The expected planning application from Redrow Homes to
build over Sefton Park Meadows was not submitted to Liverpool City Council
in the first week of December 2014.
Creative accounting of Greenspace
- loss or gain?
In defence of the Council's move to sell-off hundreds of
acres of green space throughout Liverpool the mayor has claimed that since
he came to office he has created more green space in the city than
at any time in Liverpool's history - up to 47 acres of new green space.
The Council have now published an answer to where all this new green space
is and it comprises of 30 acres of land on two sites: Stonebridge
in Croxteth and allotments in the Dingle.
The largest site, by the A580 East Lancs Road, is a re-landscaped
area around the River Alt. This green space is divided in two parts: a
development site and a park. The former school playing fields of Stonebridge
Business Park & Stonebridge Cross consist of 26 acres and are
currently advertised as development land. The new linear River
Alt Park consists of some 21 acres and is reclaimed brownfield land.
The other site on Park Hill Road in the Dingle is already a public
open green space - a recreational ground for over 25 years before the
Council agreed to turn the land into allotments.
5.6 acre recreation ground in the Dingle on 13 Dec 2014 before Council
plans to turn the land into allotments.
Dig a little deeper and we end up with a can of worms -
in a trick of accounting we loose green space.
The reason that allotments are being provided in the Dingle
is to compensate for the loss of allotments in Fazakerley where a new
school is being built on the site. The former Long Lane allotment site
in Fazakerley was 11.8 acres in size and was recognised as constituting
a loss of Greenspace. The planning application for a new school was given
approval on condition that £75,000 was set aside for the creation
of replacement allotments elsewhere in the city, which is how the City
Council are funding the new allotments in the Dingle.
If new allotments count as new green space, then the loss of allotments
count as loss of green space - cancelling each other out so no net gain
of green space. In the accounting process of replacing one allotment space
for another allotment space we end up loosing a valued recreation ground.
This results in an overall loss of green space and not a gain of green
space as the mayor would have us believe.
In an attempt to diffuse media debates over the potential
loss of hundreds of acres of green space in the city the mayor recently
announced the appointment of an independent chair to head a Review
of Green Space in Liverpool.
Since the last update in September and the release of Liverpool's Local
Plan proposals there has been a great deal of media interest in the future
of Liverpool's green spaces and parks. At the same time less publicity
has been given to the countryside which impacts on the boundary of Liverpool
- both Sefton and Knowsley Authority's green belt are facing the threat
of large scale building developments as part of their Local Plans.
On 5 November Liverpool's opposition councillors united with a motion
to challenge Labour's extensive plans to sell off the City's green space
for housing as detailed in the Liverpool
Local Plan. The motion was rejected by the Mayoral
led Council and continue to pursue potential building developments on
Walton Hall Park, Woolton Woods Park and Sefton Park Meadows as well as
plans to develop the large area of playing fields in Gateacre. This
debate is covered here in the Liverpool Echo.
Unfolding press news
Movie star support for the save Sefton Park Meadows Campaign
Kim Cattrall, the Liverpool born New York movie star, was
first pictured in the Liverpool Echo on 17 September after she shared
a picture on Twitter of Lime trees on Sefton Park Meadows and showing
her support for the campaign.
Sefton Park Meadows double row of Lime trees on Queens Drive
Many of these newspapers quote the mayor’s account of specific numbers
of homes that Redrow want to build on the 6 acre site when no exact figures
are publicly available at the present time. Redrow have only stated that
the site could support traffic from 55 homes with a map plan showing 33
dwellings. Has the mayor seen the applicant's proposed plans before they
are submitted to the planning committee?
Review of Green Space in Liverpool
As one star begins to fade from the limelight another local
celebrity and actor rises from Woolton Woods with the appointment of Simon
O'Brien as independent chair to set up a Green Space Review. He was appointed
by the mayor to head a group to look into the city's green space allocation
and the mayor is looking for potential building land. The Review’s
report is said to feed back into the Local Plan just after next May’s
The terms of reference for the mayor's Review of Green Space has not been
made public. On-going planning applications to build over public green space
will be unaffected by the Green Space Review.
Both property developers and the mayor recommend substantial
increases in house building in Liverpool on land to include Local Greenspace.
