Whitakers Garden Centre Prescot
The plans have been opposed by local residents and councillors

Prescot garden centre homes look to be built

Dan Whelan

Knowsley Council has recommended approval for housebuilder Taylor Wimpey’s plans to develop 227 homes on the site of the 19-acre Whitakers Garden Centre on Liverpool Road.

The scheme would comprise 111 three-bedroom houses and a further 116 with four bedrooms. The site was previously designated as Green Belt but has since been allocated for residential development under Knowsley’s local plan.

Knowsley designated the site as one of nine ‘sustainable urban extension’ sites released from the Green Belt in the local plan, intended to assist the authority in meeting its identified housing need of 8,100 new homes by 2028.

However, Taylor Wimpey’s application has been subject to objections from local residents, who claim there is no need for further housing development in Prescot and are concerned about a lack of affordable homes in the proposals.

A petition opposing the plans and requesting that the site be reallocated as Green Belt has garnered 108 signatures including those of several Knowsley councillors.

An application from builders merchants Beesley & Fildes, the site owner, for 200 homes in 2017 was refused due to concerns the development would have a “detrimental impact on highway and pedestrian safety”.

The garden centre will remain operational before relocating to a new premises in Prescot. A planning application for a new premises is with Knowsley Council and will be decided in due course.

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The regeneration of Prescot will gain nothing from a new residential unit on the Whittaker’s site and will, in my opinion, add to congestion on routes used by tourists and audiences making for Shakespeare North. The development in the area is already threatening to turn Prescot and its environs into a part of the urban sprawl and councillors should vigorously oppose planning permission.

By Denis Mitcheson

I wholeheartedly agree with Denis Mitcheson. Prescot is a small old town that does not have the roads to deal with additional traffic that will inevitably occur with additional homes. Nor does this town have sufficient primary health care facilities – no additional doctors surgeries since last housing developments opposite the Cables retail park and behind the new large Home Bargain. More housing = more children = need for more play facilities – not happening in Prescot. Whittaker’s is the only garden centre around Prescot area which is accessible to many residents. Please – leave it alone. Prescot is described as a deprived area – it never used to be because we had sufficient homes and business to provide necessary facilities. Prescot is not receiving appropriate allocation of regional funding to upkeep its roads never mind adding more homes and traffic to make the roads even worse.

By Frances Dooley