Last night Wirral’s Planning Committee threw out the application made by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service for a new Fire Station on green belt land in Saughall Massie on a vote of 7 to 6.
This was the culmination of a campaign that lasted 2 years and 6 days and is a victory for common sense and people power.
While me and my ward colleagues, Cllr Bruce Berry and Cllr Steve Williams led this campaign of opposition, it would have not been successful without the huge support given by local residents, the Saughall Massie Village Conservation Society and the Campaign for Rural England. Thank you to everyone who helped, this is your victory.
The meeting, attended by around 150 residents heard arguments from all political parties on the merits of approval and refusal and in the end the vote split mainly down party lines with Labour mainly supportive of the application.
The debate took around 90 minutes culminating in two separate recommendations being proposed by West Kirby and Thurstaston Conservative Councillor, David Elderton. The first recommendation was defeated by 7 votes to 6 with all 7 Labour members voting against the Conservative recommendation.
However the second recommendation was supported by 7 votes to 6, with Labours Chair of the committee having the courage of her convictions to protect residents who lived nearby and voting with the Conservatives, Liberal Democrat and Green Party members and the fire services application was refused
The reason for refusal is reproduced below along with the names of how Councillors voted.
“Having regards to location of the development proposed and the proximity to residential properties and the nature of the activities proposed, particularly with regards to the sudden and/or emergency nature of activities, together with the character of the local highway network, the Council considers that the proposal would result in harm to the visual amenities of the Green Belt, the character of the area and the amenities of neighbouring residents and the wider locality. Therefore, the development would be contrary to Policy GB2 of the Wirral Unitary Development Plan and the principles of the National Planning Policy Framework.”
Voting to REFUSE the fire Station:
David Elderton, Conservative, West Kirby and Thurstaston
Eddie Boult, Conservative, Hoylake and Meols
Kathy Hodson, Conservative, Heswall
Ian Lewis, Conservative, Wallasey
Stuart Kelly, Liberal Democrat, Oxton
Pat Cleary, Green, Birkenhead and Tranmere
Anita Leech, Labour (Chair) Leasowe and Moreton East.
Voting to ALLOW the fire station:
Steve Foulkes, Labour, Claughton
Treena Johnson, Labour, Leasowe and Moreton East
Joe Walsh, Labour, Bromborough
Irene Williams, Labour, Bromborough
Denise Realey, Labour, Prenton
Angela Davies, Labour, Prenton