For latest news follow
'Ring of Parks' tweets &
campaigning web sites


Liverpool Campaign web sites

Save Sefton Park Meadows on Facebook

Walton Hall Park Community

Save Woolton Woods on Facebook

Save Harthill and Calderstones on Facebook

Save Allerton Priory on Facebook

Save Our Green Spaces Liverpool on facebook

email saveourgreenspaces liverpool

Liverpool City Council

All committee meetings

weekly & current planning applications

planning explorer

Strategic green & open spaces review board


The Parks Alliance

National Federation of Parks of Green Spaces

UK ‘Save Our Parks’ petition

Open Space Society

The Land Trust

Fields in Trust



English Heritage

Historic England

European Landscape Convention

European Landscape Convention
icomos-uk PDF

Anna Minton author Ground Control

State of UK Public Parks report from the Heritage Lottery Fund












eXTReMe Tracker


Garden Festival Site

A public consultation for housing plans on the Garden Festival site is scheduled to be held at Sefton Park Library from 30 November to 3 December 2016 during library hours 11am-6pm. The consultation display will then be moved to the Town Hall.

The City Council bought back the lease for the Garden Festival site last year with the Mayor promising to create a new cultural destination. The full planning application for the Festival site was approved after the public enquiry in 2008/9. The original approved plans were for two phases of development with Phase I to build 936 two-bed and 372 one-bed apartments. But will Phase II, for controversial plans to build 7 luxury apartment blocks over Otterspool Promenade, be revealed at this public consultation?

7 'finger blocks' for Otterspool Promenade?

Safety & Ecological concerns swept aside for 3G football hubs

Serious safety questions over the crumb-rubber used in 3G artificial pitches were swept aside as Liverpool follows Sheffield by approving four football hubs sponsored by the Football Association.

Two separate Synthetic Turf and Health Reports were prepared for the Council in March this year but these were only made available to Liverpool’s Planning Committee when the fourth football hub was approved for the Heron Eccles Playing Fields on the 1st November.

But Council Officers advised the Planning Committee that ‘health concerns were not an issue for consideration under the planning process’. Surely, public concerns regarding the adverse health effects of tyre crumb should be taken into account as a relevant factor in a planning decision?

A statement from the Football Association was presented to the committee giving assurances that 3G pitches were safe. However, it's the Government's agency, DEFRA, who are the lead body responsible for Environmental Health and chemical pollution. DEFRA have said they will soon release a position statement to be agreed with the FA and Sport England. It's assumed the Council will wait for DEFRA's response before any further 3G pitch developments take place.
The City Council is the effective owner of the land earmarked for these football hubs. Separate to planning permissions, as landowner, the Council can refuse to release land for development and not allow a change of use for these green spaces – especially if approved development plans are potentially dangerous.

The Simpson Ground between the Eric Hardy Nature Reserve and Woolton Woods
- part of the Calderstones-Woolton Green Wedge.

Another concern is the erosion of the City’s ‘protected’ Green Wedge. The Simpsons Ground and Jericho Playing Fields, both approved for 3G football hubs, fall within the City’s Green Wedge. Liverpool’s current planning rules are meant to safeguard Green Wedges from the harmful impacts on biodiversity and wildlife within protected areas. By approving these urbanising developments the City Council appears to be ignoring National Planning Policy Framework guidelines as well as it’s own rules and stated policies.

Each hub includes 3 full sized 3G artificial grass football pitches built with associated changing rooms, floodlighting, perimeter fencing and hard standing for car parking. If these football hubs are completed they will be privately managed and operated commercially.

Liverpool will contribute £4.4m to this scheme as announced in the Mayoral Recommendation for 3G pitches.

Details of these planning applications can be found on the Council's Planning Explorer links here:
Simpsons Ground, off Hillfoot Road.

Jericho Lane Playing Fields, near Otterspool Park
Heron Eccles Playing Field.

Read the Liverpool Echo feature on Heron Eccles 3G pitches.

