SAVE SEFTON PARK MEADOWS

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


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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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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.

PLEASE WATCH THIS SPACE AND OUR FACEBOOK SITE FOR MORE DETAILS.

Thanks!


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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  greenandopenspaces@liverpool.gov.uk 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.

Thanks!

 


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NEW City Council GreenSpaces Public Survey July 2015

URGENT

Liverpool Council have posted a new Parks and Greenspaces Survey online.

Please read this, complete the survey and spread the word to as many people as possible to fill in. The closing date is 28th August 2015.

The feedback from the recent workshops led by Simon O’Brien’s Greenspaces Review Board are also here: comments from Greenspaces workshops

From Liverpool City Council: “We have been approached by colleagues in our Planning Department to ask if you would be able to assist them and provide a response to an on-line survey that forms part of an Open Space Study that they are undertaking to better understand the provision of open spaces across the City and how people use them, why they visit them or why they don’t. The results of this study will be made available to the Green and Open Spaces Review Board and will help to inform the work the Green and Open Spaces Review Board is undertaking.

The survey is online and takes about 5 minutes to complete.   Greenspaces Survey

The closing date for comments is 28 August 2015.

Brief Explanation of the Survey
This survey forms part of an Open Space Study that is being led by City Council Planning Officers. The survey seeks to find out:
– what it is about the publicly accessible open spaces that people know about that encourages them to use those spaces,
– how often they go to them,
– how far they travel to get there,
– how satisfied they are with the availability and quality of open spaces, and
– what is important to people about the open spaces where they live

The questions are relevant to all publicly accessible open spaces, whether owned by the City Council or any other body. The assessment looks to identify local need for provision within areas and will serve as a key evidence base that will help to inform future decision making processes for the Council.

Any questions regarding this survey should be directed to Helen Breen helen.breen@liverpool.gov.uk or tel 0151 233 3021.”

 

Thank you


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Update on the Meadows and Planning Application

Just to bring all friends and supporters up to date 
The SSPM Campaign Group have recently been in contact with Liverpool Council Planning Department to ask for an update on Redrow Homes and Sefton Park Meadows.
Their response was that no decision has been made, nor any report prepared in connection with the current Redrow planning application. We had been told by the Mayor and the Planning Officer earlier this year that Redrow intended to submit an amended planning application, following the Mayor’s two public announcements about trees being felled and the density of proposed housing .  You may recall the objections date for this current application was 19th February.   However, no amended planning application has not yet been submitted to the Council from Redrow and the Council are obviously waiting for – and probably negotiating with Redrow – over this.  We have not been given any explanation why. We are not sure if it is connected with the report Simon O’Brien is drafting for the Greenspaces Review Board – which should be published in draft for public consultation in June, we were told.

We have been informed by the Planning Officer that when any amended planning application is received, all relevant parties will be re-consulted and given the opportunity to comment further. We are not sure if this means we all have to amend and resubmit our original objections at this stage. She will then prepare a report taking into account any comments received. Following this, the Planning Committee will consider this report and make their decision to reject or approve.

Keep watching this space  and our Facebook/Twitter pages for news.

Great article from the Guardian journalist and writer Owen Jones We Must Fight to Make Our Cities Healthy Places to Live

Many thanks for your continuing support of Sefton Park Meadows.


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Video of Save Our Greenspaces Council Speech

A number of Liverpool Save Our Greenspace (SOGS) campaigners attended the last full Council meeting on Wed 8th April, demonstrating outside as councillors entered, and attending in the Council Chamber, Town Hall.

Janet Pell, vice chair of Save Sefton Park Meadows campaign, read out the Save our Greenspaces statement, available to view here (36 mins in) and you can listen to Mayor Joe Anderson’s response.  Make your own judgements!

Thanks to all who came to the demo.


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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!