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Are Liverpool's exemplar green spaces under threat of extinction?

During the consultation process for Liverpool's Local Plan at the beginning of last year many house building developers recommended that 'the city needs to review its greenbelt and green infrastructure to ensure sufficient land is identified to meet the housing requirement'.

Liverpool City Council's Physical Assets added hundreds of acres of public green space into the Local Plan for potential development. At the end of last year the Mayor then commissioned a Green and Open Space Review. In September this year the mayor rejected the draft report for this Strategic Green and Open Space Review and sent it back to the 'independent' Review Board chair, Simon O'Brien.
From the sites added by the Council in the Local Plan at least 60 of these are greenspace - parks, recreational grounds and sports grounds (see Local Plan list below). But this figure may be under-estimated. The exact amount of greenspace proposed for development in the Local Plan is difficult to assess as the Council often gives misleading descriptions - listing sites simply as 'Land' even though this ‘Land’ may be public green space with a recognised name. For example, the land commonly known as Sefton Park Meadows is listed as two separate sites - identified by the Council as 'Queens Drive Mossley Hill Land' and 'Mossley Hill Drive Land'. Why does the Council use smoke and mirrors to hide strategic green space in what appears to be a deception?

At the end of 2015 Redrow Homes will be completing a big housing scheme in what was a leafy suburb between Calderstones Park and Mather Avenue. The approved plans to build over the entirety of this substantial school playing field slipped unnoticed by the local press and opposition politicians alike. Apparently the Council is obliged to provide replacement facilities of equal value for the loss of these and other school playing fields but it's not clear where or when these will be delivered.

Once Redrow have sold some of their £1Million homes at the top of their Calder's site then they will be ready to plunder the riches of Liverpool’s other desirable green prizes. Sefton Park Meadows is in Redrow's next target and the City Council, lead by the Mayor, want an executive and exclusive housing settlement here. A planning application to build over the Meadows may appear at anytime with minimal notice.

What is the long-term future vision for this mayoral administration? Is austerity an excuse to make short-term gains by selling off the city's green assets to invest the cash into other property speculations? Is maintenance of greenspace the real issue? The Council tell us the city needs to build over these ''dog toilets" of greenspace rather than brownfield - largely for the profits of property developers – with relatively little return for the Council's coppers. Good quality housing is needed in Liverpool for both the rich and poor alike. But have we lost sight of the real beneficial values of public greenspace in our built-up urban environment - green spaces that are loved by local communities?

For more recent updates and actions about saving green space in Liverpool see the 'Save Our Green Spaces Liverpool' Facebook page

Woolton Woods

Planning application site for Woolton Woods greenspace.
Will it be a foot in the door to develop more?

The disposal of Woolton Woods was approved by the City Council to build over the land for St Julies school. The reasons for approval was to avoid disruption of school children - disruption to students from a noisy building site was not discussed. These plans will enable the Sisters of Notre Dam to sell off it's own excess school land for a housing development. In return the city is given woodland the school can not maintain or use. Will Woolton Woods Ltd. make an appeal against this discussion and present a legal challenge?

On 16 June the planning application to build a new school extending over Woolton Woods Park was approved by the Planning Committee. Excuses were made to not move pupils to another facility while the school is turned into a building site. Campaigners do not object to a new school but say the private school can be built within it's existing grounds.

On 18 June the Regeneration Committee recommended to advertise the disposal of part of the park for the school development. Once the disposal notice for this public green space and historic right of way is advertised then representations and objections can be made. The Council intends to challenge the legality of a covenant protecting the park land from commercial development.

It is the Council’s intention to take 5-10% of the Woolton Woods field for the expansion of St Julies School. The remainder of the field may go forward to be considered as part of the Liverpool Local Plan for potential residential development.

Details of these plans are available here: Planning Application - 15L/0072 to download pdf map plans, heritage report detailing planning policy etc.

A limited company has been set up called Woolton Woods Ltd. in order to pursue legal challenges against the development and disposal of Woolton Woods.

