Millhouse Appeal – Planning Inspectorate say NO to a Public Hearing!

I was disappointed to receive an email today from the Planning Inspectorate informing me that the Inspectorate would not hold a public hearing into this appeal, and, instead would determine the outcome by an exchange of correspondence (see email at the bottom of this post)

I believe in the interests of openness and transparency this matter should have been the subject of a public hearing, where local residents would have been able to put their objections to this development forward and tell the inspector face to face why this appeal should be dismissed.   Instead this matter will now be determined by a faceless beaurocrat based in Bristol.    I sincerely hope the Inspector takes into account the massive opposition to this proposal

It’s worth repeating that we are not opposed to this ‘eyesore’ being redeveloped, however with a development that is more in keeping with the existing streetscene.

Email starts

Dear All,

We have completed a review of the procedure following the receipt of the LPA’s statement and third party representations. We consider that there would be no obvious benefit in holding a hearing as the Inspector should be able to come to an informed conclusion on the basis of the written evidence submitted and a site visit. Thus the written procedure seems to be suitable and the appeal will continue in this way. Please note that the Inspector has the final decision on the procedure and if they considers it necessary they will not hesitate to change the procedure.

Kind regards
Joanna Martin
Case Officer – Planning Team 11
Room 3/04
The Planning Inspectorate
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Temple Quay
Bristol, BS1 6PN
http://www.planning-inspectorate.gov.uk
Email: teamp11@pins.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: 0303 444 5427
(GTN 7 8870) Fax: 0117 372 8443

Email ends

Reporting Back #2

Over the last few weeks, and working with my colleagues Councillors Steve Williams and Bruce Berry, I have been calling on homes in this area to meet residents and discuss local issues. Thank you to everyone who answered their door and gave us their time.
I am now reporting back on the action we have taken on some of the issues that were raised most often by residents. If you were out when we called, or if you have thought of an issue since then, please let me know.  We can’t promise to solve every problem, but we will try our best.
Cobham Road: the issue raised by many residents was the ongoing problem of speeding traffic. While the Town Hall installed the ’20 Zone ‘ signs some time ago, there are still some drivers, using this road as a short cut, who are causing a problem for people who live here. The Town Hall has advised me that they prioritise the road safety budget on the roads with the highest recorded number of crashes and collisions. I have asked, again, for a new review of the traffic in this area and for possible solutions.
Pot Holes: people also mentioned the unfilled potholes, many of them marked to be filled. We have asked the Council to fill these as soon as possible.
Overgrown tree: we have asked for the tree near the junction with the Oak Close footpath to be trimmed at the based, to enable pedestrians to pass more easily.
Faulty street lights: we have reported those street lights that were ‘on ‘ during daylight, including one in Seawood Grove.
Dog fouling: sadly, a small number of owners are still not picking up after their pets. Some additional signage (for the owners, not the dogs!) would help, as would extra publicity for those people who are being fined for not picking up after their pets.
Willow Grove: we have reported the poor condition in some places of the pavement and have also asked for action on the overgrown weeds.
Altcar Drive: residents enquired about the overgrown piece of land at the entrance to the Drive from Cobham Road.  Planning permission was granted in April 2014 for a one and a half storey dwelling and a single garage on this plot. (Planning Application – APP/14/00106) The landowner has three years to start the build. In the meantime we have requested that the landowner maintains the land and the fencing so that it is not an eyesore.
Email bulletin:
several residents commented on our recently re-launched email news bulletin. If you would like to sign up to receive these monthly bulletins on local issues, please let me know.
Vehicle crime: in May, there was a reported theft from a vehicle in Childwall Avenue. Police are asking residents in the area to ensure that vehicles are kept locked, with no valuables left on display. Equally, that sheds and side gates are kept locked.
Finally, if you have any comments or questions on a ny issue in this letter, or anything else you would like to raise, please let me know.  Your three councillors work for all residents, regardless of how you may have voted in the recent election.

No Surprise from Merseysides Chief Fire Officer!

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Today, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service has published its agenda for its meeting next week on Tuesday 30th June.

As I predicted at the start of the consultation, the Chief Fire Officer has completely ignored the massive local opposition and has ‘Strongly Recommended’ that the Fire Authority accept his recommendation and proceed with the proposal to build a fire station on Green Belt land in Saughall Massie.  You can read his report to the Authority HERE

If you have concerns about this and you are available I would urge you to attend the Fire Authority meeting on Tuesday 30th, commencing at 1pm at their headquarters, Bridle Road, Bootle, Merseyside L30 4YD  commencing at 1pm.

