For latest news follow
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below

 


Liverpool Campaign web sites

Save Sefton Park Meadows on facebook

Saveseftonparkmeadows.org

Walton Hall Park Community

Save Woolton Woods on facebook

Save Our Green Spaces Liverpool on facebook

email saveourgreenspaces liverpool


Liverpool City Council

All committee meetings

weekly & current planning applications

planning explorer

Strategic green & open spaces review board



National

The Parks Alliance

National Federation of Parks of Green Spaces

UK ‘Save Our Parks’ petition

Open Space Society

The Land Trust

Fields in Trust

Groundwork

DEFRA

English Heritage

Historic England

European Landscape Convention

European Landscape Convention
icomos-uk PDF


Anna Minton author Ground Control

State of UK Public Parks report from the Heritage Lottery Fund

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

 

eXTReMe Tracker

 

Liverpool’s Green & Open Spaces Report and the Local Plan

Liverpool’s Draft Local Plan will become available for the Council’s Cabinet meeting on 19 August 2016. The Green & Open Space Review Board’s Final Report is due to be published on 6 October.

Liverpool is one of the few local authorities to commission a major strategic review of green and open spaces for the city. This mayoral commission was established at the end of 2014, in part, reacting to the high profile and vocal campaigns of local people to save Sefton Park Meadows, Walton Hall Park and Woolton Woods. However, during the first consultation for Liverpool’s Local Plan a number of house builders also recommended a review of the city’s green space and green wedge land – to encourage the city to provide a planning policy structure to identify the best green spaces to exploit for development.

The Green & Open Spaces Review Board’s research was carried out to inform and feed into the city’s Local Plan. Liverpool’s Local Plan will set out the city’s planning and cultural policy for the next 15 years or more. Central government have set a deadline for all local authorities to finalise their Local Plans by March 2017 and the period for public consultation is limited to six weeks. Liverpool’s existing Unitary Development Plan (UDP) policy will be replaced by Liverpool’s Local Plan once government inspectors approve and finalise it.

The formulation of the Local Plan comes at a time when central government cuts are severely biting into the City Council’s budget. Without any statuary obligation to fund parks and greenspace the Council predict that by 2017 there will be no money to maintain these public green spaces. This period also coincides with the government’s push for local authorities to provide more houses.

Housing developers are keen to exploit this situation and are persuading the city to part with historic parkland for housing schemes. Redrow Homes North West is the Council’s preferred developer and they favour building on previously undeveloped green spaces. In recent years Redrow have acquired from the city five former school playing fields and designated green space for housing schemes. Redrow now have their sights on the highly profitable areas of green space located in the leafy suburbs of south Liverpool for ‘executive’ homes – particularly public parkland such as Sefton Park Meadows and the recreational land of the Harthill Estate at Calderstones Park.

Redrow recently submitted an outline application for up to 160 dwellings for land at Allerton Priory by Woolton Road. This privately owned land is part of Liverpool’s Green Wedge that should be protected according to the city’s existing UDP policies.

Once the draft Local Plan is available to the public, after the Council’s Cabinet meeting on the 19 August, it will be vital to make sure that it contains protection for our parks and green open spaces and that as many people as possible make this message clear through the public consultation process.

The period for public consultation for the Draft Local Plan is 6 weeks (with a deadline estimated to be mid September 2016).


Sefton Park Meadows - the Meadow Fields dissected by Park Avenue at the entrance to Queens Drive.

The Future of Public Parks and Open Spaces – Government Inquiry Launch

The Communities and Local Government Committee has launched an inquiry into the Future of Public Parks. The inquiry will examine the impact of reduced local authority budgets on public open spaces and consider concerns that their existence is under threat.

This inquiry has a national significance. It has the potential to influence Government policy makers to set guidelines for all local authorities. The Commons Select Committee wants to encourage as many people as possible to contribute to the inquiry and must receive written submissions by 30 September 2016. For more details see Communities and Local Government Public Parks launch web site.

