SAVE SEFTON PARK MEADOWS

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


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URGENT Liverpool Parks to Come under ‘ New Management’

URGENT MEETING

Tuesday 16th May 7pm

 All Hallows Church Hall, 1 Greenhaill Road,L18 6JJ 

The Council are bringing new proposals for managing Calderstones and Stanley Parks at their next Cabinet on Friday 19th May 2017 . ALL LOCAL RESIDENTS URGED TO ATTEND ALL HALLOWS TONIGHT TO GIVE THEIR VIEWS.

These plans were first suggested as part of recommendations in Simon O’Brien’s Strategic Greenspaces Plan (see link)

 

 

 

Cabinet agenda  – items 4e & 4f states it is seeking the procurement of new ‘operators’:

Transferring the operation of the park to an operator under a contracted out lease and concession agreement will provide the new operator with the freedom and flexibility to generate income and bid for grant funding unavailable to the Council and place the park outside of the scope of further cuts to the Council’s budget safeguarding it for future generations.
The Council’s objective is to gradually reduce its subsidy of the park to ideally remove it altogether over time“.

Calderstones has the Reader Organisation Community Interest Company (CIC) running key properties in the Park and Stanley Park also has an active CIC – both already receive major grant funding.

Read details of the Cabinet’s proposals for Calderstones Harthill Park from this pdf

See the full Cabinet agenda here

You have the right to make your views known to the Cabinet.  Other Parks will follow as the Council’s budgets for Liverpools Parks and Greenspaces runs out…

 

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Marking Four Years of Meadows Campaign

Four years ago on Frid 22 March 2013, a group of protesters lobbied a Liverpool City Council cabinet meeting to protest over a Mayoral recommendation to sell Sefton Park Meadows for exclusive large house development. The Save the Meadows campaign exploded across the city when this was approved, kick starting  a succession of battles over parks and greenspaces and their importance to the people of Liverpool, its wellbeing, sustainability and 21st century economy.

Save the Meadows Anniversary Press Release 22 March 2013 Anniversary.

             Liverpool Echo published their timeline of the campaign.

We are currently waiting for the next stage of the Liverpool Local Plan to be published AND for more details on the new Metro Mayor candidates’ campaigns, and their position on the Meadows.  We understand that a new regional Spatial Plan will also be developed by the successful Metro Mayor and we will be working to gain commitment for the protection of the Meadows.

SEFTON PARK Meadows. Location map 2013

Sefton Park Meadows

 

 

 

 

Chair of Save Sefton Park Meadows Ken Aspinall challenged Echo journalist Alastair Houghton on his article the same day on the published profits of house builder Redrow.   Redrow set for more than £300m profits

Redrow DID submit a planning application for Sefton Park Meadows in January 2015, which was rejected by the Mayor of Liverpool as it called for the destruction of 27 mature trees. Redrow were then instructed by the Mayor to submit revised plans.  Redrow have not, to date, submitted a revised planning application for Sefton Park Meadows, so their original submitted application is still ‘live’. Hundreds of people submitted very detailed objections to this again in 2015. We employed a Planning Consultant, thanks to campaign supporters’ donations, to compile our professional objections report.

Alastair Houghton’s article includes two photographs of campaigners outside the Redrow public consultation event held on 15 September 2014. At this event Redrow were left in no doubt that people were opposed to the development of Sefton Park Meadows. This was confirmed in the Redrow Community Involvement Statement  as part of their January 2015 planning application documentation.

We also promoted our Starter for 10 Objections to housing development.

A Freedom of Information request was submitted in Spring 2016 over correspondence and deal making between LCC and Redrow for the Meadows.  This revealed that Redrow were now secretly offering £4m for the Meadows ( down from a suggested value of £10m stated by Mayor Anderson)  but that LCC could not be sure an independent valuation would agree this low figure. The application has been stalled for over 2 years now.

Redrow are also under huge pressure to withdraw their housing development plan in the  Harthill and Calderstones Park Estate and the govt’s National Planning Casework Unit has agreed to a Casework Officer to start an investigation into the application process, after information was submitted by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and Save Our  Greenspaces Liverpool (SOGS).

Cuts to council finances are huge, we know this.  Our greenspace campaigns have proved that housing developers are using this to move into protected parks and greenspaces.  But we know and have proved that these spaces are not an ‘optional extra’ to cities like Liverpool.  They are a vital factor in our survival as a successful, attractive, healthy and sustainable city for now and the future.

