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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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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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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PR Firm Start Sending Out Redrow Publicity

Please circulate this Redrow Land at Park Avenue consultation leaflet to all your contacts  ahead of  the Redrow Public Consultation Event on 16th Sept from 2pm to 7pm at Greenbank Sports Centre, Greenbank Lane Liverpool L17 1AG. See their map below, showing the distribution area for the leaflets – only 5,700 are being produced for the immediate Mossley Hill Area.  Sefton Park has a massive catchment of users and visitors across the north and south of the city.  Why aren’t they being directly asked  to attend and give their views? Posters will only be put up locally too.  Their press release will go out soon.

Redrow map of the area they will send out leaflets for their public consultation event

Redrow map of leaflet distribution for consultation event

Redrow has hired a top London and Manchester based PR company specialising in land and property deals to run this event, so it will be a slick affair!  They say they will run a strong media campaign – listen up and if they are on a phone in – call and give them your views.

Charlotte Morris of Lexington Communications states in an email, “we are more than happy to provide information to those who cannot attend the exhibition, as well as allow them to provide their feedback on the plans”.  She also adds that “we can also send information by post to anyone who cannot make it to the exhibition or readily access the internet.”   Contact Charlotte.Morris@lexcomm.co.uk  if you wish or phone their community information line on 0844 556 3002 (Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.30pm).

Lexington has also created a ‘holding’ webpage     www.landatparkavenue.co.uk

so please bookmark this site now.  It will go live ONLY from 16th Sept  for you to view and comment on Redrow’s ‘exclusive’ homes proposals.

DON’T BE FOOLED! THIS IS NOT A CONSULTATION PROCESS.

This is simply a PR exercise by Lexington Communications to promote the executive housing development  and ‘soft peddle’ the designs in order to get support for the planning application to Liverpool City Council, which is coming next.

It will be interesting to see how they go about their task. Is their objective to show support in the community for the proposals? How might they do this? A guess: By focussing on the need for housing in the area, by trying to demonstrate that the proposal still leaves plenty of green space (even if it is in gardens), by trying to show that the proposal enhances the setting in some way (e.g. defining edges), by showing that the proposal is in keeping with the area perhaps through materials and building styles borrowed from nearby housing? All possible.   They will fish for positive comments which can be selectively used to build a case even if it means taking them out of context. Then maybe by pulling out from the process some figures showing how many people support the proposals.

Alternatively they may just do the whole thing as blandly as possible, ticking the consultation box without trying to fan the flames.

We need to avoid getting distracted by the style or ‘quality’ of their executive housing plans. Our Campaign position is still strong and focussed:

SAY NO TO ANY HOUSING…. MEADOW NOT REDROW…. THIS IS NOT A DONE DEAL….


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Latest Meeting: What You Can Do

We were invited as the Meadows campaign to speak at an informal meeting on Thurs 17th July at Ullet Road Unitarian Church. New Green Party councillor for Greenbank Ward, Lawrence Brown, wanted local people to come and meet him informally – and hear from the Meadows,  which he described as ‘one of the most important doorstep issues’ in Greenbank, helping him gain election for the first time.

The meeting was lively and well attended.  Meadows campaigners were led by local Avenues resident Janet Pell.  Cllr Brown was joined by another new Green Party councillor Tom Crone from St Michael’s Ward, who will now sit on the Council Regeneration Committee – the key group that was supposed to scrutinise  green space sell off.  Both pledged their continuing support to stop this heritage greenspace in Sefton Park being sold for housing. We also met a student at Hope University who is writing  his dissertation on the Meadows as part of his Environmental Management degree. People filled in questionnaires to support his survey work.

Sincere thanks to Angela, Hilary and the great people at the Unitarian Church.

HOW YOU CAN HELP NOW

1. We believe strongly that Redrow Homes are the preferred developer.  We want people to contact Redrow – and their Chief Executive Steve Morgan to ask him to confirm or deny, and say why they object to housing on this beautiful and unique part of Sefton Park.

Redrow House, St David’s Park, Ewloe, Flintshire, CH5 3RX
01244 520044 /01244 545655
groupservices@redrow.co.uk  or  nw.customerservice@redrow.co.uk

You can also write to Nick Kavanagh and Joe Anderson to ask the same question.  nick.kavanagh@liverpool.gov.uk      liverpool.gov.uk/contact-us/contact-the-mayor

Ask them to CONFIRM OR DENY!

2. We need to fundraise £1,500 to pay for professional legal and planning advice.  Redrow will submit a planning application for the Meadows in early September, and we need to be ready.  We are starting to draft our submissions BUT WE NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP.  And this will cost us money!  Please donate using our PAYPAL button lower down this page.  Share this on your own Facebook & Twitter Accounts.

3. Our government e-petition is open to AUGUST 2ND to ask for future planning approval to be called in for an independent review. SIGN UP NOW AND HELP US GET PROPER SCRUTINY OF THE COUNCIL’S SELL OFF. http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/53216

4. English Heritage will have a major influence on any Planning Application.  They will be a Formal Consultee and give an opinion on the impact of housing development. Contact English Heritage and tell them how much you value the Meadows as part of Grade 1 listed Sefton Park.                           graeme.ives@english-heritage.org.uk

5. FLASH MOB EVENTS. We need a group of enthusiastic people to come to the Meadows at short notice to protest. CAN YOU HELP? Contact Martin Dobson on 07930 760868             facebook.com/saveseftonparkmeadows

6. A new STATE OF UK PUBLIC PARKS REPORT by Heritage Lottery has been published in June. IT MAKES GRIM READING. Parks & Greenspaces will be lost, or slowly decline due to cuts in budgets to local authorities. Northwest parks are the worst hit in the country. CONTACT HERITAGE LOTTERY to complain that public money they have invested is now being wasted and their great work in Liverpool is being lost.  Tell them about the current threats to Sefton Park Meadows and Woolton Woods.   Sara Hilton is Head of Heritage Lottery NorthWest.            NorthWest@hlf.org.uk

Please, let us know what actions you are taking to stop the Meadows being sold off.  Time is critical now and we need all the help we can muster! Leave a comment or message on this website or post on Facebook.   THANKS.