To become a friend of Woolton Woods Ltd see more details on

Redrow planning application for Sefton Park Meadows

If Redrow's planning application is approved then 27 trees will be removed:
18 trees on Park Avenue, 7 Horse chestnut tees on Aigburth Vale & 2 on Queens Drive.

In spite of claims that this planning application has been processed in an unfair and unreasonable manner, an unprecedented record of over 600 comments and objections were submitted for Redrow's proposals to erect 34 dwellings over Sefton Park Meadows. On 29 January Redrow Homes informed Liverpool City Council that they intend to make amendments to the planning application 15F/0110 but no amendments have been made to date.

On the deadline day for objections, 19 February, the mayor of Liverpool announced on Radio Merseyside that he'd asked Redrow to reduce the loss of trees on Sefton Park Meadows and he stated that only one mature tree would be removed. This is highly misleading as the mayor is confusing category 'A' trees as the only mature trees on the Meadow Fields. The mayor is also misleading when he said he could of sold the land to build more houses - it is the high housing density and the inappropriate design features that English Heritage do not want on Sefton Park. Earlier this year the mayor was found to be making exaggerated claims of creating new green space for the city, when in fact most of this new 'improved greenspace' is grassed over temporary brown field sites - see below.

It is estimated, by development accountants, that if Sefton Park Meadows was sold it would profit the City between £1m to £2m while Redrow would profit between £20 to £30m in 'executive' house sales.

Redrow's planning application documents are can be viewed as pdf's to download at:

See updates, more details and objection advice here: also see Save Sefton Park Meadows facebook page

From Queens Drive: the two fields of Sefton Park Meadows

Save Our Green Spaces Liverpool (SOGS)

Save Our Green Spaces Liverpool is an umbrella organisation committed to supporting the various community groups that have formed across Liverpool with the aim of saving local greenspace.

SOGS oppose Liverpool City Council's plans to sell off the city's parks and the dozens of suburban green spaces to Liverpool’s preferred house builders.

The City Council claim Liverpool has too many parks and too much greenspace for our present population and no money to maintain them. Misleading claims are made that land sales will help balance the City Council’s budget but this is not a legal reason for selling greenspace.

SOGS are categorically opposed to the selling of green space for cash. Our urban parks and green spaces are precious community resources to be protected for future generations. If greenspace were not available to property developers, the ample brownfield sites throughout the city would become deliverable for housing and various other developments.

SOGS support Merseyside Civic Society’s policy of ‘brownfield first’: that there is much greater scope to achieve housing targets by making far more effective and coordinated use of so-called brownfield sites long before even contemplating any unwanted and unwarranted incursions into green and accessible open space.

Open green spaces are irreplaceable - to retain them with reduced maintenance is far better than losing them altogether.

The Council’s over-ambitious target (up to 2028) to build 40,950* houses is why property developers can claim there’s not enough
brownfield sites - so they can first plunder the city’s highly profitable green-space. The latest official government projections show a lower figure of 24,000** for housing need, in the same period in Liverpool - if this realistic target for housing was adopted by Liverpool City Council then the ample brownfield sites throughout Liverpool could become deliverable for the city’s needs.

* LCC’s latest published Core Strategy commits to build 40,950 new homes between 2011 and 2028. see more below
**Figures from Department for Communities and Local Government (updated 17 February 2015)

Save Our Green Spaces – Liverpool does not have any political party affiliations. email saveourgreenspaces liverpool

SOGS outside St Lukes Church
in Liverpool on 28 February 2015

Strategic Green and Open Spaces Advisory Review Board meetings

Liverpool City Council plans to dispose a large number of parks and public green space to reduce maintenance costs and identify land for building developments. This is part of the Local Plan process. A Mayoral Green & Open Space Review has been set-up and is open to everyone to make their views known.

