Since 2006 Our Ground has reported on
the disposal and sales of public open green space across Merseyside. This
reflects a national phenomena: the loss of our human right to freely use
open space through privatisation schemes for a variety of commercial developments.
Local authorities encouraged by successive UK governments have continued
to sell-off our parks, playing fields, open space and public rights of
way in towns and cities throughout Britain. more
Save Sefton Park Meadows Campaign - Mass Picnic 27 May
A second mass picnic is organised for the bank holiday
Monday 27 May, 1 to 4pm on the Sefton Park Meadows by Park Avenue L17
0AE. All are invited to bring BBQ, picnic, family and friends.
Monday 6 May the Campaign will be collecting signatures outside the cafe
in Sefton Park, 1 to 4pm. The Campaign wishes to encourage as many people
as possible to sign the online ePetition
here - this involves registering.
The Save Sefton Park Meadows Campaign to stop the Council selling off
this public open space has launched it's own informative web site with
up to date information on planned events and history:
The Extraordinary Meeting in Liverpool Town Hall on 18 April was
called by the Liberal Democratic Party to question proposals
"to use the precious green spaces of Liverpool for development as
exemplified by the decision to sell the Meadowlands at Sefton Park".
The first address was by Martin Dobson, a member of the public, who made
a passionate plea to save the Meadowlands. He was followed by the Lib
Dem Leader, Councillor Richard Kemp, who pointed to lack of public consultation
and urged the Council not to take the ‘easy pickings’ of building
on green space. Both speeches received rousing applause from a packed
But it was the Labour Council Leader, Mayor Joe Anderson, who soon dominated
the proceedings, calling the Leader of the Lib Dems an opportunist,
hypocrite and idiot (he is certainly not an idiot). The heated Mayor continued
with his personal attacks on other councillors who disagreed with his
Members of the public who packed the Town Hall didn't escape the Mayor's
wrath either: he repeatedly shouted NIMBY at the public gallery and asked
'where were you?' when the earlier loss of other green spaces had been
discussed. A member of the public was removed from the Chamber when he
attempted to answer the Mayor. The public were not allowed to speak at
The Lib Dem motion to ensure that consultation takes place with local
residents, businesses and ‘Friends of Park’ Associations
before any proposals are made to sell off land or alter parks was totally
Instead the Labour Party turned the debate to defend their record of not
selling green space until now, concentrating on the need for the city
to survive and grow through increased house building with a priority to
find land to build luxury housing and generate higher Council Tax income.
The Mayor said he had no other choices but to sell off the Meadowlands.
The debate centred on the city’s survival when faced with 'dire'
financial cuts from Central Government and the priority to protect front-line
services along with a need to spend £399M on road repairs.
The Council recognised that there is a ‘need’ for wildlife
habitat. However the Council believes that the Meadowlands site does
not perform that function.
The Mayor stated he wanted to sell the Meadowlands to finance improvements
to Sefton Park: a running track around the park and providing exercise
facilities for pensioners; a stage in the park to host events; and to
repair roads around the park.
No one mentioned that the Friends of Sefton Park's bid to secure a £4.8M
Heritage Lottery restoration fund for park improvements has a contractual
arrangement for the Council to adhere to a 10 year maintenance and management
plan. The contract is binding for 25 years from 30th November 2006 in
respect of sales of park land. What is the English Heritage Lottery Fund's
view regarding the Sefton Park's Meadowlands? see
previous 2012 news
It appears the Mayor does not want any public consultation over plans
for the Meadowlands or the whole of Sefton Park except within the confines
of Council meetings.
The Liverpool Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA)
was also discussed as this shows the location of numerous green spaces
and playgrounds across the City identified for house building. The
Mayor pointed out that the Lib Dems drew up this document in 2008 and
that Labour had removed some garden allotments from the current version.
The Lib Dem leader said that this was intended as a consultation document
and that Labour had not made it available for public consultation when
they came to power in 2010. The deadline for commenting on the SHLAA was
the 19 April.
Selling Public Green Spaces in Liverpool - City Council
Extraordinary Meeting at 5pm on 18 April in Town Hall
This extraordinary meeting has been called to question
proposals "to use the precious green spaces of Liverpool for development
as exemplified by the decision to sell the Meadowlands at Sefton Park".
