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Removal of Hoylake’s ‘Area of Special Landscape Value’ status in the Local Plan

Removal of Hoylake’s ‘Area of Special Landscape Value’ status in the Local Plan
April 19, 2021 admin

In the Unitary Development Plan (UDP), which came into force in 2000, the beach at Hoylake is currently designated as an “Area of Special Landscape Value” (ASLV).

A new Local Plan, produced by Wirral Council is being developed and will replace the UDP. In the Local Plan, Hoylake will no longer be designated as an Area of Special Landscape Value.

Hoylake Vision has been asked about the significance of this and we have sought professional advice, a summary of which follows:

It is important to clearly understand what this actually means for Hoylake, and what the community can do about it through the Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) if that is what is wanted.

The Hoylake beach “Area of Special Landscape Value” (ASLV) is locally defined and confers no special legal protection.

It extends from Red Rocks to Trinity Road but does not include any inland areas, such as The Promenade or North Parade.

The current ASLV shares various boundaries and overlaps with the Mersey and North Wirral Foreshore Special Protection Area; the North Wirral Foreshore Site of Special Scientific Interest, and the Mersey Narrows Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Thus, extensive and very robust statutory environmental protections are already afforded to Hoylake beach

Saved UDP Policy LA1 – Protection for Areas of Special Landscape Value (the UDP Policy) lists three criteria:
  1. Criterion (i) seeks to prevent intrusive development, “especially along the undeveloped coast”.  Since the Hoylake ASLV sits adjacent to the developed coast (UDP Map 8, page 252), it actually carries very little weight when compared to the many other existing protections eg SSSI, SPA designations.
  2. Criterion (ii) lists ‘distinctive landscape features’ that should be protected against “the loss or erosion of distinctive landscape features, such as woodlands hedges or trees without appropriate replacement provision”; thus referring to static, not dynamic, features. Again, the beach is protected by a raft of other more powerful designations.
  3. Criterion (iii) seeks “to protect important views into or out of the area”. This is relevant to The Promenade and North Parade and can be addressed through the NDP.

The only relevant part of the UDP Policy is therefore criterion (iii). It should be remembered that there is no right to a private view in Planning law.

Instead, the objective here is to protect important public views.

The Hoylake Neighbourhood Development Plan (HNDP), currently being revised, offers an opportunity to replace the provisions of criterion (iii) of the UDP Policy with a new HNDP policy, which would protect important views from specified public viewpoints.

Indeed, we are currently finalising a document that, among other initiatives, proposes just this, based on our own consultation with residents and businesses over the last year. This document will be made public after the forthcoming elections.

We encourage everyone to engage with our consultations and tell us which public viewpoints are most important to you: email

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