Port Sunlight, P.Lawless Comms
The estate wants to build on the success of Port Sunlight. Credit: via Lawless Communications

Leverhulme Estate plots 1,000 Wirral homes 

Dan Whelan

Eight Green Belt plots covering around 140 acres have been identified as suitable for residential development as part of the Leverhulme Vision project, aimed at boosting housing delivery on the peninsula. 

The Leverhulme Vision aims to provide sites to boost Wirral Council’s housing pipeline ahead of its Local Plan refresh. 

The Leverhulme Estate, known for developing the 130-acre Port Sunlight, has submitted early-stage proposals to the council in the form of EIA Scoping Opinions, identifying the sites and outlining its intentions for each. 

The eight potential schemes are:  

  • 160 homes on 18 acres west of Barnston Road, North of Gills Lane, Barnston 
  • 85 homes on nine acres east of Raby Hall, North Raby Hall Road, Raby Mere   
  • 310 homes on 42 acres east of Glenwood Drive, Irby 
  • 40 homes on eight acres west of Raby Hall, north of Raby Hall Road, Raby Mere 
  • 100 homes on 9.6 acres east of Dale View Close, north of Gills Lane, Pensby  
  • 15 homes on two acres east of Thorncroft Drive, north of Gills Lane, Pensby 
  • 120 homes on 20 acres off Milner Road and Barnston Road, Heswall 
  • 250 homes on 30 acres east of Rigby Drive, Greasby 

The Leverhulme Vision states that the estate is “uniquely placed” to enhance Wirral on a significant and comprehensive scale. 

“Wirral can build on the legacy of exemplar developments like Port Sunlight, but only if it takes a more rounded and thoughtful approach to creating new and enhancing existing communities,” the vision adds.

Consultancy Strutt & Parker is advising the estate on its plans. 

“The overarching objective of the Leverhulme Vision is to deliver a series of developments that help to address the pressing need for new homes within Wirral,” according to Strutt & Parker. 

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Wirral is in desperate need of affordable rental properties 2,3 and 4 beds. Shame we have to sacrifice our green fields but needs must. I’m all for it as long as its for the right reasons.

By Chris Keeble

Even more green belt being taken for housing! Shame on Wirral Borough Council if you allow ANY of this building to to take place. There is PLENTY of old industrial areas which could be used in particular for first time buyers,

By P M

Wirral has a declining population 335k -1990, 323k – 2020. There is of course a need for affordable housing but I doubt any of these proposed plots will provide this. A well dressed statement by the planning consultants none of which refer to profitability from land sales or the environmental impact of reducing green spaces which were rightly protected by Green Belt regulations. This is not right for the area but no doubt money will be the main driver here.

By Michael Green

The Leverhulme Estate did not ‘develop Port Sunlight’, Lord Leverhulme and his forward-thinking vision did – he would be outraged at this destruction of Wirral’s green belt for monetary gain.

By B R

I’m all for the developments, but not looking forward to the extra pressures placed on the schools, doctors and already congested roads.

By L L

There is no shortage of 350+K housing on Wirral, are they seriously trying to convince us that these estates on prime Green belt land, in prime locations are going to be either social or affordable? If it was to meet demand there are many, many other locations going begging for development.

By Morgan Davies

Taking away green belt is not the answer when there is so much industrial land being unused. Make more flats, build up, not out. The countryside should not be sacrificed and the more nature we destroy the worst things are going to get for the people that live here. Have the council learned nothing? It’s like they are waging a war against nature.

By Mark

There are more than enough brownfield sites on the peninsula but of course these would make less money for the developer. No need to build on greenfield sites whatsoever.

By Brian

Shame to lose all the green fields.
When is it going to happen.
Have council approved all the plans

By David Cowderoy

We are strongly against this proposal

By Joan Garratt

This would be devastating for Wirral’s Green Belt. I know several of these sites, they are farmland. This would also destroy those farms.

By Peter Reisdorf

Wirral Borough Council are not fit for purpose, giving or even considering planning permission on green belt is disgusting.Also considering selling its town hall – seriously considering off street parking ,what a joke the
sooner kicked out of office the better

By Taffy

There is plenty of low quality land in the Wirral, these areas would be greatly improved by new housing developments and their associated new green spaces and play facilities. Keep your hands off the green belt!
A similar thing was proposed in Leeds, lots of green belt was designated for housing. There was so much uproar about it, Leeds city council changed their policy to build on brown belt land instead.
If it can happen in Leeds it can happen in Wirral. Keep opposing!!!

By Kerrie Mckinnon

Absolutely outraged that green belt land is to be ripped up for Leverhulme greed. There will be more congestion, more demand on schools, doctors and hospitals which are already at a stretch and surrounding properties will lose value. We must be doing more to protect our green spaces, redevelop the brownfield sites if we must, but keep Wirral green for our children and future generations!

