THREE controversial housing schemes, including one close to a primary school and on a former playing field, have been approved by Wirral council.

The news means 28 homes on the former Pershore House School playing fields, eight new apartments in a building that will look like a "new Debenhams" store in Heswall, and two bungalows next to a pub car park in the middle of Wallasey Village, can now all be built, despite hundreds of objections in total.

They were all given approval by members at Thursday's planning committee meeting at Wallasey Town Hall.

Former Pershore House Playing Fields

In terms of the Pershore House playing fields plans, 28 four-bedroom homes will now be built, with a house on Glenavon Road to be demolished to make way for an access road.

The move was subject to a total of 44 objections over aspects such as congestion, over-development and a lack of access for emergency vehicles, and councillors were split over whether to approve the plans or not.

It was also opposed by public body Sport England on the ground that playing pitches must be protected.

Ward councillor Tony Norbury represented the objecting residents, saying their privacy has been "severely compromised", adding that the homes were going to be "crushed into a cul-de-sac".

He said it was too close to Prenton Primary School, and that Elite Land Group, the landowner, "had rode roughshod over [residents'] needs to make profit from [the] venture".

It was revealed at the meeting that an application had been previously approved for housing on site following an appeal, so the committee were "in a bind". 

Cllr Adrian Jones said it was "depressing" the issue was "beyond our decision making".

Cllr Steve Foulkes said it would "be difficult to construct a reason for refusal", adding: "This has met the demand for affordable housing. We should take an optimistic and positive approach about windfall sites that take pressure off the green belt."

The plans were approved subject to a response from the Secretary of State due to Sport England's objection.

Apartment block in Heswall

Also on Thursday, plans for eight apartments over three storeys in Heswall were approved, despite more than 100 people opposing them on the grounds the development was "unprecedented, unwanted, unsuitable and ill-sighted".

Speaking about the application on Brimstage Road in Barnston, Cllr Kathy Hodson said: "I wouldn't like to be the neighbours on either side of the development.

"The [neighbour to the west] would probably think Debenhams had built a department store in the garden next door if he walked out of his house."

Ward member Cllr Les Rowlands said the development would be "visually overbearing", adding: "It would have a severely negative impact not only on neighbours but also the surrounding properties."

Speaking in favour of approval for the plans submitted by Blue Oak Estates, Cllr Foulkes said the building was acceptable in terms of scale, adding: "If refused, [our decision] would be turned over on appeal.

"It's unusual for such a beautiful house to be demolished, but you can see the reasons behind it."

Homes next to a pub car park in the middle of Wallasey Village

These plans for two bungalows next to the Lighthouse pub car park were pushed through by committee members despite opposition from 174 people in total.

The main reason for refusal was the limited access to the homes from Wallasey Village, with a road spanning just 3.2m wide, as well as concerns over a loss of privacy and the area being home to bats.

Despite Cllr Foulkes saying the site was "not ideal for housing", he added: "Surely if we are being imaginative about numbers [relating to protecting the green belt] and moving into areas for development surely we going to have to be over optimistic and imaginative."

Cllr Ian Lewis responded: "Anyone who's visited the site would say it's not ideal.

"If the application is not ideal then why would we approve it? That then means giving the green light to other applications in other areas that are equally not ideal.

"I believe this is over-development, cramped and to a scale not acceptable for a road of that width."

A planning officer told the committee the road was wide enough for emergency vehicle access and there were "relatively low volumes of traffic", meaning the access was not considered to be "unsafe".

The plans, submitted by a Mr Hodgson, were approved by the committee.