The campaign to stop Liverpool City Council selling off the meadows of Sefton Park

Leave a comment

Public Consultation starts Sept for Housing Sites – New Draft Local Plan

In line with all local authorities across the country, Liverpool is publishing its new Draft Local Plan in September.  This document (formerly the Unitary Development Plan or UDP) aims to set out all of the council’s plans for the city  for the foreseeable future (to 2033). The Draft Local Plan will include housing needs and identify sites for development, as well giving planning protections to areas of the city.

Liverpool’s Draft Local Plan will be published shortly for public consultation for 6 weeks. All of us involved (for many years now) on saving greenspace campaigns can comment on its priorities, recommendations AND most importantly, WE MUST INSIST that our parks and greenspaces are protected from development. YOUR COMMENTS CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE AGAIN.

We will put online the details for you to comment when they are made available.  We will be focussing on submitting comments related to the protection of Sefton Park Meadows.

Councillors have already received the (very long) Draft Local Plan for review and various committees have had briefing reports.  A Mayoral Recommendation of 19 August states the draft Local Plan delivers a number of key priorities, including:

  • A focus on delivering homes on brownfield sites
  • Protecting Liverpool City Parks for the health and well being of the population.

We are informally told that the Draft Local Plan WILL NOT be agreeing to requests from developers seeking the release of greenspace sites for housing:

The Local Plan, based on the evidence of future housing needs in its SHMA has been able to identify enough land to meet housing need to 2033 (the plan period) through a combination of completed homes (built between 2013 and 2016) and existing planning commitments without the need to use green spaces.

In addition:
The recreational function, visual amenity, historic and structural quality and value of the City’s green infrastructure resource will be protected and enhanced. Specifically, protection will be
afforded to:
a. The Green Belt, Green Wedges and the Mersey Estuary SSSI/SPA/Ramsar Site
b. The network of City, District, Neighbourhood and Local Parks
c. Biodiversity assets, including Local Wildlife Sites (LWS) and Local Nature Reserves (LNR)
d. Regionally Important Geological/Geomorphological Sites (RIGS)
e. Locally important open spaces and water courses, including amenity spaces and allotments
f. Playing fields and pitches
g. Recreational routes and the Public Rights of Way network

Several other important documents are also set to be published at the same time, but the dates for their release are not confirmed. We urgently need to see the Strategic Housing Management Assessment (SHMA), Open Spaces Study and Strategic Green & Open Spaces Review Board Final Report to be able to make fully informed comments on the Draft Local Plan. We are pressing for these.



Leave a comment

Damning Secret Negotiations Revealed with Redrow Homes

We have been given access to new, previously secret emails from Liverpool City Council through a published Freedom of Information (FOI) request, which reveals the negotiations between Redrow Homes and the Council to try to sell off Sefton Park Meadows and secure planning approval for luxury housing before the recent local and mayoral elections.

The Council response has been published on the WhatDoTheyKnow website. The published Council response can be accessed at the link below.

What Do They Know Click on the link titled 448646 Delahunty att1 150716.pdf

Or go straight to documents.

Top level council officers, including Andy Wallace, a senior development manager, were trying to get a timetable for sale of Sefton Park Meadows and a revised planning application approved before Liverpool voters went to the ballot box, knowing that this would have been a major issue for local people. Redrow were threatening to withdraw from the sale if a timetable could not be agreed. The information shows that council officers struggled to get an accurate valuation on the Meadows – that would not be legally challenged- and were waiting until after the elections to start the negotiations again.

The WhatDoTheyKnow website published this information on 15 July 2016.  It covers email correspondence from 14 December 2014 to 30 March 2016.

What We Found Out:

1. Redrow / Liverpool City Council kept secret their negotiations all last year and early this year, despite repeated requests from Meadows campaigners for information on the sale and planning application. Local councillors were not kept informed despite similar requests.

2. Redrow’s offer valuation of £4 million for this significant heritage green space differs greatly from the £10 million promised by the Mayor of Liverpool.

3. Redrow’s land valuation method is in doubt and not agreed by the council. Their own valuation services confirm the complexity of the site and that accurate valuations will be costly to undertake.

4. ‘Radio silence’ since March 30th 2016. The negotiations were halted due to the forthcoming local elections in the knowledge that any sale would become politically toxic, despite Redrow threatening to withdraw their offer.

