National & European
Are Liverpool's exemplar green spaces under threat of extinction?
During the consultation process for Liverpool's Local
Plan at the beginning of last year many house building developers recommended
that 'the city needs to review its greenbelt and green infrastructure
to ensure sufficient land is identified to meet the housing requirement'.
Liverpool City Council's Physical Assets added hundreds of acres
of public green space into the Local Plan for potential development.
At the end of last year the Mayor then commissioned a Green and Open Space
Review. In September this year the mayor rejected the draft report for
this Strategic Green and Open Space Review and sent it back to the 'independent'
Review Board chair, Simon O'Brien.
From the sites added by the Council in the Local Plan at least 60
of these are greenspace - parks, recreational grounds and sports grounds
(see Local Plan list below).
But this figure may be under-estimated. The exact amount of
greenspace proposed for development in the Local Plan is difficult to
assess as the Council often gives misleading descriptions - listing
sites simply as 'Land' even though this ‘Land’ may be public
green space with a recognised name. For example, the land commonly known
as Sefton Park Meadows is listed as two separate sites - identified
by the Council as 'Queens Drive Mossley Hill Land' and 'Mossley Hill Drive
Land'. Why does the Council use smoke and mirrors to hide strategic green
space in what appears to be a deception?
At the end of 2015 Redrow Homes will be completing a big housing scheme
in what was a leafy suburb between Calderstones Park and Mather Avenue.
The approved plans to build over the entirety of this substantial school
playing field slipped unnoticed by the local press and opposition politicians
alike. Apparently the Council is obliged to provide replacement facilities
of equal value for the loss of these and other school playing fields but
it's not clear where or when these will be delivered.
Once Redrow have sold some of their £1Million homes at the top of
their Calder's site then they will be ready to plunder the riches of Liverpool’s
other desirable green prizes. Sefton Park Meadows is in Redrow's next
target and the City Council, lead by the Mayor, want an executive and
exclusive housing settlement here. A planning application to build over
the Meadows may appear at anytime with minimal notice.
What is the long-term future vision for this mayoral administration? Is
austerity an excuse to make short-term gains by selling off the city's
green assets to invest the cash into other property speculations? Is maintenance
of greenspace the real issue? The Council tell us the city needs to build
over these ''dog toilets" of greenspace rather than brownfield -
largely for the profits of property developers – with relatively
little return for the Council's coppers. Good quality housing is needed
in Liverpool for both the rich and poor alike. But have we lost sight
of the real beneficial values of public greenspace in our built-up urban
environment - green spaces that are loved by local communities?
For more recent updates and actions about saving green space in Liverpool
see the 'Save
Our Green Spaces Liverpool' Facebook page
Planning application site for Woolton Woods greenspace.
Will it be a foot in the door to develop more?
The disposal of Woolton Woods was approved by the City
Council to build over the land for St Julies school. The reasons for approval
was to avoid disruption of school children - disruption to students from
a noisy building site was not discussed. These plans will enable the Sisters
of Notre Dam to sell off it's own excess school land for a housing development.
In return the city is given woodland the school can not maintain or use.
Will Woolton Woods Ltd. make an appeal against this discussion and present
a legal challenge?
On 16 June the planning application to build a new school
extending over Woolton Woods Park was approved by
the Planning Committee. Excuses were made to not move pupils to another
facility while the school is turned into a building site. Campaigners
do not object to a new school but say the private school can be built
within it's existing grounds.
On 18 June the Regeneration Committee recommended to advertise the disposal
of part of the park for the school development. Once the disposal notice
for this public green space and historic right of way is advertised then
representations and objections can be made. The Council intends to challenge
the legality of a covenant protecting the park land from commercial development.
It is the Council’s intention to take 5-10% of the Woolton Woods
field for the expansion of St Julies School. The remainder of the field
may go forward to be considered as part of the Liverpool
Local Plan for potential residential development.
Details of these plans are available here: Planning
Application - 15L/0072 to download pdf map plans, heritage
report detailing planning policy etc.
A limited company has been set up called Woolton Woods Ltd. in order to
pursue legal challenges against the development and disposal of Woolton
become a friend of Woolton Woods Ltd see more details on https://www.facebook.com/SaveWooltonWoods
Redrow planning application for
Sefton Park Meadows
If Redrow's planning application is approved then 27 trees will be removed:
18 trees on Park Avenue, 7 Horse chestnut tees on Aigburth Vale &
2 on Queens Drive.
