SAVE SEFTON PARK MEADOWS

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


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Meadow NOT Redrow

Redrow has been announced – finally – as the preferred Liverpool City Council developer to ‘ buy’ Sefton Park Meadows and build houses there. See Liverpool Confidential’s news article and our press statement  SSPM Press Statement 27 August 2014

SHAME ON CEO STEVE MORGAN AND REDROW!  Does he know Sefton Park and the Meadows?  Has he ever spent any time there, especially on a beautiful spring or summer day and enjoyed its trees, views and sense of space and light? If so, and he still wants to build there, then double shame on him…What motivates him to take away  the last of the original Sefton Park grassland areas – and no, we contest the claim that this was always intended for Victiorian villas.  We have council minutes from the 1860s and 1870s to challenge this.  The Meadows are almost certainly part of Edouard André’s original Sefton Park design and form the grand entrance in and out from Queen’s Drive.  Its double row of Lime trees are unique in Liverpool.  Its sandstone boundary wall and open grasslands are part of its landscape views and heritage.

Why build here Redrow?  Presumably because  all of this makes it a lucrative place for you too sell expensive but banal houses – by destroying the very character that makes it so attractive?!  It’s within Sefton Park’s Conservation Area and alongside the Grade 1 Listed area ( which the campaign is also challenging with English Heritage. The Meadows should be part of its listing!).

Not to mention the Meadows as part of Liverpool’s green lungs, its internationally celebrated parks and openspaces, a wildlife corridor, part of our urban  natural resources  to provide shade, habitat, clean air and combat pollution.  Above all, the Meadows are treasured by the people of Liverpool – north and south – as  one of our GREAT PLACES TO BE.  For relaxation, for leisure, for families, for activities, for quiet space, above all, for their beauty and history.

Mr Morgan, if you build and sell all of the 5,000 houses you have promised for Joe Anderson  as part of his Mayoral Pledge, Redrow stands to make over £250 million profit, we estimate (let us know if we have got this wrong!).  Wouldn’t  £8m to buy Sefton Park Meadows for the people of Liverpool, gifted to us forever, be a good use for  a small part of this profit?      (Maybe tax efficient too??)

Answers on Facebook or Twitter please!!

SUPPORTERS, PLEASE NOTE FOR YOUR DIARY

REDROW will hold a pre-planning public consultation drop in event in September, at which people will be able to comment on their outline ideas for the site. We will publicise the date and details when we know them.

The sale of the land is conditional on Redrow obtaining planning approval. The Save Sefton Park Meadows campaign is fundraising to get expert help to object to planning by Redrow.  WE NEED FUNDS URGENTLY. Use the Paypal button on this page or on our Facebook site.  7,500 people signed our petition opposing the proposed sale of Sefton Park Meadows and a record 1,300 people objected to the misleading Loss of Open Space Public Notice (describing the Meadows as ‘incidental open space’ and hidden away in the back pages of the Liverpool Echo), giving Liverpool a free hand to dispose of the land.

THIS IS NOT A DONE DEAL!  WE WILL FIGHT THE LOSS OF SEFTON PARK MEADOWS AT EVERY STEP.

THE NEXT STAGE

REDROW will submit a planning application in September. We have hired an independent planning consultant to help us prepare our strong objections. We need money for this work to be successful, as it is likely to be a long process.  Please help if you can with a donation.  We will keep everyone informed of progress.

THANK YOU

 


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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.


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Meadows Meets Liverpool Biennial

Turning Green to Brown

John Davies photography exhibition 5 July to 10 August 2014

The Meadows portraits launch night

Thursday 10 July at 6:30pm

Unit 51 Coffee Baltic Creative

49 Jamaica St L1 0

 ALL WELCOME

Turning Green to Brown exhibition

John Davies photography exhibition

During the month of May this year, John Davies spent 90 minutes each day for 10 days in the public green space of the Meadows parkland. He asked a total of 114 adults if he could take their picture. 98 people agreed to have their portraits made to be included in exhibitions to help promote awareness of the potential loss of the Meadows. The Mayor of Liverpool is proposing to sell off Sefton Park Meadows for executive housing.

This is an example of what is happening in local authorities throughout England: assets sold off and services cut to meet the requirements of central government’s austerity measures along with pressure to build housing on green space as a more profitable alternative to building on brown-field sites. A planning application to develop and sell the Meadows will probably be decided by September 2014.

Portraits of people in Sefton Park Meadows, Liverpool – on show at 3 venues across Liverpool:

Quaker Meeting House Cafe, 22 School Lane, Liverpool L1 3BT 
(next to Bluecoat Centre)

Open Monday to Friday 9:00am-5:00pm & 6:00-10:00pm.

Unit 51 Coffee, Baltic Creative, Jamaica Street, Liverpool L1 0AF

Open daily 8:30am-5:30pm or later.

The Old Police Station, 80 Lark Lane, Liverpool L17 8UU
(front entrance)

Open Thursday to Sunday 12:00am-6:00pm.

All portraits will be shown at the Old Police Station on Lark Lane. These will be all together in 2 big frames.

Other venues will have a selection of large prints.

For further details contact John Davies on info@ourground.net     http://www.johndavies.uk.com


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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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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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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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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!