During the Liverpool Local Plan consultation earlier this year a number
of property developers requested a Review of Green Space – for building
land. Building developers claim many brownfield sites are 'undeliverable'
which means they are less profitable than building over green space and
parks. To quote Redrow Homes submission:
'Redrow Homes NW believes that there is and has previously been too
strong a focus on urban brownfield development.' and 'In policy terms,
this means that a review of both the city’s Green Space, Green Wedge
and Green Belt boundaries will be needed as the 2012 SHLAA has shown that
there is not sufficient land available to meet the Core Strategy Plan
demand and to address the current brownfield - greenfield release imbalance.'
The Council's Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) are
estimates for house building land required by central government. As a
result of revised methodology, introduced by this mayoral administration,
the 2012 SHLAA Update now includes an additional suitability criteria:
to include Local Greenspace.
This represents a change from the 2008 SHLAA from a minimum of 26,000
houses to a new assessment in the 2012 SHLAA Update, with a substantial
increase, to 40,950 dwellings (net) for the period 2011-2028.
The mayor says he wants to create as much greenspace as possible but at
the same time he also wants to build over Liverpool's existing green space!
Liverpool's shrinkage & growth
On 27 November, on Radio Merseyside the mayor said the
city was built to support a million people and now the population of Liverpool
is about half that amount - concluding that the city needs to grow and
he wants more housing to increase the city's population. However, up until
the 1931 when Liverpool's population peaked at 846,000, the city didn't
want to build over the parks and green spaces we now enjoy - our green
space inheritance has been protected by previous generations for the benefit
of future generations.
Liverpool's lowest population was recorded in the 2001 census at 435,000.
In 2011 the figure increased to 466,500 people, the first time in 80 years
that Liverpool's population has increased. The Council's latest population
projection up to 2028 is about 485,000 people living in Liverpool. So,
if the population increases to less than 20,000 between 2011 to 2028 why
does the city need to build over 40,000 houses in the same period?
Walton Hall Park and Everton's new
The mayor supports Everton Football Club’s desire
to build a new stadium on Walton Hall Park. An independent
feasibility report on Walton Hall Park has just been made
public and Friends of Walton Hall Park are trying to challenge the reports
findings. Local Councillors are refusing to discuss the future of the
park until they have seen Everton’s detailed plans and for the mayor
to first comment. The mayor has now released a statement, Walton
Hall Park update, commenting on the report and denying rumors
he has seen any plans from the football club.
In the mayor’s statement he has not mentioned his earlier stated
ambition to make a business partnership deal on behalf of the Council
with the Club. Unlike Sefton Park Meadows, where the land was first advertised
for disposal and then put up for sale on the condition that development
plans are approved, in the case of Walton Hall Park the Council are waiting
for development plans before advertising the disposal of this popular
LCC held another 'non-statutory' design consultation event
on 10 December at St Julie's School in Woolton Village. Comments / Feedback
about the proposal can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
On 25 November, Nick Kavanaugh director of Regeneration, confirmed the
Council’s intention to take 5% of the Woolton Woods field for the
expansion of St Julies School. The remaining 95% will go forward for the
Green Space Review and may remain as part of the Local Plan to be used
for a residential development. The Mayor intends to challenge the legality
of a covenant protecting the park land from commercial development. More
details on: https://www.facebook.com/SaveWooltonWoods
select committee 25 Nov. minutes
from the 26 September update:
Liverpool's Local Plan
As part of the consultation process 330 representations
were made identifying building land to be considered for Liverpool's Local
Plan. Proposals to build over park land include: Allerton Towers Park,
Belle Vale Park, Calderstones Park, Croxteth Park, Everton Park, Newsham
Park, Sefton Park Meadows, Stanley Park, Walton Hall Park and Woolton
The list below is a selection identifying both greenfield and public space
in various Liverpool Wards. Most all of these sites were added by Liverpool
City Council's Physical Assets - suggesting the Council are keen to develop
these particular sites.
