The most important Document for Liverpool’s future in a decade

Local  Plan

The local plan is not a quick read but an important one!

It’s long (1,000) pages; at times heavily technical but it’s probably the most important document that we have received in the council for a decade. What is it? Is the draft local plan a document required by law but most importantly it is document that we require as we shape our city and prepare for whatever challenges and opportunities that faces in for the next 15 years.

The Plan basically looks at all the planning requirements for the city and allocates land to those purposes. As a city we need land for housing, work, recreation and transportation. Not only do we need the land for these uses we need to give an idea about how the land will be used for examples how we safeguard the quality of what is built and the definitions of how industrial commercial and residential will be run.

But the plan is not just a city-wide plan. Instead it is a plan which contains a number of area based components. For example it lists all the neighbourhood and District Centres which it wants to protect and how it would do so. It looks at the potential of vacant land for development on a location by location basis. So even if you do not want to comment on the big, big agenda it is still worth looking at to enable you to see what is proposed for your neighbourhood.

The document also introduces a series of topic based polices which will enable us to act more positively in defence of those neighbourhood centres. They include policies for things such as pavement cafes: night time economy, takeaways, markets; student accommodation and use of vacant sites. These are often the little things which cause the most annoyance and are therefore worth looking at in the context of where you live.

I do not claim to be the absolute master of everything that is in the document! It seems, however to be a very good attempt at putting together a proposal which meets all the complexities described above. Where I particularly agree with it is in the section in the report which indicates where more needs to be done namely the development management policies for Environmental Protection; Transport & Heritage & Design. Linked to these things is the admitted failure to develop policies for Cultural and Historic quarters.

So let me set out my stall for discussion. I want Liverpool to be the best city in the Country. I want to build on our unique and magnificent physical and environmental legacy to create a city which continues to be unique. I want people to get out of the train in the City Centre or travel in to the city from the motorway and feel an immediate wow factor. In 100 years’ time (when I do not anticipate being a councillor!) I want people to look back at what we allow to be built and say, “There must have been a good council in the early 21st century just look at how good our city is!”

Regrettably, I do not think that the Plan has sufficient vision in it to ensure that this will happen. Inevitably the technical has to follow on from the political and I do not believe that the current political leadership of the council grasps fully the importance of this plan and the opportunity it contains to ensure that we are the best.

I am pleased that the document recognises its own deficiencies. The section relating to heritage and design in particular is weak. I passionately believe that we should be preserving wherever possible our mercantile heritage in the City Centre. The World Heritage status is important not as ‘plaque in the Town Hall’ which is claimed by Labour, but as a tool by which we can enhance high quality design. But our mercantile past is not just present in the City Centre. Look at the mansions that the Merchants; insurance owners; ship owners and bankers built in South Liverpool along Parliament Street, round Princes and Sefton Parks and throughout Mossley Hill.,

One of the pleasures of our city are the 48 conservation areas which chart our history. Some of them such as Wavertree High Street and parts of Woolton show quite clearly the growth of the city as it swallowed up councils and villages such as Wavertree and Woolton. Walk along Penny Lane and see still the original drystone walls which predate the building of the railways almost 200 years ago.

Of course we must remember two things at this stage:

Firstly, that the document must not only include what the people and council of Liverpool want to see in the document it must also pass a rigorous examination by the Planning Inspectorate which will judge it against national planning policies. There are things, therefore in the housing section, which I do not approve but I know must be there. The problems of not acceding to the national policy framework is twofold. Firstly the absence of a coherent plan means that we find it difficult to fend off unscrupulous developers. Secondly, if we don’t produce a plan that stacks up in national terms the Government will simply set its own targets and actions. So much for localism!

Secondly the plan must always be interpreted by the planning committee in terms of each development. I don’t believe that the planning committee itself has enough vision and accedes too readily to the strictures of developers.

