Call to protect Storeton from ‘invasion by developers’

A COUNCILLOR is calling for action to protect rural Storeton from “constant invasion” by developers.

Wirral Council last week approved an application to create a green waste composting area at Brickfield Farm.

But following an outcry by residents, councillors unexpectedly rejected a bid to create a stables and riding facility for people with disabilities on land off unadopted Meadow Lane.

Planning committee members heard work on the development had already started with the removal of a hedgerow on the narrow road.

Concerned residents who complained to the council said it was hundreds of years old and a habitat for bats, but planning officers were unable to find any proof.

Bebington Councillor Jerry Williams, who addressed Thursday’s meeting on both green belt applications, called the area the “green lung” of Wirral. He said: “There is widespread concern from Bebington people and those further afield about this constant invasion into the green belt.

“I’ve been running the lanes of Storeton for 30 years and there were definitely bats there.

“ A number of developments have come along over the years and the first thing to go is the hedging, removing the wildlife that exists there.”

Derek Reed, who lives on Meadow Lane, appealed to the committee: “Leave the lane as it is, quiet, secluded and rural.

“Why should these people be allowed to impose their will on others? I hope the site will be returned to its original state as soon as possible.”

Chris Jones, the agent for the applicant, said the stables would be part of a “unique facility for people who are often ignored”.

He said: “Having discussed this with our client, he would provide a hedge similar to the one that was removed.”

Seven councillors voted against planning chair Dave Mitchell’s move to approve the application.

Warning that there was “no reasoned argument” to turn it down under planning legislation, he said: “Officers of the authority have dealt with the issue and they have moved it for approval. This is the whole system we deal with.”

Following a lengthy debate, the application was eventually refused on the grounds that it would be an unneighbourly development.

The Brickfield Farm development will see green waste turned into compost, which would be used on the farm.

Agent Peter Hinton told the committee farmer John Argyle needed the facility “to realise his aim of having a successful and vibrant farm in Storeton”.

A 78-signature petition called for the application to be rejected but it was voted through unanimously by councillors.