Sefton Park Meadows - Freedom of Information disclosures

A recent FOI request has revealed correspondence in internal emails between Liverpool City Council and Redrow from the end of 2014 to 30 March 2016 about the ongoing negotiations over the sale of Sefton Park Meadows ­ see the Campaign to Save Sefton Park Meadows web site for more details about the 'Damning Secret Negotiations Revealed with Redrow Homes'.

The FOI reveals that Redrow offered £4m (including all Council costs) for the green open space land of Sefton Park Meadows. This figure differs greatly from the £10m promised by the Mayor of Liverpool 3 years ago. At the end of March 2016 no independent land valuation had been established. It appears the Mayor had plucked a figure out of the air when he announced £10m for the sale of the Meadowlands - largely to impress the media and public.

In its press release the Campaign to Save Sefton Park Meadows notes discussions at the highest Council level over the Mayor’s outspoken intervention into the quasi-judicial planning process along with comments to ‘tone it down’ to avoid adverse public reaction.

The Campaign to Save Sefton Park Meadows has stated:

We demand to know exactly where the proposed sale is up to. Transparency and accountability should be paramount in all Council matters, especially in the matter of the proposed sale of Sefton Park Meadows which has such a high level of public interest’.

The FOI documents can be found here:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/sefton_park_meadows_2016#incoming-839414


2004 English Heritage Map of Grade II* listed Sefton Park.


Liverpool City Council’s 2005 ‘Park Strategy for Liverpool’ contains maps clearly showing Sefton Park Meadows as being an integral part of Sefton Park. The Mayor of Liverpool has continued to insist that the Meadows have never been part of Sefton Park. The Meadows were also incorrectly described by a Council disposal notice in March 2013 as ‘incidental’ space off Park Avenue.

 

Football pitch developments - from green to brown

The green field sites of Heron Eccles, the Simpsons Ground and Jericho Lane Playing Fields may radically change in nature and character with a package of 3G artificial football pitches and buildings recently announced by the Mayor. These substantial schemes will effectively change these green field sites into brownfield privately run commercial developments.

Two planning applications are registered and comments can be made up until 16 June from these links: (no.16F/1049) for the Simpsons Ground, off Hillfoot Road and (no.16F/1050) Jericho Lane Playing Fields, near Otterspool Park. The substantial impact in each of the plans are for 3 full sized artificial grass football pitches built with associated changing rooms, floodlighting, perimeter fencing and hard standing with extended car parks to provide 200+ spaces and to install new perimeter railings/gates. It is proposed that the Jericho Lane Playing Fields will have an additional health and fitness facility.

If these plans are approved it will involve a Council loan of £4.4m from the Football Association. Details of these 3G commercial development schemes can be found here: Mayoral Recommendation details for the 3G pitches

 

Civic Society's recommendations for Parks & Green Space

Merseyside Civic Society (MCS) has recently released it's five recommendations for Liverpool's Parks and Green Space Review Team which also criticised Liverpool's Head of Planning.

The pdf detailing the 'Planning context and background to MCS Five Recommendations' can be downloaded here.


The 2015 report details the following points:

1. Differentiate between historic parkland and grassed-over demolition sites
2. Measure the number of park users to enable impacts to be better understood and demonstrated
3. Identify providers with public funding that benefit from parks and should contribute more
4. Smart management and maintenance
5. Linking up Liverpool’s Parks and Promenades in a Green Web.

In the report MCS said it was disturbed to hear Liverpool’s Head of Planning publicly make the case that protections on green space, and prioritising the recycling of brownfield land, ‘do not work’. MCS stated 'this is wrong, and risks undermining the turnaround in population only recently achieved, by encouraging those who argue for purely market led land allocation. Wider green-belt protections, alongside brownfield first targets, have supported urban renaissance in all of the core cities and would be folly to discard'.