In spite of claims that this planning application has been
processed in an unfair and unreasonable manner, an unprecedented record
of over 600 comments and objections were submitted for Redrow's proposals
to erect 34 dwellings over Sefton Park Meadows. On 29 January Redrow Homes
informed Liverpool City Council that they intend to make amendments to
the planning application 15F/0110 but no amendments have been made to
On the deadline day for objections, 19 February, the mayor of Liverpool
announced on Radio Merseyside that he'd asked Redrow to reduce the loss
of trees on Sefton Park Meadows and he stated that only one mature tree
would be removed. This is highly misleading as the mayor is confusing
category 'A' trees as the only mature trees on the Meadow Fields. The
mayor is also misleading when he said he could of sold the land to build
more houses - it is the high housing density and the inappropriate design
features that English Heritage do not want on Sefton Park. Earlier this
year the mayor was found to be making exaggerated claims of creating new
green space for the city, when in fact most of this new 'improved greenspace'
is grassed over temporary brown field sites - see
It is estimated, by development accountants, that if Sefton Park Meadows
was sold it would profit the City between £1m to £2m while
Redrow would profit between £20 to £30m in 'executive' house
Redrow's planning application documents are can be viewed as pdf's to
See updates, more details and objection advice here: saveseftonparkmeadows.org
also see Save
Sefton Park Meadows facebook page
Save Our Green Spaces Liverpool (SOGS)
Save Our Green Spaces Liverpool is an umbrella organisation
committed to supporting the various community groups that have formed
across Liverpool with the aim of saving local greenspace.
SOGS oppose Liverpool City Council's plans to sell off the city's parks
and the dozens of suburban green spaces to Liverpool’s preferred
The City Council claim Liverpool has too many parks and too much greenspace
for our present population and no money to maintain them. Misleading claims
are made that land sales will help balance the City Council’s budget
but this is not a legal reason for selling greenspace.
SOGS are categorically opposed to the selling of green space for cash.
Our urban parks and green spaces are precious community resources to be
protected for future generations. If greenspace were not available to
property developers, the ample brownfield sites throughout the city would
become deliverable for housing and various other developments.
SOGS support Merseyside Civic Society’s policy of ‘brownfield
first’: that there is much greater scope to achieve housing targets
by making far more effective and coordinated use of so-called brownfield
sites long before even contemplating any unwanted and unwarranted incursions
into green and accessible open space.
Open green spaces are irreplaceable - to retain them with reduced maintenance
is far better than losing them altogether.
The Council’s over-ambitious target (up to 2028)
to build 40,950* houses is why property developers can claim there’s
brownfield sites - so they can first plunder the city’s highly profitable
green-space. The latest official government projections show a lower figure
of 24,000** for housing need, in the same period in Liverpool - if this
realistic target for housing was adopted by Liverpool City Council then
the ample brownfield sites throughout Liverpool could become deliverable
for the city’s needs.
* LCC’s latest published Core Strategy commits to build 40,950 new
homes between 2011 and 2028. see more below
**Figures from Department for Communities and Local Government (updated
17 February 2015)
Save Our Green Spaces – Liverpool does not have any political party
SOGS outside St Lukes Church
in Liverpool on 28 February 2015
Strategic Green and Open Spaces Advisory
Review Board meetings
Liverpool City Council plans to dispose a large number
of parks and public green space to reduce maintenance costs and identify
land for building developments. This is part of the Local Plan process.
A Mayoral Green & Open Space Review has been set-up and is open to
everyone to make their views known.
Chaired by Simon O'Brien, this review is to provide strategic direction
and recommendations to the Mayor, Cabinet and Council to make decisions
in respect of the allocation of Strategic Green and Open Spaces for the
benefit of all local communities in Liverpool. Simon O'Brien intends to
finish his draft report this summer and outcomes may be included in Liverpool's
Local Plan at the end of 2015.
It was during the Liverpool Local Plan Consultation last year that property
developers, including Redrow Homes, asked for a Review of Green Space
- for potential building development land.
On-going planning applications to build over public green space will be
unaffected by the Green Space Review.
Details and further comments for this Review Board can be found here http://liverpool.gov.uk/mayor/mayoral-commissions/strategic-green-and-open-spaces-review-board/
Excess Greenspace for housing?
Over the last year many announcements of newly created
green space in Liverpool have now been found to be misleading. This
invention of green space appears to be a cynical sweetener to make up
for future losses of mature parkland and green space.
