Wirral’s Green Belt : The Changing ‘Story’

Our latest leak about the Green Belt includes many points of interest including the big news that Story Homes have pulled out of the Hoylake Golf resort proposals. Their replacement, Redrow , bring an interesting track record to devlopments . As does disgraced Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes  who we are told is to become the Chair of Wirral Council’s  Planning Committee. We have to ask whether, with his proven track record of flagrant dishonesty , that this is the right person to be involved in making decisions about multi-million pound development plans – or indeed any council business at all…

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STORY 2-2

Hi Wirralleaks

Are you aware that Story Homes have pulled out of the Golf Resort and the preferred housebuilder is now REDROW!!!??  David Ball has confirmed this to us last week at the Wirral West Constituency Meeting. In an email David Ball stated “Story Homes had a change of strategic direction by their owner and decided that the Hoylake project did not now align with the new direction.”

 

Of course, this is a diplomatic way of saying that “they have decided to pull out” but it would be very interesting to know why they pulled out. Why have they decided to pull out of the golf resort, yet they are actively pursuing other landowners on the Wirral looking to develop other Green Belt Land? – see attached letters.

 

It seems that Story Homes “change of strategic direction” still includes trying to build houses on Wirral’s Green Belt – just not on the Golf Resort site. Has the Hoylake Golf resort project become too toxic for them? Maybe they were aware of the massive public opposition and they feared bad publicity? Maybe they were worried about flooding, as the golf resort houses are to be built in the middle of a flood plain? Or maybe they no longer wanted to be involved with the Nicklaus Joint Venture Group as they, and there partners Branded Hotel Management, have lost a number of Directors recently. Perhaps they were struggling to get financial backing for the project as the NJVG have a history of bankruptcy?

 

It would be interesting to know when exactly did Story homes pull out and is this the reason why the design studies have been delayed.

 

I am sure you are aware that REDROW are embroiled in a bitter battle with the people of Liverpool. Redrow and their friend “Redrow Joe” Anderson are trying to build 51 executive homes on Calderstones Park. Over 40,000 have signed a petition and the public are funding a judicial review next month. Labour have lost seats in South Liverpool because of their policy of selling off Green Spaces to Redrow, yet still Joe Anderson will not listen.

 It would be interesting to know if  (Cllr) Phil Davies spoke to Joe Anderson to ask if his Redrow friends could “rescue” the golf resort project after Story Homes pulled out.

 

It is also concerning that Redrow will now be in charge of building a housing estate on a flood plain. A simple google search of “redrow” and “flooding” reveals scores of housing projects built by Redrow where there have been flooding problems. There is even a facebook page called “I bought a Redrow home and my garden is a swamp!”

 

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/residents-living-new-housing-estate-14386420

 

http://www.leaderlive.co.uk/news/16157885.Flooding_concerns_in_Hawarden_near_recent_Redrow_housing_development/

 

https://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/news/fury-over-leaky-luxury-homes-and-flood-issues-1-8682734

 

You may also be aware that the Labour LCF passed the following motion last Friday. I understand that there were no votes against with the 3 Labour Group members (Councillors) abstaining:

 This branch / CLP / LCF calls upon the Labour Group to:

  1. Complete a re-evaluation of the housing needs for Wirral taking into account the historical population and household numbers and trends, the recent lack of economic growth and the likely dramatic effects of Brexit on the economic prospects for Wirral.
  2. Challenge the Government’s housing targets for Wirral arguing that there is compelling evidence to adopt an alternative approach to the calculation of housing needs.
  3. Argue that the above factors will dramatically reduce the anticipated housing needs for Wirral and suggest a much lower figure.
  4. Complete a consultation with the membership to include prioritising the construction of council houses, starter and affordable homes on a brownfield first basis. The consultation should include a local policy conference to discuss inter alia compulsory purchase options for land owned by Peel Holdings and the development of our own regeneration plan for that area and other areas, bearing in mind that the Wirral Waters site is eligible for substantial Government grants.
  5. Complete a revised and widely agreed local plan to be consulted on in all our communities. This public consultation should be led by Councillors in cooperation with the wider party to ensure the voices of all Wirral’s citizens are listened to and acted upon.
  6. Oppose the re-designation of Greenbelt for house building, to reiterate its commitment to preserving Wirral’s Greenbelt and to cancel the proposed Hoylake Golf Resort.

The LCF has 6 delegates elected by each of the 4 Wirral Constituency Labour Parties, one delegate from each Labour Party branch, representatives of the Labour Group (Labour Councillors), and one from the Co-operative Party and Young Labour. The motion was carried with no votes against, with the 3 Labour group representatives abstaining.

Finally, we have also been made aware that Steve Foulkes (“Research Associate” at Unilever) has been made chair of planning – i.e. he will decide what land Leverhulme can develop – a conflict of interest surely?