Wirral Local Plan 2021-2037 Submission Draft
Publication, 9 May to 25 July 2022 (Regulation 19).

Guidance Notes on Submitting a Representation

Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 (regulations 19,20 and 35) as amended:

View the legislation

What is the Wirral Local Plan?

Wirral Council has prepared the Wirral Local Plan 2021-2037 Submission Draft (the WLP) which it intends to submit for independent Examination.  The WLP provides an overall vision for the borough, strategic objectives, strategic policies and detailed policies to explain how the vision and objectives will be achieved, together with a Policies Map which shows where the policies apply. 

The WLP includes proposed land allocations and policies to meet the borough’s objectively assessed development and infrastructure needs and also identifies sites which are proposed to be protected as Local Green Space. Once adopted, the Wirral Local Plan, along with 'made' neighbourhood plans and the Joint Waste Plan for Merseyside and Halton (2013), will form the overall statutory development plan for the borough against which all planning applications will be determined. The Wirral Local Plan will replace all of the ‘saved’ policies of the Unitary Development Plan (2000).

Publication (Regulation 19) Representations Stage

The WLP will be published between 9 May 2022 to 5pm on 25 July 2022, in accordance with Regulation 19 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012. This statutory period allows representations to be made prior to the council submitting the Local Plan to the Secretary of State for examination.

The publication period under Regulation 19 was extended from 24 June to 25 July 2022 on 13 June 2022. Please see the notice of extension for more information.

Duly made representations will be considered alongside the Wirral Local Plan when it is examined by an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State.  

These guidance notes have been designed to help anyone who wishes to make a representation(s) on the Local Plan. 

Making Representations – General Advice

3a. Deadline for Representations

Representations must be submitted to Wirral Council between Monday 9 May 2022 to 5pm on Monday 25 July 2022.  The council will not accept representations received after the deadline. The council cannot accept anonymous representations.

3b. Representation Forms

We strongly recommend that all representations are made using the standard representation form provided, whether you complete it online, download and complete it on a computer and submit it by email or post, or print it off to provide a handwritten response and post it to us. This helps to ensure that all comments received are relevant and that the correct information is collected to allow representations to be considered fully by the Planning Inspector. If all required questions are not answered, your representation may be invalid and may not be considered by the Inspector. Representations must be received within the consultation period; representations received after this period cannot be accepted. 

You can submit your representation in a number of ways: 

  1. Wirral Council’s preferred method is for representations to be submitted by using the council’s online portal:

    View the Council's online consultation portal

    View the guidance note explaining how to make a representation via the online consultation portal

    Alternatively, you can submit representations by email: 
     
  2. Using the Representation Form:

    View and download the Representation Form

    You can submit completed forms by email to: localplan@wirral.gov.uk

    Or by post: 
     
  3. Completing a hard copy form, which can be downloaded here or picked up at any library in the borough, during normal opening hours and posting to:

    Wirral Local Plan,
    Wirral Council,
    PO Box 290,
    Brighton Street,
    Wallasey,
    CH27 9FQ

    View and download the Representation Form

3c. Data Protection and Privacy

To ensure an effective and fair examination, it is important that the Inspector and all other participants in the examination process are able to know who has made representations on the plan. The council will therefore ensure that the names of persons or organisations making representations can be made available (including publication on the council’s website and or consultation portal) and taken into account by the Inspector. 

We are unable to accept anonymous representations. All duly made representations, together with the names of respondents, will be made available on the council’s website. Personal information such as telephone numbers, addresses, and email addresses will not be published. By submitting a representation, you are confirming that you understand that your response will be published in full, together with your name, including on our website.

The information you provide (including address, telephone numbers, email addresses, etc.) will also be shared with the Programme Officer and the Planning Inspector(s), to be used only for the purposes of conducting the examination. 

If you choose not to provide data for this purpose, or ask us to erase your data, you will be unable to participate in the Local Plan Examination process. You have the right to access your personal data and to ensure the council is processing it in the correct way. For further information about how we and the Planning Inspector use your personal information, please visit our privacy policy.

View the Forward Planning Privacy Policy

3d. Use a different Form (Part B) for each separate representation
It is really important that you use a separate Part B form for each part of the Plan, Policies Map, Sustainability Appraisal or Habitat Regulations Assessment you wish to make a representation on (as indicated at Question 3 of the Form).