The Local Plan will be drafted soon and this new planning policy will
have a major impact on all aspects of development throughout Liverpool
for the next 15 years. If over-ambitious housing targets are included
in these plans, recently doubled to over 40,000 for no apparent reason, then
a large supply of land will be required. Developers will first choose
highly profitable green virgin land with little incentive to build on
If Liverpool's Local Plan does not include adequate protection for local
green space then developers will have legal ammunition to pick and choose
almost any site they want. Mature historic and diverse parkland will become
building sites and we'll be left with temporary brownfield for our
"improved green space".
see note below on More Greenspace for
Revelations at the Neighbourhoods
Will Cllr Steve Munby fly over the Mersey dressed
as a pig for Walton Hall Park?
At the meeting on 6 January, Cabinet member Councillor
Steve Munby said ‘If Everton Football Club move onto Walton Hall
Park he would wear pink tights and wings and fly over the River Mersey’.
He told the Friends of Walton Hall Park group, who attended the meeting,
that no plans had been submitted by EFC and he didn't’t think the
club had the resources for a new stadium. However, questions about this
park would be referred to the Regeneration Select Committee.
Two committees – two definitions of ‘Green
Two different definitions and a difference of opinion
between two Liverpool Council select committees - the Regeneration Committee
use ‘Greenspace’ as a planning term whereas the definition
used by the Neighbourhoods committee is more fluid. The mayor’s
reference to 47 acres of new space is misleading and should be referred
to as ‘Improved Greenspace’ and this land is made up of a
100 temporary community gardens from derelict sites – 17 of these
sites have been identified for future potential development.
Cllr Munby stated the allotments on the Dingle Recreation Ground were
to improve greenspace and were not creating new greenspace as the Regeneration
Committee had stated.
New Improved Spin
On top of the 47 acres, now renamed as improved-greenspace,
the mayor recently stated a further 40 acres of greenspace had been created
along the River Alt. Cllr Munby confirmed that the only new permanent
greenspace is 21 acres from the new River Alt Park and the remaining greenspace
is a nearby development site for sale.
After all the spin over the last 12 months, of the mayor's misleading
claims of creating new greenspace throughout Liverpool, the reality is
that 21 acres of greenspace will be created on one site alongside the
River Alt when the new park opens in March. The new park is a welcomed
addition but how much greenspace will be lost during the mayor’s
term of office is yet to be determined.
Greenspace, Liverpool Local Plan & Park Trusts
Cllr Munby went onto say ‘Whoever drew up the (Liverpool)
Local Plan wasn't’t very bright’. Explaining that many of
the sites listed in the Plan should not have been included and that the
Independent Review on Greenspace would look into these sites.
At the meeting Cllr Munby also explained that central government had not
made parks a statuary responsibility for the Council. He expected the
£10m Council budget for parks to be cut in half and that a third
of the existing budget for parks goes on buildings. He would be interested
to see these buildings taken over by social enterprise schemes and would
explore the possibility of independent trusts for all parks.
In defence of the Council's move to sell-off hundreds of
acres of greenspace as part of the Liverpool
Local Plan the mayor has claimed that since
he came to office he has created more greenspace in the city than
at any time in Liverpool's history - up to 47 acres of new greenspace.
However, all is not what it seems - examples of new allotments replacing
a 25 year old greenspace recreation ground is counted twice as creating
new green space. Losses of 12 acres of greenspace in Fazakerley are not
included in the mayor's figures.
The only real new greenspace, estimated to be 21 acres, is a linear stretch
of land on the side of the River Alt - a new river park to be officially
open in March. The course of the river was altered to also create a further
26 acres of greenspace as a development site for sale. If
the development site, built over former school playing fields, is sold
then there will be a net loss of greenspace since the mayor came to office.
5.6 acre recreation ground in the Dingle on 13 Dec 2014 before Council
plans to turn the land into allotments.
On going threats to greenspace
Walton Hall Park and Everton's new football
The mayor supports Everton Football Club’s desire
to build a new stadium on Walton Hall Park. An independent
feasibility report on Walton Hall Park has been published
but not yet scrutinised. Relating to this report, the mayor has released
a statement, Walton
Hall Park update, commenting on the report and denying rumors
he has seen any plans from the football club.
The Council are now waiting to see Everton Football Club’s development
plans for Walton Hall Park. The Council have not advertised the disposal
of this popular park land.
