Our Ground exhibition at the Bluecoat Gallery
On public display from 30 September - 27 November
2011 in the exhibition Democratic Promenade a selection
of 'before and after' photographs by John
Davies showing how quickly public open green space can be sold off
On display are pictures of:
Dixie Dean Memorial Playing Fields now North Liverpool Academy,
Tunnel Road public open green space now a housing development,
Otterspool Promenade and the future plans for a row of 7 'Town Houses'
plus the Festival Gardens site before and after the hall and tree clearance.
The Bluecoat, School Lane, Liverpool L1 3BX www.thebluecoat.org.uk
is open every day from 10am to 6pm during exhibition dates. Free admission.
Delay in hand-over of Festival Gardens
Earlier this year on 9 February at Liverpool's Environment
and Climate Change select committee David Evans from Langtree announced
that he expected the Festival Gardens Park to be handed over to the Land
Trust/Groundwork Merseyside and to be open to the public in Spring 2011
- well ahead of schedule.
By Friday 8 July, the day the park was due to be 'signed off' the contractors
Mayfield unfortunately collapsed. Langtree have now appointed Tolent Construction
and the private park development may be completed this November. A separate
date for the opening of the park to the public has yet to be announced.
In 2009 the North West Development Agency made available to Langtree a
£3.7m park restoration and maintenance
grant. It is not clear if it is a condition of this grant
for the park to be open on a specific date. However it is a condition
of the planning agreement that the park is open before Langtree can sell
any of it's nearly 1400 dwellings it plans to build on other parts of
the Garden Festival site.
At the LCC meeting in February Alan Carter, head of portfolios for the
Land Trust appointed to manage and maintain the park for Langtree, enthusiastically
encouraged the notion of the park "belonging to the local community"
and welcomed wide involvement. Promises of ongoing community consultation
and involvement have been scarce in recent times.
David Evans now represents Langtree but last summer he was employed by
the Land Trust when he explained the 3 phases
of the new park. See details in 2010 News
For more details about the Festival Gardens see the riversidedrive
Wholesale disposal of 1,000 square miles
of England's Forestry Commission Estates
On 17 February the Secretary of State announced that the
Coalition's review for the sell-off of publicly owned forests and woods
is now on temporary hold - that is until the sale can be sensitively handled.
The Prime Minister has suggested that the government should consult organisations
Woodland Trust to make the give-away, of some 1,500 different woodlands,
more palatable to the public. But the Coalition's ideology to break-up
the Forestry Commission is unchanged.
Government plans to sell off 258,000 hectares of estates includes 80%
woodland and 20% moor, heath and other open land. In total the Forestry
Commission's estates occupy 0.81 million hectares of public land,
some 3,000 square miles. Potentially this is the biggest privatisation
scheme and massive loss of public green space in Britain since the Enclosure
Acts of over 150 years ago.
Forestry Commission estates in Scotland and Wales have been devolved and
up to 15% of this woodland is now being advertised for sale as surplus
Woodland Trust is concentrating it's efforts to protect Ancient Woodland
- that is 2.4% of Britain's land area continually wooded since 1600 and
the richest habitat for wildlife in the UK. In the 1930's there was twice
this amount of Ancient Woodland - lost through continued planning permissions.
'Another precious freedom felled' sold off by state for the corporate
the Guardian's George Monbiot article on the forest privatisation
comments, 'The public is not the same as the state'.
Campaigns are still ongoing - sign the petitions:
Woodland Trust campaign to save Ancient Woodlands
38 Degrees campaign
to Save our Forests.
Calls to halt tree felling at Priory Wood
On a much smaller local scale Priory Wood in Liverpool
is an example of the privatisation of a public amenity and wildlife woodland.
The land is part of a package deal included with the Garden Festival site
both leased by Langtree from Liverpool City Council. At the end of January
2011 community groups expressed concerns over the destruction of mature
trees and the lack of a 'sympathetic management that would take the site's
ecological value into consideration'. LCC's client officer states that
thinning out by 20% as requested by the owners was approved by LCC's planning
department. No objections were received by LCC because of a failure to
inform the local community and local groups of the tree felling plans.
On 9th February at a LCC's committee meeting, after tree felling was completed
and only when challenged David Evans from Langtree apologised for the
lack of community consultation.
The cosey relationship, established since before 2008, between Langtree
Developments Ltd and City Council Officers continues.
Show support by contacting the Friends
of Liverpool Festival Gardens
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