Issue - decisions
Disposal of land at The Warrens - main depot site
The Director of Law, HR & Asset Management advised Members of the responses to the statutory advertising of the proposed disposal of land and designated Public Open Space at the Warrens Nursery, Thingwall, to Wirral Primary Care Trust “the PCT” to facilitate the construction of a Health Centre. The Director of Law, HR and Asset Management requested that ‘call-in’ on this matter be waived as the wasted costs likely to be incurred by the Council and the PCT preparing for the Inquiry whilst a Call-in notice was considered by Overview and Scrutiny would seriously prejudice the Council’s and the public’s interest.
The Deputy Leader of the Council referred to the previous decision by the Cabinet on this matter being called-in and investigated. He supported the recommendation and the proposal to waive call-in on this matter.
Resolved (unanimously) – That
(1) the objections received be noted and the proposed disposal be agreed in accordance with its decision on 16th October 2008;
(2) the Director of Law, HR and Asset Management be authorised to agree the premium payable, following the valuation by the District Valuer, in consultation with the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council;
(3) the Director of Law, HR and Asset Management be authorised to enter in to the necessary legal documentation to dispose of the land to the PCT on the terms outlined in this report; and
(4) call-in on this matter be waived and the Council be informed accordingly.
It was moved by Councillor Blakeley and seconded by Councillor Keeley, that –
“(1) This Committee believes that the decision made by Cabinet on 16 October, 2008, to declare the land surplus to requirements, breaks the commitments made by the Council to local residents and the wider Wirral communities and will impact on the integrity of ‘Arrowe Country Park’
(2) This Committee does not believe that this land can be declared surplus to requirements by the Council as it is clearly defined by the Council as being Arrowe Country Park.
(3) This Committee notes the land is also shown on the Council’s Unitary Development Plan as being greenbelt land. This Council has always, it appears until now, defended greenbelt land. This Committee sees no reason for this position to be changed.
(4) This Committee notes that the land in question has a community footpath linking with Arrowe Country Park woods, bordering the golf course. This Committee therefore believes if this decision to make the land surplus to requirements is endorsed then this community footpath will be lost forever.
(5) This Committee notes the gradual erosion of Arrowe Country Park with the expansion of Arrowe Park Hospital.
(6) This Committee believes that any development of this site would not only cause loss of greenbelt and green space that the public have enjoyed for many years but it would cause harm to wildlife and habitat.
(7) This Committee believes that if the Cabinet’s decision to declare this land surplus to requirements is upheld, that it sets a dangerous precedent that will pose a massive threat to all our greenbelt and open and leisure spaces.
(8) This Committee therefore requests that Wirral Primary Care Trust seek a more appropriate site.
(9) Therefore this Committee asks Cabinet to rescind its decision of the 16 October.
(10) This Committee also notes the local residents’ overwhelming support for allotments and a horticultural training centre on this site and asks Cabinet, with some urgency, to investigate the practicality of such a provision.”
It was then moved by Councillor Meaden and seconded by Councillor Crabtree that –
“This scrutiny Committee recognises the strong feelings of the witnesses to this Committee. The issue in front of the Committee is simply whether or not the Council should dispose of this land. Any decisions on planning matters are for the Planning Committee and if necessary the Planning Inspector to decide. That is the proper forum for many of the views expressed tonight. In the light of the current condition of the site and the Council’s need to dispose of it, this Committee endorses the Cabinet recommendations.”
Councillor Blakeley’s motion was put and lost (3:4)
Councillor Meaden’s motion was put and carried (4:3)
Resolved (4:3) – That this scrutiny Committee recognises the strong feelings of the witnesses to this Committee. The issue in front of the Committee is simply whether or not the Council should dispose of this land. Any decisions on planning matters are for the Planning Committee and if necessary the Planning Inspector to decide. That is the proper forum for many of the views expressed tonight. In the light of the current condition of the site and the Council’s need to dispose of it, this Committee endorses the Cabinet recommendations.