. Having cried wolf on the green belt issue before it now does it again, helped along by our crazy central government. Let’s look at the facts, one more time, and leave out the Mickey Mouse stuff. The council says it has identified 91 sites which could host 2,400 houses. Peel Holdings have confirmed to the council that they CAN deliver a minimum of 2,900 houses in the local plan period and up to 6,450 houses subject to assistance with infrastructure costs. At the current rate of recovery (by the council themselves) 3,570 empty houses could be brought back into use over the plan period. This gives us 8,870 to 12,420 houses available on brown field sites. But the 803 houses per annum 2017 government target requires a total of 12,045 houses. So at best WE STILL need NO green belt land. At worst we need GB land for 3,175 houses. But the council plan aims to release 4,900 acres : sufficient at normal densities for 71,000 houses. So AT WORST we would need just 4.5% of the green belt the council wants to release for housing development to their speculator friends.That is 220 acres, NOT 4,900 acres. Yet again Wirral residents are being treated with contempt by this council. If the council decide to release the 50 sites in their green belt plan do not be fooled into thinking it has anything to do with central government. It is to do with council politics and greed. How much longer will Wirral voters put up  with this perfidious mob?

Dear Minister

I am a retired professor of mathematical modelling who has been looking
closely at the old and new housing needs methodology. The new methodology has the merit of simplicity and consistency which I understood was your aim.
I can though, understand your frustration that it gives far lower UK housing needs numbers than you hoped for, for policy reasons. However despite the lobbying you have no doubt received from disappointed developers and house builders the basic methodology may not be at fault. I trust the formal statistical review now underway will look closely at the ONS population projections used.
As you are aware something went badly awry between the 2001 and 2011 censuses resulting in large apparent population discontinuities in many locations.
The ‘corrections’ then made, left ‘fingerprints’ on the historical data later used to make the population projections for the standard method. In my own area of Merseyside this has caused havoc! The forecasts have been very unstable as we moved forward from 2012 to 2014 to 2016.
More importantly, to take my own Wirral LA as an example, the projected net migration into Wirral is at least 3X greater than actually experienced in the recent decade, based on several other ONS data sources and independent local time series such as voter registrations.
Since the Wirral internal, natural population is falling this ‘mythical’ migration greatly inflates the ONS population projections and consequently housing needs. Instead of 800 houses per annum (on the old methodology) and perhaps 440 (on the new) , a more likely number is in the range zero to 200 if we also consider your official, ONS low migration scenarios.
This excludes the need to replace local demolitions and the effects of changing housing mix needs. Now I am sure that in many other local authorities  across the country the census problem has worked in the opposite direction, underestimating actual population growth and transfers between authorities. In conclusion, the UK population projections are suspect and ideally should be checked, local authority by local authority, tedious though this is. We shall be doing this in detail for Wirral to provide statistical evidence for any future investigations by your housing inspectors into local planning intentions. I hope this note is of help.
Best wishes,
Professor D P Gregg (retired)

The Great Green Belt Deception : Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

Statistics

We proudly present a message from ‘The Prof’ along with his measured analysis of the newly released data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and the significant impact it should have the Green Belt debate. Spoiler alert : NO GREEN BELT IS NEEDED TO MEET HOUSING DEMAND!  

Gents….the new ONS population / household growth forecasts for Wirral have just halved. (Still too high though). This means that Green Belt land requirements should be slashed even further than I suggested a few weeks ago. With a bit of the brown field already identified and a bit of Wirral Waters and a bit of refurbished empty housing NO Green Belt land release is needed.

The  council should objectively inform the public of the new numbers, halt the consultation and scrap their crazy 4,900 acre Green Belt release plan immediately. If they don’t we should ask why not?

Has too much money already changed hands? See the needs analysis attached . Click here :  WirralHousingTABLESEPT18 2
Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 12.53.39

 

Statistics 2

The Wirral Council Playbooks

Un-Peeling the Truth

Even More Homes 001
Congratulations to Wirral Globe who’ve followed up the past two weeks’ bogus front page stories about the Green Belt to a bullshit story about brownfield sites.

This one is headlined ‘Even More New Homes Are Due’ and we are treated to a picture Cllr ‘Gorgeous ‘ George Davies. Joy was further unconfined to find that the lead letter in the Globe’s Mailbox was also credited to Wirral Council’s Cabinet member for housing. Although no doubt there will be a Wirral Council officer somewhere who actually penned the letter, proudly showing their partner (or more probably their mother) and saying : ” I wrote that!”  Bullshit peddling – what a way to earn a living!

Anyway we know it can’t have been written by Davies as the letter is titled : ‘ Truth behind our Local Plan’ and as we all know this casual racist and smear campaign organiser isn’t even on nodding terms, let alone being acquainted with the  ‘truth’.

In the letter Cllr Davies tries to take on ‘The Prof’ and refute the claims made in the latter’s correspondence  (which we believe was the last to be printed in last week’s Globe and not given the prominence that Davies’ response gets) . We’d already previously published Professor Gregg’s letter here –  Summer Shorts : The Heat is On 2 – Quo Bono?

Let’s face it it was never going to be a meeting of minds was it?  Especially when ,unlike a supermarket trolley,  Cllr Davies doesn’t even have a mind of his own.

Nevertheless,seemingly displaying some rare insight that challenging ‘The Prof’ on facts is a dangerous game to play Davies resorts to the time-honoured tactic of ‘ner,ner,ner,ner,ner’ and tells him (and Globe readers) :

What the seemingly well-informed Prof Gregg doesn’t know is that since the earlier exchange of letters, Wirral Water’s owners Peel Group have been in touch with the Government directly , and to Wirral Council’s surprise and frustration ,have informed the new secretary of state they only intend to build 2,700 new homes at Wirral Waters over 15-year lifetime of the Local Plan

Surely anyone who reads Wirral Leaks must know that the Peel Group have been taking the piss (and public money and public property) for years. The contempt with which they hold Wirral Council (and us) is there for all to see. The thing is the former deserve it – we don’t!

Surprisingly it was left to Wirral South MP Alison McGovern to criticise Peel Group for “insufficient progress” in the press. Whither Frank Field and Angela Eagle now ? – especially the former who has consistently wet his knickers talking about all the wonderful things that are just about to happen in his Birkenhead constituency “tomorrow…next week… a month later… maybe next year… we need a five year action plan… these things take time…perhaps another 37 years ? …….meanwhile I’ve just conned money out of Wirral Council to open another foodbank. Hurrah for me, me ME!”

However what you won’t read on the front page of Wirral Globe or Wirral View (can anyone tell the difference these days?) is news from a ‘Wallasey Town Hall insider’ detailing some interesting developments involving a recent Wirral Council appointment and their intimate connection to……Peel Group.

We’ll be un-Peeling that forbidden fruit tomorrow…