Construction has started for 32 “ambitious and exciting” apartments at the heart of a Wirral coastal town.
The apartments are being built by luxury housing developer Blueoak Estates on the site of the former fire station behind the West Kirby Concourse leisure centre.
A mix of one, two and three bed apartments, the plans had been initially rejected by Wirral Council but Blueoak then appealed to the planning inspectorate and won.
Wirral Council was heavily criticised by the planning inspectorate in its decision accusing it of “unreasonable behaviour” and allowed Blueoak to claim full costs against the local authority.
When rejecting the application, the council had said: “The proposals do not adopt an integrated approach to the location of housing, economic uses and community facilities and services, and will fail to function well over the lifetime of the development, establish a strong sense of place, or optimise the potential of the site.”
It was rejected on the grounds of prematurity because of the council’s draft Local Plan which is currently under government inspection and the future development of a masterplan for West Kirby town centre.
However planning inspector Siobhan Watson said because no master plan for West Kirby had been produced, she was not able to give weight to this.
She added: “It is unreasonable to refuse planning permission on the basis of a document that does not exist. The Council refused the application based upon a somewhat tenuous future scenario.”
Blueoak said the plans would be “utilising the long redundant site to create much needed quality homes to suit a broad local demographic” after it has become “severely dilapidated and affected by vandalism, attracting anti-socialbehaviour in recent years.”
Iain MacLean, managing director of Blueoak Estates, said: “There is a massive housing shortage across Wirral and many are being forced to move out of home towns like West Kirby. Schemes such as this present a great opportunity for a diverse range of residents to own their dream home within their dream address.
“The scheme ticks many boxes for an incredibly broad audience. It is set in a brilliant location, within vibrant West Kirby, with ample parking and strong transport links. Each unit has outdoor private space, lift access and is within walking distance to all amenities.”