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Green space sell off: Objections and comments scrutinised

But meanwhile - a new park is born

Written by . Published on February 23rd 2015.

Green space sell off: Objections and comments scrutinised

CITY officials will this week begin sifting through comments and objections over controversial plans to develop Sefton Park Meadows for housing as well as part of Woolton Woods for a replacement building for St Julie’s.

 The deadline for the public's input on both schemes passed on Friday.

When the original Sefton Park was planned, with its grand mansions and villas, Liverpool was an entirely different place.  The people who made their wealth out of Liverpool were happy to inhabit buildings of grandeur in a spectacular setting.

One-by-one they left and few of the homes in the park are these days in single occupancy. The beneficiaries of this leaving of Liverpool were places like Heswall,  Hightown,  Freshfield and Cheshire.

One of the justifications for building on the Meadows is to attract wealthy executives back into Sefton Park.

The proposal is a housing estate of executive homes that will be occupied not by captains of commerce but well heeled yuppies.

Redrow must be rubbing its corporate hands with glee at being offered, on a plate, such a handsome piece of real estate.

Last week the company banged in an application to demolish the former Watergate School in Woolton village, a pre-curser to yet another housing development. Villagers will be wondering whether Redrow has set its sights on the expected release of land for residential development alongside St Julie’s.

Woolton,  unlike Sefton Park,  is likely to be a much better settlement for executive types, judging by the numbers eager to occupy homes on Woolton Hill.


Redrow’s new executive estate in Mather Avenue is a taster of what to more or less expect.  They are no doubt built to a high standard. But when it comes to the Meadows, is it worth sacrificing a stunning piece of rural England within a city?

There’s a new plan submitted by Macbryde Homes to build a small development of executive homes on the site of the recently closed-down Gateacre Garden Centre.

Just a few days ago the Garston-born owner of Redrow, Steve Morgan, delivered the company’s half-year report to the end of 2014. Revenue of £560m generated in the second half of the year was 54% up on the same period in 2013. Operating profit in those six months almost doubled to £95.4m over the latter half of 2013.

'Alt Meadows'


MEANWHILE the city council has revealed Liverpool’s newest park- a 20 acre site in Croxteth – is to be named Alt Meadows.


Some cynics may have preferred Incidental Open Space in Croxteth or even Alternative Meadows.

The council say the name was chosen after the local community was asked to put forward ideas about what to call the new green space. More than 50 names were suggested by schoolchildren, residents and community organisations. Alt Meadows was chosen by an overwhelming majority.

The park has been created on a brownfield site which has been transformed by extensive civil engineering work, the diversion of almost 1km of the River Alt, the creation of accessible paths, meadow, wetland and woodland habitat. 

Liverpool based charity, The Cass Foundation, have led the project in partnership with the Community Forest Trust.

Mayor Anderson, said: “I saw the work start on this park after the River Alt had been diverted and met the local residents and schoolchildren who were thrilled about what was being created. They will be the park users so it is only right that they should choose its name – and they have made a very good choice.

“It is a great example of how we are converting disused sites and giving access to green space through all parts of the city. Alt Meadows is a really attractive new green space which will benefit local people and visitors.”

 Helen Rawlinson, The Cass Foundation, Project Manager said, “Over 2000 trees, nearly 4,000 shrubs and 2,100 wetland plants have been planted by volunteers and the contractor. Sixty miles have been covered during our regular Walk and Talks. Twenty conservation volunteering and tree planting days have been held and the project has received support from 300 volunteers.  Birds have been surveyed, mosaics have been created and 1400 people have attended our events and activities. The community involvement has been fantastic.”

Alt Meadows will be officially opened by the Mayor on Sunday 29 March, 12.30pm -3.30pm, when the event will include fun, family -friendly, activities including seed sowing, environmental art and crafts. All are welcome.to attend.

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46 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Roly polyFebruary 23rd 2015.

A cheese rolling competition as well and the Mayor gets to take home all the cheese's

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 24th 2015.

Pity it's not a "Joe" rolling competition. I'd pay money to see that.

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2015.

Never report on wally hall park just down the road from alt meadows??????? thought all green spaces were workin together yet sefton an woolton always mentioned???? going to enquire why to the team??

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 25th 2015.

Everything in the fullness of time. They are supportive of one and other, as demonstrated at the Town hall recently. There will be a further display of unity at St Lukes at 12:00 pm. Saturday 28th February. Come along and demonstrate, show your support, help preserve all of the City's green assets.