(ha = proposed developable area in hectares, 1 ha = 100 x 100 metres =
approx 2.47 acres):
Allerton And Hunts Cross:
FL Calder - added by LCC for Housing up to 3.66 ha
Land adjacent to Allerton Priory, and bound by Woolton Road and Allerton
Road - for Housing up to 13.55 ha
Land north of Maryton Grange (Stonehouse P.F.) - added by LCC for Residential
of 2.2 ha
Allerton Towers Park - added by LCC for Residential of 1.38 ha
School Lane Recreation Ground - added by LCC for Residential of 0.49 ha Anfield:
Stanley Park (LFC) - for Coach Park for up to 3.41 ha
Townsend Lane/Lower Breck Road - added by LCC for Commercial of 0.14 ha Belle Vale:
Liverpool Sports Park on Valley Road, Childwall - for Housing up to 3.75
Lyndene Recreation Ground - added by LCC for Residential of 3.16 ha
Caldway Drive Open Space - added by LCC for Commercial of entire site
of 0.81 ha
Belle Vale Park - added by LCC for Commercial & Residential of 0.26
Larchwood Neighbourhood Park - added by LCC for Commercial entire site
of 1.43 ha
Napps Way, Land - added by LCC for Residential of entire site of 0.33
Victoria Falls Road, land (Former Cross Farm School) - added by LCC for
Residential entire site of 2.46 ha Childwall:
Score Lane Gardens - added by LCC for Residential entire site of 4.14
Menlove Gardens - added by LCC for Residential entire site of 1.37 ha
Harthill Allotments - added by LCC for Residential entire site of 1.54
Harthill Depot, Calderstones Park - added by LCC for Residential of 3.1
Harthill Model Railway, Calderstones Park - added by LCC for Residential
of 0.23 ha Clubmoor:
Maiden Lane Playing Fields - added by LCC for Residential entire site
of 2.13 ha
Cherry Lane Recreation Ground, Walton - added by LCC for Residential entire
site of 1.44 ha
Clubmoor Recreation Ground North, Walton - added by LCC for Residential
entire site of 1.27 ha
Abingdon Road Playing Fields - added by LCC for Residential entire site
of 3.71 ha County:
Walton Hall Park - for Everton Football Club stadium, size not specified
in park of 55.42 ha
Walton Hall Park including Bowls pavilion - added by LCC for Residential
of 7.75 ha Croxteth:
Croxteth Park, Land south of Inglewood - for Housing, size not specified
in park of 22.62 ha
Unicorn Park near Alt Park - added by LCC for Residential entire site
of 0.39 ha
Land north of Parkview Road - added by LCC for Residential entire site
of 0.96 ha
Grassed area corner Willow Way & Parkview Road - added by LCC for
Residential entire site of 0.19 ha
Parkview Road, land adj Recreation Ground - added by LCC for Residential
entire site of 0.33 ha Everton:
Donaldson Street Recreation Ground - added by LCC for Residential entire
site of 0.48 ha
Whitley Gardens - added by LCC for Residential of 0.48 ha
Radcliffe Public Open Space - added by LCC for Residential of 0.5 ha
Everton Park by Netherfield Road & North-Heyworth Street - added by
LCC for Residential of 0.75 ha
Notre Dame Playing Field - added by LCC for Residential entire site of
Everton Park by Rose Vale, Langrove Street, Roscommon Street - added by
LCC for Commercial of 0.32 ha
Everton Park aka China Street Recreation Ground - added by LCC for Residential
of 1.3 ha Fazakerley:
Seeds Lane Recreation Ground - added by LCC for Residential entire site
of 3.59 ha. Greenbank:
Sefton Park Meadows (Park Avenue) - added by LCC in process for Residential
entire site of 2.86 ha Kirkdale:
Blenheim Street Recreation Ground - added by LCC for Residential entire
site of 0.37 ha Knotty Ash:
Lexham Road Playground - added by LCC for Residential entire site of 0.79
ha Mossley Hill:
Jericho Lane Playing Field No 1 - added by LCC for Residential entire
site of 3.65 ha Old Swan:
The Green - added by LCC for Residential entire site of 1.26 ha Princess Park:
Upper Hill Street playground - added by LCC for Residential of 0.17 ha Speke Garston:
Maintree Crescent Recreation Ground - added by LCC for Residential entire
site of 0.48 ha
Land at Oglet - for Airport development of entire site of 118.43 ha
Stapleton Avenue Open Space - for Residential entire site of 2.95 ha
Stapleton Avenue Park (FOP/StA) - for Residential entire site of 2.98
Ancient Mill Wood by Alderfield Drive - added by LCC for Residential of
2.22 ha St Michaels:
Tramway Playing Fields - added by LCC for Residential entire site of 2.31
Riverside Drive, land including raised car park - added by LCC for Commercial
entire site of 0.41 ha
