SAVE SEFTON PARK MEADOWS

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


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May 2015 Election Manifesto for Parks and Greenspaces

The Liverpool Echo recently asked local people what issues we think are the most important for our politicians and councillors to consider ahead of the May 7th elections.

Our replies – over 3,000 – put Renovating Housing to Protect our Greenbelt and Open Spaces from Development at number 2, just behind restoring local govt finances.  See the Echo report here.

Campaigners to save Sefton Park Meadows have long said that :

1. Targeting the Meadows would set a precedent for wider greenspace sell off

2. This would become a major election issue, particularly for Labour councillors

People in this city put a high social, economic, natural, wellbeing and heritage value on their greenspaces.  We are very intelligent about them as key assets to a successful, thriving, healthy, smart and green city that we know Liverpool needs to become.  Using brownfield sites and restoring empty properties first is what we want to see, NOT selling off valuable greenspaces.

The May elections give us all a chance to ask those standing as councillors or MPs to protect our parks and greenspaces for future generations.

Also, check out this new national Parks Manifesto to get politicians to pledge their support in the run up to the Elections in May.

 

Simon O’Brien’s public meetings

See Meadows campaigner Paul Slater’s notes from the Strategic Greenspaces Review Board public meeting in Greenbank, Mossley Hill and Riverside Ward  Notes (20 March 2015). (See previous post for Review Board details) The final public meeting with Simon O’Brien took place on Sat 28th March. No surprise that it was the best attended by local people, held in Woolton in the church directly opposite the threatened greenspace in Woolton Woods. Local people protesting about the potential loss of Score Lane Park were there too, with other greenspace campaigners. We held a public demonstration outside as the meeting ended.

Astonishing Facts: 1. The council has no idea what it is spending on individual parks and greenspaces.  2. No surveys are ever undertaken to understand usage. 3. No representative from a  health body is on the Review Board.

The first draft report should be out in June and 4 more public meetings will be held. Local people can also request online to attend workshops being run by the Review Board in May and June.The final report will be out in spring 2016.  Meanwhile, ANY development on greenspace under planning application will continue, or new applications can be made for building on greenspace.

Watch this space!

 

 

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Important Meadows Public Meeting Frid 20th March with Green Spaces Review Board

The key public meeting for  Sefton Park Meadows,  run by the Green Space Review Board, is THIS FRIDAY:

Greenbank, Church & Mossley Hill Wards: 20 March, 6.30 – 8.00pm
Merseyside Police Support and Social Association, Riversdale Road, Liverpool L19 3QN

Please attend if you can and encourage as many of your friends and neighbours to go along. Chair Simon O’Brien is willing to listen and take account of local views at the moment, before he writes his draft report in June.  We need people to stand up for the Meadows and our parks and greenspaces.

Our request to this Board regarding Sefton Park Meadows is very simple:

‘In view of the the special and unique position of Sefton Park Meadows, which has been clearly and widely articulated by huge numbers of local residents across the city of Liverpool, and people from a wider Liverpool expatriate community, we request that the Strategic Board ask the Mayor to reverse the decision to sell Sefton Park Meadows and retain it as part of our heritage greenspace asset for future generations.’

Also, check out this new national Parks Manifesto  to get politicians to pledge their support  in the run up to the Elections in May.

Other Strategic Greenspaces public meetings are being held in the next few week, details below.  

The Future of Liverpool’s Parks and Greenspaces?

The much awaited city council Green Space Review Board, chaired by Liverpool actor and environmentalist Simon O’Brien, is out and about visiting our city parks and greenspaces.  The Panel has also scheduled 10 meetings covering all Liverpool wards.  The first was on Tuesday 10th March in St Michael’s, Central and Riverside Wards. See below for the full schedule.

The Save Sefton Park Meadows campaign has no doubt however, that a significant objective of this review is to identify green space for housing developments AND to save costs in maintaining Liverpool’s parks and greenspaces. Last year, a number of property developers such as Redrow called for a greenspaces review to get more valuable – and currently protected –  sites such as Sefton Park Meadows included as viable sites for new ‘ executive’ housing. Already from the Strategic Greenspace and Open Spaces Review Board Terms of Reference we have noted with concern that the following key objectives include:

4.4 Land Identification & Ownership: Consider the key issues associated with land use in order to allow the Council to make decisions in relation to land ownership, equitable access, development and management. The project will review and agree the existing land assets and type.

