29 Sep 2014

Proposed car parks on Conway Street

A recent planning application to build two new car parks on Conway Street, opposite Europa Pools, has been refused subject to appeal. I am very pleased about this and have worked hard to impress upon planning officers and members of the planning committee why this was a thoroughly bad application. You can read a summary of my arguments below. However, it is immensely frustrating that Wirral Council has been selling off various plots of publicly owned land which then come back to haunt us in the form of anti-social proposed developments. It's just another example of how austerity is undermining social fabric, nowhere more so than in Birkenhead.

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As stated in the officer’s report, “there is no requirement for additional parking provision within this locality”. There are currently six council owned car parks within 500 metres and a further four privately operated car parks. In total, these provide 2,187 spaces. The site is extremely close to Birkenhead bus station and Conway Park railway station so there are clear, more sustainable alternatives. The national planning policy framework says local authorities should support a pattern of development that facilitates the use of sustainable transport. This application clearly runs counter to that objective.

This land is designated as primarily residential. Moreover, the established community on Simpson Street/Parkfield Avenue clearly benefit from the grassed area along Conway Street. This is complemented by a similar strip on the opposite side of Conway Street. This provides an important buffer against noise and pollution. This. This will change completely if this development proceeds. I cannot agree with the officer’s view that this development “would not have an adverse impact onto the character of the area or existing residential amenity,”

I am particularly concerned that vehicles exiting the Simpson Street car park will not necessarily turn right onto Conway Street. Traffic here frequently backs up from the junction with Exmouth Street. There will be a clear temptation for vehicles to exit left out of the Simpson Street car park and access Conway Street via Simpson Street and Parkfield Avenue. I therefore cannot agree, as stated in the report, that “there are no highway safety issues relating to the proposal”.


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