Read Carley Graham's article on the dangers of 3G rubber-crumb pitches.

Calderstones Harthill Park development plans

The Save Harthill and Calderstones Park group are currently campaigning for people to object to Redrow's planning application to build on the Harthill Estate which is part of Calderstones Park. The land is opposite Calderstones School on Harthill Road and includes the former greenhouses/council depot, former Beechley Nursing Home, Beechley Riding Stables, Calder Kids Liverpool and the land used by the model railway group.

Redrow Homes is proposing to erect 39 dwellings with associated parking and access roads following demolition of existing non listed buildings. To convert Beechley House, stables and summer house into 12 apartments with associated parking.

The so-called 'consultation' provided by Redrow is a web site statement of what their plans will be:

Objections for this planning application can be made by quoting reference no.16F/2049 by email to:

Details of this planning application can be found on the Council's Planning Explorer link here:
Calderstones & Harthill Park - described as Land at Harthill Road

See Save Harthill and Calderstones on Facebook

See Liverpool Confidential feature: Calderstones land earmarked for luxury housing

Council depot at Harthill, Calderstones Park.
The glasshouse containing the Bronze Age Calderstones will likely be relocated
to the Reading House in the Calderstones Park if development plans are approved.


Allerton Priory development plans on Green Wedge

Redrow Homes have made an addition planning application to knock down parts of the Grade II listed walls for vehicle access to the Allerton Priory land.

Previously, Redrow Homes submitted an outline planning application to build up to 160 dwellings on land by the Grade II listed Allerton Priory, by Woolton Road. This privately owned land is a substantial part of the Calderstones-Woolton Green Wedge that should be protected according to the city’s existing UDP policies. These former agricultural lands have remained relatively untouched for at least 20 years and have become an important wildlife haven.

Liverpool's Green Party state in their online article that 'Allerton Priory site must be saved for future generations to enjoy as Redrow plans to build 160 houses on proposed wildlife site'.

Objections for these planning applications can be made by quoting Planning Application references:16O/1191 for the housing development and 16L/2392 to remove parts of the wall - by email to:

Details of the application for 160 dwellings can be found on the Council's Planning Explorer here:
Allerton Priory - described as Land at Woolton Road Liverpool L18 9UZ

Details for the wall application here: Planning Explorer: Allerton Priory Walls- 10 Dec. 2016

See Save Allerton Priory on Facebook


Calderstones-Woolton Green Wedge (UDP)
Areas marked in Red are development sites approved or with submitted planning applications.

Liverpool's draft Local Plan

The Liverpool Local Plan will map out and set rules for the future growth of the whole city - shaping the neighbourhoods in which we all live and work for the next 15 to 20 years. The scope of the Local Plan is wide ranging and will shape future Council decisions from housing to green space and from transport to culture.

Liverpool’s existing Unitary Development Plan (UDP) policy will be replaced by Liverpool’s Local Plan once government inspectors approve this new planning policy - probably in summer 2017.

The purpose of the Local Plan is to help achieve sustainable development which means ensuring that better lives for ourselves don’t mean worse lives for future generations. Sustainable development is about change for the better, and not only in our built environment.

The formulation of the Local Plan comes at a time when central government cuts are severely biting into the City Council’s budget. Without any statuary obligation to fund parks and greenspace the Council predict that by 2017 there will be no money to maintain these public green spaces. This period also coincides with the government’s push for local authorities to provide more houses.

Housing developers are keen to exploit this situation and are persuading the city to part with historic parkland for housing schemes. Redrow Homes North West is the Council’s preferred developer and they favour building on previously undeveloped green spaces. In recent years Redrow have acquired from the city five former school playing fields and designated green space for housing schemes. Redrow now have their sights on the highly profitable areas of green space located in the leafy suburbs of south Liverpool for ‘executive’ homes – particularly public parkland such as Sefton Park Meadows and the recreational land of the Harthill Estate at Calderstones Park.

