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our ground


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2011 news on this page

Our Ground public exhibtion

Garden Festival Site update

English Forests and Woodlands privatisation

Priory Wood

Future development of the Festival Gardens on Otterspool Promenade

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

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Millbank Playing Fields Privatisation


Garden Festival site
now cleared for development

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Festival Gardens Public Inquiry ends

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for latest news page click here

Our Ground exhibition at the Bluecoat Gallery in Liverpool

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 and developed.

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 is open every day from 10am to 6pm during exhibition dates. Free admission.

Delay in hand-over of Festival Gardens Park

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 web site.

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 like The 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 property.

The 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 class. As 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:
The Woodland Trust campaign to save Ancient Woodlands
38 Degrees campaign to Save our Forests.

Calls to halt tree felling at Priory Wood ignored

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


Ground Control by Anna Minton
2009 Penguin paperback
regeneration, security and privatisation of public space
with photographs by John Davies

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Our Ground welcomes any information about the loss of public open space. Please send event information about parks, playing fields and other public open spaces to