By Kate

Will always find that people don’t complain about new builds unless it where they live

By Pm

No thank you. I completely object. Let’s keep Wirral green and stop building non-affordable “affordable” houses in areas where housing is not required.

By Jodi Beauchamp

The council has promised only brown belt land for building. Building on green belt is not affordable housing. Also most of the areas if built on could course flooding. They are trying there hand with so many areas at once hoping to get a percentage through. There will be no single villages just one big urban sprawl.

By Robert upton

I strongly oppose these plans. We have already lost land in Pensby to new build housing. Every small space is being built upon with out a thought to the infrastructure of doctors dentists and more importanyly the decruction of our already limited wildlife spaces.

By Joanne

Before WMBC even consider giving planning consent anywhere they should consider the roads inferstructure. Try looking at Gills Lane between 7am & 9am &
4pm & 6.30pm – Look at the tail backs of traffic from Birkenhead Liverpool & the motorways at Arrowe Park Traffic lights.
There are dozens of brownfield sites in Birkenhead Prenton & Wallasey but who wants to live in these areas where the burglary stats are higher than the rest of the
Borough. Why not get rid of a couple of golf courses Wallasey & Carr Lane are prime land for building.
Think again WMBC – our grandchildren won’t want to live in a conurbation like Liverpool or Manchester- keep Wirral as sub urban – keep our green belt as it is. GREEN!

By Paul Stewart-Hughes

Green belt is not for housing. Try refurbishing all the old unsightly area first. Plenty of run down buildings and land to use first. Any absent landowners/lords should have their property taken from them if they cant/wont keep them in proper order.

By Lynne Ruchards

Horrified by the proposals. Even more so by the less than accurate studies that have apparently been undertaken. Noise/air pollution/traffic concerns have been brushed off as though they’re nothing and also undertaken during lockdown/partial lockdown. They should be invalidated. The lack of concern towards the current residents is insulting.

By Emma McDonagh

No one wants it here find somewhere else no space in schools far too much traffic they’ll never be affordable here try a brown belt somewhere else

By Sue

I though there was enough brownfield sites to allow such development . The infrastructure around Milner lane is not right for this not to mention this is across the road from an area of SSSI and the protected animals also use this farmland which is in use as early as last year ! Farmland is protected on wirral not to mention not allowing villages to merge which this would do !

By Siobhan fotheringham

These will not be houses for rent or affordable houses for sale so will not help people in most housing need. I assume the Leverhulme Estate is doing this to make a profit. Are they in financial trouble? Or is this greed?

By MAB

Shame on council turn around and promises.
There are plenty of other sites. But developers know they can get more profit from Greenfield sites. I can bet most of it is not___ social housing.
The council and developers treat us like we are stupid and can spin us a load of lies dressed up to look like they are doing us a favour. ??

By Anita baron anslow

So by building on these sites is going to solve the problems of shortage of affordable houses? I think not. Houses built on Greenbelt in the ares listed by Leverhulme Estates are going to be expensive houses. WBC will probably support these plans as they know they can put these in higher council tax bands and generate more money for themselves. We constantly hear local councillors saying they are going to fight to protect Greenbelt land and concentrate on developing Brownfield sites, to allow houses to be built that first time buyers can actually afford. Well let’s see if they are tue to their word now. These developments will probably all go ahead without thought of the impact on already overstretched infrastructure, i.e. schools,doctors,dentists,traffic etc. Wirral is a nice part of the country to live, but if building on Greenbelt land is allowed to continue then it will soon start to loose it’s appeal.

By P.Jones

We need to keep our green spaces, once they are gone, they are gone for good. Use brown sites that are no longer used for industrial purposes.

By Kelly Anderson

They won’t be building ‘affordable’ houses in Heswall. They will want to maximise profit. If they were serious about building such housing, they should build on available brown field sites rather than greenbelt… Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

By Peter Clare

Once green spaces are built on they cannot be replaced

By Caroline James

This is shameful and irresponsible, all I can see here is greed dressed up as addressing needs, plenty of brown field sites which can provide affordable houses to the declining wirral residence, building on much needed farm land is a crime, shame on you

By Stuart

Use the disused industrial areas, it’s a disgrace to build on our green belt and totally urbanise our wirral. The reason the wirral is beautiful is the green belt areas between built up areas. We don’t want you or your foolish ideas in creating a blanket brick landscape . Leave Wirral alone.

