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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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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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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What Did People Say, Redrow?

The Redrow Public Consultation ended on 23rd Sept.  Everyone who spoke to us or that we heard  making comments was fiercely opposed to ANY DEVELOPMENT.  But we may be mistaken?? OK REDROW, we would like to know what the results were, what people contributed and their feelings about your development. Their lead PR contact Charlotte Morris went on holiday for 3 weeks immediately after the public event in Liverpool on 16th Sept – and before the consultation period ended – so we can’t ask her!!

ACTION FOR SUPPORTERS AND THE CAMPAIGN GROUP

1. Follow this link and contact Alex Wood, Redrow Director, or one of his colleagues to ask for the consultation results for Sefton Park Meadows. Demand that they are made public.

2. We want to know what is the likely date of a Redrow submission, AND the date of the planning committee meeting to consider their application.   Contact Stuart Clarke, Team Leader, South Team, Development Management, Liverpool City Council  and ask him.   stuart.clark@liverpool.gov.uk    Tel 0151 233 3021

3. We grilled Redrow at the public event on 16th Sept about protection for the trees around the Meadows.  They should be safe under Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs), they are in a Conservation Area, but housing development on this site cannot be successful without felling these trees.  Redrow’s statement that ‘trees would be retained, where possible’ was not reassuring. Director Alex Wood was less than convincing when questioned. Trees may be ‘sold’ with housing plots to each owner, and their care go to a ‘management agency’.  No details were available for their protection during construction when large machinery would need access. Access to driveways and internal parking was  shown on their online design plans.  John Davies, Meadows campaigner, has enlarged one of these and shows in detail  how driveways would impact on the greenspace.

Mock up design of how trees and landscape would be damaged by housing at Sefton Park Meadows

John Davies, Meadows campaigner, shows how access driveways would look for housing on the Meadows

Contact Liverpool City Council Conservation Office Enquiries AND/OR your local councillor, and demand that trees be protected at Sefton Park Meadows.

We said, right from the beginning of this campaign, that Sefton Park Meadows was only the first public greenspace to be threatened under Joe Anderson and his ‘ Regeneration’ team.  Olive Mount quickly followed, then Woolton Woods, and recently, Walton Hall Park.  On Sept 23rd, the Regeneration Select Committee met to discuss a long list of new parks and greenspaces on a future housing development list, as part of Liverpool’s new Local Plan. See  www.ourground.net

It’s time for a new deal for Parks and Greenspaces for the People of Liverpool

Before it’s too late…

 

Thanks


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What Plans, Where, Redrow?

Over 400 of us answered Redrow’s call to come and comment on their housing plans for Sefton Park Meadows on Tues 16th Sept.

Only problem? There were no detailed plans to comment on! We were shown 5 boards with information on such as Liverpool’s planning documents, the benefits of housing in the Mossley Hill area, a basic ( to say the least) aerial view of the Meadows with 30+ small blue boxes aligned on it, (representing 55 units, including apartments) and  a few random housing  styles that may be included – or not.  See the boards here on the Redrow online consultation website.

MISSING were any detailed designs of:

  • what the development would realistically look like
  • access in and out, including to approx 40 individual driveways
  • concrete assurances on the threat to the magnificent trees ( ‘ trees will be retained, where possible’, and when we probed the Redrow director on this, he admitted that trees would be ‘sold’ with the houses to each individual owner)
  • views in and across the park with the new houses
  • traffic management

You have 6 days UNTIL TUES 23RD SEPT  to give your comments to Redrow.  EITHER online using the above link. Or EMAIL to landatparkavenue@lexcomm.co.uk .   Or by post to Redrow Homes at Park Avenue, ℅ Lexington Communications, First Floor, The Zenith Building, 26 Spring Gardens, Manchester, M2 1AB

Our  SINGLE COMMENT using the ‘Added Comments’ section if using the online form, email, or in your letter, is

NO TO REDROW, NO TO HOUSING...

We can’t comment on plans that are not available… We won’t participate in a tick box exercise… we won’t support any housing on Sefton Park Meadows…

THANKS TO THE HUGE NUMBERS OF LOCAL PEOPLE WHO CAME TO TELL REDROW THEIR VIEWS. Special thanks to Liverpool Taxi Drivers Alliance and Socialist Singers.

MAYOR ANDERSON WAS NOT SPOTTED.