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our ground 2013

for latest news page click here

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.

Campaigners replace stolen property and defend their civil rights

See the Meadows Face Book page :


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 new palace.


Cllr. Richard Kemp (leader of the Lib Dems), Cllr. Sarah Jennings (Green Party)
and Martin Dobson (Green Party candidate) helped campaigners replace posters before
the Meadowlands are marketed to property developers and speculators on 2 December.

English Heritage listing application for Meadows - public meeting

On the 13 November a public meeting 'Our Meadows Not For Sale' was attended by over a 100 people at 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:

For more information the Campaign's latest newsletter can be downloaded here - Meadows Autumn News.pdf


Sefton Park Meadows, Liverpool - the Mayor of Liverpool wants to sell land to raise cash.

Mayor 'bully-dozers' Meadowlands sale for exemplar property investment

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.

Further details of this meeting and the Council's response to the many objections to this sale - see this page on the Council's web site:

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 consultation.

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 assets.

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.

For updates return to this page or visit

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 receive objections.

New Planning Rules: Liverpool prepares to adopt it's Local Plan, SHLAA and implementing Community Involvement

Download the background notes to these mayoral recommendations here

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.

Liverpool's 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, local
organisations and businesses is essential. A wide section of the community should be
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 area, including
those contained in any neighbourhood plans that have been made

Local Plan Proposal Consultation Document (pdf document Appendix 1 can be downloaded here) states that it is the Council’s intention to prepare a Local Plan and to encourage representations on what it should contain. It provides an early opportunity for neighbourhoods, local organisations and businesses to help shape the Plan’s content.

The final version of the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) update lists all land recommended for building and includes public open space. This is subject to the approval of Regeneration Select Committee at its meeting on July 25th. The full list of land proposed for development can be seen in Appendix 4 in the Cabinet Minutes of 21 June item 171f at:

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

Mayor shouts at public observing town hall debate.

See the Council minutes of this 18 April meeting here:

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 views.
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 meeting.
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 ignored.
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.

This link is an interactive map of SHLAA sites - type in a post code to see potential green space for development in Liverpool:

This is the most recent residential pdf update which can be accessed through the following link:


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 Act.

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.

Full details of this meeting on the City Council web site:
City Council Extraordinary Meeting at 5pm on Thursday, 18th April in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, High Street, Liverpool 1

Save the Meadows Public Meeting: 7pm on 16 April at Greenbank Academy

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:

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 was upheld.

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.

See a summary of the campaign:

Join the 1900 people on the Save Sefton Park Meadows 'Face book' page:

See the Council's Map of areas for proposed housing development in Liverpool:


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 - 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.

Scroll down for more information about this sale. Also see more details about this item and select committee meeting on the City Council web site:
Regeneration Select Committee Thursday, 4th April at 5.00 pm in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, High Street, Liverpool 1

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.”

Map of areas for proposed housing development in Liverpool:


Some of the protesters outside Millennium House on 22 March

Council agrees to go ahead with disposal of the Meadowlands - is this the beginning of large scale sales of public open space throughout Liverpool?

sign the Council's online ePetition 'Sale of Land at Park Lane' before 25 April

Note it may take awhile to register first and the Council's web site does not work with all web browsers.

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 space.

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.

Map of areas for proposed housing development in Liverpool

Also see the meadows Face Book page :

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.

It also follows another controversial plan to build a school on Jericho Lane Playing Fields, Otterspool Park. A loss of yet more green spaces regularly used by community football teams. More about Jericho Lane from the Echo.
Sign the online Jericho Lane petition before 4 April

Liverpool City Council's Cabinet committee 'item 4i Sale of Land at Park Avenue L18' 22 March in Millennium House, Victoria Street, Liverpool.

More on the Meadowlands sale from Liverpool Confidential and Daily Post.

Bookmark this web page for future updates


'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 spaces.

Wikipedia on Localism Act 2011 local government news & published Localism Bill


They giveth and they taketh away

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 system.

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.


click on image to see views of Chavasse Park from 2004 to 2008


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.


Ground Control

As part of this project in 2009 Our Ground worked with the writer Anna Minton and provided pictures for her Penguin book Ground Control about regeneration, security and the privatisation of public space. Read her pdf What kind of world are we building? The Privatisation Of Public Space.

Add news and information to this site

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

all photographs © John Davies 2007 - 2013

Previous news pages



for latest news page click here

updated 1 December 2013

previous news:

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

They giveth...

Loss of Dixie Dene Playing Fields

2011 news

Our Ground at the Bluecoat art gallery

Garden Festival Site update

English Forests and Woodlands privatisation

Priory Wood

Langtree's planned blocks
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

Festival Gardens & Promenade

Millbank Playing Fields Privatisation

Otterspool Park

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

Stadium site - Stanley Park

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

Otterspool Promenade