3e. Be succinct

It is important when making representations that you are as succinct as possible.

3f. Suggesting Modifications

If you wish to make a representation seeking a modification to a plan or part of a plan you should set out clearly in what way you consider the plan or part of the plan is legally non-compliant or unsound, having regard as appropriate to the soundness criteria set out in section 4 below. Your representation should be supported by evidence wherever possible. It will be helpful if you also say precisely how you think the plan should be modified. 

You should provide succinctly all the evidence and supporting information necessary to support your representation and your suggested modification. You should not assume that you will have a further opportunity to make submissions. Any further submissions after the plan has been submitted for examination may only be made if invited by the Inspector, based on the matters, issues and questions he or she identifies. 

3f. Group Representations

Where groups or individuals share a common view on the plan, it would be very helpful if they would make a single representation which represents that view, rather than a large number of separate representations repeating the same points. In such cases the group should indicate the name of the group and the names of people it is representing including how the representation has been authorised.

3g. Appearing at the Examination

You can indicate on the representation form whether you wish to participate in the hearings. Please consider carefully how you would like your representation to be dealt with in the Examination, for example, whether you are content to rely on your written representation, or whether you wish to take part in hearing session(s). Only representors who are seeking a modification to the plan have a right to be heard at the hearing session(s) if they so request. In considering this, please note that written and oral representations carry the same weight and will be given equal consideration in the examination process. 

What should representations relate to?

The purpose of the examination is to consider whether the Local Plan is:

  • legally compliant;
  • satisfies the Duty to Co-operate; and 
  • meets the tests of soundness

Representations received on the Local Plan must address these matters. They are explained in more detail below, but as a general rule:

  1. If the representation relates to the way in which the council has prepared the Local Plan, it is likely to relate to a matter of legal compliance or the Duty to Co-operate. 
  2. If the representation relates to the contents of the Local Plan, it is likely to relate to its soundness.

Representations should succinctly cover all the information, evidence and supporting information necessary to support or justify the representation and any suggested modification to the Local Plan.

Further submissions will only be accepted at the request of the Inspector. Please note that any comment submitted during previous consultation stages of the Local Plan will not be incorporated into this stage of the process. Only representations received by the council during the Publication period will be provided to the Planning Inspector for consideration as part of the Examination.  

When do I need to make a separate representation?

If your representation covers multiple topics, policies, paragraphs and tests of soundness it is important that you submit a separate Part B form for each (you only need to submit one Part A form but please ensure that you include your name and name of organisation on each Part B form submitted).

How to fill in the Representation Form 

There are two parts to the Representation Form:

Part A: Contact Information

Questions 1 and 2

You should provide all your contact details in full, including that of any Agent you are using to represent you. This is used to identify who made the representation(s) and so that you can be contacted subsequently, as necessary. The council cannot accept anonymous representations.

You should sign in the box provided at the end of Part A, in order to agree to your name, name of organisation and representation being made available for public inspection. You should also tick or select whether you would like to be notified of subsequent stages of the Local Plan process.

Part B: Local Plan Representation

This is where you need to make your representation regarding the legal compliance or soundness of the Local Plan. It is important that you use a separate Part B form for each representation made. Please include your name and/or organisation (if applicable) at the top of each Part B form that you use.

If you use additional sheets, please ensure that your name and organisation are included and it is clear to which question each sheet relates. You are advised to keep your comments clear and concise for the benefit of the Inspector.

Depending on the nature of your representation you may not need to answer every question in Part B, but in all cases please ensure you sign the declaration at the end of Part A of the Representation Form.

Question 3

Please state which part of the Local Plan your representation relates to.  It is vital that the Inspector knows what part of the plan your representation relates. Please ensure that you clearly identify the topic, paragraph, policy, etc that your comment relates to and if it relates to more than one of these, use a different Part B form for each one.

Questions 4 to 6

Please state whether each representation relates to legal compliance, the Duty to Co-operate, or soundness, your reasons for this and also the modification(s) you consider necessary to make the Local Plan legally compliant and sound.