Riverside Drive, land opposite Festival Gardens? - added by LCC for Residential
of 0.12 ha Tuebrook and Stoneycroft:
Newsham Park - added by LCC for Residential of 4.0 ha
New Road Playground - added by LCC for Residential entire site of 0.16
Lister Drive Allotments - added by LCC for Residential of 1.0 ha Warbreck:
Rice Lane Recreation Ground - added by LCC for Residential of 2.0 ha Wavertree:
Olive Mount Playing Field - added by LCC for Residential entire site of
Sandown Park Playing Field - added by LCC for Residential entire site
of 3.02 ha Woolton:
Private grounds at Woolton Manor, next to Woolton Woods - for Residential
of 4.92 ha
Gateacre Comp Old School Playing Field Site - added by LCC for Residential
of 7.62 ha
Alderman John Village Gardens - added by LCC for Residential entire site
of 3.17 ha
Gateacre Recreation Ground - added by LCC for Residential of 0.9 ha
Woolton Woods Park by High Street - added by LCC for School, under consultation
process of up to 3.39 ha Yew Tree:
Mab Lane Playing Field - added by LCC for Residential entire site of 10.78
Cantril Farm Park (North) - added by LCC for Residential entire site of
Ackers Hall Recreation Ground - added by LCC for Residential entire site
of 1.01 ha
The 23 Sept meeting on Liverpool's Local Plan Update was
introduced through the Regeneration, Housing & Sustainability Select
The government's National Planning Policy Framework places importance
on community engagement in the development of Local Plans. The Local Plan
is meant to give local people a say in how their social and physical environments
are shaped over the next 12 - 15 years.
At this stage in Liverpool's draft Local Plan, development sites can not
be officially named until the draft is completed sometime around the summer
of 2015. The Council will continue to process any development application
plans (from the list above) through the existing planning system until
the Local Plan is approved, around 2017.
Redrow Homes were quoted extensively throughout
this report with comments such as: 'the city needs to review its greenbelt
and green infrastructure to ensure sufficient land is identified to meet
the housing requirement', 'highlights a shortage of sites available for
executive, family housing' and 'too much emphasis on brownfield land'.
Other comments in the Local Plan report say the Council
has over estimated Liverpool's housing requirement.
The Chair of this meeting refused to take questions from the public or
to discuss specific sites. This was the first opportunity for the public
to ask questions about Liverpool's Local Plan and therefore the committee
failed to put into practice Liverpool's
Statement of Community Involvement [SCI] which sets
out specifically how the Local Plan should be implemented in Liverpool.
The SCI emphasises a proactive engagement and involvement with neighbourhoods
and communities in a meaningful way - focusing on information and
Redrow public 'consultation' to build
over the Meadows
Redrow Homes promoted their ideas to build executive housing
over Sefton Park Meadows in a one day exhibition on 16 August at Greenbank
Sports Academy. Initial design plans are online here: www.landatparkavenue.co.uk.
Comments on these plans are accepted online up until 23 September.
A spokesperson for Redrow has said that their final development plans
will be available on their web site two weeks before they are considered
by Liverpool's planning committee.
Redrow's planning application proposals to buy the Meadows
from the City may be presented to the Council by the end of October 2014.
The sale of the Meadows is dependent upon successful planning permission.
The campaign to save Sefton Park Meadows have launched a 'Fight the Planning
Application Fund'. Donations to help fund professional expertise, to make
legal objections to these plans, can be made by PayPal from the Campaign
web site saveseftonparkmeadows.org
or the campaign
In 2013, after the Council received record breaking numbers of
written objections, the Mayor went ahead with marketing Sefton Park Meadows
for sale. In August 2014 Redrow was announced as the Council's preferred
developer for the potential sale of this 2.62 hectare public open green
designs may change before Redrow presents it's planning application to
the Council this October.
Statement from Save Sefton Park Meadows
Redrow leads the way in persuading Councils to
part with green space for housing.
