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New home for Strawberry Field gates

Salvation Army gets in on Beatles act by bringing damaged originals out of hiding

Written by . Published on October 2nd 2014.


New home for Strawberry Field gates
 

THE original gates to Strawberry Field are to go on permanent display as the Salvation Army finally cashes in on Beatles tourism.

Thousands of fans of the Fab Four make the pilgrimage to Beaconsfield Road every year to visit the site made famous by the 1967 ballad, Strawberry Fields Forever, inspired by John Lennon’s childhood memories.

Since 2011, however, the eye-catching bright red gates standing between the two large sandstone posts have been replicas.

The originals were moved because they were being damaged, and are now in storage at a secret location off-site.

Next Tuesday Liverpool City Council’s planning committee will discuss an ambitious plan by the Salvation Army to forever transform Strawberry Field, famed as a play area for the young John Lennon when he lived around the corner with his Aunt Mimi at Mendips in Menlove Avenue.

A two-phase scheme has been put forward for the site. The Salvation Army want to pull down some of the 1970s buildings and create a new pavilion to be used as a training centre for young adults with learning difficulties, a visitor centre, community café and gift shop. There will also be a new bus layby in narrow Beaconsfield Road to enable the procession of tourist coaches to stop without causing traffic problems.

Planning managers are recommending approval of the scheme. They say the site, and especially the gates at the entrance, are widely recognised as an important cultural asset.

The new pavilion will house a training kitchen, cycle workshop, classrooms, IT suite and activity spaces, to accommodate 40 trainees and around eight staff.

The pavilion, which will reflect the original Victorian building on the site, will also be used as a café and exhibition area for the public, with the original gates on display.

The café and visitor centre will provide work and experience opportunities for young people with learning difficulties. As well as the original gates, the exhibition will include information about the Salvation Army and John Lennon’s association with the site.

 

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Phase Two would see, when funding is available, landscape work to the woodland area, creating a woodland walk and a sensory garden.

Local residents have backed the scheme, though some reservations have been raised about vehicle access. The Association of Liverpool Tour Guides have also suggested parking restrictions on the new lay-by to avoid it being misused.

Woolton Village Residents Association also support the scheme, saying it is a balanced approached to redevelopment in a challenging site.

In a report to the planning committee the council’s head of planning welcomes the proposals, saying the scheme responds positively to distinctiveness of the site characteristics and its cultural and historical association of the site and its links to the Beatles and John Lennon.

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

The Pedants' RevoltOctober 2nd 2014.

Ahem - 'Strawberry Field' (singular)

2 Responses: Reply To This...
EdsOctober 2nd 2014.

Beg your pardon

The Pedants' RevoltOctober 2nd 2014.

Ah - you've corrected your title! As you were!

Judith PattersonOctober 2nd 2014.

Whats new, always someone trying to cash in on the Beatles, but quicker to pull things down associated with them, or Liverpool, make up your minds.

Martin SalehOctober 2nd 2014.

Like them or hate them,The Beatles bring around £70 Million per year into this city.Thats hard to ignore.We have to embrace any income,and treat the Beatles as an industry.We,as a city cannot afford to turn our noses up at a single Euro,Cent,or Yen.

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