Legal Compliance

The Inspector will first check that the Local Plan meets the legal requirements under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, as amended by the Localism Act 2011, regarding the Duty to Co-operate, before moving on to consider the tests of soundness. You should consider the following points before making a representation on legal compliance.

  • The Local Plan should be included in the current Wirral Local Development Scheme (LDS) and the key stages should have been followed. 
  • The process of community involvement in the preparation of the Local Plan should be in general accordance with the council’s Statement of Community Involvement (SCI). 
  • The Local Plan should comply with the relevant Acts and Regulations; in particular the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012. 
  • On publication, the council must publish the documents in accordance with the Regulations.
  • Wirral Council is required to produce a Sustainability Appraisal Report and Habitats Regulations Assessment when they publish a Development Plan Document. This should identify the process by which the Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulations Assessment have been carried out, and the baseline information used to inform the process and the outcomes of that process. 
  • The Local Plan should have regard to national policy specifically the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Duty to Co-operate

The Local Plan should meet the legal requirements under the Duty to Co-operate introduced by the Localism Act 2011.  Local authorities have a Duty to Co-operate on planning issues that cross administrative boundaries, particularly those of a strategic nature such as the provision of homes, jobs, retail and commercial development, infrastructure, health, leisure and community facilities.

The council is expected to provide evidence of how they have complied with the duty. Non-compliance with the duty to co-operate cannot be rectified after the submission of the plan. Therefore, the Inspector has no power to recommend modifications in this regard. Where the duty has not been complied with, the Inspector cannot recommend the adoption of the plan.

Soundness

Soundness is explained fully in the National Planning Policy Framework (see paragraphs 35 and 36).

View the National Planning Policy Framework

The Inspector has to be satisfied that the Local Plan is positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy.

If you wish to comment on more than one of the four matters of soundness in relation to a specific aspect of the Local Plan, please complete a separate Part B sheet for each one. You should consider the following points before making a representation on the tests of soundness. These are based on guidance produced by the Planning Inspectorate. 

  • Positively prepared – the Local Plan should be prepared based on a strategy which, as a minimum, seeks to meet the area’s objectively assessed needs; and is informed by agreements with other authorities, so that unmet need from neighbouring areas is accommodated where it is practical to do so and is consistent with achieving sustainable development. 
  • Justified – the Local Plan should be an appropriate strategy, taking into account the reasonable alternatives, and based on proportionate evidence;
  • Effective – the Local Plan should be deliverable over the plan period, and based on effective joint working on cross-boundary strategic matters that have been dealt with rather than deferred, as evidenced by the statement of common ground; 
  • Consistent with national policy – the Local Plan should enable the delivery of sustainable development in accordance with the policies in the National Planning Policy Framework. 

These tests of soundness will be applied to the Local Plan in a proportionate way.  If you wish to make a representation seeking a modification to the Local Plan you should make it clear why you think it is unsound, having regard to the four tests set out above.  You should support your representation by evidence showing why the Local Plan should be modified, including your suggested wording to modify the Local Plan in order to make it sound.

Please note that the representation form allows you, if necessary, to make separate representation for the Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulations Assessment, under Questions 5a and 5b. Any representation made under these questions should relate to legal compliance, Duty to Co-operate and soundness. 

Questions 7 and 8

Please indicate whether you wish to participate in the Examination. The Examination will involve a series of Hearing sessions on matters which will be identified by the Inspector. The Hearings will be chaired by the Inspector and will focus on the legal compliance and soundness of the Local Plan.

Please note that the Inspector will decide who should be invited to speak at the Hearing sessions, not the council, and the Inspector will decide the topics to be covered in each Hearing session, based on the issues raised by the representations received at this Publication stage. All representations will be considered fully by the Inspector regardless of whether or not they are heard at an Examination Hearing.

Taking Part in Local Plan Examinations

For information on Local Plan Examinations please view the Government Guidance provided below:

View Government Guidance on Local Plan Examinations

Further Information

Further guidance on the preparation, publication and examination of Development Plans is provided in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which can be viewed on GOV.UK 

View the National Planning Policy Framework

Alternatively, you can contact Wirral Council’s Planning Policy Team by email via: localplan@wirral.gov.uk and telephone: 0151 691 8235