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2015.

Build St Julie's on Alt Meadows it will bring business in to the area. Or let Redrow build executive housing on Alt Meadows to bring revenue in to pay for Ged's office

Katie54February 24th 2015.

I don't quite see "wealthy executives" going for houses which, although detached, seem to be spaced very close together. In reality, like the other recent "luxury executive homes" in the area, these will be marketed at people who can only afford them by accessing the Help to Buy scheme. No wonder Redrow's profits are up. It is actually Labour Party policy to limit this to cheaper more affordable housing, but Joe clearly doesn't care. His other alleged benefit to the Council - that the council tax take will be higher (than building affordable homes on brownfield sites somewhere else, presumably)- doesn't stand up either.

28 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 25th 2015.

You are absolutely correct as always. The council tax from the highest band will only rake in approx. £63,000 per annum for the proposed twenty dwellings. Consider how much it would take to build, plant and nurture to maturity, something akin to Sefton Park Meadows, Walton Hall park, and the many other green spaces, that this allegedly "Labour" council, is only too willing to vandalise in the mistaken attempt of "short term gain"

Katie54February 25th 2015.

Yes, exactly. And to make matters worse, I have no confidence that they will even get a proper price for the Meadows, if the sale actually goes through. Given their track record with property - the most recent transaction, the sale of Millennium House, looks distinctly dubious, and that's only the most recent. What facilitates this is lack of proper scrutiny, due process, whatever. Which the Mayor clearly thinks is OK. One of the justifications for an elected Mayor is that they can cut red tape, but unfortunately Anderson seems to believe that this means not getting or not waiting for proper professional advice, or ignoring it if it doesn't suit your purpose, and shroud the whole thing from scrutiny with the bogus excuse of commercial confidentiality. So people asking perfectly legitimate questions are actually treated with contempt - for instance, when they know that the commercial confidentiality excuse won't work as justification for FOI requests, they actually state that they'll have to spend hours and hours looking through all manner of stuff. Makes you wonder what the millions we spent on IT actually bought. While any of the few remaining councillors who ask questions (Radford, Coyne or Kemp) just get personal abuse, and no answers.

AnonymousFebruary 25th 2015.

a quick search on Rightmove shows 127 houses over £500,000 currently for sale in south Liverpool. Quite a few of these appear to have been on the market for some time, so the flimsy argument that there is a shortage of properties for 'wealthy executives' doesn't hold up either. Of course, there's no profit for a developer in selling existing housing stock...

Katie54February 25th 2015.

Yes, I don't think there is or ever has been any proper evidence of a shortage of this kind of property - it's one of the advantages of the city. John Coyne submitted an FOI request for the evidence a while ago on whatdotheyknow. The response was pathetic, especially when you consider that other recommendations from recent surveys and studies made all sorts of other more pressing recommendations - like ensuring more decent-sized city centre flats to ensure proper communities instead of acres of student housing. But they have and are totally ignoring that one. Even though it would surely be easier to achieve. What a prospect - in the suburbs, historic greenspace built on (and replaced by characterless grassed over incidental space here and there), and in the centre, block after block of student flats that are empty for several months of the year, that can't be used for any other purpose because they are far too tiny. Depressing.

AnonymousFebruary 25th 2015.

As you say "South Liverpool". The bigger picture encompasses the rest of the City and beyond. According to the Land Registry, we only merit three of the "most expensive" streets, to buy on Merseyside. People wishing to purchase expensive property are not so blinkered as to look at what's solely on offer here. Neighbouring boroughs with homes to sell, soon swell the number past 127. It would appear the Mayor is expecting some sort of 'Klondike'.

Student GrantFebruary 25th 2015.

And of course students are exempt from paying Council Tax so it's a dead loss to the Council and the city.

John BradleyFebruary 25th 2015.

You do talk spectacular bollocks, does the slightest bit of reasoning ever intrude on your days daily ignorance. Students eat, drink and do lots of things that other people do, this involves them interacting with the community at large most notably by paying for goods and services which then pay some of that to the council in the form rates. I know that seeing 1 step ahead is a bit difficult for you but do you think you could perhaps take your thinking over to Manchester we could do with someone like you putting the brakes on.

Katie54February 25th 2015.

John, you do know that students aren't here for over 2 months every summer, don't you?

John BradleyFebruary 25th 2015.

Katie, you do know that the companies who own this accommodation try to rent it out of the summer www.universityrooms.com/…/home… and that the universities try to get summer schools and conferences which also use the accommodation.

mickeydrippinFebruary 25th 2015.

