Home For the record East of Halewood consultation: Your questions answered

East of Halewood consultation: Your questions answered

by Gemma Melling

The consultation on the future masterplan for the East of Halewood development site is now open.

A number of comments and representations have already been submitted, including some common questions or concerns.

A comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions document is available on Knowsley council’s website, but we sat down with the council’s Major Development Team to find out the answers to some emerging queries.

Is this a new plan / development?

The detailed proposals set out in the draft masterplan are new, but the planned development of the site is not. The site was allocated for residential development in 2016.

Is the site in the green belt?

No. The site has been allocated for residential development since 2016 when Knowsley’s Local Plan was agreed.

Can I object to the site being developed?

The opportunity to object to the principle of the land being developed for new homes was during the Local Plan preparation process between 2013 and 2015. The principle of the site being suitable for new residential development was agreed in 2016.

There are still opportunities to influence how the site may come forward.

The first of these is the current public consultation on the draft Supplementary Planning Document and Masterplan and there will be further opportunities to comment on individual planning applications as and when these are received by the council.

What is the council currently consulting on then?

The council is consulting on an overall plan that will guide the future development of the site. This includes the creation of new homes, improvements to public open space and the potential for some limited commercial uses on part of the site.

There is a lot of information to review. Is there anywhere that I can find the key points / facts without having to read everything?

There is a short film highlighting the key aspects of the draft masterplan and the main masterplan framework diagram shows at a glance the broad areas for development, public open space and key access points to the site.

These materials are also available to view at Halewood Leisure Centre and The Halewood Centre.

You can also come along to one of our advertised drop in events, where council officers will be on hand to explain the plans.

Is the council selling off the site?

No. The majority of the site is in private ownership and not owned by the council.

The only land owned by the council is:

–          Finch Woods: This land will remain in council ownership, and be enhanced as a public open space;

–          Finch Wood Academy: This is currently an operational school site leased by Adelaide Academy Trust. The draft masterplan assumes that this use will remain.

What exactly will happen to Finch Woods?

The draft masterplan proposes that Finch Woods will remain in its entirety and will be expanded to include some land currently in private ownership. This larger public open space will then be enhanced and will be part funded by developer contributions. This will include new facilities for the whole community of Halewood to enjoy, including new play areas.

What has been the council’s involvement with the RSPCA and their decision to close?

The RSPCA Liverpool branch is located within the East of Halewood site. At the time of allocating the site for residential development in 2016, the council was advised that the RSPCA facility was to remain and the council accounted for that at the time.

Subsequently, the council has been advised that the RSPCA has unfortunately made the decision to close the Liverpool branch for financial reasons. To clarify, this is a decision that has been taken independently by the RSPCA and not the council.

In line with planning policy, the RSPCA site has now been included in the draft Supplementary Planning Document and Masterplan for the overall development of the East of Halewood site. The council is currently consulting on both of these documents.

When it was made aware of the RSPCA’s decision to close, the council offered support to the organisation’s staff.

What about the increase in traffic and congestion in the area?

The draft masterplan proposes a number of ways to help manage any increase in traffic on roads in the area. This includes potential upgrades to six junctions and improvements to stretches of highway, including Finch Lane and Higher Road. There will also be measures to slow traffic on roads around the site, including Higher Road, Baileys Lane and Lower Road.

The draft masterplan also proposes improvements in public transport and new walking and cycling routes around the site and to connect the site to other parts of Halewood.

What about impacts on school places and doctors?

The draft masterplan sets out that the council will seek financial contributions from developers towards the creation of more primary school and nursery (early years and childcare) places in Halewood to provide additional capacity. Financial contributions will also be sought from developers towards expanded health care facilities.

As part of Halsnead Garden Village a new 2.5 form entry primary school is proposed; is anything similar planned for Halewood?

The draft masterplan proposes that additional primary school capacity will be provided through the expansion of the existing schools within Halewood. The number of additional places to be created will (as like with Halsnead Garden Village) be based upon the number of new houses to be built multiplied by a pupil generation rate.

Will there be any affordable housing?

The majority of homes on the site will be for market sale, but Knowsley’s Local Plan policy is that subject to viability at least 25% of the new homes should be affordable housing. This will include a mix of affordable home ownership (which could include shared ownership and discount market sale) and affordable rented homes. These homes will be made available to prospective occupiers by the private housing developers and their Registered Provider partners, rather than by the council.

What are the next steps?

Following the public consultation period, the council will review the responses received and make any necessary amendments to the draft masterplan. The final documents will then be considered by Knowsley Council for formal approval. If adopted, the documents will be used to determine any future planning applications for development within the area.