MCS also states that 'Parkland in Walton Hall, Newsham Park, Sefton Park Meadow and Calderstones, etc. has been managed and used as such throughout the last century and beyond. Areas with such long established recreational use should never have been proposed for development by officers or approved by politicians in the Local Plan ‘call for sites’.

The Strategic Green and Open Spaces Review Board's final report is due to be published once the Mayor has approved it's release.

 


A section of Walton Hall Park's perimeter footpath

Reprieve for Walton Hall Park

Good news for campaigners to save Walton Hall Park - in a joint statement from Liverpool City Council and Everton Football Club it was announced that plans to build a new stadium in the park has been abandoned. It was also reported "that effectively building a new village in North Liverpool with lots of retail space is a step too far in this current economic climate."

However, these recent announcements fall short of a clear statement about the scheme to build a 1000 houses over a section of Walton Hall Park's 130 acre grounds.

News reports to cancel plans for a new stadium on Walton Hall Park were announced in the Liverpool Echo on 16 May from the following links: 'Campaigners Celebrate' and 'Mayor says Everton will have new stadium in 3 years'

The Friends of Walton Hall Park have been campaigning to save their park since September 2014 when Everton Football Club confirmed they wanted to build a new football stadium over the Park. The expectation to acquire this historic and popular park is made possible by the support of Mayor Anderson and his powerful rule over the Labour-led Council. This park is the only public green space in a densely populated area.

The origins of Walton Hall Park date back to 1199. Will English Heritage and it's recently formed planning arm of Historic England give it's blessing for the sale of any part of Walton Hall Park - as it did for Grade II listed Stanley Park when up to half of this historic park was sold to Liverpool FC?

 

Liverpool - Overall loss of 30 acres of parkland and green space from 2012 to 2016

Is Joe Anderson being economical with the truth with claims that he has created 67 acres of green space in Liverpool since he first became Mayor in 2012? The facts reveal a different story - it is estimated there has been a total net loss of at least 30 acres of green space in Liverpool over the last 4 years.

Most of Anderson’s ‘new’ green space is an invention and is creatively called 'renewed' green space made up of established and existing designated green space - with some land brought back into temporary use. This 'new' space is mostly from two sites next to one another in north Liverpool. Some 21 acres of land around the altered channel of the River Alt was re-named Alt Meadows Park and opened by the Mayor in 2015. Adjacent to this is a larger area of 26 acres where the River Alt was moved to avoid flood risk - this green space is temporary and is advertised for development. Both these sites were mostly designated green space before Anderson was first elected Mayor.

One might think the narrow linear section surrounding the River Alt channel in the new park would be protected from building schemes but already a small housing development is being built on the southern most tip of the site overlooking the river.


Another area of 'renewed' green space are the 5.6 acres of allotments built over Park Hill Road Recreation Ground on the Dingle - a green space that has been in public use for the last 25 years. These allotments are being provided to compensate for the loss of 11.8 acres of allotments in Fazakerley. In effect this is not a gain of green space but a loss of 11.8 acres of green space. It is creative accounting to call these new allotments new green space.

In the last 4 years numerous losses of green space have emerged - from the recent development on Woolton Woods parkland to the numerous housing schemes built over former school playing fields designated green space as detailed below.

Anderson was recently re-elected Mayor for a second term - does this mean he has a mandate to build over more green space than ever before?

More former school playing fields dug up for housing

Many former school playing fields are in the process of being purchased or developed for housing. The loss of school grounds, mostly all designated green space, do not need to be publicly advertised for disposal and therefore there is no public consultation over the loss of this green space. Councils seek permission to decommission school sites directly from the Secretary of State for Education.

In Liverpool at the beginning of 2016:

Redrow Homes are completing two substantial housing schemes over the former 14 acre New Hayes school site between Mather Avenue and Calderstones Park with 119 homes.

Redrow have started to build on former Watergate School, opposite St. Julies School in Woolton Village.

