Since 2006 Our Ground has reported on the disposal and sales
of public open green space across Merseyside. This reflects a national
phenomena: the loss of our human right to freely use open space through
privatisation schemes for a variety of commercial developments. Local
authorities encouraged by successive UK governments have continued to
sell-off our parks, playing fields, open space and public rights of way
in towns and cities throughout Britain. more
Campaigners replace stolen property and defend their
On 29 November posters are put back on the trees around Sefton
Park Meadows, after Chief Executive of Liverpool Council ordered
their removal. Campaigners were told they would be charged if they wanted
their property back another time. Infringing people's civil
rights and ignoring democracy to intimidate a peaceful protest is a measure
of this administration’s arrogant tactics to bulldoze through a
quick land sale.
The Council have ignored record numbers of public objections against this
disposal and bye-passed it’s own planning policies. There is now
real concern that these historic Meadowlands will disappear from the landscape
forever. Sold at the orders of the Mayor as he involves the Council in
buying land in neighbouring authority Knowsley, for his favourite football
club, and other expensive real-estate speculations. Building a throne
for himself by relocating the council offices to the palatial and iconic
Cunard Building on Pier Head for £10 million plus the liability
of it's vast investment in their current building, Millennium House. At
the same time the Mayor says the City could be facing bankruptcy in a
few years time and needs to sell the Meadowlands.
None of the local ward Labour Councillors who wanted to appose the Meadowlands
sale, along with all other members of the party, dare object in fear of
evoking the wrath of the Mayor.
The Save the Meadows campaigners will continue to object to the sale of
this public open green space while the Council slip-stream around planning
policy rules and community involvement. Over 300 local people have already
signed pledge cards to support the campaign with an action. The group
will be looking at active peaceful protests on the Meadows from early
2014 along with objections elsewhere.
The deadline for 'exemplar' development plans, as required for the sale
of the Meadowlands, will be made in haste at the end of January 2014.
The Council is expecting the cash raised will help to pay for the Mayor's
Cllr. Richard Kemp (leader of the Lib Dems), Cllr.
Sarah Jennings (Green Party)
and Martin Dobson (Green Party candidate) helped campaigners replace posters
the Meadowlands are marketed to property developers and speculators on
English Heritage listing application for Meadows - public
On the 13 November a public meeting 'Our Meadows Not For
Sale' was attended by over a 100 peopleat Greenbank
Academy in Liverpool. The meeting heard John Middleton explain the historic
importance of the Meadowlands and Liverpool City Council's vision of 1862
for Sefton Park and the Meadows. He also gave an up-date on the application
to English Heritage for the Meadows to be given grade 1 listed status.
The meeting also discussed the next stage to object to planning proposals
and to stop building development on Sefton Park Meadows.
Save Sefton Park Meadows Campaign have set up a new government e-petiton
to get any planning approval called in for an independent review and are
encouraging people to sign up now:
Sefton Park Meadows, Liverpool - the Mayor of Liverpool wants to sell
land to raise cash.
Mayor 'bully-dozers' Meadowlands sale for exemplar property
On 11 October Liverpool's Cabinet agreed to market the
land on Park Avenue for sale. Sefton Park Meadows will be advertised to
building developers subject to planning approval for an exemplar housing
scheme - with a deadline for January 2014.
The Mayor, Joe Anderson, appears to have taken a personal interest in
pursing the sale of the Meadowlands by delivering personal attacks on
any councillors who disagreed with the sale and dominating every committee
and select committee meeting where this Park Avenue land has been discussed.
Disposal of Sefton Park Meadowlands
On Thursday 3 October at 5pm in the Town Hall the Regeneration
Select Committee will meet to consider the disposal of the Meadowlands
on Park Avenue. In the notes to the meeting it has been recommended the
Council continue with the planned sale and for the proceeds to be spend
on the city's parks and road network.
Liverpool City Council received record numbers of objections opposing
the Meadows proposed sale with a petition of 7,257 signatories while an
epetition on the Councils web site only attracted 58 supporting the sale.
Over 1,200 objections to the published Loss of Open Space Notice have
also been received but Mayor Jo Anderson is determined to ignore overwhelming
opposition by the people of Liverpool and still wants to go ahead with
advertising the land for sale for a luxury housing development.
The Council is ignoring its own Unitary Development Plan and Core Strategy
of Open Green Space designation for the Meadows as part of Sefton Park
Conservation Area. The Meadows has not been included in the Strategic
Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) and therefore avoiding community
The Council is also ignoring the requirements of the National Planning
Policy Framework which has safeguards for community consultation, neighbourhood
planning, protection of green spaces, rights of way, recreational value,
beauty, historic significance, tranquility, richness of wildlife and heritage
If the land sale goes ahead then any plans for development will have to
go through a planning process and further objections and proposals can
be made at this stage.