Liverpool City Council and their selected preferred development partner
Redrow Homes are trying to persuade the people of Liverpool that it's
in our best interest to sell Sefton Park Meadows for housing.
• Redrow has hired the UK's top PR and communications agency (Lexington
Communications) to organise a 'public consultation' on 16 September, alongside
a campaign supporting plans to build over Sefton Park Meadows. The agency
are specialist media manipulators, shaping public opinion to solve 'problem
issues' and winning support for new developments.
• Redrow leads the way in persuading Councils to part with public
green space for their houses. Redrow's housing tycoon boss, Steve Morgan,
claimed that it's pointless protecting "tatty land" and the
residential market's biggest problems for building over green space were
"sheer bureaucracy" in the planning system and "nimbyism,
which is alive, well and thriving".
The Chair of the SSPM campaign said:
"We will robustly oppose these plans to sell off our valuable
green space used by thousands for the benefit of a few ‘executive
"Liverpool's mayoral led authority is joining forces with Redrow
to build over our treasured green and pleasant land".
• Labour Councillors have said the Meadows are hardly used and only
used for dog fouling. From recent research records it has been calculated
that the Meadows attracts over 20,000 adult visitors each year with dog
owners representing 20% of walkers. Most people use this green space for
relaxation, recreation and exercise.
• In the early 1990's the City Council's then head of planning reported
that the Meadowlands "should remain as open space as part of Sefton
Park" - a view echoed by English Heritage at the time. But since
then the political landscape has changed with the Meadows excluded from
English Heritage's grade 1 listing of Sefton Park. Last year the Council
'un-parked' the Meadows by advertising the land at Park Avenue as ‘incidental
open space’ for disposal, even though within a designated conservation
area. This proposed disposal received the highest recorded number of written
objections sent to Council planners.
• Édouard André, who designed Sefton Park at the end
of the 1860's, would have overseen the planting of rows of trees on the
Meadowlands to fit into the design and setting of the rest of Sefton Park.
This June, tree specialists carried out a tree survey over the Meadows
and they confirmed that the magnificent row of Plane Trees on Mossley
Hill Drive were planted over 140 years ago. Liverpool's unique double
row of Lime Trees at the entrance of Queens Drive also dates from the
'Turning Green to Brown' - Meadows
96 portraits of people using Sefton Park Meadows made within
15 hours over 10 days in May. The final part of the exhibition has been
until 25 October 2014
Quaker Meeting House Cafe
22 School Lane
Liverpool L1 3BT
next to Bluecoat on ground floor
open Monday to Friday 8:30am-5:00pm Saturday 9:00-5:00pm.
click on arrows
for viewing pictures full screen.
The £2 profit on each sale of this book is donated to the Save
Sefton Park Meadows Campaign fund.
Stadium plans for Walton Hall Park
Mayor Joe Anderson is a big supporter of Everton Football
Club and on the 16 September Everton's plans of building a bigger
stadium on a new site at Walton Hall Park were finally made public
by the City Council. Over the next few weeks a 1,000 local homes will
receive letters inviting them to consultation events to view plans
of a new stadium building complex over the public open space of Walton
Also in the same week Councillors will visit Liverpool FC, on Stanley
Park, to see building expansion plans to increase the football stadium's
capacity along with a new coach park.
Council public 'consultation' to build over Woolton
Teddy Bears Picnic for Woolton Woods - 31 August 2014
Liverpool City Council arranged a further public consultation
meeting on 10 September at St Julie’s School in Woolton. The
campaign to save the public green space are not against the school
but want to present other options rather than building over any part
of Woolton Woods Park. The City Council and school leaders are trying
to gain public opinion to break a covenant protecting the park land
from developments - the covenant allows for some recreation facilities.
Campaigners believe Mayor Joe Anderson wants to build
a new school over park land so that the old school site becomes available
for house building and generate income for the City.
Liverpool's Local Plan - ineffective publicity
The recent nationwide 'Localism' consultation was intended to encourage
all communities and people throughout England to help form their own Local
Plans - the basis for future local authority planning. And for everyone
to have the opportunity to have a say in how their social and physical
environments are shaped over the next 12 years.
