SAVE SEFTON PARK MEADOWS

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


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Meadows Developer About to Go Public – Campaign to hold Anniversary Picnic

The preferred developer  for Sefton Park Meadows is to be announced within  a few weeks by Liverpool City Council.  Eight developers submitted Expressions of Interest by the March 31st closing date. We couldn’t get information from the Council on who they were, but we wrote to all development companies we could track down in Liverpool and the northwest, to let them know of our  campaign and the fierce opposition by the majority of people to housing on the Meadows.
WE WILL FIGHT ON THROUGH THE NEXT STAGES AND THROUGH THE PLANNING PROCESS!

WE ARE INVITING ALL FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS TO OUR

ANNIVERSARY PICNIC ON THE MEADOWS

EASTER MONDAY 21ST APRIL  2PM TO 4PM

It’s just over a year since the Council decided to put Sefton Park Meadows up for sale.  Come and celebrate the beauty and historic place of Sefton Park Meadows, bring your friends and family, music, food, creative spirit and picnic rug (maybe a brolly too!).

New Save Sefton Park Meadows butterfly logo

New logo by John Davies

We still need your support  – this campaign will not stop here!

Contact us if you can bring anything to the Picnic on 21st April.

www.facebook.com/saveseftonparkmeadows or call Martin 07930 760868

Selling off our cherished assets – St Luke’s ‘Bombed Out’ Church is the latest on the council’s list – is shortsighted, damaging and in our Meadows  campaign experience, poorly scrutinised.

Local people and the Save Sefton Park Meadows campaign have challenged this decision on every front.  We went through a Formal Complaints process to the Local Ombudsman over Council process and administration over the sell off – only to receive a decision that the Local Ombudsman ‘cannot investigate this complaint about a land sale as the Ombudsman cannot investigate something that affects all or most of the people in a council’s area.’ As a channel to challenge ANY SELL OFF OF COUNCIL ASSETS , the Local Ombudsman ‘cannot question councils’ legal right to sell or otherwise dispose of land, or question the merits of their decisions about whether and how to do it. It can consider complaints about administrative fault in the decision-making process. However, the Ombudsman would not usually investigate complaints that a council has been ‘wasting public money’. This is because the Ombudsman cannot investigate something that affects all or most of the people in a council’s area’ (Local Government Act 1974, section26(7)).


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Why we say ‘No’ to Merseyside Civic Society

On 11th December 2013, Save Sefton Park Meadows campaign group received an email from Graham Marshall, vice chair of Merseyside Civic Society (MCS). On behalf of the MCS Council and members, he had written a Sefton Park Position Statement for MCS, supporting development on Sefton Park Meadows.

MCS Sefton Park Position Statement

He circulated this to ourselves,  Mayor Joe Anderson, Chief Executive of Liverpool City Council, Head of Planning, and an article appeared a few days later in the Liverpool Echo.

We are very upset over a number of issues related to this, not least that we had contacted MCS several times to ask for advice and support, taking account of their stated conservation and heritage protection objectives. No reply had been received, up to their Position Statement being published. And now we learn that MCS supports housing development on Sefton Park Meadows!

We have discussed and agreed our response.

SSPM Response to MSC 12.01.2014

We sent this email below to Graham Marshall and LCC.  We will also be sending out a local media press release this week.

Supporters – what do you think? Let us know your views on both Statements, and the MCS proposal of hosting an’ open and independent debate ‘.

Email to Graham Marshall, MCS vice chair. CC to Mayor Anderson,  LCC Chief Executive and  Head of Planning                                                  

Dear Graham Marshall,

Further to your email below of 11 December 2013, with the Merseyside Civic Society Sefton Park Position Statement attached.

I attach the Save Sefton Park Meadows Campaign Group response to the Merseyside Civic Society Sefton Park Position Statement on the proposed sale of Sefton Park Meadows for housing development.

In your paper, MCS indicates its interest in hosting an open and independent forum to promote informed and balanced discussions on this important issue.

MCS have confirmed by the contents of their Position Statement that they support Liverpool City Council on the proposed sale of Sefton Park Meadows for housing development. Save Sefton Park Meadows Campaign Group is unclear how MCS could now host an open and independent forum to promote informed and balanced discussions on this important matter, when they have publicly declared their support for Liverpool City Council on this issue.