This is the actual size of the advertisement on page 48
of the Liverpool Post on Thursday 30 May 2013. Notify the public of the
City's intention to dispose and sell the Meadowlands on Park Avenue totaling
2.425 hectares - leaving two weeks from this discrete announcement to
New Planning Rules: Liverpool prepares to adopt it's Local
Plan, SHLAA and implementing Community Involvement
Liverpool has been slow to adopt and implement new planning rules, as
a statuary requirement of the Localism Act, which will allow for greater
community involvement and a voice for local people to say how land is
developed. Neighbourhood Forums can be an effective way to enable this.
Statement of Community Involvement (pdf document Appendix 2 can
be downloaded here) states that it is important that people have the
opportunity to be involved and influence decision making. The National
Planning Policy Framework places importance on community engagement in
the development of Local Plans:
‘Early and meaningful engagement and collaboration with neighbourhoods,
organisations and businesses is essential. A wide section of the community
proactively engaged, so that Local Plans, as far as possible, reflect
a collective vision
and a set of agreed priorities for the sustainable development of the
those contained in any neighbourhood plans that have been made.’
Exceptionally the Council has recently decided that one of the biggest
areas of land it wants for building, the public open green space of Sefton
Park Meadows, is excluded from the SHLAA document.
Save Sefton Park Meadows Campaign Picnic
A second mass picnic was organised on the Meadowlands on
Monday 27 May. Despite a rain soaked afternoon speakers, performers, workshops
and various events were enjoyed with over 500 people on the day signing
objections to the planned sale of the Meadowlands.
Save Sefton Park Meadows Campaign Picnic on 27 May
'NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY'
Mayor shouts at public observing town hall debate.
The Extraordinary Meeting in Liverpool Town Hall on 18 April was
called by the Liberal Democratic Party to question proposals
"to use the precious green spaces of Liverpool for development as
exemplified by the decision to sell the Meadowlands at Sefton Park".
The first address was by Martin Dobson, representing the campaign against
the sale of the Meadowlands, who made a passionate plea to save this public
open green space. He was followed by the Lib Dem Leader, Councillor Richard
Kemp, who pointed to lack of public consultation and urged the Council
not to take the ‘easy pickings’ of building on green space.
Both speeches received rousing applause from a packed public gallery.
But it was the Labour Council Leader, Mayor Joe Anderson, who soon dominated
the proceedings, calling the Leader of the Lib Dems an opportunist,
hypocrite and idiot (he is certainly not an idiot). The heated Mayor continued
with his personal attacks on other councillors who disagreed with his
Members of the public who packed the Town Hall didn't escape the Mayor's
wrath either: he repeatedly shouted NIMBY at the public gallery and asked
'where were you?' when the earlier loss of other green spaces had been
discussed. A member of the public was removed from the Chamber when he
tried to reply to the Mayor. The public were not allowed to speak at this
The Lib Dem motion to ensure that consultation takes place with local
residents, businesses and ‘Friends of Park’ Associations
before any proposals are made to sell off land or alter parks was totally
Instead the Labour Party turned the debate to defend their record of not
selling green space until now, concentrating on the need for the city
to survive and grow through increased house building with a priority to
find land to build luxury housing and generate higher Council Tax income.
The Mayor said he had no other choices but to sell off the Meadowlands.
The debate centred on the city’s survival when faced with 'dire'
financial cuts from Central Government and the priority to protect front-line
services along with a need to spend £399M on road repairs.
The Council recognised that there is a ‘need’ for wildlife
habitat. However the Council believes that the Meadowlands site does
not perform that function.
The Mayor stated he wanted to sell the Meadowlands to finance improvements
to Sefton Park: a running track around the park and providing exercise
facilities for pensioners; a stage in the park to host events; and to
repair roads around the park.
No one mentioned that the Friends of Sefton Park's bid to secure a £4.8M
Heritage Lottery restoration fund for park improvements has a contractual
arrangement for the Council to adhere to a 10 year maintenance and management
plan. The contract is binding for 25 years from 30th November 2006 in
respect of sales of park land. What is the English Heritage Lottery Fund's
view regarding the Sefton Park's Meadowlands? see
previous 2012 news
It appears the Mayor does not want any public consultation over plans
for the Meadowlands or the whole of Sefton Park except within the confines
of Council meetings.
The Liverpool Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA)
was also discussed as this shows the location of numerous green spaces
and playgrounds across the City identified for house building. The
Mayor pointed out that the Lib Dems drew up this document in 2008 and
that Labour had removed some garden allotments from the current version.