So now it’s over to you. It’s not my city or the council’s city it’s your city! Consultation lasts until the end of October and the local plan is available on the council’s website. Queries can be made to the development plan manager

There will be another opportunity to look at the plans when the final draft is produced in April/May next year. Please take time to have a look and if you sending in a submission please let me have a copy of it at

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Ban the Van call to tackle Childhood Obesity in Liverpool


This is how Coca-Cola promoted its fizzy sugary drinks last year

Today the Government has produced a childhood obesity strategy which is not a strategy or even a wish list of things that can be done. It can best be described as a checklist of hope that things will change because the Government asks them to. This is highly unlikely. Sugar and salt are added to products because it helps them to sell. Evidence about their addictive qualities are ignored in a mad dash for profits.

Does this sound familiar? It should do because that was the situation 30 years ago with tobacco. The industry fought tooth and nail to say that tobacco was actually healthy and manly (and womanly depending on the brand!) Today health drinks are promoted which are anything but healthy given their huge sugar content which produces a sugar rush of energy but long-term teeth and stomach problems.

As the spokesperson for the LGA on public health I support what it says today about the Government’s strategy:

  • This is a plan that doesn’t go far enough and is a missed opportunity to tackle the rising obesity epidemic
  • -The LGA has long been calling for radical game-changing action from government and unfortunately this plan falls short of that
  • -Today’s obese children will be tomorrow’s obese adults and we need radical measures to be brought in now
  • -Councils up and down the country are coming up with innovative ways of tackling obesity but they can only do so much. We need fundamental changes brought in by government if we are to really tackle obesity
  • -Physical activity alone won’t tackle child obesity.
  • Obesity doesn’t stop and start at the school gate. A focus on schools misses the whole family role in healthy eating and physical activity
  • -We’ve had voluntary agreements between government and the food and drink industry before that only go so far.
  • -We need a whole systems approach to tackle obesity.


But as the Liberal Democrat Spokesman I am asking for much more action and actions starting today.

So today I have written to the Liverpool 1 shopping centre and asked to ‘ban the van’. The van in question being the Coca-Cola van which tours the Country every Christmas generating vast amounts of publicity for the company at little cost. This is what I said:

Re:       Will you ‘can the van?’

You may be aware that the Government have today produced their Childhood Obesity Strategy. To be fair it’s not really a strategy or even a wish list but it is a checklist of what needs to be done about the severe problems of childhood obesity.

In Liverpool sugar is the new tobacco. At the age of 11 30% of our children are obese, 10% of them clinically obese. Almost all of them will become obese adults with a cost to the NHS of £5.1 billion a year. This, of course, takes no account of the personal misery of the conditions which have to be treated; the shortened lives that many of them will have and the cost to businesses they work for because of sick leave.

The causes of childhood obesity are many and the actions that are needed to deal with them are even more varied. There is, however, one thing on which everyone agrees. Too many children are drinking too many fizzy, sugary drinks. That is why last year in the run-up to Christmas I was appalled to see a big promotion by you of Coca-Cola when its red vans visited L1 as part of its advertising campaign tour around the Country. This to my mind, and the mind of many others, glorifies the sale of something which is often consumed in vast quantities with people having little knowledge of just how dangerous the sugar content can be to the long-term health of them and their children.

So I am asking you to do two things:

  1. Can the Van. Don’t let Coca-Cola back in to your premises to repeat their sale of this product which included giving it away and produced for them millions of pounds of free advertising.
  1. Let public health campaigners have a stand in your premises in the run up to Christmas to point out to people preparing for the festivities the problems of excess sugar and salt and explaining just how much of both of these is in the products they buy every day without thinking.

If you are at all unsure of any of the problems that sugar and salt cause I would be pleased to both see you and send you relevant information.

I am hoping that two things will happen as a result of this:

  1. That Liverpool 1 will agree to this request; and
  1. That Lib Dems and others all over the Country will join my ‘ban the van’ campaign. Coca-Cola is the most visible and well known fizzy sugary drink in the World. In this Country and others the consumption of it and its competitors are causing havoc to children’s health which lead to major health problems in adults at a huge costs to the NHS, the individuals affected and the people that they work for.