5. The Save Sefton Park Meadows campaign has been discussed at the highest Council levels. Their awareness of the huge public commitment to the Meadows shown by ‘ need to tone it down’ and ‘language too strong’ emails. Officers were very concerned over formal complaints about Mayor Joe Anderson’s intervention into the quasi-judicial planning process and sought internal legal advice to respond to the Save Sefton Park Meadows campaign.

6. Formal questioning by Cllr Richard Kemp last year to get negotiations out in the open were secretly discussed but his demands were ignored and no information was made public.

The Save Sefton Park Meadows campaign group now demands 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 parks and green spaces developments, which have such a high level of public interest in the city.

A new and important planning document – the draft Liverpool Local Plan – is scheduled for discussion at the Regeneration Committee meeting on 28 July. This will then be published for public consultation in August. The Strategic Green & Open Spaces Review Board Final Report (Chaired by Simon O’Brien) will also be out for public consultation a week or two after the draft Local Plan.

We will be providing links and ways for EVERYONE to comment on both of these as soon as we can.



Leave a comment

Steve Rotheram MP Declares Candidacy for Metro Mayor

Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram has entered the race to become the Liverpool city region’s first elected Metro Mayor. See Liverpool Echo.

In the Echo report Steve Rotheram says “I will ensure we invest in our infrastructure, while protecting our green spaces – balancing the old with the new.” This points to a potential political difference with the current Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson, who will go head to head against Steve Rotheram for the, as yet undecided, Labour Party nomination.

Steve Rotheram MP has secured the backing of St. Helens council leader Barrie Grunewald for his Metro Mayor bid.
The St. Helens council leader was considering standing for the nomination. Cllr Grunewald will now have a key role in running MP Steve Rotheram’s campaign.
Notable that Cllr Grunewald, Vice Chair of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, says: “In the coming weeks as he (MP Steve Rotheram) announces his pledges and manifesto, I know Labour Party members will come to the same conclusion as me, they want a person who is open, who is transparent, who has vision and integrity, a campaigner who has a proven track record in taking on the establishment and getting success.
The newly created Metro Mayor role – due to be elected in May 2017 – is set to be one of the most powerful political roles outside London.
Will it give greater protection to the green space of Sefton Park Meadows?
Watch this space.

Leave a comment

Get Our City Mayoral Candidates to Save Trees and Greenspaces

The 2nd Liverpool Mayoral election will take place on Thurs May 5th, along with other local council elections.  This is another chance for us all to  challenge ALL Mayoral candidates on their commitment to Liverpool’s parks and greenspaces – and specifically to those under threat of development, like Sefton Park Meadows.

The Woodland Trust has started a campaign to  ask Mayoral candidates to state publicly if they support the protection of trees. Using their online tool, you can:

  • ask candidates how they intend to protect and restore woodland and plant more trees in Liverpool
  • download useful resources to help you speak up for trees, including a special election door hanger
  • ask if they support saving Sefton Park Meadows – and/or another greenspace near you – in the box for extra comments


Read our Facebook Page for up to date news and events on these elections.

Save the Meadows campaigners have already used this campaign to contact all Liverpool mayoral candidates.  So far we have had replies from:

  1. Cllr Richard Kemp, Lib Dems Mayoral candidate
  2. Cllr Tom Crone, Green Party Mayoral candidate
  3. Alan Hutchinson


We are awaiting reponses from the other candidates, including the Labour Party incumbent, Joe Anderson… Watch this space.

Cllr Kemp has also published a blog post stating that he has written to two Redrow Homes non- executive directors to ask them to ‘Move On or Move Out’ of the Meadows, and withdraw the site from development before the elections.

Use your voice at these elections to SAVE THE MEADOWS.  We may not get another chance at the ballot box!

Thank you

Leave a comment

Council’s 2004 Map recognise Meadows as Sefton Park

Within our highly urbanised living space, parks should provide oases of natural habitat, pleasure grounds and open areas with no time constraints. For those without gardens they can offer pleasant reminders of seasonal transition, for those with limited transport, a welcome change of scenery.’
A quote from the forward of Liverpool City Council’s 2005 ‘Park Strategy for Liverpool’. This same document also contains a number of maps clearly showing Sefton Park Meadows as being an integral part of Sefton Park.