Redrow plan to build 22 houses on the former Ernest Cookson Special School, on Mill Lane in West Derby.

Purchase proposals from Redrow have been submitted for the 6.5 acre site once home to Redbridge and Bank View High Schools in Fazakerley. Redrow were authorised to demolish the site last October to bring the project forward by 6 months.

Redrow is starting to build 60 dwellings on the grounds of Holly Lodge Girls' College in West Derby. Last December 2015, in spite of many local objections, approval was given to demolish Holly Lodge House. The Grade II listed Fremont and Sandheys buildings will be converted for homes.

The former Gateacre Community Comprehensive School on Grange Lane is being developed by Countryside Properties for 200 dwellings with associated landscaping and new access roads. The applicant Countryside Properties has recently submitted new plans to vary some of the houses - comments for these plans can be made to the planning officer up until 26 May 2016 (ref. 16F/0883)

Palmerston School will be declared surplus to requirements when the school relocates in the spring of 2017 and planning for this site will commence at the end of 2016.

There is little evidence in Liverpool to certify, under Section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act (1998), that existing playing fields are re-provided when schools are relocated. 

Under a Central Government initiative, Liverpool was awarded a £169M fund to build 12 new schools. Many of the completed new school playgrounds are a fraction of the size of former playing fields.

Sefton Park Meadows

The Campaign to Save Sefton Park Meadows is in its third year since this parkland was incorrectly described by a Council disposal notice in March 2013 as ‘incidental’ space off Park Avenue. The campaign is ready to act if and when Redrow Homes NW presents it’s application to the planning committee to build executive homes over the entire 6.5 acres of this spectacular public green space.

For over three years there has been a great deal of public misinformation and misleading assertions from the Mayor regarding the status, disposal and so-called beneficial sale of the designated green space of Sefton Park Meadows. The land is officially described in Council bye-law records as the Meadow Fields of Sefton Park. During the late 19C when villa style houses were being built around Sefton Park in 1887 Liverpool Corporation's Council rejected any further plans to build over the Meadowlands of Sefton Park.

more details on Sefton Park Meadows from 2015.

Woolton Woods Park

The recent May elections saw a small but significant protest vote against the Labour Party in Liverpool for their privatisation scheme on Woolton Woods parkland. With two new Lib-Dem Councillors elected in and next to the Woolton Woods development.

Further legal challenges to protect Woolton Woods appear to have evaporated since this parkland was fenced off and contractors started work in April 2016. It was on 16 June 2015 when the Planning Committee approved extension plans for St Julies School over Woolton Woods Park. In exchange for 5% of popular parkland the school owners will offer the Council woodland it does not maintain and can not use.

Sufficient land is available on the existing school footprint for the St Julies school extension. However, the private school owners, the Sisters of Notre Dame, want to hold onto 4.37 hectares of school land for a potential residential land sale.

more details from 2015 about Woolton Woods


Woolton Woods 8 February 2015 - 150th anniversary of the birth of Sir James Reynolds
who in 1917 "gifted these two open fields to the people of Liverpool".

 

Calderstones Park - development land off Harthill Road

See Liverpool Confidential feature: Calderstones land earmarked for luxury housing. A draft master plan will be produced for a substantial housing development in and around Calderstones Park with a target completion date of 2020.

 

Liverpool at risk from surface water flooding

Liverpool is the 4th worst city at risk through surface water flooding in England (not the River Mersey bursting it's banks). These were the findings of a Flood Risk Assessment report given to Liverpool’s Regeneration, Housing & Sustainability Select Committee on 25th February 2016.

The many underground rivers flowing underneath Liverpool may contribute to future flood risk. These underground streams feed into the many lakes situated in Liverpool's parks which serve to reduce flood risk. Calderstones Park, Greenbank Park, Sefton Park and Walton Hall Park all have lakes served by underground streams.