4.4.4  Incidental green and open space – that could be transferred to other individuals or organisations.

4.4.5  Land with a strategic value to the Council – whether that is through financial disposal to a developer; development of the land by the Council; or for wider regeneration and/or multifunctional benefits.

Of concern is this paragraph: 

1.3 It has ultimate accountability for the Strategic Review of Green and Open Spaces and acts as the ultimate point of reference for the development and allocation of land types (as set out below) across Liverpool.

Also note: The use of the term ‘Incidental’ in 4.4.4 above is specific to the original Notice of Disposal of Land that was used in June 2013 to put the Meadows up for sale.  We have consistently contested the term ‘ incidental land’ used by the city council to describe Sefton Park Meadows, given its currently location and unique protections.

As a Board which is representative of the people of Liverpool, with the right expertise and breadth, we are also extremely doubtful – see members of the Board listed below the meeting schedule.

The timescale for these meetings is very tight and they are already underway, as they need to run before the Election ‘purdah’ (when councillors and MPs have to withdraw from political activity).  Publicity of them is very limited, online only, to say the least. As well as being at the meetings, Simon O’Brien is attempting to visit all Liverpool’s greenspace sites during the course of this month – quite a task as there are around 200 to visit!

You can attend ANY of these meetings – regardless of whether you live in the relevant wards – to give your views on parks and greenspaces.  PLEASE ATTEND ONE OF THESE  IF YOU CAN. Make your views known.  The next most important for the Meadows campaign are in Greenbank, Church and Mossley Hill Wards, which include Sefton Park, on Frid 20th March 6.30pm to 8.30pm – see below.

Our request to this Board regarding Sefton Park Meadows is very simple:

In view of the the special and unique position of  Sefton Park Meadows, which has been clearly and widely articulated and proven by huge numbers of local residents across the city of Liverpool, and people from a wider Liverpool expatriate community, we request that the Strategic Board ask the Mayor to reverse the decision to sell Sefton Park Meadows and retain it as part of our heritage greenspace asset for future generations.

To give your views direct to the Board contact  Chair Simon O’Brien: greenandopenspaces@liverpool.gov.uk

To request an invitation to one of the themed workshops in April and May you need to put in an email request via this website Workshop Attendance Request 

Ward Meetings Dates and Venues:

St Michael’s, Central & Riverside Wards: 10 March, 6.30 – 8.00pm
Southern Neighbourhood Council, 109 Upper Mann Street, Liverpool L8 6TS

Norris Green, Clubmoor & Tuebrook Wards: 12 March, 6.30 – 8.00pm
Porchfield Community Centre, Porchfield Close, Liverpool L11 9DT

Wavertree, Picton & Princes Park Wards: 14 March, 10.30am – midday
Wavertree Athletics Centre, Wellington Road, Liverpool L15 4LE

Fazakerley, Warbreck & County Wards: 17 March, 6.30 – 8.00pm
Community Centre, Formosa Drive, Liverpool L10 7LQ

Greenbank, Church & Mossley Hill Wards: 20 March, 6.30 – 8.00pm
Merseyside Police Support and Social Association, Riversdale Road, Liverpool L19 3QN

Knotty Ash, Old Swan and Kensington & Fairfield Wards: 21 March, 10.30 – midday
Kensington Fields Community Centre, Hall Lane, Liverpool L7 8TQ

Speke-Garston, Allerton and Hunts Cross & Cressington Wards: 24 March, 6.30 -8.00pm
Garston Urban Village Hall, Banks Road, Liverpool L19 8JZ

Croxteth, West Derby & Yew Tree Wards: 25 March, 6.30 – 8.00pm
Croxteth Hall & Country Park, Off Muirhead Avenue East, Liverpool L11 1EH

Anfield, Kirkdale & Everton: 26 March, 6.30 – 8.00pm
Kirkdale Neighbourhood Centre (KNC, The Gordon) Stanley Road, Kirkdale, Liverpool L5 7QP

Childwall, Belle Vale & Woolton: 28 March, 10.30 – midday
St James Church Hall, Woolton, Liverpool L25 7RJ

Board Members

Chair: Simon O’Brien
Cllr Steve Munby (Riverside Ward, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods & Waste Services)
Cllr Malcolm Kennedy (Kirkdale Ward, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Transport & Climate Change)
David Hughes, Head of Planning, Liverpool City Council
Ron Odunaiya, Head of Community Services, Liverpool City Council
Professor Richard Meegan, Professor of Economic Geography, European Institute for Urban Affairs, Liverpool John Moores University.
Dr Ian Mell, Lecturer in Planning and Civic Design, University of Liverpool
Arwa Al Rekabi, Denovo Design
Maxine Ennis, Rotunda
Malcolm Kelly, Woolton Youth Club
Victoria James, Estate Agent (Whitegates Woolton)

PLEASE ATTEND A MEETING IF YOU CAN, SEND IN YOUR COMMENTS, OR REQUEST TO ATTEND ONE OF THE WORKSHOPS IN APRIL AND MAY.

