MP pays tribute to green belt campaigners as Leverhulme Estates withdraw latest appeal
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22 Sep 2023
Margaret Greenwood, the MP for Wirral West, has paid tribute to green belt campaigners in Wirral after it emerged that developer Leverhulme Estates has withdrawn an appeal concerning an application to build 240 homes on green belt land, east of Rigby Drive in Greasby.
It comes a week after the Planning Inspectorate dismissed seven other appeals by Leverhulme Estates to build around 800 homes on the green belt at various locations across Wirral.
The withdrawal of the eighth appeal, which was underway and which was due to feature a public inquiry, has come as a huge relief to local residents.
Wirral Council had already refused the Greasby planning application, and the appeal would have seen the Planning Inspectorate decide it.
There have been a series of very well attended public meetings against Leverhulme Estates’ proposals to build on Wirral’s green belt, while a series of petitions have attracted tens of thousands of signatures. There has also been widespread opposition in the local press and on social media.
Margaret Greenwood MP has repeatedly spoken out against Leverhulme Estates’ plans, raising the matter in parliament on several occasions and calling on Secretary of State Michael Gove to intervene. She also hand-delivered a letter to 10 Downing Street, along with Council Leader Paul Stuart and Deputy Leader Cllr Jean Robinson, calling on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to stop the development from going ahead and protect the green belt. She had also called directly on the developer to drop its plans.
Margaret Greenwood MP said:
“I am delighted that Leverhulme Estates has withdrawn its appeal relating to its plan to build 240 homes on green belt land in Greasby. This is a great result for campaigners in Wirral West and for Wirral as a whole.
“There has been huge public opposition to these plans and people have campaigned hard to stop this going ahead. People care passionately about the green belt and want to see it protected and preserved for future generations.
“I have been proud to work closely beside local residents in opposing Leverhulme Estates’ proposals.
“The new homes that we so clearly need should be built on brownfield sites. The green belt must be preserved for the benefits it brings to people’s health and wellbeing and for the important part it has to play in restoring wildlife and mitigating the impact of climate change.”
Leading local campaigner Phil Simpson, Chair of Greasby Green Belt Action Group and Natural Wirral, said:
“It is absolutely fantastic news that Leverhulme Estates have withdrawn their appeal.
“We have been fighting to save the green belt for many years, and I am absolutely over the moon.
“Thanks to everyone in our team who has come out and supported us. It’s not just one person; so many people have come out and supported us on all the occasions that we have needed to defend the green belt.
“We could not have asked for any more from our MP, Margaret Greenwood, who has been there alongside us and who has raised the matter in parliament on many occasions.
“Last week, with the seven other appeals, the Planning Inspectorate came down on the side of the campaigners, and Leverhulme Estates have seen the result of that.
“It's great to know that we have still got our green fields and green belt and the unique history of the area has been protected.”
Greasby, Frankby and Irby councillor, Gail Jenkinson said:
“I am very happy that the steadfast pressure by so many people has paid off and saved our greenbelt.
“Their voices and the work of the council in producing the Local Plan mean that regeneration is the order of the day, not destruction of the green fields that are so vital for mental health and clean air.
“If any government is sincere about levelling up, it must support regeneration in the north and protect our greenbelt and farmland, narrowing the health and wealth divide and producing good quality, home-grown food.”