The Lib Dem leader said that this was intended as a consultation document
and that Labour had not made it available for public consultation when
they came to power in 2010. The deadline for commenting on the SHLAA was
the 19 April.
Selling Public Green Spaces in Liverpool - City Council
Extraordinary Meeting at 5pm on 18 April in Town Hall
This extraordinary meeting has been called to question
proposals "to use the precious green spaces of Liverpool for development
as exemplified by the decision to sell the Meadowlands at Sefton Park".
For 12 years until 2010 when the Liberal Democrats were in control of
Liverpool many Green wedge sites throughout the city were sold for commercial
developments (see previous news on this site). Now that the Labour Party
are in power they have plans to continue and increase sales of the city's
green spaces - aided by the Coalition Government's recent changes to the
planning laws and a requirement for Councils to look at strategic
housing sites across the city.
This extraordinary meeting will question "the very large number of
cherished open spaces throughout the city" earmarked for development
and to protect Green wedge sites already listed in statutory policy documents
(UDP) as important green spaces. The meeting will also ask for ‘Friends
of Park’ Associations to be consulted before any proposals are made
to sell off land or alter parks.
A request will be made to "ensure that consultation takes place with
local residents and businesses before the sale of any land within communities
that is regarded by them as a local amenity". This particular proposal
may be a requirement of the 2011 Localism
It is noted that there is already brown field land available in Liverpool
to provide homes for more than 60,000 people and empty homes that could
provide accommodation for about 5,000 more.
Save the Meadows Public Meeting: 7pm on 16 April at Greenbank
After Liverpool Council upheld the sale of Meadowlands
the campaign to save Sefton Park Meadows is organising a public meeting
on Tuesday 16th April 7pm in the Rathbone Room, Greenbank Academy, Greenbank
Lane, L17 1AG.
The meeting will have speakers discussing issues relating to the Meadows
but mostly there will be an opportunity for people to speak and make suggestions.
The campaign was started by the local Green Party but there is now massive
support from many different local communities. This public meeting is
a move to broaden the campaign and to invite people to join a steering
group to take the campaign forward.
An application to register Sefton Park Meadows as a Town Green is being
pursued by Lawrence Green. Part of the application is to gather evidence
that a significant number of local people have been using the land over
the last 20 years. If you have any information that might support this
claim or offers of support for the campaign please contact: SaveSeftonParkMeadows@gmail.com
Mayor effectively 'hijacks' select committee to ensure
sale of Sefton Park's Meadowlands goes ahead.
The Mayor and leader of Liverpool City Council took the
unusual step of sitting on the scrutiny select committee on 4th April
to help secure the disposal of the Meadowlands to generate income for
the City Council. Local ward Councillors remained silent after telling
residents they would vote against the sell-off. Despite a mass demonstration
on the Meadowlands on 1st April with estimates between 300-500 locals
protesting throughout a cold wintry day and with over 1480 residents signing
the Council's own ePetition
against the sale, the cabinet's decision to sell the land for luxury housing
This sale may be a test case for the City Council with the Meadowlands
being a high profile public open green space that has attracted a wide
range of communities concerned over it's loss. If this disposal goes ahead
then many other open green spaces such as allotments and other green spaces
throughout the city will be sold-off in the coming months and years -
as central government continues to financially squeeze local authorities.
Can the Localism
Act be effective with strong community support against this disposal?
The 2011 Act, updated in 2012, is supposed to change the way local planning
authorities can operate and is reported to establish powerful new rights
for local people and communities to hold their local authorities to account.
Sefton Park's Meadowlands sale to be called-in and scrutinised
by select committee on 4 April
The Regeneration Select Committee will meet Thursday, 4th
April at 5.00 pm in Liverpool Town Hall to discuss the sale of the Meadowlands
at Park Avenue. This meeting is open to the public but the committee only
normally allows the public to voice it's concerns by way of a question
written in advance of the meeting. Questions can be submitted to email@example.com
- preferably before the 3rd April.
There are two items on the agenda relevant to the loss of public open
green space in Liverpool:
Item 3. Called in item - Sale of Land at Park Avenue (Meadowlands).
item 4. Notice of Motion - Protection of Green Space at Sefton Park by
Councillor John Coyne.
The sale of land at Park Avenue has been called-in by a number of councillors
and with the ePetition reaching the threshold of 437 signatures of people
who live, work or study in Liverpool.
National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) becomes binding
- is Liverpool leaving the cleared housing sites in favour of building
on greenfield sites?
Under the Government's new framework councils have to publish
and adopt local plans which set out where development can take place for
the next five years. Many councils, including Liverpool, have already
been using the NPPF to guide planning decisions, and experts warned that
last year’s surge in approved developments would now escalate.
