PUBLIC consultation on major regeneration plans which the council believes could save Wirral's Green Belt has begun.

During a full council meeting on January 13 councillors approved consultation on a document setting out the authority's preferred option for its Local Plan, which will set out how land should be used to meet tough housing targets over the next 15 years.

The eight-week consultation ends on March 23.

The plan's preferred option is to meet demand using only urban and previously developed – or brownfield – sites to meet its future housing and employment needs.

The council says key locations have been identified which, if developed to their maximum potential could play a key role in Wirral's future regeneration and protect Green Belt from development.

They are:

Hind Street, Birkenhead

Woodside, Birkenhead

Town Centre, Central Birkenhead

Wirral Waters, Wallasey/Birkenhead docks

Hamilton Park, adjoining Wirral Waters

Scotts Quay, Wallasey

Seacombe-New Brighton riverside corridor

New Brighton

Leader of Wirral Council, Cllr Pat Hackett said: “We've come an incredibly long way in a short space of time – just a year ago we were at risk of Government intervention.

"Now we are moving ahead with a credible option which I believe not only responds to people’s concerns about the local environment, but offers us a chance to bring much-needed regeneration to those areas which need it most, respond to the climate emergency and provide sustainable options for the future.

"We have come from the Government giving us 10 weeks to develop an action plan to bringing forward exciting proposals which could be the blueprint for the future prosperity of Wirral.

"This agreement of the Council tonight will change perceptions of what this authority can achieve."

Wirral Council's cabinet member for the Local Plan, Cllr Anita Leech, added: "We carried out consultation on the Green Belt just over a year ago and listened to what people had to say, their concerns about the local environment, about regeneration, climate change and having the infrastructure to meet our needs into the future.

"The options we have agreed to consult on, show how we can meet our obligations and look ahead to a future for all those who live and work in Wirral, from housing to jobs, education and health – and do so in a sustainable way.

"We now need everyone with an interest in the future of this borough to take part in this new consultation and help us shape the final draft document which we will submit to the Government later this year."

Under the proposals key urban regeneration sites including Wirral Waters and locations in Birkenhead will play a crucial role in helping deliver the housing and jobs needed in the future, but many more brownfield sites across the borough are also being put forward to provide sites to meet the housing need, opening up the chance for major regeneration of large parts of the eastern side of the borough.

However, most brownfield land is privately owned and although the Council is working with landowners and developers to ensure sites are made available and delivered it may not be possible to meet all the housing need using only brownfield sites.

In the event that not enough sites can be identified the Council also has to consult on other potential options to deliver the housing requirements for Wirral.

The only other options would be to use Green Belt land and therefore these options must be included in the consultation. Release of Green Belt is, however, not the Council’s preferred option.

Council Officers will continue to undertake further intensive work to seek to increase the supply of deliverable and developable land in the urban areas.

To have your say on the lo at

Commenting on the new proposals for Wirral's Local Plan, Conservative councillor for Clatterbridge Cherry Povall, said recently: "There will be relief that Labour has finally dropped their original plan to build 6,000 houses on Wirral's Green Belt but we must now prove that the public wants to regenerate our urban areas instead.

"Developers will be looking to challenge this – in order to avoid the costs of cleaning up the Borough’s Brownfield sites.

"The fight to save Wirral's Green Belt has now moved to the next stage – I urge everyone who wants to see Wirral’s Brownfield sites and urban areas regenerated, and our precious Green Belt protected, to respond to the consultation."

Wirral's Liberal Democrat leader Phil Gilchrist said: "If we can get this balance right, get investment in derelict sites, remove eyesores and get the homes people need in the right places, we can breathe a sigh of relief.

"If we cannot attract the right investment, create the decent environment needed for the future, and turn Wirral round we will have failed.

"To succeed we need funding from Government backed schemes to get Wirral on a better path.

"It could be a path to a fairer future, reversing years of decline.

"It could also secure and protect our best landscapes and countryside for years ahead."