High Court rejects Leverhulme case for nearly 800 Wirral homes
Wirral Council’s original refusal of the developer’s plan to build on 110 acres of Green Belt has been upheld for a second time, with a High Court justice adding their voice to the Planning Inspectorate’s decision last year.
Leverhulme Estates had submitted eight applications seeking to build 788 homes and a 56-acre park on various plots of Green Belt land. The project included 300 affordable homes and was meant to address what the developer referred to as the borough’s “acute” housing need.
Wirral councillors rallied against the applications, saying that its emerging local plan shows how it can meet its housing need while still protecting the borough’s Green Belt. The applications were thus systematically refused in 2022.
The developer then approached the High Court, arguing that the agency had not factored in Wirral’s five-year housing land supply or the status of the council’s local plan when making its decision.
Justice Lang failed to be moved by the developer’s case, which she described as “inarguable”, according to media reports. She said the Planning Inspectorate had evaluated the appeal correctly, ordering Leverhulme to pay both the council and the government’s legal fees.
Following the decision, Leverhulme has maintained that Wirral needs new family and affordable homes.
“Leverhulme remains, through all the processes taking place, best placed to help unlock Wirral’s housing shortage now and for future generations and to do so in an appropriate, viable and sustainable manner,” said Nigel McGurk, head of planning and development for Leverhulme.
“Wirral Council’s current trajectory will simply fail to deliver the mix of affordable and family housing that the borough urgently requires,” McGurk continued.
“Leverhulme will continue to highlight this and awaits with interest the response of the planning inspectors regarding the next steps in Wirral’s local plan process.”
The Wirral Local Plan 2021-2037 is currently undergoing a review by the Planning Inspectorate, having been submitted for examination in 2022. The plan includes the provision for 13,360 homes without any land release from the Green Belt.