In line with all local authorities across the country this is part of the National Planning Policy Framework and is meant to be a collective enterprise that places importance on community engagement in a meaningful way.

Liverpool’s Draft Local Plan documents can be found here:

Liverpool’s Green & Open Spaces Report

The Green & Open Spaces Review Board Final Report was published on 6 October and the pdf report can be downloaded here:

Liverpool is one of the few local authorities to commission a major strategic review of green and open spaces for the city. This mayoral commission was established at the end of 2014, in part, reacting to the high profile and vocal campaigns of local people to save Sefton Park Meadows, Walton Hall Park and Woolton Woods. However, during the first consultation for Liverpool’s Local Plan a number of house builders also recommended a review of the city’s green space and green wedge land – to encourage the city to provide a planning policy structure to identify the best green spaces to exploit for development.

The Green & Open Spaces Review Board’s research was carried out to inform and feed into the city’s Local Plan.

Government Inquiry - The Future of Public Parks

The Communities and Local Government Committee has launched an inquiry into the Future of Public Parks and open spaces. The inquiry will examine the impact of reduced local authority budgets on public open spaces and consider concerns that their existence is under threat.

This inquiry has a national significance. It has the potential to influence Government policy makers to set guidelines for all local authorities. The Commons Select Committee wants to encourage as many people as possible to contribute to the inquiry and must receive written submissions by 30 September 2016. For more details see Communities and Local Government Public Parks launch web site.

Following pressure from UK greenspace organisations, such as the National Federation of Parks of Green Spaces, The Parks Alliance and others, the previous outgoing government administration recommended that the newly elected Government consider hosting a National Inquiry into the future funding and management of our parks.

Sefton Park Meadows - the Meadow Fields dissected by Park Avenue at the entrance to Queens Drive.

Sefton Park Meadows - Freedom of Information

A recent FOI request has revealed correspondence in internal emails between Liverpool City Council and Redrow from the end of 2014 to 30 March 2016 about the ongoing negotiations over the sale of Sefton Park Meadows ­ see the Campaign to Save Sefton Park Meadows web site for more details about the 'Damning Secret Negotiations Revealed with Redrow Homes'.

The FOI reveals that Redrow offered £4m (including all Council costs) for the green open space land of Sefton Park Meadows. This figure differs greatly from the £10m promised by the Mayor of Liverpool 3 years ago. At the end of March 2016 no independent land valuation had been established. It appears the Mayor had plucked a figure out of the air when he announced £10m for the sale of the Meadowlands - largely to impress the media and public.

In its press release the Campaign to Save Sefton Park Meadows notes discussions at the highest Council level over the Mayor’s outspoken intervention into the quasi-judicial planning process along with comments to ‘tone it down’ to avoid adverse public reaction.

The Campaign to Save Sefton Park Meadows has stated:

We demand to know exactly where the proposed sale is up to. Transparency and accountability should be paramount in all Council matters, especially in the matter of the proposed sale of Sefton Park Meadows which has such a high level of public interest’.

The FOI documents can be found here:

The Campaign to Save Sefton Park Meadows is in its third year since this parkland was incorrectly described by a Council disposal notice in March 2013 as ‘incidental’ space off Park Avenue. The campaign is ready to act if and when Redrow Homes NW presents it’s application to the planning committee to build executive homes over the entire 6.5 acres of this spectacular public green space.

For over three years there has been a great deal of public misinformation and misleading assertions from the Mayor regarding the status, disposal and so-called beneficial sale of the designated green space of Sefton Park Meadows. The land is officially described in Council bye-law records as the Meadow Fields of Sefton Park. During the late 19C when villa style houses were being built around Sefton Park in 1887 Liverpool Corporation's Council rejected any further plans to build over the Meadowlands of Sefton Park.

more details on Sefton Park Meadows from 2015.


Civic Society's recommendations for Parks & Green Space

Merseyside Civic Society (MCS) has recently released it's five recommendations for Liverpool's Parks and Green Space Review Team which also criticised Liverpool's Head of Planning.