SSPM GROUP


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Campaign Banners Go Back Up

Banners OK Lawful postersOur Save Sefton Park Meadows posters are back up on the site! And just in time, as the Meadows will be marketed from Monday 2nd December 2013 to potential developers. After an angry exchange with Chief Executive Ged Fitzgerald, who instructed his council’s grounds maintenance firm Amey to remove our campaign banners  a few weeks ago, we welcomed the Liverpool  Echo  to photograph us putting them back up. Ged Fitzgerald said he had received public complaints and that the campaign was  in danger of committing ‘ common law trespass’ by putting advertising up without permission on council assets.

Campaigner Janet Pell immediately write to the CEO to ask for clarification and lodge a formal protest that this was preventing lawful democratic opposition to one of the most controversial proposals from the Council. Using posters on the Meadows was one of the few available visible campaign activities that local people have to show opposition and gather public support. The recent Public Meeting confirmed Janet’s opposition.

Cllr Richard Kemp of the Lib Dems then contacted the CEO to request details of the complaints and to see details of the council logs.  To date, this has not been forthcoming. Cllr Kemp and Green Party councillors John Coyne and Sarah Jennings have given their support and Cllr Kemp invited the Echo to join us to put posters back up on Friday 29th Nov. We expect this to be published in the Echo on Sat 30th Nov or Mon 2nd Dec.

Despite our requests, the campaign to save the Meadows has not been formally notified of the Marketing date or details. We are pressing for these and will make them available on the website and Facebook page.


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Dear Joe…

Liverpool people are very adroit when they have something to say;

They believe in their past, know their history will last, It’s something which won’t get away.

So when threats to their treasures, to suit political measures,

The population all speak with one voice;

It’s the will of the masses, which nothing surpasses,

There really is no other choice.

Yes, today’s word is ‘green’, it’s on everyone’s lips;

The meadows at Aigburth are green;

To alter that space would be a public disgrace;

The word which describes it – OBSCENE.

By local resident Jim Baxter


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Packed Public Meeting Demands Rethink

Public Meeting Andre map What Next?A packed Public Meeting  called again for Liverpool City Council to rethink its decision to advertise Sefton Park Meadows  to developers as a potential site for luxury housing. Over 120 local people  came to show their anger and frustration that the Council  has overruled 1,300 written objections and an e-petition of over 7,200 people.  It has become clear the the decision to sell  has come from Mayor Joe Anderson and  the Public Meeting are calling on him and the Council to draw back from  selling one of the most valuable conservation area and heritage greenspaces in the city.

Local people were brought up to date with new historical research by ex-univerity lecturer John Middleton showing Edouard Andre’s final design for Sefton Park did not include villa development on the Meadows, and that the City Council specifically refused to accept bids for housing on this site at the time.  John also revealed research work on the original tree plantation design around the Meadows, which closely mirrors the design for trees across Sefton Park by Andre as detailed in his landscape handbook ‘L’Art des Jardins’.

Local people at the meeting were clear in their views that the Meadows IS part of Sefton Park, has historic, aesthetic, ecological and cultural value and should be withdrawn from sale.  Many ideas came out of the meeting to press the Council to back down.  The campaign group will take as many of these forward as they can AND asked local people to do their bit to keep up the pressure on the council.

Check our Facebook page for reaction to the Public Meeting and have your say!


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Meadows heritage design revealed at Public Meeting Wed 13th Nov

JohnMiddletonSefton Park Meadows campaigners will be revealing original Park landscape maps showing the Victorian designer’s final intention to keep the Meadows as open space.  
PUBLIC MEETING – 7pm  Wed 13th Nov
RATHBONE ROOM, GREENBANK ACADEMY, GREENBANK LANE ( BY SEFTON PARK ) L17 1AG
Come and find out more, as well as an update on the campaign’s renewed battle with Liverpool City Council to oppose any planning application for housing development.
Retired university lecturer John Middleton will be showing the results of his research into council documents which demonstrate that Edouard Andre intended to keep Sefton Park Meadows as Green Open Space.
He has discovered:-
– A map dated 1875 by Edourd Andre showing the final Sefton Park design,  the plots of land for sale and the plots already sold. The Meadows are shown clearly to have no plots for sale.
– That offers to buy the meadows between 1879 and 1890 were rebuffed by the Parks and Improvements Committee of the City Council because they always wanted to keep it as open grassland.
The Map and copies of the original council meeting minutes will be available at the public meeting.
Mayor Anderson has argued that there was always an intention to build on the Meadows, and publicised an earlier Andre map drawn in 1867 for the Sefton Park competition to win the contract . It was revised to the later, finalised maps, which were used to actually construct Sefton Park.
John is also researching the case that the Meadows themselves were actually part of the Park design by the world renowned Parisian landscaper Edouard Andre.  John will show how the way its trees were planted is exactly the design style recommended in Andre’s own  handbook “L’Art des Jardins”.
This information has been passed  to English Heritage and they are currently assessing it along with our application to extend the Grade 1 listing to the Meadows. We are clear that the Meadows has the same international heritage value and is part of Sefton Park.