Chaired by Simon O'Brien, this review is to provide strategic direction and recommendations to the Mayor, Cabinet and Council to make decisions in respect of the allocation of Strategic Green and Open Spaces for the benefit of all local communities in Liverpool. Simon O'Brien intends to finish his draft report this summer and outcomes may be included in Liverpool's Local Plan at the end of 2015.

It was during the Liverpool Local Plan Consultation last year that property developers, including Redrow Homes, asked for a Review of Green Space - for potential building development land.

On-going planning applications to build over public green space will be unaffected by the Green Space Review.

Details and further comments for this Review Board can be found here

Excess Greenspace for housing?

Over the last year many announcements of newly created green space in Liverpool have now been found to be misleading. This invention of green space appears to be a cynical sweetener to make up for future losses of mature parkland and green space.
The Local Plan will be drafted soon and this new planning policy will have a major impact on all aspects of development throughout Liverpool for the next 15 years. If over-ambitious housing targets are included in these plans, recently doubled to over 40,000 for no apparent reason, then a large supply of land will be required. Developers will first choose highly profitable green virgin land with little incentive to build on brownfield.

If Liverpool's Local Plan does not include adequate protection for local green space then developers will have legal ammunition to pick and choose almost any site they want. Mature historic and diverse parkland will become building sites and we'll be left with temporary brownfield for our "improved green space".

see note below on More Greenspace for house building

Revelations at the Neighbourhoods Select Committee

Will Cllr Steve Munby fly over the Mersey dressed as a pig for Walton Hall Park?

At the meeting on 6 January, Cabinet member Councillor Steve Munby said ‘If Everton Football Club move onto Walton Hall Park he would wear pink tights and wings and fly over the River Mersey’. He told the Friends of Walton Hall Park group, who attended the meeting, that no plans had been submitted by EFC and he didn't’t think the club had the resources for a new stadium. However, questions about this park would be referred to the Regeneration Select Committee.

Two committees – two definitions of ‘Green space

Two different definitions and a difference of opinion between two Liverpool Council select committees - the Regeneration Committee use ‘Greenspace’ as a planning term whereas the definition used by the Neighbourhoods committee is more fluid. The mayor’s reference to 47 acres of new space is misleading and should be referred to as ‘Improved Greenspace’ and this land is made up of a 100 temporary community gardens from derelict sites – 17 of these sites have been identified for future potential development.

Cllr Munby stated the allotments on the Dingle Recreation Ground were to improve greenspace and were not creating new greenspace as the Regeneration Committee had stated.

New Improved Spin

On top of the 47 acres, now renamed as improved-greenspace, the mayor recently stated a further 40 acres of greenspace had been created along the River Alt. Cllr Munby confirmed that the only new permanent greenspace is 21 acres from the new River Alt Park and the remaining greenspace is a nearby development site for sale.

After all the spin over the last 12 months, of the mayor's misleading claims of creating new greenspace throughout Liverpool, the reality is that 21 acres of greenspace will be created on one site alongside the River Alt when the new park opens in March. The new park is a welcomed addition but how much greenspace will be lost during the mayor’s term of office is yet to be determined.

Greenspace, Liverpool Local Plan & Park Trusts

Cllr Munby went onto say ‘Whoever drew up the (Liverpool) Local Plan wasn't’t very bright’. Explaining that many of the sites listed in the Plan should not have been included and that the Independent Review on Greenspace would look into these sites.
At the meeting Cllr Munby also explained that central government had not made parks a statuary responsibility for the Council. He expected the £10m Council budget for parks to be cut in half and that a third of the existing budget for parks goes on buildings. He would be interested to see these buildings taken over by social enterprise schemes and would explore the possibility of independent trusts for all parks.

Mayoral propaganda

In defence of the Council's move to sell-off hundreds of acres of greenspace as part of the Liverpool Local Plan the mayor has claimed that since he came to office he has created more greenspace in the city than at any time in Liverpool's history - up to 47 acres of new greenspace. However, all is not what it seems - examples of new allotments replacing a 25 year old greenspace recreation ground is counted twice as creating new green space. Losses of 12 acres of greenspace in Fazakerley are not included in the mayor's figures.

