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RE10  Criteria for Community Centres and Facilities  Policy

Small scale, non-residential facilities providing for meeting rooms, sports halls, youth centres, play groups and other similar use by the local community, including libraries and places of worship, will be permitted within the Primarily Residential Area where:

(i) the proposal, together with any associated outdoor facilities, would not cause unacceptable disturbance to neighbouring uses;

(ii) the siting, scale and visual impact of the proposal is appropriate within the surrounding area; and

(iii) adequate provision is made for parking, highway access and servicing requirements.

Proposals for uses of a similar nature which are likely to generate significant levels of traffic, which are intended to serve a wider than local catchment area, or which would give rise to a level of disturbance incompatible with a Primarily Residential Area will be directed towards urban commercial locations.

Reasoned justification :

9.36 Wirral Borough Council has been actively establishing a network of local play and community centres throughout the Borough which are operated by the Leisure Services and Tourism Department but managed by the local community for use by local groups and clubs. The Wirral Leisure Strategy identifies areas where additional provision is planned. This includes centres to serve Overchurch in Upton, Rock Ferry, New Brighton, Claughton, Egerton, Heswall, Hoylake, Poulton, Tranmere and Wallasey. A requirement has also been identified for new branch libraries for Oxton/ Claughton and for Central Birkenhead and a need to relocate the Wallasey Central Library - requirements that have arisen from a review of current provision and from guidance issued by the Department for Education.

9.37 While sites for these projects have not yet been identified, there is a need for planning criteria to guide their location. Policy RE10, therefore, seeks to accommodate the need for additional local community facilities and provides general criteria to govern their location. It specifically allows for small scale, multi-purpose facilities which would only have a limited impact on neighbouring uses to be located within the Primarily Residential Area.

9.38 Policy RE10 will also apply to proposals of a similar scale and nature which are expected to arise from the voluntary sector, such as proposals for new places of worship. Policy RE10 does, however, require that community uses of a larger scale, which would give rise to levels of disturbance unacceptable within a quiet residential setting, are located within commercial areas, such as those identified as being subject to Policy SH1, Policy SH2 or Policy SH6, in Section 16 of the UDP.