Campaigners needs to leave this Board with no doubt about our support for Liverpool’s parks and greenspaces.

Thank you.


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BIG THANK YOU TO SUPPORTERS, MORE SMOKE AND MIRRORS

FIRSTLY,  a HUGE THANK YOU to all our friends and supporters out there, wherever you are (Kim!), who submitted formal objections to the Redrow planning application by the deadline of 19th February. Our beautiful and unique Meadows are so grateful that we are all stepping up to the line to give them a voice, when they have none.  We know we are winning the arguments for the Meadows and Liverpool Greenspaces – the Mayor’s interference is more proof of this.    Echo News Item 21st Feb 2015

This week’s announcement from Mayor Anderson on another revised Redrow proposal cuts no ice with our campaign.  We know that one ‘ mature’ tree loss is misleading and means 22 semi mature and protected trees are still threatened, even with 20 houses. See our visual of  Redrow’s previously submitted Tree Removal Plan below.

Redrow Tree Removal Plan

Visual of current Tree Removal Plan,  to be revised to show removal of 1 Category A tree instead of 6.  Other trees still under threat.

It shows the devastation still being proposed even if one ‘mature’ tree ( called Category A High Value) is to be felled instead of six (as shown on this plan). Our campaign commitment remains for no development on this protected and valuable site.

See below  for a short campaign statement and see our latest press release on 20th Feb 22 Trees to be Removed  in response to the Mayor’s announcement.

20th February 2015

Still 22 Trees to be Felled if Redrow Plans Go Ahead on Sefton Park Meadows

The latest announcement by Mayor Joe Anderson on Redrow’s planning application for Sefton Park Meadows cuts no ice with campaigners. They are calling this ‘ further political interference in a live planning application’ and cynically timed to discourage people from making objections on the deadline day of Thurs 19th February. Anderson deliberately leaked details of Redrow’s new, but not yet public, proposal to reduce the housing number to 20 from 34, and to remove one ‘ mature’ tree instead of six. He claims this shows his personal commitment to Sefton Park with a lower housing density proposal and to saving the 27 threatened trees. Redrow have made no comment or resubmitted any revised application as yet.

The Save Sefton Park Meadows campaign are immediately hitting back, stating that the removal of one ‘mature’ tree is misleading and does not give the real picture. 22 semi mature and less mature trees are still under threat of felling on the Meadows, even with a 20 house proposal. All 88 remaining trees will be at high risk during building from construction machinery and ‘ builder mishap’ – trees being accidentally or, in some well documented incidences (the King David site on Beauclair Drive in south Liverpool), deliberately felled without permission. All of the trees on the Meadows are in the Sefton Park Conservation Area and have Tree Protection Orders (TPOs) on them.

In the council’s own Development Plan, which still governs all planning applications, it states: ‘ ..the city council will refuse planning permission for proposals which cause unacceptable tree loss, or which do not allow for the successful integration of existing trees identified for retention following consideration of the tree survey; require.. preventing all site works within the branch spread of any retained tree; and only allowing the removal of any protected tree in exceptional circumstances,such as where the tree is a danger to public safety or is disease.‘ (Unitary Development Plan HD22: Existing Trees and Landscaping).

None of the trees on the Meadows have been identified as a danger to the public or suffering terminal disease in the planning application Tree Survey. The campaign group have pledged to continue their fight to save all of the trees. They also remain committed to no housing development on the Meadows, stating their formal objections now submitted to the council’s planning department clearly show the site as in Sefton Park and protected by current planning policy as not available for development.

Latest Campaign Press Release 20/2/15  22 Trees to be Removed at Sefton Park Meadows


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Site Notices Go Up On Meadows – Public Only Have 3 Weeks To Comment

All the Redrow Planning Application documents can be found here.                                                                  Project Packs 1 and 2 contain the detailed drawings of the houses.

Following the publication online of planning application 15F/0110 by Redrow NW, Liverpool Council Site Notices are being posted around the Meadows today, 22/1/15,  with legal details of the Redrow planning application and where to submit comments.

