On Monday 29th of January more than 250 concerned local residents from across South Liverpool poured into the All Hallows Church Hall to hear about the continuing campaign to save the Harthill section of Calderstones Park.
All 4 local Lib Dem councillors were there as were two of our 3 candidates for the May elections. Not one of the 5 Labour Councillors for the area or either of their 2 candidates bothered to attend. It would be an understatement to say that the audience were angry that no-one had turned up from Labour to defend the proposed development.
The council heard from a number of speakers including John Davies and Caroline Williams who set out the campaign to date and Robin Makin who set out the legal activity. Much of the action now moves into the legal area in three ways:
The community has been given permission to proceed with a judicial review of the Council’s decision to move the model railway. This will take place in the summer;
There will be a public enquiry into the application for a Village Green on part of the Harthill site. This too will take place in the summer.
The community are now considering submitting a Judicial Review application into the whole development now that permission has been granted on 9th. January. If granted this will take place at approximately the same time as the other two which would mean that there would probably be deferred into the autumn.
Cllr Richard Kemp, who attended the meeting, responded to this news, saying:
“When I spoke, I pointed out that all this should be unnecessary. The Council last week approved a development framework that acknowledged that all the land needed for housing for the next twenty years is available within existing brownfield sites. The Council claim that part of this land is ‘brownfield’ and that is true. Part of the land is the former depot but, of course, the depot was used to service the green space and the world famous orchid collection so could be considered as an adjunct to the green space of the Park. What is beyond doubt is that the Paddock used by Beechley is not brownfield. Until 1999 it was part of the Park and was only fenced in to provide a safer environment for horses and riders.
“This is important because the Council cannot now reverse its planning consent – unless forced to by the Judicial review process. They can however just refuse to sell the land. The council could decide tomorrow that it should not sell the land. It has not yet actually agreed to sell this land but only to agree to review this when all facts are known and dependent on a further report to Council. Come on Joe, do the decent thing and do what the community almost unanimously wants stop the Redrow development.
“If he were to do that we could then have a sensible talk about all the land and its ongoing uses. I have always said, as have most of the community, that Beechley House and its immediate environs should be used for housing, especially for 2 bedroomed flats which are badly needed in the area so that people could move out of big under occupied houses but stay in the area. We can then look for grant support for Calder Kids; the Model Railway and the Riding for the Disabled to ensure their long-term viability.”
But the fight also goes on at Sefton Park Meadowlands. Not putting housing on it is good, but does not answer the longer-term questions about who will use the land for what purpose. In an answer to a question that we asked at the last Council meeting, Mayor Anderson made clear that he is already in discussion with a charity, “a local organisation to grow food and help people recovering from addictions.”
We don’t believe that the future of the land should be a decision made by Mayor Anderson without full consultation with local people. We cannot force the Mayor to properly consult so we are holding our own consultation.
The Lib Dem Lead Member for Mossley Hill, Alisha Lewis, has launched a questionnaire which will ask your opinion about who should run the land and what it should be used for. One of the options is, of course, to keep it just the way that it is where it adds so much to the environment for residents, park users and passers-by. We will be delivering this consultation door to door in the immediate vicinity of the Park but you can also fill it out here: www.liverlibdems.org.uk/meadowlands_survey.
If you want to supply more information or talk to Alisha Lewis you can contact here at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether its Sefton Park, Calderstones Park or any other Park in Liverpool we believe that the Parks are yours – they belong to the people of Liverpool not the Mayor or the Council. We will fight to preserve and support them all. As our City gets more people those green lungs are going to be even more vital.