The only real new greenspace, estimated to be 21 acres, is a linear stretch of land on the side of the River Alt - a new river park to be officially open in March. The course of the river was altered to also create a further 26 acres of greenspace as a development site for sale. If the development site, built over former school playing fields, is sold then there will be a net loss of greenspace since the mayor came to office.

5.6 acre recreation ground in the Dingle on 13 Dec 2014 before Council plans to turn the land into allotments.

On going threats to greenspace

Walton Hall Park and Everton's new football stadium

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 been published but not yet scrutinised. Relating to this report, the mayor has released a statement, Walton Hall Park update, commenting on the report and denying rumors he has seen any plans from the football club.

The Council are now waiting to see Everton Football Club’s development plans for Walton Hall Park. The Council have not advertised the disposal of this popular park land.

More Greenspace for house building

Both property developers and the mayor are recommending substantial increases for house building on Local Greenspace land. Little evidence has been available to justify the need to increase the amount of dwellings in Liverpool to some 41,000 (net gain) in the period up to 2028. The Council's population projection up to 2018 is around 25,000 people.

An over estimation of housing need, especially unverified estimates for executive homes, only makes it easier for private developers to choose the best greenspace for building land. Given a choice, and in Liverpool that choice is expected to be included in the Local Plan, developers will choose to build over greenspace as brownfield sites are far less profitable.

The Council's Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) are estimates for house building land - these will help to form Liverpool's Local Plan. Liverpool's SLLAA 2012 Update report published in August 2013 can be downloaded here


Liverpool's Local Plan

Post consultation Survey - all representations and greenspace sites for development land - click on 'Supporting Documents' from this link

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 Woods Park.

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
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 ha
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 ha
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 ha
Victoria Falls Road, land (Former Cross Farm School) - added by LCC for Residential entire site of 2.46 ha
Score Lane Gardens - added by LCC for Residential entire site of 4.14 ha
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 ha
Harthill Depot, Calderstones Park - added by LCC for Residential of 3.1 ha
Harthill Model Railway, Calderstones Park - added by LCC for Residential of 0.23 ha
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
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 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
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 0.92 ha
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
Seeds Lane Recreation Ground - added by LCC for Residential entire site of 3.59 ha.
Sefton Park Meadows (Park Avenue) - added by LCC in process for Residential entire site of 2.86 ha
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 ha
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 ha
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 ha
Lister Drive Allotments - added by LCC for Residential of 1.0 ha
Rice Lane Recreation Ground - added by LCC for Residential of 2.0 ha
Olive Mount Playing Field - added by LCC for Residential entire site of 5.01 ha
Sandown Park Playing Field - added by LCC for Residential entire site of 3.02 ha
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 ha
Cantril Farm Park (North) - added by LCC for Residential entire site of 0.5 ha
Ackers Hall Recreation Ground - added by LCC for Residential entire site of 1.01 ha

for full detailed list download Item 4 Appendices pdf


Ground Control

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 space.

Read Anna Minton's pdf What kind of world are we building? The Privatisation Of Public Space.


Add news and information to this site

Our Ground welcomes any information about the loss of public open greenspace on Merseyside. Please send your information to

all photographs © John Davies 2007 - 2015



our ground
updated 28 Sept 2015



Woolton Woods

Sefton Park Meadows

Mayoral Review of Green & Open space

Greenspace for housing


Mayoral propaganda

On going threats

Liverpool's Local Plan

Since 2006 Our Ground has reported details of the continued loss of public open greenspace throughout Liverpool - with land disposed and sold-off for private building developments.

What is now happening on Merseyside reflects the changes taking place throughout Britain.

The gradual disappearance of our urban greenspace through privatisation schemes is effecting cultural change with the erosion of our rights to freely use and enjoy open green space as a public amenity for the benefit of all our communities. We are now witnessing a continual loss to the quality of our urban environment.

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

news from 2014:

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

Turing 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

Approved plans
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 development

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 privatised &
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