As far as students are concerned, it is the same all over the country where there are universities and colleges.

Richie RockafellerFebruary 25th 2015.

The cost of renting a student let is quite prohibitive, which in real terms means they have less to spend on Lambrini and the brutal Buckfast. True, whatever pennies that are left are squandered on items like food. However business does not pay any greater rates whether they are coining it or otherwise. It baffles a lot of people as to how events staged by the City are calculated to bring in millions, yet none of it finds its way into Council coffers, the same is true of student lets, the mega bucks that they generate are in Swiss bank accounts

John BradleyFebruary 25th 2015.

Increase in trade usually results in an increase in businesses in the area to take advantage of the increased foot fall. There for generating more rates. The aim of the puppets isn't to put money in the councils pockets.

AnonymousFebruary 26th 2015.

That's the nub of the debate. The council bought Finch Farm to generate much needed cash we're told, as with other ventures this is debateable. Which benefitted EFC, who incidentally get enough money from TV. Money spent on the Giants benefitted shop owners and like business who profited handsomely from what was at the point of delivery a freebie for the population of the City Region, but this all came at a cost to the Council tax payers of Liverpool. All this generosity at a time when we're flogging "our assets" and threatening closures of libraries, sports centres, sure start centres etc. London staged an Olympic Games, what was Liverpool's legacy, the impending closure of swimming baths. Joe Anderson and his Council are building skate parks for hairy arsed youths. All this at a time of "austerity".

Katie54February 26th 2015.

In response to Bradley’s incontinent rant yesterday (which appeared to be directed at me), and on the question of students and student housing, the evidence clearly shows that students contribute far less to the local economy than you average household, because as Richie pointed out above, students don’t actually have a lot of money left over after paying the rent. According to the ONS, UK household spent around £60 a week on food and £115 on alcohol and recreation www.ons.gov.uk/…/sty-the-headlines.html… The only evidence I could find about student spending found that student’s spend £105 a month and £64 on social stuff. www.savethestudent.org/…/student-money-survey-results.html… So if you’re looking purely at the amount of money spent in the local area, then standard households are a better bet. As for interacting with the community, that’s a bit more to it than shopping. No-one is suggesting that there shouldn’t be student housing in the city centre, but surely the council should be looking for balance. Developers will understandably push this kind of thing, as it’s far more profitable than other kinds of initiatives, but the fact that the council just rubber stamps all these proposals seems to be yet another instance of putting developers’ profits ahead of the needs and desires of the residents. Which is why I brought it up in the first place.

AnonymousFebruary 26th 2015.

I don't suppose for one moment, that JB would do anything so foolish as to have a pop at a lady, who is as near to an Oracle that can be found in the free world. I first thought, that may have been the case, but on further scrutiny decided Student Grant was the intended victim of JB's vitriolic spleen. JB although volatile, knows only too well, "Who not to pick on"

Katie54February 26th 2015.

Thanks.... I think (I'm not divinely inspired, though -:). I must have been overdoing it this week! More to the point, though, Student Grant is right, of course, and his/her comment is even less deserving of Bradley's abuse than mine.

Tweetie pieFebruary 26th 2015.

Bradley?...Abusive?...Never...The mans a puddytat.

John BradleyFebruary 26th 2015.

"dead loss" was student grants comment, you figures show that is wrong. It might be outway if you could get a number of families to move into the area, but keep in mind students live in high densities compared with the families, the local spend per square foot of land will be quiet high compared with family dwellings.

Student GrantFebruary 26th 2015.

Please come back to earth Bradley – you’re obviously starving your brain of oxygen! 1. The student summer hols last from the end of the exams in May until teaching starts in October – over four months. 2. Students have little money but the biggest, most controversial drain on it is the high cost of student accommodation which can exceed the total loan. 3. Shops see little of what money is left because students spent a greater proportion of their money on on-line purchases than anyone else. 4. Student culture deters social interaction with those whom are referred to as ‘locals’ 5. Students don’t spend much in pubs etc. because they ‘pre-load’ on cheap supermarket booze before they go out - pubs are too expensive.

John BradleyFebruary 27th 2015.

Well at least I have a brain to starve. If only you had read some of the comments from earlier www.universityrooms.com/…/home… Where you ever a student, you seem to have a massive chip on your shoulder. It might not be lots of cash but it more cash than an empty plot.

AnonymousFebruary 27th 2015.