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Lib Dems to raise petition for the abolition of post of elected mayor of Liverpool


How the City is governed should be a decision of the people of Liverpool and not the political parties of Liverpool

On the day after Labour have announced its candidate for the mayoralty of the Liverpool City Region Liverpool’s Lib Dems have launched a campaign for the abolition of the mayoralty in Liverpool City Council.

Cllr Richard Kemp said, “three Mayors is at least one too many. At the last meeting of the council we moved a motion calling on the Council to start consulting with the people of Liverpool on the three options which are available by law for running our city.

Labour acted disgracefully and did not even allow a real debate on the issue and guillotined the discussion after just one speech in favour and one against.

Given that the Lib Dems are now launching a campaign to collect the 16,500 names of Liverpool residents that are required of a formal petition leading to an official referendum next May.

We always said that it should be the people that decided whether or not to have an elected Mayor and we now believe that it should be their decision whether to keep or abolish it. We believe that now is the time to look at this decision given the fact that there will be an elected mayor for the Liverpool Region next May. Put simply the fact that there are 3 Mayors in Liverpool will be very confusing both inside and especially outside the city when we come to look for new business and inward investment”.

The resolution to Council which was defeated by Labour after a cursory debate but which was supported by the Green Party and Cllr Radford:

Changes to the Governance Structure of Liverpool City Council

Council notes that from February next year the Council can vote to abolish the position of Elected Mayor.

It believes, however, that major constitutional change of this type should be a decision of the people of Liverpool and not just the politicians of Liverpool.
It therefore resolves to commence a major and meaningful consultation with the people and businesses of Liverpool and all interested parties to examine in detail the three potential ways for the Council to work in future namely:

  • Continuation of the Mayoral model
  • Replacement of the Mayoral model by a Leader and Cabinet System
  • Replacement of the Mayoral model by a Leader and Committee System

It resolves to leave the details of the consultation to be determined as a matter of urgency to the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and opposition Group Leaders.

Will you help us raise the 16,500 names of Liverpool citizens that we require?

E-mail me at  and I can either send you the PDF so you can print petitions yourself or we can send you some though the post. All petitions must be physical ones that are signed and dated. Electronic petitions cannot be used.

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Labour – “It’s life Jim – but not as we know it!”


As Mr Spock might well have said to Capt James T Kirk about the Labour Party today,                     “it’s life Jim but not as we know it!”

One of the nice things about having been around a long time is that I often get asked about the past and asked to compare it with the present. The one I get asked a lot now is whether the current problems in the Labour Party are anything like the 1980s when the SDP was formed and it seemed for a while that there would be a major realignment of political forces in the UK.

The blunt answer is Yes- No and MAYBE!! So how can I give three such different replies? The answer is because there are two things that are fundamentally different about now and the 1980s.

Firstly in the 1980s the hard left were only a small problem outside a handful of core urban areas. The vast majority of the Labour Party were still in the majority in the PLP and the National Executive. All three of those sections of the Party and the vast majority of the Trades Unions believed that in a parliamentary democracy the important thing was to gain power, hold it and use it. Power was sometimes a bit messy but you could see social change and improvement in what the Labour Party did. Even dare I say it in what the Blair Governments did although in my view they could have done a lot better?

Now the ‘Lunatics have taken over the asylum”. The Party has been taken over by the hard left and it is clear that the achievements that they see important are big rallies of the committed and not parliamentary democracy in any meaningful sense. This has become clear in a number of blogs and op-ed pieces recently from Labour MPs. One that struck me recently was a comment from a Labour MP that, “about 300 people joined us in 2015 but it would be a stretch to say that 10 of them had actually done anything practical in the Party”.

