Councillor George Davies, Cabinet Member – Housing & Planning (and Deputy
Leader of the Council), said:
“Making sure Wirral residents have a choice of good quality, attractive housing is vital. We’ve got to have a robust Local Plan so we are able to meet those needs.
“We’ve also got a responsibility to our residents. They have told us, unequivocally, that they do not wish to see Green Belt land developed for housing. We agree, and we have told Government Ministers the same thing.
“We must have a Local Plan. We understand this, and we are committed to developing one within the timeframe we have set out. We will do everything we can to protect our local environment and the Green Belt which is so important to our residents.
“We have consistently lobbied Government to allow us to use the recent, more accurate household projection figures published by the Office of National Statistics in September this year. Using these figures would mean we need release almost no Green Belt land for development.
“At the moment, the Government are refusing to allow us to lower our projections, so we must continue to plan for the bigger housing target – 12,000 over the next 15 years.
“I want to thank every Wirral resident who took part in this consultation. I want to reassure them that we are on their side, and pledge to do everything in our power to protect our borough and our unique environment.”
This is saying we dont want to build on the Green Belt but the government wont back down in the OAN issue so we will have to.
This is conformed in the report.
Counsel has advised that the Council should rely on the standard method forassessing local housing need set out in national policy and guidance, pending the outcome of the Government’s recent national consultation on proposed revisions to the national standard method for local housing needs.
The Council has submitted its formal response that any final decisions on the figures to be used in assessing local housing need, including any variance from the outputs from the standard method, should be retained at local level, and to state that the Council wishes to be able to adopt the most up-to-date 2016-based household projections (which result in a reduced minimum requirement of 488 dwellings per year) as a basis for assessing the future housing needs of the Borough.
The recommendation is to sumbit a revised LDS to full council in teh new year and to ‘continue to lobby’ over the OAn nuber. But the report does not recommend breaking the law by not revising or submitting its local plan. If as in inevitable the government does not give Wirral a special pass on OAN different from any other authority then the report would mean inevitably submitting a plan involving Green Belt release. In not even setting a date for the revised LDS or target date for submission it is deliberately stringing things out. Expect a deadline for submission by the SOS as soon as the OAN national consultation is concluded.