In the Strategy,  Council ‘Plan 3: Liverpool’s EH (English Heritage) Registered Parks’ is dated April 2004 and clearly shows that at this time the Council considered Sefton Park Meadows to be part of Sefton Park, and not ‘incidental space’, as the Council have been trying to make out since March 2013.

English Heritage 2004 Sefton Park Map

2004 English Heritage Plan 3 of Grade II* listed Sefton Park, includes the Meadows

As we have previously posted here, Liverpool Council  has also issued sales details to prospective purchasers of the Meadows in December 2013  a map titled ‘Sefton Park – Part Land Registered’ (shown below),  along with a copy of the Land Registry Official copy of register of title referring to this map, which shows Sefton Park Meadows as an integral part of Sefton Park.

Land Registry map

Land Registry Map showing Part Title with Sefton Park Meadows

We have already brought the issue of Land Registry and official Sefton Park maps to the attention of English Heritage, now Historic England. With the discovery of these latest Council and English Heritage maps – which were not given to us under previous Freedom of Information requests  – we shall make further representations to them on this matter. Since December 2015, the Chair of the Meadows’ campaign has been trying to get written, legal clarification from Head of Planning David Hughes, on the definition of ‘Incidental Land’.  We are still pressing for this!

Leave a comment

Liverpool’s Mayoral Candidates

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has been confirmed as the Labour candidate for this year’s mayoral election.  He joins Tom Crone, Green Party, and Richard Kemp, Liberal Democrats to declare so far.

Liverpool Echo are running an online ‘straw poll’ for Joe Anderson. See here

We are still awaiting the final report of the Green and Open Spaces Review Report from Simon O’Brien. Campaign members attended the recent public meetings to challenge Simon and council planning head David Hughes over why the Meadows are not mentioned at all in the draft report, and that wneh questioned, Simon believes the Meadows, against all submitted evidence including Land Registry and Park bylaws documents, to be ‘ Incidental Land’.  Chair Ken Aspinall has repeatedly asked since December 2015, for a legal planning definition of this term from Head of Planning – and is still awaiting this!

Watch this space…

Leave a comment

Have Your Say On Greenspaces Interim Report

Further to the launch of the city council’s Green and Open spaces Interim report, chaired and written by Simon O’Brien, 2 public meetings have been held with one more to go at the end of January. Meadows campaigners attended the 2nd meeting in the Dingle on Thurs 21st Jan and, with other attendees, pushed for this report to be more widely publicised to encourage more comment and scrutiny of its recommendations. (See previous post for implications for the Meadows).

The council has now put out the following email newsletter.  Use this to make your comments about how you feel parks, greenspaces and public open spaces should be managed and protected.

Fom Liverpool council:

As you probably know, the Interim Report from the Mayoral Green Spaces Review Board is now available. It outlines the extensive survey, consultation and research work undertaken by the Board and makes a series of recommendations from the Board to be presented to the Mayor and Liverpool Council.

However, this is not the final document and you are invited to let the Board know your views on the Interim Report and submit comments, questions or ideas. This is your opportunity to make your views known. The responses can be as individuals and/or as representation by Friends or other groups.

The link for the report and  for comments is here Report & Comments 

Many people have already attended the public meetings that have been held to discuss the report and have already provided useful feedback in the discussions. But if you haven’t been, you cannot be sure that your views have been represented!

The final public meeting is on Thursday 28th January at ‘The Black E’, Great George Street (5pm – 8pm) and all are welcome to attend. To ensure a place, please book by email or call 0151 233 7045.

Liverpool Parks Friends Forum Chair, Mark Boardman, said “This series of consultation events are critical to the future of Liverpool’s Parks and Green Spaces, in refining the recommendations of the Interim Report.”

The outcome of the meetings, comments and discussions will contribute towards the Final Report, which is scheduled for publication at the end of March. After this it will be presented to the Mayor and Council as the primary consultation document for the future of parks. Now is your chance to have your say!”

Please share this link with friends and family who may be interested to contribute – the wider the consultation process is, the more value it has.

PS The Meadows campaign has also been asked by Save Britain’s Heritage (SAVE) to publicise its Just Giving fundraising campaign for a legal challenge to the Lime Street development application.  Linked to Merseyside Civic Society, SAVE believes this project has important implications in terms of challenging the council’s lack of respect for heritage and planning principles. A good background piece on this in Liverpool Confidential is also worth a look.