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Sign up to our new govt e-Petition

Joe Anderson and Labour councillors have overruled every single policy to protect parks and greenspaces in Liverpool, and ignored massive local opposition from us as council tax payers and voters. Within a few weeks, adverts will go from this Council to ask developers to bid for Sefton Park Meadows  with proposals to concrete it over for expensive, upmarket housing.

We have started a NEW GOVERNMENT E-PETITION – to get any planning approval called in for an independent review by a planning inspector –  who is not part of the Council.  PLEASE SIGN UP AND HELP US GET PROPER SCRUTINY OF WHAT JOE IS DOING TO SEFTON PARK MEADOWS.

This is an historic area of Liverpool, part of the rich parklands heritage we all own  and it belongs to us. The Council hold this land in trust, like other high value parks and greenspaces in the city, for ALL LIVERPOOL RESIDENTS  and future generations.  ONCE IT’S GONE, IT’S GONE FOREVER!

Read our Meadows Autumn News


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Grade 1 Application in Progress

Campaigner John Middleton has applied to English Heritage for the Meadows to be granted Grade I listed status.  John maintains that they form “the last remnants of a  green cordon of grand boulevards, which connected the Ring of Parks enacted by Liverpool City Council in 1862.”

He goes on,  “The Meadows are part of the 19th century plan for a Ring of Parks and they lead to the next link, Calderstones Park. The Queens Drive entrance to Sefton Park are a deliberately designed, beautiful and sweepingly graceful entrance to the Park and should be given the same protection as the already listed, stone gate entrances at Sefton Park Rd (leading to Princes Park) and Aigburth Vale (leading to Otterspool).

We have asked English Heritage to fast track consideration of this application, ahead of any planning application from a housing developer.  We are also emphasising the distinctive grand design of its double row of lime trees that protected a broad walk, and used to go right around Queens Drive. This can be seen in photos from 1906 at Queen Drive in Walton, before the trees were felled to make way for the dual carriageway.

Double Lime Trees

Distinctive double  row of lime trees


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Meadows NOT FOR SALE

It’s been a long hot summer.  We have been working hard, mainly behind the scenes, to continue to persuade Joe Anderson and Liverpool City Council to withdraw Sefton Park Meadows from being sold off for housing.  They advertised the Loss of Open Space and we responded by gathering over 1,300 objections – following on from the 7,500  petitions we had already put in. We also had a meeting with senior officers and Cllr Malcolm Kennedy in July. They admitted this was the highest number of objections they had received for a land sale, and that our campaign had made this issue very high profile.

All for nothing! Their report was published 2 weeks ago as a response to the massive number of objections and, no surprise, they have taken no notice!

ALL THE MAYOR AND THE COUNCIL OFFICERS HAVE DONE IS TO GO THROUGH THE FORMAL MOTIONS. They have not considered this site’s special status – or taken account of the wishes of the thousands of Liverpool people who have asked for Sefton Park Meadows to be saved.  You can find their report here

BUT WE ARE NOT GIVING UP – and have started working on a new plan of action to challenge any planning application for housing.  Read our Meadows Autumn News. WE NEED MORE HELP!

Come to the Save the Meadows PUBLIC MEETING on WED 13TH NOV 7PM                              Rathbone Room,Greenbank Academy, Greenbank Lane   L17 1AG


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WHAT DO WE DO NEXT?

We are doing really well with this campaign. There has been massive support and we are building excellent local and social media support. But Liverpool Council are still selling off the Meadows. They still want to dig up the most beautiful green space in South Liverpool for expensive, half a million pound houses.

What should we do next?

The Campaign is considering the next steps and how to keep up the pressure over the summer – before the council advertise for developers.

We want your ideas? Visit our Facebook page to post to the campaign group – we meet every week or email Saveseftonparkmeadows@gmail.com

  •  We need ideas to engage more with the public, and ways to attract local media.
  •  We need help from legal people and planning people to map out our next steps.
  • We want good ideas for engaging with national politicians/media.
  • We need ideas for building the network of support

Thank you!