WE WILL CONTINUE OUR CAMPAIGN UNTIL SEFTON PARK MEADOWS IS WITHDRAWN FROM HOUSING DEVELOPMENT!

Please carry on supporting these campaigns for parks and greenspaces.

Thanks.


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Comments In by Oct 31st to Protect the Meadows and Greenspaces

Drop in Session:  Mon 24th Oct 5.30pm to 7pm, 6th Floor Cunard Building.

We have already posted about the urgency for local people to comment on Liverpool’s new Draft Local Plan, demanding that the council protect ALL our parks AND Greenspaces, including Sefton Park Meadows.  Comments in writing on the Council website or by email must be in by Oct 31st.

Engage Liverpool are facilitating a workshop discussion on the draft Local Plan on 6th floor of the Cunard Building, Pier Head.  For more details and how to register, email chair@engageliverpool.com

See our previous posting for more details on how to make comments, or jump onto our  FB page.  We have also updated our supporters-guide-draft-local-plan to help you make your points on why the Meadows should be protected.

You can also call for Sefton Park Meadows to be a special site, protected in the Draft Local Plan. We have partially completed this form for supporters to send in.  Download http://www.ourground.net/SITESFORM_2016.docx and  just fill in with your details and send in.  All details on form. You must also attach this sefton-park-meadows-location-map pic of the Meadows site with your form   http://www.ourground.net/SPM_Location_Map.pdf

 

 

LATEST NEWS: The Strategic Green and Open Spaces Boardled by Simon O’Brien launched its Final Green and Open Spaces Report on 6th October at the Isla Gladstone in Stanley Park. Some of this makes interesting reading for the Meadows campaign and supports its protection from Redrow’s housing development ‘green snatch’.   We have used Simon O’Brien’s recommendations in this new report to support our case.

strategic-green-open-spaces-final-report


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Have Your Say to Save Liverpool Greenspaces in new Draft Local Plan

Liverpool city council has started a 6 week public consultation, inviting public comments on its new draft Local Plan.

Read here the Liverpool city council press release: local-plan-llc-press-release-16916

These 2 diagrams are also given by Liverpool liverpool-local-plan-2018-2033-infographic draft-local-plan-fig1council to help understand how the Plan works.

The Local Plan is a legal planning document that Liverpool has to produce showing details of its 15 year development plan to 2033. Liverpool has a target to build 29,000 new homes, and the draft Local Plan sets out how they aim to do this.

We need a s many supporters as possible to demand that Sefton Park Meadows – and all Liverpool greenspaces – are protected in this Local Plan. Follow this link for a copy of the draft plan and  for How to Respond  forms:

http://liverpool.gov.uk/localplanconsultation

The council state that parks will be protected by this Plan – but we will continue to challenge their interpretation of the Meadows as NOT part of Sefton Park, which means they can still sell it off for housing, alongside other cherished and valuable greenspaces. PLEASE SEND IN YOUR COMMENTS. YOU CAN DEMAND THAT:

  1. SEFTON PARK MEADOWS BE PROTECTED FROM DEVELOPMENT AS PART OF SEFTON PARK.
  2. ALL LIVERPOOL GREENSPACES BE PROTECTED FROM DEVELOPMENT

The Draft Local Plan is 300 pages long!  Our campaign group are writing campaign-submissions-pdf to help you make yours.  We will keep adding to these questions over the next few weeks.

You may want to look at a hard copy. Copies and forms are also available, during normal opening hours, at:

  1. Municipal Buildings One Stop Shop, Dale Street
  2. LiverpoolCentral Library, William Brown Street
  3. All Community Libraries across the City

The Council press release states that “This six-week public consultation will seek feedback on a series of priorities to grow the city’s economy up to 2033, such as identifying and protecting land for jobs, retail development and housing.”

All comments must be returned to the city council by 5pm on Monday, 31 October, by one of the following methods:

Online-  Using the City Council’s Local Plan portal (link above)

email-  to Development.Plans@liverpool. gov.uk

post to-  FREEPOST RRUK-HRTT-LATT, Liverpool City Council, Planning and Building Control, Municipal Buildings, Dale Street, Liverpool L2 2DH.

MORE INFORMATION WILL FOLLOW THROUGH THIS 6 WEEK PERIOD. Watch this space!

Many thanks

Campaign Team


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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.

 

 


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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.