The pdf detailing the 'Planning context and background to MCS Five Recommendations' can be downloaded here.

The 2015 report details the following points:

1. Differentiate between historic parkland and grassed-over demolition sites
2. Measure the number of park users to enable impacts to be better understood and demonstrated
3. Identify providers with public funding that benefit from parks and should contribute more
4. Smart management and maintenance
5. Linking up Liverpool’s Parks and Promenades in a Green Web.

In the report MCS said it was disturbed to hear Liverpool’s Head of Planning publicly make the case that protections on green space, and prioritising the recycling of brownfield land, ‘do not work’. MCS stated 'this is wrong, and risks undermining the turnaround in population only recently achieved, by encouraging those who argue for purely market led land allocation. Wider green-belt protections, alongside brownfield first targets, have supported urban renaissance in all of the core cities and would be folly to discard'.

MCS also states that 'Parkland in Walton Hall, Newsham Park, Sefton Park Meadow and Calderstones, etc. has been managed and used as such throughout the last century and beyond. Areas with such long established recreational use should never have been proposed for development by officers or approved by politicians in the Local Plan ‘call for sites’.

A section of Walton Hall Park's perimeter footpath

Reprieve for Walton Hall Park

Good news for campaigners to save Walton Hall Park - in a joint statement from Liverpool City Council and Everton Football Club it was announced that plans to build a new stadium in the park has been abandoned. It was also reported "that effectively building a new village in North Liverpool with lots of retail space is a step too far in this current economic climate."

However, these recent announcements fall short of a clear statement about the scheme to build a 1000 houses over a section of Walton Hall Park's 130 acre grounds.

News reports to cancel plans for a new stadium on Walton Hall Park were announced in the Liverpool Echo on 16 May from the following links: 'Campaigners Celebrate' and 'Mayor says Everton will have new stadium in 3 years'

The Friends of Walton Hall Park have been campaigning to save their park since September 2014 when Everton Football Club confirmed they wanted to build a new football stadium over the Park. The expectation to acquire this historic and popular park is made possible by the support of Mayor Anderson and his powerful rule over the Labour-led Council. This park is the only public green space in a densely populated area.

The origins of Walton Hall Park date back to 1199. Will English Heritage and it's recently formed planning arm of Historic England give it's blessing for the sale of any part of Walton Hall Park - as it did for Grade II listed Stanley Park when up to half of this historic park was sold to Liverpool FC?

Liverpool - Overall loss of 30 acres of parkland and green space from 2012 to 2016

Is Joe Anderson being economical with the truth with claims that he has created 67 acres of green space in Liverpool since he first became Mayor in 2012? The facts reveal a different story - it is estimated there has been a total net loss of at least 30 acres of green space in Liverpool over the last 4 years.

Most of Anderson’s ‘new’ green space is an invention and is creatively called 'renewed' green space made up of established and existing designated green space - with some land brought back into temporary use. This 'new' space is mostly from two sites next to one another in north Liverpool. Some 21 acres of land around the altered channel of the River Alt was re-named Alt Meadows Park and opened by the Mayor in 2015. Adjacent to this is a larger area of 26 acres where the River Alt was moved to avoid flood risk - this green space is temporary and is advertised for development. Both these sites were mostly designated green space before Anderson was first elected Mayor.

One might think the narrow linear section surrounding the River Alt channel in the new park would be protected from building schemes but already a small housing development is being built on the southern most tip of the site overlooking the river.

Another area of 'renewed' green space are the 5.6 acres of allotments built over Park Hill Road Recreation Ground on the Dingle - a green space that has been in public use for the last 25 years. These allotments are being provided to compensate for the loss of 11.8 acres of allotments in Fazakerley. In effect this is not a gain of green space but a loss of 11.8 acres of green space. It is creative accounting to call these new allotments new green space.

In the last 4 years numerous losses of green space have emerged - from the recent development on Woolton Woods parkland to the numerous housing schemes built over former school playing fields designated green space as detailed below.