Developers are also exploiting a loophole in the framework which will
force councils to make more greenfield sites available for building. Builders
are using the new rule book to force councils to drop uneconomic clearance
sites from five-year housing plans, and replace them with greenfield sites.
Clive Betts, chairman of the Commons communities and local government
committee, said: “The danger is that we end up leaving brown field
sites empty where people would welcome development and build on greenfield
sites where people would be unhappy about it.”
Liverpool's Cabinet unanimously agreed to advertise the
disposal of Sefton Park's Meadows at Park Lane. In the meeting on 22 March,
Joe Anderson Mayor of Liverpool, said he was happy with the money
we have been making on the sale of other land in the city and it wasn't
a bad time to sell. The Meadowlands has been part of the Sefton Park
Conservation Area which the Mayor denied.
The Mayor's civic pride pledge is 'to make Liverpool a cleaner, greener
city' and the Council's solution for the apparent litter and dog fouling
on the Meadows is to privatise and build houses on this public open green
But there is no denying the Council's driver for privatising public land
is to make money. The Council intend to take full advantage of the Government's
recent budget announcement to make £15bn available to boost house
building along with relaxing planning rules to build on greenfield sites.
Over the coming months Liverpool City Council will be looking to sell
off as much public land as it can and more public open space will be under
threat. The blue areas in the map link below show sites, such as the Dingle
Vale Allotments, that are now being considered for house building.
Potential sale of Sefton Park's Meadows - closing date
for objections 25 April
On 22 March Liverpool City Council agreed to advertise
the disposal of a substantial area of public open green space adjoining
Sefton Park. This 2.62 hectare green wedge includes a section of Park
Avenue and is on the boundary of Mossley Hill Drive, Queens Drive, Camatic
Road and Aigburth Vale in Liverpool 18.
The Council is desperate, once again, to raise cash by selling off public
open space and these historic Meadowlands are recommended to be sold on
the open market to the highest bidder for a potential luxury housing estate.
During the 1970's and again in the 1990's this site was considered for
disposal and on both occasions after substantial public opposition the
site was saved as green space.
Despite significant areas of clearance sites and large numbers of boarded-up
rows of derelict properties across Liverpool the Council seems intent
to sell off more public open green space!
Since the land is public open space its loss will have to be advertised
in the local press for 2 consecutive weeks with a further week for objections
to be made. Objections to the City Solicitor will have to be submitted
back to Cabinet for consideration. The closing date for your objections
to this sale is likely to be 25 April.
This potential loss follows the sale of King David Primary School site
and planned sale of New Heys Comprehensive School for a demand in building
large detached dwellings.
'Big Society' Localism Act made law in November 2011
The radically new Localism
Act will change the way local planning authorities can operate and
establishes powerful new rights for local people and communities to hold
their local authorities to account.
The Bill is said to enable regional planning to be swept away and in its
place neighbourhood plans will become the new building blocks of the planning
system where communities have the power to grant planning permission if
a local majority are in favour.
Effectively this act was born out of the European
Landscape Convention - signed up to by the last Labour government
in 2008. Our Ground welcomes the benefits of these new rights
to local communities in helping to protect and shape their public open
In Britain local planning authorities can sell-off the
public land we collectively own and are only required to publicise these
disposals by placing a small advertisement in a local newspaper. There
is currently no centralised resource of freely available information regarding
the disposal, sale and privatisation of public open space.
It is incredible that public notices are not required to be placed in
or by the actual public open spaces to be privatised.
If regular users of these spaces were informed of proposed disposals they
would be able to act on the potential loss of their right to use public
land. By the time the public is aware that public open space is to be
commercially developed it is often too late to effectively object as lawful
planning permission has already been consented. Hopefully the new Localism
Act may be seen as a way of correcting these faults in the planning
Most all privatisation schemes attract little interest in the press and
media as public open space and park land gradually disappear over extended
periods of time or usage changes in subtle ways. In rare circumstances
a planning application is 'called in' for a Public or Local Enquiry but
these are often balanced in favour of the commercial developer who have
the financial resources to employ professional legal expertise.
During 2010 different central government departments had conflicting views
over the value of public open green space. Some encourage local councils
to sell off public land where others see the same public open space as
an essential part of the urban infrastructure for a wide range of environmental,
social and economic objectives and activities.
The catalyst for the Our Ground project was the privatisation
of the public open space of Chavasse Park and 34 adjoining streets for
the 'Liverpool One' extensive retail and mixed use development. The developer,
Grosvenor Estates, effectively owning 42.5 acres of central Liverpool
with a 250 year lease.