More Greenspace for house
Both property developers and the mayor are recommending
substantial increases for house building on Local Greenspace land. Little
evidence has been available to justify the need to increase the amount
of dwellings in Liverpool to some 41,000 (net gain) in the period up to
2028. The Council's population projection up to 2018 is around 25,000
An over estimation of housing need, especially unverified estimates for
executive homes, only makes it easier for private developers to choose
the best greenspace for building land. Given a choice, and in Liverpool
that choice is expected to be included in the Local Plan, developers will
choose to build over greenspace as brownfield sites are far less profitable.
The Council's Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) are
estimates for house building land - these will help to form Liverpool's
Local Plan. Liverpool's
SLLAA 2012 Update report published in August 2013 can be downloaded here
Liverpool's draft Local Plan
consultation Survey - all representations and greenspace sites for development
land - click on 'Supporting Documents' from this link
As part of the consultation process 330 representations were made identifying
building land to be considered for Liverpool's Local Plan. Proposals to
build over park land include: Allerton Towers Park, Belle Vale Park, Calderstones
Park, Croxteth Park, Everton Park, Newsham Park, Sefton Park Meadows,
Stanley Park, Walton Hall Park and Woolton Woods Park.
The list below is not complete but is a selection identifying some of
the greenspace and public space in various Liverpool Wards. Most all of
these sites were added by Liverpool City Council's Physical Assets - suggesting
the Council are keen to develop these greenspace sites.
(ha = proposed developable area in hectares, 1 ha = 100 x 100 metres =
approx 2.47 acres):
Allerton And Hunts Cross:
FL Calder - added by LCC for Housing up to 3.66 ha
Land adjacent to Allerton Priory, and bound by Woolton Road and Allerton
Road - for Housing up to 13.55 ha
Land north of Maryton Grange (Stonehouse P.F.) - added by LCC for Residential
of 2.2 ha
withdrawn 4 September 2015 : Allerton Towers
Park - added by LCC for Residential of 1.38 ha
withdrawn 4 September 2015 : School Lane Recreation
Ground - added by LCC for Residential of 0.49 ha
Stanley Park (LFC) - for Coach Park for up to 3.41 ha
Townsend Lane/Lower Breck Road - added by LCC for Commercial of 0.14 ha
Liverpool Sports Park on Valley Road, Childwall - for Housing up to 3.75
withdrawn 4 September 2015 : Lyndene Recreation
Ground - added by LCC for Residential of 3.16 ha
Caldway Drive Open Space - added by LCC for Commercial of entire site
of 0.81 ha
Belle Vale Park - added by LCC for Commercial & Residential of 0.26
withdrawn 4 September 2015 : Larchwood Neighbourhood
Park - added by LCC for Commercial entire site of 1.43 ha
Napps Way, Land - added by LCC for Residential of entire site of 0.33
Victoria Falls Road, land (Former Cross Farm School) - added by LCC for
Residential entire site of 2.46 ha
withdrawn 4 September 2015 : Score Lane Gardens
- added by LCC for Residential entire site of 4.14 ha
withdrawn 4 September 2015 : Menlove Gardens
- added by LCC for Residential entire site of 1.37 ha
withdrawn 4 September 2015 : Harthill Allotments
- added by LCC for Residential entire site of 1.54 ha
Harthill Depot, Calderstones Park - added by LCC for Residential of 3.1
Harthill Model Railway, Calderstones Park - added by LCC for Residential
of 0.23 ha
withdrawn 4 September 2015 : Maiden Lane Playing
Fields - added by LCC for Residential entire site of 2.13 ha
Cherry Lane Recreation Ground, Walton - added by LCC for Residential entire
site of 1.44 ha
withdrawn 4 September 2015 : Clubmoor Recreation
Ground North, Walton - added by LCC for Residential entire site of 1.27
Abingdon Road Playing Fields - added by LCC for Residential entire site
of 3.71 ha
Walton Hall Park - for Everton Football Club stadium, size not specified
in park of 55.42 ha
Walton Hall Park including Bowls pavilion - added by LCC for Residential
of 7.75 ha
Croxteth Park, Land south of Inglewood - for Housing, size not specified
in park of 22.62 ha
Unicorn Park near Alt Park - added by LCC for Residential entire site
of 0.39 ha
Land north of Parkview Road - added by LCC for Residential entire site
of 0.96 ha
Grassed area corner Willow Way & Parkview Road - added by LCC for
Residential entire site of 0.19 ha
Parkview Road, land adj Recreation Ground - added by LCC for Residential
entire site of 0.33 ha
Donaldson Street Recreation Ground - added by LCC for Residential entire
site of 0.48 ha
Whitley Gardens - added by LCC for Residential of 0.48 ha
Radcliffe Public Open Space - added by LCC for Residential of 0.5 ha
Everton Park by Netherfield Road & North-Heyworth Street - added by
LCC for Residential of 0.75 ha
Notre Dame Playing Field - added by LCC for Residential entire site of
Everton Park by Rose Vale, Langrove Street, Roscommon Street - added by
LCC for Commercial of 0.32 ha
Everton Park aka China Street Recreation Ground - added by LCC for Residential
of 1.3 ha
Seeds Lane Recreation Ground - added by LCC for Residential entire site
of 3.59 ha.
