An intense meeting took place on Monday in Wallasey town hall which saw the Labour Group file a motion which was later passed. The motion was filed in a hope to call for one the council’s scrutiny committees to look at all details of the plan before making any submissions to the cabinet. The meeting was scheduled to discuss plans for Celtic Manor Resort, which would work alongside the current one already in Wales, saw hundreds of protesters assembled at the town hall to voice their concerns over the scheme.
The plans were first put forward in 2016, following which the council agreed to help the scheme with £26m of prudential borrowing. This was alongside the £600,000 the council spent on reports and surveys, which has now meant that the scheme is now looking at having an estimated value of £200m. Developers Nicklaus Joint Venture Group (NJVG) who are heading the plans, saw roughly 250 people gathered outside with banners and signs in order to influence the council’s opinion to throw out the plans.
Two out of the three motions that were presented and subsequently voted upon by each party looked like a way to “kill off” the plan for the Golf Resort. Speaking to the council, Councillor Chris Blakeley, the Conservative representative, stated that there is “widespread concern” over the plans as he believed that they were “folly”. These concerns included a “massive public opposition and financial risks to the tax payer” as well as concerns towards the green belt. However, what was said was not enough for Cllr Blakeley which saw his motion defeated by one vote, while the Labour parties’ motion, which wanted more analysis, was passed by 3 votes.
The meeting has all come about since an area of the Green Belt is looking at homing the £200m Hoylake Golf Resort plan, which is one of two Green Belt sites within the Hoylake and Meols area, with this site being the larger of the two. The plans are said to include a 90-room hotel, a health club, spa, two 18-hole golf courses, a golf academy as well as residential development.
Margaret Greenwood, West Wirral MP, was subject to a leaked email that showed her concerns about the plans, as she received 560 messages opposing the plans versus 31 in favour, to all Labour councillors. Her letter asked members to think “very carefully about the issues” which would affect the future of Hoylake and that “people value the green belt highly”. However, since then the party’s Local Campaign Forum has since announced its objection.
Benefits have been spoken about to which the main point being that hundreds of jobs will be created within the immediate term, with this figure then rising to around three hundred. The hotel capacity would also increase investment to the surrounding local businesses as it is hoped that there could be an influx of roughly 250,000 visitors annually. It has been said that when the project has finished, which if started would be looking at to start in 2020 and finished in 2027, that it “will be completely self-funding” and that the council would “earn out of it.” Cllr Davies has spoke on how if the plans were to be abandoned then it could send the wrong message to visitors to the Wirral who could believe that it is closed for business and so reduce the income for the city.
The main argument against these plans is down to the green belt being the focus for this construction. The green belt is specific zones which are designated to retain large aspects of underdeveloped, wild or agricultural land so that urban growth is controlled.
Lauren Williams, Pali Ltd