By Ron pye

On one hand we are all asked to do our bit for the environment for a green and sustainable future by the Liverpool City Region, that includes Wirral. And on the other hand Wirral BC wants to take away green belt land that should be protected at all costs. Hypocritical. Wirral is meant to be the green places that everyone wants to visit. How can building new homes on green belt land be justified? Especially where there are many derelict buildings and industrial land that could be used instead of stealing green belt land which should be enjoyed by all. Money seems to be the only motivation here, with declining population numbers and will create not only stress on the environment, but on infrastructure such as Wirral’s roads, schools and NHS.

By KS

We have recently moved to Irby. We do not have a place for our children in ANY of the local schools. How can the council justify increasing the local population and knowing that they will sending children all over the county for a primary education. Build more schools first!

By Danielle

East of Rigby drive,Minimal price range of £350000 and above! Hardly rental, or affordable housing, disgraceful.

By Peter allen

Use Brown Field Sites before any of these are considered. Rigby Dtive, there is no infrastructure to support people living in new homes

By Margaret Baker

There is already sufficient land allocated to meet the estimated housing need in Wirral.There is no demonstrable need to develop green belt.The development of green belt land for housing would not provide accommodation for applicants 60% of whom cannot afford to buy a house.

By L S Ward

The houses being proposed in these area are a good idea but the background infrastructure has not been considered there is already over subscribed schools in the area. The local dr’s cannot cope with the demand of patients people locally are waiting to long for appointments putting more strain on local walk in centres. Dentists cannot provide anymore NHS patients and the roads are already busy, adding these proposed housing to this without considering the rest would more detrimental than good.
Environmentally the loss of open space will increase the risk of flood in the area is this not a time we’re we need to be considering the long term environmental effect on our surroundings
Based on the above I strongly discourage these proposed applications

By Rita AInslie

Green belt land is invaluable as an amenity. It is probable that the need for new housing has been vastly over estimated. Houses should be built on brownfield sites and unused commercial buildings should be re-purposed.

By Adele Lumb

Look for brownfield areas for this development and it may be acceptable. Losing greenbelt when it’s totally unnecessary would be heartbreaking and morally corrupt. Lord Levenshulme, who developed our wonderful Port Sunlight out of a genuine desire to house his workers well , would turn in his grave to see such destructive profiteering. I hope and pray the Council stick to their admirable pledge to use brown field only to fulfil their government quota – which i believe can be achieved.

By Mrs Julia Moore

Wirral Council should stop this application straight away. Green belt should not be touched otherwise it will set a precident for further developments and the Wirral will be ruined. There are plenty of brown belt and areas owned by Peel holdings who won’t develop but have left their sites go to rack ruin, develop them!

By Robert Walker

There is no justification for building these overpriced blots on the landscape. Of course the numerous bank accounts of the developers will flourish but what will happen to the thousands of species of animals , flora and fauna that will be decimated and lost forever. These areas are natural sponges and once developed there will be flooding and poisoning of the local streams and brooks. More congested roads and lack of amenities ie schools ,shops, doctors, dental surgeries and recreation centres which are already in decline and at crisis point.
I strongly object to these developments, we need this green belt for many reasons.

By Andy Liggett

I am horrified and heartbroken during a time of global warming when what we really need to do is get behind those who are producing our food and champion positive uses of green spaces to help the planet, that the inheritors of the Leverhulme legacy which is toasted as a positive influence on the Wirral peninsula can possibly come up with plans to build on our greenbelt. Heartbreaking and so so shortsighted.

By Marie Watson

As long as there is brownfield land available then that should be used for new housing, not green belt land, which is scarce anyway and much needed for health and recreation

By Heike McKinnon

A disgusting decision by the Leverhulme estate. If they were serious about Lord Levers legacy, they would be aiming to build on the hundreds of acres of brownfield site on the Wirral, ploughing money in to improve the infrastructure in those areas, and helping re-generate Wirral. Instead they’re aiming at the steadily increasing influx of Southern buyers looking to escape London and the South East’s over heated property market.

By Neil

Lots of NIMBY tropes being trotted out in this thread – let’s rephrase what green belt is, a decision in the 1947 Town & Country Planning Act that certain urban centres weren’t going to be allowed to expand their physical footprint. One of the ironies of ‘levelling up’ is that the South East has a huge agglomeration benefit that comes from having 11MM+ people within it’s green belt footprint, and part of that came from big pre-green belt expansions of transit based suburbia like Metroland – so if we turn away from pragmatic green belt development that has implications for the prosperity of the North. The other thing these narratives neglect is why these pieces of land are of higher quality than greenfield sites outside green belt that are picking up a lot of displaced development – the people who take this housing still work in Manchester and Liverpool, but just have longer commutes, instead some selective use of green belt could have them living near transit – the Wirral has great transit compared to many places.

