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LA4  Areas Requiring Landscape Renewal  Proposal

The following areas are identified as Areas Requiring Landscape Renewal. Their boundaries are shown on the Proposals Map. Development proposals within these areas will be regulated in accordance with Policy LA3:

1. The M53 Corridor and Bidston Moss
2. North Wirral Plain (Moreton)
3. North Wirral Plain (Hoylake)

Reasoned justification :

14.19 Policy LA3 provides for landscape renewal and improvements to the visual appearance of areas identified as Areas Requiring Landscape Renewal (ARLRs). Proposal LA4, therefore, lists those areas to which Policy LA3 applies. All the ARLRs listed under Proposal LA4 were identified in the Merseyside Structure Plan, which was approved in November 1980, as areas of degraded landscape. While some progress has been made towards the aim of landscape renewal, achievements have been limited. They, therefore, still merit special consideration under Policy LA3.

14.20 The M53 Corridor, largely delineated by the floodplain of the Fender Valley, suffers from use as an urban services corridor. It contains two major landfill sites, the motorway, in flyover for most of its length, three major motorway junctions, the Bidston-Wrexham railway line, intrusive electricity pylons and overhead power lines, the route of the high pressure gas main and forms the final separation between the major urban areas of Wallasey and Birkenhead and the mid-Wirral settlements of Leasowe, Moreton, Greasby, Upton and Woodchurch. Remaining open land is predominantly characterised by "horsiculture".

14.21 Planning aims for the M53 Corridor ARLR should primarily relate to the area's role as Green Belt, maximising recreational potential wherever possible, and should relate to physical and visual improvements involving the planting of embankments and underused ground, the restoration of the landscape of formerly landfilled sites, the promotion of nature conservation, especially within the significant areas of wetland habitat in the north of the Corridor area, and the promotion of better footpath and bridleway linkages throughout the area.

14.22 North Wirral Plain in Moreton, is a low-lying, under-used, remnant agricultural and horticultural area situated to the rear of coastal embankments and partly within the floodplain of the River Birket. It also contains the pumping station and screening works for the North Wirral long-sea-outfall and is scarred by activities related to clay extraction and waste disposal. Highway access is poor and the area is isolated by the Liverpool to West Kirby railway line. However, its coastal location, proximity to Moreton, Meols, the North Wirral Coastal Park and local caravan sites, offers considerable recreational potential.

14.23 Planning aims for the North Wirral Plain ARLR in Moreton should involve limited provision for active sport, in order to serve the residential areas of north Moreton and Meols, but predominantly provide for quiet recreational use, in keeping with the coastal setting and with the nature conservation value of the area. Passive, water-based recreation may be especially suitable given the area's liability to flood but other improvements should, wherever possible, include the re-introduction of hedgelines and trees.

14.24 The North Wirral Plain in Hoylake, is another poorly accessed but extensive, low-lying area in the upper Birket Valley with a damaged landscape structure. Used for waste disposal in the past but restored to essentially rough ground, the area has continued to be subject to uncertainty arising from proposals for additional landfilling. Playing pitches and a waste transfer station delineate the urban edge and further inland a former RAF camp has been returned to agricultural use. However, while access for vehicles throughout the area is poor, provision for access by foot is generally good and could be further improved.

14.25 Planning aims for the North Wirral Plain ARLR in Hoylake are not radical. The area has low wildlife interest, agricultural use is more extensive and scope for diversification of land-use will be limited. There is, however, some scope for enhancing passive recreational use in the area, allied to improvements in the footpath network and for the reintroduction of hedges and trees where appropriate. The retention of remaining ponds within the area will also be a priority.