Sefton Park Meadows (Park Avenue) - added by LCC in process for Residential
entire site of 2.86 ha
Blenheim Street Recreation Ground - added by LCC for Residential entire
site of 0.37 ha
Lexham Road Playground - added by LCC for Residential entire site of 0.79
Jericho Lane Playing Field No 1 - added by LCC for Residential entire
site of 3.65 ha
The Green - added by LCC for Residential entire site of 1.26 ha
Upper Hill Street playground - added by LCC for Residential of 0.17 ha
Maintree Crescent Recreation Ground - added by LCC for Residential entire
site of 0.48 ha
Land at Oglet - for Airport development of entire site of 118.43 ha
Stapleton Avenue Open Space - for Residential entire site of 2.95 ha
Stapleton Avenue Park (FOP/StA) - for Residential entire site of 2.98
Ancient Mill Wood by Alderfield Drive - added by LCC for Residential of
Tramway Playing Fields - added by LCC for Residential entire site of 2.31
Riverside Drive, land including raised car park - added by LCC for Commercial
entire site of 0.41 ha
Riverside Drive, land opposite Festival Gardens? - added by LCC for Residential
of 0.12 ha
Tuebrook and Stoneycroft:
withdrawn 4 September 2015 : Newsham Park -
added by LCC for Residential of 4.0 ha
New Road Playground - added by LCC for Residential entire site of 0.16
withdrawn 4 September 2015 : Lister Drive Allotments
- added by LCC for Residential of 1.0 ha
withdrawn 4 September 2015 : Rice Lane Recreation
Ground - added by LCC for Residential of 2.0 ha
Olive Mount Playing Field - added by LCC for Residential entire site of
Sandown Park Playing Field - added by LCC for Residential entire site
of 3.02 ha
Private grounds at Woolton Manor, next to Woolton Woods - for Residential
of 4.92 ha
Gateacre Comp Old School Playing Field Site - added by LCC for Residential
of 7.62 ha
Alderman John Village Gardens - added by LCC for Residential entire site
of 3.17 ha
withdrawn 4 September 2015 : Gateacre Recreation
Ground - added by LCC for Residential of 0.9 ha
Woolton Woods Park by High Street - added by LCC for up to 3.39 ha for
St Julies school extention
St Julies High School - added by LCC for residential of 4.37 ha
Mab Lane Playing Field - added by LCC for Residential entire site of 10.78
Cantril Farm Park (North) - added by LCC for Residential entire site of
Ackers Hall Recreation Ground - added by LCC for Residential entire site
of 1.01 ha
for full detailed list download Item
4 Appendices pdf
As part of this project in 2009 Our Ground worked
with the writer Anna Minton providing
photographs for the Penguin book Ground Control.
This book is about regeneration, security and the privatisation of public
Read Anna Minton's 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 greenspace
on Merseyside. Please send your information to email@example.com
all photographs © John
Davies 2007 - 2015
our ground 2015
Since 2006 Our Ground has reported details of the continued
loss of public open greenspace throughout Liverpool - with land disposed
and sold-off for private building developments.
What is now happening on Merseyside reflects the changes taking place
The gradual disappearance of our urban greenspace through privatisation
schemes is effecting cultural change with the erosion of our rights to
freely use and enjoy open green space as a public amenity for the benefit
of all our communities. We are now witnessing a continual loss to the
quality of our urban environment.
Local authorities encouraged by successive UK governments have continued
to sell-off our streets, parks, school playing fields, recreation grounds
and public rights of way in towns and cities throughout Britain.
news from 2014:
Stanley Park privatised &
sports centre demolished