The 'Lower Brook' rises near Edge Lane and flows underneath Toxteth Park Cemetery before meeting the 'Upper Brook' in Sefton Park. The 'Upper Brook' rose near Sandown in Wavertree and feeds into the lake at Greenbank Park before reaching Sefton Park Lake. From Sefton Park the stream is known as the River Jordan, guided by a culvert, it flows through Otterspool to the River Mersey.

Greenfield sites were also identified as efficient drainage areas to reduce flood risk and that many built hard surfaces in Liverpool were at risk to surface flooding. The effects of Climate Change may also make Liverpool more vulnerable to surface flooding.



The Council were informed that lakes in parks help to prevent flooding. For example, the lake in Sefton Park is important to flood risk management - whereas the former lake at Dovecot Park L14, after it was filled-in, caused local flooding.

Open Space Study for Liverpool

As recommended by house builders, a mayoral strategic green and open spaces review board was established at the beginning of 2015 followed by public consultation meetings throughout Liverpool seeking views on parks and open spaces. A Green and Open Spaces interim report has been published and there were 3 further meetings in January 2016 for the public to engage and provide feedback on the report.

Liverpool's Local Plan will establish local planning rules and cultural guidelines for the next 15 years. The final conclusions of this Green and Open Spaces Report will inform the Local Plan to help shape the greenspace infrastructure of Liverpool and future allocations of green and open space for housing and other building requirements.



strategic green and open spaces review board interim report pdf


The final report is expected to be published soon - enquires about this Review can be made by email to greenandopenspaces@liverpool.gov.uk or call 0151 233 7045.

Land Trust Study demonstrates value of green spaces to society

This recent study found that every pound invested in parks and nature reserves contributes £30 towards health and well being benefits and £23 towards crime reduction and community safety.

The national land management charity, the Land Trust, commissioned an independent study by economic consultants, Carney Green to assess the value of the green spaces in its portfolio. The study measured the impact of Land Trust services to identify the value that people place on their local green space as well as to estimate the financial value it contributes to the health and social sectors.

Follow these links for more details:

The Land Trust Study demonstrates value of green spaces to society

The Carney Green research for The Land Trust 'Perceptions Survey and Social Value Study' pdf

In brief: Strategic Housing Development Programme

The 27 November 2015 Cabinet meeting disclosed the first batch of about 580 new homes for the Strategic Housing Development Programme (SHDP) - said to be updated in March 2016. This is part of a 5 year scheme to provide 1,500 newly constructed homes (many on school grounds & open space) and a further 1,000 brought back into use.


Cuts to Local Authorities impact on Greenspace

The Government’s cuts to Local Authorities for local public services, combined with the lack of statutory protection for open spaces, are causing real threats to urban greenspace. This is provoking a growing number of local grass-roots campaigns throughout Britain as local communities mobilise to defend spaces under threat of neglect, privatisation or sell-offs.

At the same time the evidence continues to stack up on the vital and unique role our parks and greenspaces play for health, biodiversity, flood control, climate change mitigation, social cohesion and many other essential needs of all sections of all our communities.


4 July 2015 - one of the demonstrations organised by Save Our Green Spaces - Liverpool

Parks and Playing Fields in Public Ownership
(Protection from Sale) Bill 2015-16

A cross-party group of MP's is supporting a Private Members Bill (Bill 53 pdf) to strengthen protective measures and to 'require public consultation to be carried out in local areas where the sale of park or playing field land owned by a public body is proposed; to require referendums on such proposals in certain circumstances; and for connected purposes'. A record of the first reading of Bill 53 at the House of Commons on 13 July 2015 can be read from this link. The Bill, sponsored by Tom Pursglove MP, is expected to have its second reading debate on 5 February 2016.

Following pressure from UK greenspace organisations, such as the National Federation of Parks of Green Spaces, The Parks Alliance and others, the previous outgoing government administration recommended that the newly elected Government consider hosting a National Inquiry into the future funding and management of our parks.

Please sign and promote the UK ‘Save Our Parks’ petition to step up the pressure on the Government and all political parties to take seriously the future funding and protection of our vital green spaces.

