Adoption of Wirral Interim Approach to Avoid and Mitigate Recreational Pressure
Decision Maker: Economy Regeneration & Housing Committee
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
This report seeks approval for the Council to adopt the Wirral Interim Approach to Avoid and Mitigate Recreational Disturbance as a material consideration in the determination of planning applications. The approach provides a mechanism to fund measures, through a tariff on new housing development of 10 or more units, to avoid and mitigate disturbance to birds from human activity on the internationally designated foreshores around the Wirral coast arising from additional visits to the coast generated by new housing development. The Wirral Interim approach forms part of a wider Liverpool City Region Recreational Management Strategy (LCR RMS) initiative to tackle this issue. The Wirral Interim approach has been produced as an interim measure due to delays in implementing the LCR RMS, which is expected to come into force in 2024.
The Wirral Interim approach document was published in draft alongside the Submission Draft Wirral Local Plan 2021-2037 in July 2022 and is in the Local Plan Examination Library as document reference ECC27. The LCR RMS will be implemented through a joint Supplementary Planning Document, and the draft scoping document (currently out to consultation) is appended to this report for noting. The Local Plan will support all five themes of the Wirral Plan 2021-26: Inclusive Economy, Safe & Pleasant Communities, Sustainable Environment, Brighter Futures and Active & Healthy Lives.
Resolved – that
1. the adoption of the Wirral Interim Approach to Avoid and Mitigate Recreational Pressure Document as a material consideration in the determination of planning applications be approved.
2. periodic updates be received by this Committee on the Interim Approach to Avoid and Mitigate Recreational Pressures and its implementation be reviewed on an annual basis in consultation with the Chair and Spokespersons of the Committee
Reasons for the decision:
To ensure the Wirral Local Plan 2021-2037 and decisions on individual planning applications continue to be legally compliant with the provisions of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (“the Habitats Regulations”). The Liverpool City Region Recreational Management Strategy (LCR RMS) is in development but has been delayed due to the need to update the evidence base. In common with other Liverpool City Region (LCR) districts, an interim mechanism has to be put in place to address this issue while the LCR RMS is completed. A draft Information and Guidance note on the Interim Approach was published alongside the Submission Draft Wirral Local Plan 2021-2037 in July 2022 and can be viewed here:
Formal adoption of the Information and Guidance note as a material consideration in the determination of planning applications will ensure that developer contributions can be secured and distributed. Funds generated through tariff contributions will be spent on a combination of management measures on the coast and also enhancements to Arrowe Park, to increase its attractiveness as an alternative destination to the coast.
Alternative options considered:
Not to participate in the LCR RMS has been considered. This would place the onus solely on the Council and individual developers to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the Habitats Regulations in relation to recreational disturbance impacts which would be less efficient, more costly and onerous. Natural England’s willingness to enter into a statement of Common Ground with the Council in relation to the Local Plan is on the basis that the Council will adopt the Interim Approach as a material planning consideration.
Publication date: 18/09/2023
Date of decision: 18/09/2023
Decided at meeting: 18/09/2023 - Economy Regeneration & Housing Committee
Effective from: 26/09/2023