Agenda item

Designation of a Neighbourhood Planning Forum and Neighbourhood Planning Area for Birkenhead and Tranmere


Councillor Ann McLachlan introduced a report by the Strategic Director - Regeneration and the Environment which informed that the Birkenhead and Tranmere Neighbourhood Planning Forum had applied to the Council to be formally designated as a statutory Neighbourhood Forum to enable it to prepare a statutory Neighbourhood Development Plan for a proposed Neighbourhood Area based on the Electoral Ward of Birkenhead and Tranmere, with small additional areas around The Williamson Art Gallery and Museum in Oxton Ward; and at Holborn Square, Holt Road and Sidney Road in Rock Ferry Ward.


Appended to the Strategic Director’s report was


·  Appendix 1 – Proposed Neighbourhood Area (as applied for);

·  Appendix 2 – Recommended Neighbourhood Area for Designation; and

·  Appendix 3 – Summary of Representations Received.


Councillor Pat Hackett informed that the Neighbourhood Area applied for detailed on the map at Appendix 1 to the report, included Birkenhead Town Centre, Hamilton Square and a large part of the surrounding commercial areas.  The Area included approximately 8,500 residential properties, up to 1800 non-residential commercial and business properties and had an estimated resident population of 12,900.


Councillor Pat Hackett also informed that a public consultation exercise had taken place in accordance with the Delegated Decision published on 7 May 2015, to comply with national regulations.  The Cabinet noted that the application for the designation of the Neighbourhood Area had to be determined within 13 weeks of the application being publicised, which in this case expired on 19 August 2015. 


The report recommended that the application for the neighbourhood area, as applied for, be refused but that a reduced area be designated to the south and east of Borough Road, to better reflect the delineation of local communities and the character of the area.


The Neighbourhood Area that was recommended to be designated, as detailed in Appendix 2 to the report, would still include approximately 5,160 residential properties and up to 200 non-residential properties and would have an estimated residential population of 10,200.


The Cabinet noted that the Council was unable to refuse to designate a neighbourhood planning forum that met the minimum statutory requirements (which included a written constitution, with a purpose of promoting or improving the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of an area; and an open membership, with a minimum of 21 individuals who lived or worked or were elected to represent the area) and the Council must designate some or all of the neighbourhood area applied for, unless it considered that the specified area was not an appropriate area to be designated as a neighbourhood area. The reasons for refusing or amending an application had to be published and could be challenged in the courts. 


Once designated, no other organisation or body could be designated for that neighbourhood area until that designation expired or was withdrawn.


Any future Neighbourhood Development Plan (for any area) had to have regard to national policy and must be in general conformity with the strategic policies contained within the Council’s adopted Local Plans and could only be legally made following statutory consultation, independent examination and a majority vote in a local referendum.




(1)  the application for the neighbourhood area be refused and that the reduced area shown on the plan attached at Appendix 2 to the report be formally designated as the statutory Neighbourhood Area for Birkenhead and Tranmere;


(2)  a document setting out the decision to refuse the neighbourhood area application and a statement of the Council’s reasons for refusal together with the Council’s reasons for making the decision to designate an area smaller than was applied for be published in accordance with Regulation 7 of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 and Section 61G of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended), in consultation with the Cabinet Member for the Economy;


(3)  the Birkenhead and Tranmere Neighbourhood Planning Forum be asked to confirm that it is still willing to act in relation to the smaller area and to confirm that it is still able to meet the conditions for designation set out in Section 61F of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) before the Council agrees to formally designate it as the statutory neighbourhood planning forum for the smaller Neighbourhood Area of Birkenhead and Tranmere; and


(4)  subject to a positive response pursuant to resolution (3) above, the application for the neighbourhood forum be reported back to a future meeting of the Cabinet, to allow the designation of the neighbourhood forum to be confirmed. 

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