For 12 years until 2010 when the Liberal Democrats were in control of
Liverpool many Green wedge sites throughout the city were sold for commercial
developments (see previous news on this site). Now that the Labour Party
are in power they have plans to continue and increase sales of the city's
green spaces - aided by the Coalition Government's recent changes to the
planning laws and a requirement for Councils to look at strategic
housing sites across the city.
This extraordinary meeting will question "the very large number of
cherished open spaces throughout the city" earmarked for development
and to protect Green wedge sites already listed in statutory policy documents
(UDP) as important green spaces. The meeting will also ask for ‘Friends
of Park’ Associations to be consulted before any proposals are made
to sell off land or alter parks.
A request will be made to "ensure that consultation takes place with
local residents and businesses before the sale of any land within communities
that is regarded by them as a local amenity". This particular proposal
may be a requirement of the 2011 Localism
It is noted that there is already brown field land available in Liverpool
to provide homes for more than 60,000 people and empty homes that could
provide accommodation for about 5,000 more.
Save the Meadows Public Meeting: 7pm on 16 April at Greenbank
After Liverpool Council upheld the sale of Meadowlands
the campaign to save Sefton Park Meadows is organising a public meeting
on Tuesday 16th April 7pm in the Rathbone Room, Greenbank Academy, Greenbank
Lane, L17 1AG.
The meeting will have speakers discussing issues relating to the Meadows
but mostly there will be an opportunity for people to speak and make suggestions.
The campaign was started by the local Green Party but there is now massive
support from many different local communities. This public meeting is
a move to broaden the campaign and to invite people to join a steering
group to take the campaign forward.
An application to register Sefton Park Meadows as a Town Green is being
pursued by Lawrence Green. Part of the application is to gather evidence
that a significant number of local people have been using the land over
the last 20 years. If you have any information that might support this
claim or offers of support for the campaign please contact: SaveSeftonParkMeadows@gmail.com
Mayor effectively 'hijacks' select committee to ensure
sale of Sefton Park's Meadowlands goes ahead.
The Mayor and leader of Liverpool City Council took the
unusual step of sitting on the scrutiny select committee on 4th April
to help secure the disposal of the Meadowlands to generate income for
the City Council. Local ward Councillors remained silent after telling
residents they would vote against the sell-off. Despite a mass demonstration
on the Meadowlands on 1st April with estimates between 300-500 locals
protesting throughout a cold wintry day and with over 1480 residents signing
the Council's own ePetition
against the sale, the cabinet's decision to sell the land for luxury housing
This sale may be a test case for the City Council with the Meadowlands
being a high profile public open green space that has attracted a wide
range of communities concerned over it's loss. If this disposal goes ahead
then many other open green spaces such as allotments and other green spaces
throughout the city will be sold-off in the coming months and years -
as central government continues to financially squeeze local authorities.
Can the Localism
Act be effective with strong community support against this disposal?
The 2011 Act, updated in 2012, is supposed to change the way local planning
authorities can operate and is reported to establish powerful new rights
for local people and communities to hold their local authorities to account.
Sefton Park's Meadowlands sale to be called-in and scrutinised
by select committee on 4 April
The Regeneration Select Committee will meet Thursday, 4th
April at 5.00 pm in Liverpool Town Hall to discuss the sale of the Meadowlands
at Park Avenue. This meeting is open to the public but the committee only
normally allows the public to voice it's concerns by way of a question
written in advance of the meeting. Questions can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org
- preferably before the 3rd April.
There are two items on the agenda relevant to the loss of public open
green space in Liverpool:
Item 3. Called in item - Sale of Land at Park Avenue (Meadowlands).
item 4. Notice of Motion - Protection of Green Space at Sefton Park by
Councillor John Coyne.
The sale of land at Park Avenue has been called-in by a number of councillors
and with the ePetition reaching the threshold of 437 signatures of people
who live, work or study in Liverpool.
National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) becomes binding
- is Liverpool leaving the cleared housing sites in favour of building
on greenfield sites?
Under the Government's new framework councils have to publish
and adopt local plans which set out where development can take place for
the next five years. Many councils, including Liverpool, have already
been using the NPPF to guide planning decisions, and experts warned that
last year’s surge in approved developments would now escalate.
