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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Question to Liverpool City Council

Chair Ken Aspinall has submitted the following question to the Regeneration, Housing & Sustainability Select Committee, Thursday, 10th September at 5.30 p.m. related to Item 4 on the Agenda:

Q. In view of the withdrawal of 19 areas of green space from the Council’s Call for Sites list, would the Regeneration, Transport and Climate Change Committee confirm that the two sites described as Map ref 125 Queens Drive Mossley Hill, Land (Aigburth Vale) and Map ref 137 Mossley Hill Drive, Land (adj Carnatic Road), together commonly known as Sefton Park Meadows, which are listed for possible development, will undergo an immediate rigorous and transparent review to conclude that Sefton Park Meadows should be removed from the list, as the limited Reasons for Sites to be Withdrawn associated to the 19 withdrawn sites are insignificant when compared to the dozens and dozens of reasons/constraints that exist, and have been communicated in great detail to Liverpool City Council, over the last two and a half years, to protect Sefton Park Meadows from any building development?

If any supporters can attend tonight’s meeting and support the campaign, please do!

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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Candidates Responses to Our Local Election Survey

April 29th 2015

See our Candidates Survey Responses to the two questions we asked for our local Liverpool elections survey on Sefton Park Meadows and Loss of Greenspaces.

See the additional Comments to Survey  made by local political groups and individual candidates.

We sent our  survey (see previous post) to the central offices of the main political parties in Liverpool. We also sent it to as many candidates whose email contact details we could find.

We invited candidates to contact us through  Facebook, by email or on Twitter.

We focussed on candidates closest to Sefton Park Meadows, and also invited  others from wards across the city to respond.

We have received only 1 comment from ANY candidate in Liverpool Labour Party to our greenspaces survey.  This is despite sending it out to Liverpool Labour Central Office, the Mayor’s Office (as he is the lead agent), and to all current councillors across the city. The comment is from current councillor Patrick Hurley, standing again for Mossley Hill Ward, close to the Meadows. He did not however answer either question specifically.

We have had All Candidate responses to both questions with further comments from Liverpool Green Party AND Liverpool Liberal Democrats. ALL of their candidates standing are opposed to the sale of the Meadows and public parks and greenspace cherished by local people.

We had an all candidate comment only from Northwest Liberals.

We have had one response to both questions and further comments from a Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate. This is from a Greenbank Ward candidate, opposing the sale of the Meadows and other greenspace sales.

We had two response from UKIP and comments.  From their Picton ward candidate who is also parliamentary candidate in Wavertree constituency, and from their Woolton candidate. Both responded to both questions with ‘No’ to sell offs of the Meadows or other greenspaces,a nd made further comments.

One Independent candidate responded to both questions with comments.  Standing in Wavertree ward, he responded to both questions with ‘No’ to sale of Meadows or other greenspaces.  He is also chair of the Save Our Greenspaces (SOGS) campaign.

We will add any further responses we receive as they come in before Election Day on May 7th.

If you wish to ask your candidate for council about their views on greenspace sell offs in Liverpool, please see the previous post for our survey.

Thank You


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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