Central Government's rhetoric for this radical new Localism Act was initially
widely criticised in the press. By the time active consultation plans
came into force in 2013 there was little national or local media coverage
of the Local Plan's significance in empowering people to help shape their
local surroundings. There was also a failing of both central and local
governments to promote Local Plans to a wider public. Property developers
and speculators would have not missed the opportunity to complete the
necessary Local Plan forms.
In the whole of Liverpool, a total of 117 forms were returned for the
Local Plan Public Consultation. The deadline in Liverpool was the 31 March
2014. The Liverpool Local Plan will eventually become part of the government's
12 year national planning framework.
Liverpool's breakdown of numbers for completed
forms A, B & C:
48 - Form A is a simple form to make a
quick comment on what the Local Plan should contain.
19 - Form B relates to questions on housing, employment
and other types of development.
50 - Form C is for allocating sites for development or
identify land to be protected from development.
The government's National Planning Policy Framework places importance
on community engagement in the development of Local Plans. Individuals
and neighbourhoods could have voiced their views to help shape local authority
planning rules by registering any land or place that people can identifying
as a local amenity or important for a Local Plan. Once agreed, Local Plans
will radically change the way local authorities can give planning permission.
Liverpool made the Local Plan consultation documents available at the
end of last year. At this time many other planning authorities had already
completed their public consultation.
The Government aim is for every area to have a clear local plan which
sets out local people's views of how they wish their community to develop,
consistent with the framework and against which planning applications
for planning permission will be judged.
The National Planning Policy Framework is a key part of the government’s
reforms to make the planning system less complex and more accessible.
'This should be a collective enterprise. Yet, in recent years,
planning has tended to
exclude, rather than to include, people and communities. In part, this
has been a
result of targets being imposed, and decisions taken, by bodies remote
Dismantling the unaccountable regional apparatus and introducing neighbourhood
planning addresses this'.
The Minister for Communities and Local Government goes on to say:
‘The purpose of planning is to help achieve sustainable
means ensuring that better lives for ourselves don’t mean worse
lives for future
generations. Development means growth. Sustainable development is about
for the better, and not only in our built environment.
Our natural environment is essential to our well being
and it can be better looked after than it has been'.
'It is the Council’s intention to prepare a Local Plan and
to encourage representations
on what it should contain. This provides an opportunity for neighbourhoods,
organisations and businesses to help shape the Plan’s content'.
'It is important that people have the opportunity to be involved
and influence decision
'Early and meaningful engagement and collaboration with neighbourhoods,
organisations and businesses is essential. A wide section of the community
proactively engaged, so that Local Plans, as far as possible, reflect
a collective vision
and a set of agreed priorities for the sustainable development of the
those contained in any neighbourhood plans that have been made'.
Disposals of public open space
In Britain local planning authorities (local Councils)
can sell-off the public land we collectively own and are only required
to publicise these disposals by placing small advertisements in a local
newspaper once a week for two weeks. There is currently no centralised
resource of freely available information regarding the disposal, sale
and privatisation of public open space.
No public notices are required to be placed in or by the actual public
land to be privatised.
The public have the right to object to their local planning authority
if they disagree to a planning proposal. Actions to make are to send written
legal objections to the appropriate planning officer well in advance of
a planning committee meeting.
Most all privatisation schemes attract little interest in news media.
Public open space and park land gradually disappear over extended periods
of time or usage changes in subtle ways. School playing fields are now
mostly privately owned and development plans for this type of land attracts
little attention. In rare circumstances a planning application is 'called
in' for a Public Enquiry but these are often balanced in favour of the
commercial developer who has the financial resources to employ professional
During 2010 different central government departments had conflicting views
over the value of public open green space. Some encourage local councils
to sell off public land where others see the same public open space as
an essential part of the urban infrastructure for a wide range of environmental,
social and economic objectives and activities.
The catalyst for the Our Ground project was the privatisation
of the public open space of Chavasse Park and 34 adjoining streets for
the 'Liverpool One' extensive retail and mixed use development. The developer,
Grosvenor Estates, effectively owning a private estate of 42.5 acres in
central Liverpool with a 250 year lease.
As part of this project in 2009 Our Ground worked
with the writer Anna Minton providing
photographs for the Penguin book Ground Control.
This book is about regeneration, security and the privatisation of public