Add news and information to this site

Our Ground welcomes any information about your campaign and the loss of public open greenspace on Merseyside. Please send your information to info@ourground.net

updated 1st August 2016 © Our Ground 2007 - 2016

 

 

2016 Our Ground news on this page:

Open Spaces & Local Plan

Govt. Parks Inquiry Launch

FOI Meadows Revelations

3G pitches - green to brown


MCS recommendations

Walton Hall Park Reprieve

Overall loss of Green Space

Disappearing School Fields

Woolton Woods Park land

Sefton Park Meadows

Open Spaces Review Board

Land Trust Study on value of green space

1st SHDP housing programme

Local Authorities cuts impact

Parks and Playing Fields Bill

Our Ground aims to promote campaigns to save public green space in Liverpool and beyond.

Losses of greenspace on Merseyside reflect the changes taking place throughout Britain with public space disposed and sold for private developments.

We are witnessing the disappearance and erosion of our rights to freely use public space for the health and benefit of all our communities.

Local authorities encouraged by successive UK governments have continued to sell-off our parks, school playing fields, recreation grounds and public rights of way in towns and cities throughout Britain.

2015 news:

SOGS

Woolton Woods

Sefton Park Meadows

Mayoral Review of Green & Open space

Greenspace for housing

Revelations


Mayoral propaganda


On going threats

Liverpool's Local Plan

2014 news:

Green Space debates

Meadows press News

Liverpool Local Plan

Redrow's Meadows

Woolton Woods under threat


Walton Hall Park stadium plans

Local Plan & Statement of Community Involvement

Turning Green to Brown

2013 news:

Meadowland Campaigners replace notices after Council removal

Mayor 'bully-dozers' Sefton Park Meadows for marketing

'NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY' Mayors shouts at public gallery

Liverpool starts to prepare a Local Plan for future planning rules

SHLL building sites


7 approved 'finger blocks'
for Otterspool Promenade

2012 news:

Forest Estate - final report

Festival Gardens opening 23 June

Survey for private public space

Forest Estate - Privatisation

Festival Garden background

Neighbourhood Parks cuts

New - Port Sunlight River Park

Occupy Liverpool & London


'Big Society' Localism Act

Land Trust call for land


Dixie Dene Playing Fields
now a private Academy

2011 news:

Our Ground at the Bluecoat art gallery

Garden Festival Site update

English Forests and Woodlands privatisation

Priory Wood

2010 news:

Festival Gardens AGM and new park

Liverpool's mess in Stanley Park

Otterspool Park land sold


Work starts on Festival Gardens Park

Campaign web site lost

'Dutch Farm' green space sold

The Value of Urban Parks


Sefton Park Lake

2009 news:

Otterspool Park Privatisation and open letter of objection to City Council

NWDA fund Festival Gardens Park

Festival Gardens sewage disaster

Liverpool's Year of the Environment 2009


Springfield Park Privatisation

Stanley Park and privatisation plans

Sefton Park cafe deadlock

Tate "5th floor" debate

Festival Gardens & Promenade

Millbank Playing Fields Privatisation

2008 news:

Secretary of State gives go-ahead for Festival Gardens scheme

Festival Gardens Public Inquiry ends

Anfield - new design for LFC

U-boat U532 moved to Woodside Ferry Terminal

Biennial Pavilions

Brief history of Stanley Park


Stanley Park land privatised
with sports centre demolished

2007 news:

Otterspool Promenade Privatisation Disposal

Garden Festival Site Inquiry

Campaign & call for Inquiry

Stanley Park Privatisation & Stadium

Stanley Park Restoration

Millbank Playing Fields Privatisation

Parks Forum

Village Green protection status

Princes Park

Sefton Park

Dixie Dean Memorial Playing Fields Privatisation inquiry

Speke Park Privatisation and Speke Parade

Walton Hall Park