Your three local councillors – Steve Williams, Bruce Berry and myself – will attend, as will representatives of the Saughall Massie Village Area Conservation Society.

MEANWHILE….    As another step to try to stop this attack on our green belt myself and my colleague Cllr Bruce Berry have called on all 66 Wirral councillors to give their backing to the protection of the Borough’s Green Belt as decision day looms for a fire station in Saughall Massie.

We have submitted a ‘Notice of Motion’  (Appended below) calling on Wirral Council to reject the proposal by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) to build on the council-owned site.

Wirral’s Green Belt is one of the reasons why so many people choose to live here and there has traditionally been all-Party support for protecting it.  It’s disappointing that the Town Hall has enabled this particular proposal to reach this stage – especially after it was considered to be unsuitable for land in nearby Greasby.

I’m hoping all councillors will back residents in Saughall Massie and call on the Fire Service to work with us to find a ‘brownfield’ site elsewhere in the Borough.

Notice of Motion – Council Monday 6th July

NO TO THE PROPOSAL FOR FIRE STATION ON GREEN BELT LAND IN SAUGHALL MASSIE

Proposed by Councillor Chris Blakeley

Seconded by Councillor Bruce Berry

Council acknowledges the overwhelming public opposition to the proposal by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service for a fire station on green belt land in Saughall Massie, as demonstrated by:

  • The 200 people who attended a public meeting arranged by MFRS, and a further 270 who were unable to gain admission to the venue.
  • The opposition of the Saughall Massie Village Area Conservation Society and the Wirral Society
  • The 970 people who have, so far, signed a petition against the proposal

Council impresses upon Cabinet:

(1) To maintain protection of Wirral’s Green Belt, as set by agreed policies and stop inappropriate development

(2) Not to gift, sell, lease the land concerned in Saughall Massie, because of the value it has for the community.

(3) To ask officers to continue to work co-operatively with Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service in identifying and facilitating a more suitable brown field site for operational purposes and to maintain the amenity of the local people.

Millhouse Pub Site – Planning Appeal

DEVELOPERS Galliford Try have lodged an appeal six months after their proposals for 38 apartments to be built at the site of the Millhouse pub in Millhouse Lane, Moreton , were thrown out unanimously by councillors during a meeting of Wirral’s planning committee last October.

Galliford Try have asked for the appeal to be conducted through an exchange of correspondence however I have asked for a public hearing of the appeal to be held locally.

I fully expected the applicant to submit an appeal. It was clear during the planning process the applicant had no interest in local peoples’ views and they just wanted permission to build this monstrosity that would not fit in with the existing street scene.

What is important now is that the appeal is heard in the public arena and we have asked planning officers to make representation to the Inspectorate to request this matter is heard in the public arena.  This really is too important a matter to be determined by a faceless bureaucrat based in Bristol.

While an appeal has been submitted as of yet no start date or inspector have been appointed as the Planning Inspectorate has a backlog.    As soon as I have more information I will make sure everyone who lives in the area and who magnificently opposed the planning application are informed.

Akbor’s – Coming Soon!

A huge welcome to Akbor’s ‘Authentically’ India Restaurant opening soon near to Moreton Cross at 226, Hoylake Road.

It really is important that we support local businesses to ensure the town we live in is vibrant with a great mix of shops to satisfy everybody’s needs.  Every empty shop is a sign of a failing town and as a local Councillor I want our town to succeed.

Yes I know we have our share of problems with parking, public transport, however I will continue to do all I can to make our Town the place that people want to come and shop, have a meal or simply enjoy a beer.

Latest Community Newsline

Over the last month through our team of volunteer activists we have been out delivering our latest Community Newsline to residents of Moreton and Saughall Massie.   If you have not had your copy yet contact me either by leaving a comment on the blog or email: chrisblakeley@wirral.gov.uk

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Pick It Up, or Pay The Price!

Wirral’s new Conservative-led Council as well as freezing Council Tax, have reduced the running costs of the Council, which has allowed them to invest in important local services.    Tackling those owners who don’t clean up after their pets is one of the new plans.     Now, a permanent new team of officers will be given the job of tackling these irresponsible owners in Moreton and Saughall Massie, as well as across Wirral.    Under Labour administration, just one person in the whole of Wirral was fined for dog fouling.