Anderson was recently re-elected Mayor for a second term - does this mean he has a mandate to build over more green space than ever before?

More former school playing fields dug up for housing

Many former school playing fields are in the process of being purchased or developed for housing. The loss of school grounds, mostly all designated green space, do not need to be publicly advertised for disposal and therefore there is no public consultation over the loss of this green space. Councils seek permission to decommission school sites directly from the Secretary of State for Education.

In Liverpool at the beginning of 2016:

Redrow Homes are completing two substantial housing schemes over the former 14 acre New Hayes school site between Mather Avenue and Calderstones Park with 119 homes.

Redrow have started to build on former Watergate School, opposite St. Julies School in Woolton Village.

Redrow plan to build 22 houses on the former Ernest Cookson Special School, on Mill Lane in West Derby.

Purchase proposals from Redrow have been submitted for the 6.5 acre site once home to Redbridge and Bank View High Schools in Fazakerley. Redrow were authorised to demolish the site last October to bring the project forward by 6 months.

Redrow is starting to build 60 dwellings on the grounds of Holly Lodge Girls' College in West Derby. Last December 2015, in spite of many local objections, approval was given to demolish Holly Lodge House. The Grade II listed Fremont and Sandheys buildings will be converted for homes.

The former Gateacre Community Comprehensive School on Grange Lane is being developed by Countryside Properties for 200 dwellings with associated landscaping and new access roads. The applicant Countryside Properties has recently submitted new plans to vary some of the houses - comments for these plans can be made to the planning officer up until 26 May 2016 (ref. 16F/0883)

Palmerston School will be declared surplus to requirements when the school relocates in the spring of 2017 and planning for this site will commence at the end of 2016.

There is little evidence in Liverpool to certify, under Section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act (1998), that existing playing fields are re-provided when schools are relocated. 

Under a Central Government initiative, Liverpool was awarded a £169M fund to build 12 new schools. Many of the completed new school playgrounds are a fraction of the size of former playing fields.

Woolton Woods Park

The recent May elections saw a small but significant protest vote against the Labour Party in Liverpool for their privatisation scheme on Woolton Woods parkland. With two new Lib-Dem Councillors elected in and next to the Woolton Woods development.

Further legal challenges to protect Woolton Woods appear to have evaporated since this parkland was fenced off and contractors started work in April 2016. It was on 16 June 2015 when the Planning Committee approved extension plans for St Julies School over Woolton Woods Park. In exchange for 5% of popular parkland the school owners will offer the Council woodland it does not maintain and can not use.

Sufficient land is available on the existing school footprint for the St Julies school extension. However, the private school owners, the Sisters of Notre Dame, want to hold onto 4.37 hectares of school land for a potential residential land sale.

more details from 2015 about Woolton Woods

Woolton Woods 8 February 2015 - 150th anniversary of the birth of Sir James Reynolds
who in 1917 "gifted these two open fields to the people of Liverpool".

Land Trust Study demonstrates value of green spaces to society

This recent study found that every pound invested in parks and nature reserves contributes £30 towards health and well being benefits and £23 towards crime reduction and community safety.

The national land management charity, the Land Trust, commissioned an independent study by economic consultants, Carney Green to assess the value of the green spaces in its portfolio. The study measured the impact of Land Trust services to identify the value that people place on their local green space as well as to estimate the financial value it contributes to the health and social sectors.

Follow these links for more details:

The Land Trust Study demonstrates value of green spaces to society

The Carney Green research for The Land Trust 'Perceptions Survey and Social Value Study' pdf

Cuts to Local Authorities impact on Greenspace

The Government’s cuts to Local Authorities for local public services, combined with the lack of statutory protection for open spaces, are causing real threats to urban greenspace. This is provoking a growing number of local grass-roots campaigns throughout Britain as local communities mobilise to defend spaces under threat of neglect, privatisation or sell-offs.