"Where you ever a student".....says the man insisting he's smarter than everyone else. Fuck off back to Lego Land Bradders.

AnonymousFebruary 27th 2015.

I once went to a Junior Mixed Infants school, "colouring in" was my speciality. There isn't much call for it these days.

AnonymousFebruary 27th 2015.

"where" was it"?

John BradleyFebruary 27th 2015.

I never claimed to be smarter than everyone else., and even if I had making accidentally using the wrong form of were is hardly indicative of intelligence. Though picking up on it as some kind of massive failing is a pretty good indication of naive view of the world.

Student GrantFebruary 27th 2015.

I am a student, you curtain-twitching bell-end.

AnonymousFebruary 28th 2015.

It wasn't naïve, it was intended to be humorous, but seeing as you mentioned it. "People who live in glass houses, should not throw stones", particularly in the context of intelligence.

Billy LiarFebruary 28th 2015.

I think it demonstrated great "awareness". It's not often that JB scores an own goal, but when he does they tend to be spectacular. Ordinarily I find him to be a charismatic, intellectual, handsome wit of a man.( "Handsome" that's got to be worth at least two Hail Marys, on the porky pie scale ), with a although well hidden sense of humour.

AnonymousFebruary 28th 2015.

That's not true....Bradley's whole life is an own goal.

RigsbyFebruary 24th 2015.

They'll be bought by money-grubbing 'buy-to-let' parasites in any case.

Josie MullenFebruary 27th 2015.

Ive never heard such a load of balls. Anderson says on radio that he has created 60 acres of new green space.Then he says in the Echo that he has created 47 acres up to 2014 and there will be another 20 acres added in 2015. The truth is the park at the Alt was only created because Amazon withdrew from a plan to use the site. As far as I can see this park is circa 21 acres. That's it!. according to council docs and councillor Munby the rest is made up of small parcels of land scattered throughout the city, which could be sold at any time if a developer came along. THEREFORE IT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE PERMANENT GREEN OPEN SPACE. Why did Liverpool get landed with a mayor who is incapable of sticking to the truth

1 Response: Reply To This...
ghost townFebruary 28th 2015.

Derelict land with a bit of grass on it is not public open space and definitely isn't a park. IT IS URBAN BLIGHT. The result of poor planning decisions.

AnonymousFebruary 27th 2015.

Some of you sad arse train spotters and corpy botherers have waaaay too much time on your hands! Get out more and have a break

Professor ChucklebuttyMarch 1st 2015.

Stop arguing and let's have a sing-song together.... www.liverpoolconfidential.co.uk/…/VIDEO-Stop-the-Liverpool-green-space-sell-off…

5 Responses: Reply To This...
Bombardier SolomonsMarch 2nd 2015.

If Uncle Joe is Battery Sergeant-Major Williams, then JOhn Bradley must be Gunner Parkin ("Nice pair o' shoulders, show 'em off,show 'em off!"

John BradleyMarch 2nd 2015.

and you would be Goebbels.

AnonymousMarch 2nd 2015.

Braldey's more of Goering

AnonymousMarch 3rd 2015.

Changing his name, will not alter the fact that he is more of a gerbil. Nice work Chucklebutty.

Confused CaledonianMarch 3rd 2015.

"The Gorbals". That rings a bell. Was'nea that in Glasgy ?

Roly polyMarch 3rd 2015.

To assist John Bradley Under the existing system, all businesses - shops, offices, warehouses and factories - pay a tax to their local council (called business rates). Although the local council collects this tax, it doesn't keep the money. It goes into a Treasury pot and is then redistributed back to local authorities, via an extremely complex formula. Seem to recall Mayor Joe is forever screeching the return from business rates via the Governments support grant is unjust.

1 Response: Reply To This...
PanchoMarch 12th 2015.

If that is the case, and I've no reason to doubt what you say. Why is the Mayor so compliant with central government? If he believes it to be "unjust", why isn't he fighting it tooth and nail ? Why should the populace of the City of Liverpool and other northern cities have to lose amenities, services and assets to pay for a cock-up perpetrated by greedy bankers ? Fiascos like "Nimrod" are visited upon us at regular intervals. Joe Soap always ends up being the fall guy and paying for other peoples wanton stupidity, and our illustrious Mayor's answer is to roll over and have his considerable belly tickled and utter words like " You tell me, What alternatives are there". It's about time he stood up and showed some bottle. "It's better that a man dies on his feet, rather than spend the rest of his life, on his knees"

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