Site Notice on Sefton Park Meadows

Site notices put up on Sefton Park Meadows 22/1/15

The council Planning website also lists nearly 800 neighbour address details where Council letters are to be delivered, or already should have been delivered, to advise local residents of the Redrow planning application and where to submit comments and by what date. No reports yet of any residents receiving these letters. This Owner/Occupier template letter on the LCC Planning website is dated as 19th January with comments to be submitted by 9th February, 3 weeks later. We believe this date should be 3 weeks from when the letter is received by residents and are making enquiries about this.

The Liverpool Echo Business Section on Thursday 29 January will now have a Public Notice advertising the Redrow planning application to the general public with comments to be submitted by 19th February, again 3 weeks later.

In the next few days we will will post  and Twitter more information about Redrow’s site plans and their impact to assist campaign supporters to make their own comments and objections.

BE AWARE
All council notices and consultation letters refer to Sefton Park Meadows  as ‘Land off Park Avenue, Mossley Hill, Liverpool L17’ , which is misleading when the site is commonly known locally, nationally and now internationally due to recent publicity as Sefton Park Meadows. Some people will not be aware that the planning application for‘Land off Park Avenue, Mossley Hill, Liverpool, L17’ is actually the Redrow application for Sefton Park Meadows. Even more so when most maps show the site is actually in the L18 area, not as stated in the planning application as in L17.

Watch this space for regular updates.


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Join Protest at Next Full Council Meeting

Meadows campaigners will be lobbying outside the next full Council meeting, together with other Liverpool green space campaign groups. Please come and join us!

Town Hall from 4 to 5pm

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Council meeting starts at 5pm.

This is the last full Council meeting until April and an opportunity to show the strength of feeling from all save green space campaign groups.

See you there.


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Redrow’s ‘American Pyscho’ Promo Video Causes Storm

Redrow have surpassed themselves with this one.  Their new promotional video for a swanky £4m penthouse apartment in Tower Hamlets (poorest borough in London with massive housing problems) was meant to  showcase the very pinnacle of luxury living in their new exclusive residential tower. But the video has been pulled just days after it was launched online, having been subject to an online battery of ridicule and claims that it epitomises the nightmare of London’s unjust property market.

See it here  in the article by The Guardian’s Ollie Wainwright http://gu.com/p/44jvk   and the spoof video done in response.

Are they bringing these kind of values to their ‘executive housing’ plans for Sefton Park Meadows?  £1m houses ‘secured’  behind huge gates where people aspire to be ‘ individual’ and live apart from their community?  Is this what the Mayor’s housing pledge is about?


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Chance to Quiz Joe Over Green Spaces

The Liverpool Echo describes the future of green spaces as ‘one of the biggest issues in our city’. Paddy Shennan, Echo reporter, posted an article online  and in the paper on 31st Oct , asking readers to send in questions to  Mayor Joe Anderson NOW on our concerns and issues related to their sell off for development.

The Echo has already highlighted over 30 parks, playgrounds, allotments and recreation areas listed by the council, that could be up for development.  These include the high profile sites of:

  • Sefton Park Meadows – a planning application by Redrow is due to be submitted  before Christmas.
  • Walton Hall Park – a possible site for Everton Football Club
  • Woolton Woods – a grassland and recreational area as part of a rebuild of St Julie’s Catholic High School
  • Olive Mount Playing Fields -sell off for housing
  • Calderstones Park – loss of miniature railway, Scout Hut, Harthill Allotments and green space on Menlove Avenue for housing

THIS IS A CHANCE TO TELL JOE WHAT WE THINK – AGAIN!

We expect Joe to reply – again- that Liverpool is in deep financial trouble; that he needs higher council tax band revenues; that it’s not his fault; that we have ‘too much greenspace’; that some of it isn’t used etc , etc.

BUT WE WANT A DIFFERENT DEBATE.  One about  listening to the people of Liverpool,not just developers, about quality of life, especially for children and families, about our health and well-being, about climate change and smart green cities of the future, about wildlife and what they need, about WHAT PARKS AND GREENSPACES GIVE TO US.

We need Joe to understand that  these places are largely protected now, and for very good reasons.  He can’t just rip up the planning policies overnight with no respect or ideas of what will replace the parks and green spaces once they’re gone – and gone forever. He can’t hand over valuable land without more consultation and accountability.  That was not in Joe’s manifesto when he was elected.

Email paddyshennan@liverpool.co.uk or tweet @PaddyShennan.

DO IT TODAY!

Thanks