By Rich X

What’s the point?
They will be underwater soon anyway. Money would be better spent on areas of Liverpool further inland.

By Anonymous

This is a complete and utter disgrace. There are plenty of other places to build homes without destroying green spaces

By Vicky Watson

this is ridiculous 300 houses at least with potential 300 to 400 extra cars down girls lane.it’s already a nightmare by barnston rd corner.affordable housing also a joke
.most houses are over£250000already heswall area being ruined. green belt belt should be as stated ..
rents in heswall already about £900 per month

By joan hayes

So much for Wirral MB Council recently stating only brown sites to be used for housing. There are many adequate brownfield sites both in Wirral MBC and South Wirral areas of control. Absolutely no need to use greenfield land. It is pure greed of property developers to use nice greenfield areas for which they can charge exuberant fees on them. It is no good them telling porky pies we know the truth. Our councillors are no better and the lot need replacing asap no matter what political party they are from unless they use their brains for their gross committee expenses they claim. Time for Wirral people to demand better service and retain our beautiful Pennisular.

By Ron Henderson

Can’t think of anything worse this would be horrendous for our beautiful area
ABSOLUTELY NO TO BUILDING ANY MORE HOUSES
THIS WOULD BE CATASTROPHIC FOR MANY REASONS

By Amanda molyneux

Leverhulme Estate is a trading name for a group of nominee companies based in London…this is simply a clever attempt to turn green belt farm land into a cash pile.

Whilst there remains considerable brown field sites these proposals should not even be considered.

This country needs more usable farmland in order to feed the population not less.

By Peter M

It is essential to Keep green belt. There are plenty of empty houses in Wirral and other areas which can be developed and which won’t impact the environment.

By Margaret Turner

We cannot allow the erosion of our greenbelt..I vote against this

By sue davis

You don’t get a vote.

The country elected a government who produced the “standard method for calculating housing supply” which has been enforced on every local authority. Wirral are unlikely to have sufficient brownfield land to meet the targets given to them by successive Tory governments, so Green Belt will inevitably be released.

By @Sue Davis

I wonder how many people commenting here actually know what % of the country is “urban” seeing as they so obsessively defend the greenbelt…a policy from post WW2 which is completely dated. Its about 6-9% depending on how you calculate it, thats if you include gardens and public space.

Are you all even aware that “greenbelt” land has absolutely no ecological value above normal open countryside?

Stop trying to gatekeep home ownership through some false sense of self righteousness, people need homes to live in.

By harshtruth

Greenbelt should remain greenbelt, I oppose this proposal entirely.

By Paula

Some of the comments here would be funny if they weren’t so serious. I’m assuming people in Wirral want, say Birkenhead, to be a thriving, prosperous place – the sort of place that people with above average incomes might want to work and live – that would be a good thing right?

By Tom

Maybe one for our Wirral NIMBY’s to think about. West Cheshire below Chester isn’t classed as green belt, and its adding lots of housing. They wouldn’t be commuting to Liverpool City Region by any chance, instead of maybe living in a place where they can access Merseyrail.

By Alan

Wirral Council need to apply some joined up thinking, they are now talking about closing libraries and leisure centres, but want to build houses in the green belt areas that will be far away from such remaining facilities, they are also encouraging people to use cars instead of public transport, meanwhile they want to apply parking charges near waterfront sites, eg Hoylake ,thus discouraging people from visiting the seaside, all very confusing.
There is ample disused industrial land on the Mersey waterfront that would allow house building and apartments, which if landscaped to a high quality would attract many buyers.

By Anonymous

Liverpool is welcome to this one.

By Heswall

Protect the green belt = Do not build near my house; guarantee a rising price for my private property — Keep Out!

By james yates

Green belt land represents the lungs of Wirral, giving people valuable breathing space between built up areas and providing invaluable areas for exercise and enjoying the outdoors. It also gives plant and animal wildlife a chance to establish itself and flourish, which is now more important than ever before. We all watch TV programs that make this blatantly clear, and yet the house building projects listed for much of Wirral involve concreting over even more green spaces. Surely this is a very bad idea and I object to it most strongly. House building targets should be met using existing brown field sites, for the benefit and well being of everyone and everything. Please allow Wirral and other places that face similar housing pressures to keep breathing.

By Andrew Beggs

Noted with interest that Manchester hit the Times last week as the city with youngest population, and part of the reason is they’ve used brownfield to build large amounts of housing – which is what lot of these Wirral comments advocate. The 2nd order impact of that is outer boroughs of GM will get older – just to reframe that in financial terms; Manchester gets growth in council tax revenues from a demographic that doesnt drive social care and education expense, and the outer has static council revenues and an increased burden of social care. Does the outer get bailed out by land use policies that make them financially less resilient.

By Rich X