At the same time the evidence continues to stack up on the vital and unique role our parks and greenspaces play for health, biodiversity, flood control, climate change mitigation, social cohesion and many other essential needs of all sections of all our communities.

4 July 2015 - one of the demonstrations organised by Save Our Green Spaces - Liverpool

Add news and information to this site

Our Ground welcomes any information about your campaign and the loss of public open greenspace on Merseyside. Please send your information to

updated 25 November 2016 © Our Ground 2007 - 2016



2016 Our Ground news on this page:

Garden Festival Site

3G football hubs

Calderstones & Harthill Park

Allerton Priory land

Local Plan consultation

Open Spaces Report

Govt. Parks Inquiry Launch

Sefton Park Meadows Revelations

MCS recommendations

Walton Hall Park Reprieve

Overall loss of Green Space

Disappearing School Fields

Woolton Woods Park land

Land Trust Study on value of green space

Local Authorities cuts impact

Our Ground aims to promote campaigns to save public green space in Liverpool and beyond.

Losses of greenspace on Merseyside reflect the changes taking place throughout Britain with public space disposed and sold for private developments.

We are witnessing the disappearance and erosion of our rights to freely use public space for the health and benefit of all our communities.

Local authorities encouraged by successive UK governments have continued to sell-off our parks, school playing fields, recreation grounds and public rights of way in towns and cities throughout Britain.

2015 news:


Woolton Woods

Sefton Park Meadows

Mayoral Review of Green & Open space

Greenspace for housing


Mayoral propaganda

On going threats

Liverpool's Local Plan

2014 news:

Green Space debates

Meadows press News

Liverpool Local Plan

Redrow's Meadows

Woolton Woods under threat

Walton Hall Park stadium plans

Local Plan & Statement of Community Involvement

Turning Green to Brown

2013 news:

Meadowland Campaigners replace notices after Council removal

Mayor 'bully-dozers' Sefton Park Meadows for marketing

'NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY' Mayors shouts at public gallery

Liverpool starts to prepare a Local Plan for future planning rules

SHLL building sites

7 approved 'finger blocks'
for Otterspool Promenade

2012 news:

Forest Estate - final report

Festival Gardens opening 23 June

Survey for private public space

Forest Estate - Privatisation

Festival Garden background

Neighbourhood Parks cuts

New - Port Sunlight River Park

Occupy Liverpool & London

'Big Society' Localism Act

Land Trust call for land

Dixie Dene Playing Fields
now a private Academy

2011 news:

Our Ground at the Bluecoat art gallery

Garden Festival Site update

English Forests and Woodlands privatisation

Priory Wood

2010 news:

Festival Gardens AGM and new park

Liverpool's mess in Stanley Park

Otterspool Park land sold

Work starts on Festival Gardens Park

Campaign web site lost

'Dutch Farm' green space sold

The Value of Urban Parks

Sefton Park Lake

2009 news:

Otterspool Park Privatisation and open letter of objection to City Council

NWDA fund Festival Gardens Park

Festival Gardens sewage disaster

Liverpool's Year of the Environment 2009

Springfield Park Privatisation

Stanley Park and privatisation plans

Sefton Park cafe deadlock

Tate "5th floor" debate

Festival Gardens & Promenade

Millbank Playing Fields Privatisation

2008 news:

Secretary of State gives go-ahead for Festival Gardens scheme

Festival Gardens Public Inquiry ends

Anfield - new design for LFC

U-boat U532 moved to Woodside Ferry Terminal

Biennial Pavilions

Brief history of Stanley Park

Stanley Park land privatised
with sports centre demolished

2007 news:

Otterspool Promenade Privatisation Disposal

Garden Festival Site Inquiry

Campaign & call for Inquiry

Stanley Park Privatisation & Stadium

Stanley Park Restoration

Millbank Playing Fields Privatisation

Parks Forum

Village Green protection status

Princes Park

Sefton Park

Dixie Dean Memorial Playing Fields Privatisation inquiry

Speke Park Privatisation and Speke Parade

Walton Hall Park