Thursday, 6 January 2022

Concerns About Housebuilding Plans on Wirral's Greenbelt

View of greenbelt land from Whitfield Lane in Barnston.
View of greenbelt land from Whitfield Lane in Barnston.

Applications are currently being consulted on for 7 'screening opinions and scoping requests’ submitted by Leverhulme Estates for building houses on Green Belt land in Wirral. NOTE, these are not planning applications (they will come next) but applications to agree with the local authority on what environmental issues and studies are needed to be done before outline planning permission can be applied for. This is purely about environment (in the broad term including heritage) and is not the place to question housing `need’ numbers.

Our concerns are those below, which anyone is welcome to quote in their own comments on the applications.

Links to comment on the applications are below, or you can email quoting the reference number.

The closing date to submit your comments is Saturday 29th January 2022.

Concerns relating to all sites

  • The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) must consider the cumulative impact of these 7-8 proposals on the environment of Wirral, including on biodiversity. Table 6 omits several planning applications in progress for large amounts of housing, especially in Bromborough/Eastham.
  • The EIA should examine whether there are any environmental `very special circumstances’ for or against building on this Green Belt and greenfield land.
  • The EIA must include impacts on all SBIs neighbouring the site. The current documents omit Harrock Wood (21/02384 Irby) and for the two Raby Hall, Raby Mere (21/02383 and 21/02386) omit Plymyard Dale and Bromborough Golf Course. The EIA must include impacts of supplying services to the land (Raby Mere in particular).
  • The EIA must cover suitable hydrological studies to ensure neighbouring ponds are not drained by falling water tables (Irby and Raby Mere).
  • The EIA must consider buffer zones needed to all the SBIs and Priority Habitats.
  • The EIA must consider ecological networks and the risks of breaking these (Irby).

Items that should be scoped in, not out

Climate change
Greenfield land, even under intensive agriculture, emits little carbon. Houses and their associated transport emit far more.  Ask for a well-respected carbon calculator to be used e.g. as used by the Environment Agency.

Drainage in relation to ponds and water tables (Irby and Raby Mere), and the effects on watercourses (Irby for Arrowe Brook, Raby Mere for River Dibbin, Barnston for Prenton Brook.)

Lighting - These are all relatively dark areas where lights will impact wildlife such as invertebrates, bats.

Further ecological surveys needed

  • Breeding birds, including farmland birds and barn owls (Irby, Raby Mere, Barnston).
  • Great Crested Newts as already detected: Raby Mere, Irby.
  • Water voles as there are reports from Arrowe Brook area and Dibbinsdale (Irby, Raby Mere). Otter can be checked in the survey, though risks are low.

Concerns for specific sites

  • 21/02384 Irby
Ecological networks, drainage to brook and of pond network, surveys needed for breeding birds, great crested newts, water voles. Include impacts on Harrock Wood and buffer zone to Arrowe Park. Wayleave for HVDC Western Link cables.

  • 21/02383 and 21/02386 by Raby Hall, Raby Mere
Surveys for breeding birds, great crested newts, water voles. Drainage impacts on Dibbin and on pond network.

  • 21/92377 Barnston Road Heswall
Breeding birds including farmland.

  • 21/021379, 21/02381, 21/02385 all north of Gills Lane, Barnston
Drainage impacts on Prenton Brook, erosion problems in Barnstondale (where existing erosion whenever the reservoirs are cleaned), more surveys for badgers, breeding birds. Effects on ecological networks.

Links to Screening Opinion and Scoping Request Documents

Please submit your comments by following the links listed below.

  • Land East of Dale View Close, North of Gills lane Pensby – up to 100 houses.


  • Land East of Thorncroft Drive, North of Gills Lane, Pensby. – up to 15 houses.


  • Land west of Barnston Road, North Of Gills Lane – up to 160 houses.


  • Land east of Glenwood Drive, Irby. Up to 310 houses.


  • Land east of Raby Hall, Raby Mere. 85 houses.


  • Land west of Raby Hall, Raby Mere. 40 houses.


  • Land at Milner Road/Barnston Road Heswall. 120 houses



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