Developers are also exploiting a loophole in the framework which will
force councils to make more greenfield sites available for building. Builders
are using the new rule book to force councils to drop uneconomic clearance
sites from five-year housing plans, and replace them with greenfield sites.
Clive Betts, chairman of the Commons communities and local government
committee, said: “The danger is that we end up leaving brown field
sites empty where people would welcome development and build on greenfield
sites where people would be unhappy about it.”
Liverpool's Cabinet unanimously agreed to advertise the
disposal of Sefton Park's Meadows at Park Lane. In the meeting on 22 March,
Joe Anderson Mayor of Liverpool, said he was happy with the money
we have been making on the sale of other land in the city and it wasn't
a bad time to sell. The Meadowlands has been part of the Sefton Park
Conservation Area which the Mayor denied.
The Mayor's civic pride pledge is 'to make Liverpool a cleaner, greener
city' and the Council's solution for the apparent litter and dog fouling
on the Meadows is to privatise and build houses on this public open green
But there is no denying the Council's driver for privatising public land
is to make money. The Council intend to take full advantage of the Government's
recent budget announcement to make £15bn available to boost house
building along with relaxing planning rules to build on greenfield sites.
Over the coming months Liverpool City Council will be looking to sell
off as much public land as it can and more public open space will be under
threat. The blue areas in the map link below show sites, such as the Dingle
Vale Allotments, that are now being considered for house building.
Potential sale of Sefton Park's Meadows - closing date
for objections 25 April
On 22 March Liverpool City Council agreed to advertise
the disposal of a substantial area of public open green space adjoining
Sefton Park. This 2.62 hectare green wedge includes a section of Park
Avenue and is on the boundary of Mossley Hill Drive, Queens Drive, Camatic
Road and Aigburth Vale in Liverpool 18.
The Council is desperate, once again, to raise cash by selling off public
open space and these historic Meadowlands are recommended to be sold on
the open market to the highest bidder for a potential luxury housing estate.
During the 1970's and again in the 1990's this site was considered for
disposal and on both occasions after substantial public opposition the
site was saved as green space.
Despite significant areas of clearance sites and large numbers of boarded-up
rows of derelict properties across Liverpool the Council seems intent
to sell off more public open green space!
Since the land is public open space its loss will have to be advertised
in the local press for 2 consecutive weeks with a further week for objections
to be made. Objections to the City Solicitor will have to be submitted
back to Cabinet for consideration. The closing date for your objections
to this sale is likely to be 25 April.
This potential loss follows the sale of King David Primary School site
and planned sale of New Heys Comprehensive School for a demand in building
large detached dwellings.
'Big Society' Localism Act made law in November 2011
The radically new Localism
Act will change the way local planning authorities can operate and
establishes powerful new rights for local people and communities to hold
their local authorities to account.
The Bill is said to enable regional planning to be swept away and in its
place neighbourhood plans will become the new building blocks of the planning
system where communities have the power to grant planning permission if
a local majority are in favour.
Effectively this act was born out of the European
Landscape Convention - signed up to by the last Labour government
in 2008. Our Ground welcomes the benefits of these new rights
to local communities in helping to protect and shape their public open
In Britain local planning authorities can sell-off the
public land we collectively own and are only required to publicise these
disposals by placing a small advertisement in a local newspaper. There
is currently no centralised resource of freely available information regarding
the disposal, sale and privatisation of public open space.
It is incredible that public notices are not required to be placed in
or by the actual public open spaces to be privatised.
If regular users of these spaces were informed of proposed disposals they
would be able to act on the potential loss of their right to use public
land. By the time the public is aware that public open space is to be
commercially developed it is often too late to effectively object as lawful
planning permission has already been consented. Hopefully the new Localism
Act may be seen as a way of correcting these faults in the planning
Most all privatisation schemes attract little interest in the press and
media as public open space and park land gradually disappear over extended
periods of time or usage changes in subtle ways. In rare circumstances
a planning application is 'called in' for a Public or Local Enquiry but
these are often balanced in favour of the commercial developer who have
the financial resources to employ professional legal expertise.
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 42.5 acres of central Liverpool
with a 250 year lease.