Now you might say that what happens in the Labour Party is nothing to do with me and that is largely correct. I could take the easy view and gloat about what is happening in the Labour Party and be pleased for the mayhem. But I am not because I believe that unless something major happens quickly we are consigned to at least 2 decades of right wing government from the Tories.

What the new Labour members seem to fail to understand when they see such satisfaction in their big rallies is that they are huge meetings of the converted talking to the converted. This I have seen before. In the 80’s I once had to get into a council meeting through 50,000 protestors. In parts of Liverpool there was a massive enthusiasm for the Militant Tendency. But in places like my current ward they were loathed. That is true today. There is little love for Corbyn in the areas that we are targeting in the future. In fact Corbyn vies with Joe Anderson as being our best recruiting point!

This evidence is cumulative. Since Brexit Lib Dems have gained 10 seats and lost none in council elections up and down the Country. Labours record is one gain balanced by one loss. Almost everywhere except places they already hold by big majorities the Labour vote has tanked. That ties in with evidence from the opinion polls who have Tories at record highs and Labour at record lows.

Over the last few days I have met a number of Labour Cllrs in Liverpool and elsewhere who believe that the Labour Party is unlikely to exist in the way that we have known it for more than the next few months. There is no way you can reconcile the opinion of 172 MPs who have first-hand experience of trying to work inside Parliament, hold the Tories to account and create policies which will win the next election with the opinions of people with little political experience and whose policies seem to be based on a fervent belief in the financial powers and economy based on Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy. I believe that a split is inevitable but it will be a three way split not a two way one.

Lots of people will just disappear. They are already tired of going to meetings, as they did in the 80s, to be harangued by people with far less knowledge, experience and commitment than they have shown for decades.

Then some will join another Party or create a new Party. Some might join us but that is probably not the best way forward. We need to provide a progressive alliance of parries within a broad left spectrum at the next General Election and not one new bigger and probably fatally factionalised party.

Some will delight in having all the levers of power within the Labour Party but then they will find that the levers mean nothing. Political parties do not win power based on social media and rallies. They do so by working with people on the doorsteps, putting leaflets out and playing a major role in civil society. In other words it’s all damn hard work.

Labour will announce tomorrow their candidate for the Regional mayoralty in Liverpool City Region. That announcement will mean precisely nothing. Who will be put up by which Labour Parties in the near future will only become clear in the next few months. My local prediction is that either a lot of Labour councillors in the city will be de-selected or they will have to toe a Momentum line to keep their seats (Yes I have seen it all before!) Either way the Labour Group will be unable to govern the city with councillors putting hard left rhetoric before the pragmatic job of keeping service going within the city.

Lib Dems too have had an influx of new members albeit not on the scale of Labour. But crucially many of them have become workers and activists. Some new members from last year have disappeared. Well actually we never even met some of them. But a much higher level of our new members are actively doing things and some of them will be elected to the Council in 2018 as we will begin to adopt them for winnable seats in the autumn.

In the short and medium terms the major beneficiaries of the suicidal tendency in the Labour Party will be the Tories. That without a doubt means that the losers in the medium and long-terms will be those who need the help of a civilised society the most. Inequality will rise, educational disadvantage will get worse and secure housing will become a luxury not a right. That’s what happens when people play games in politics.

Last month I spoke at a Compass meeting about the need for a Progressive Alliance and outlined the policy terms which I thought should be of paramount importance. It was interesting that most people in the audience were in broad agreement with what I said. The obvious exceptions were two charmless individuals in Momentum T shirts. One of them described himself as the political education officer of Momentum (a term straight from soviet Russia!). He demanded to know why there was no Momentum speakers and was clearly dissatisfied with the answer that Momentum was part of the Labour Party and there were already a Labour MP and a Labour councillor speaking. They and two mates couldn’t see the need for an alliance but basically thought that the Corbyn way was the only way.

They are the people who will take over the Labour Party and then destroy it. Instead of being a broad church Labour will be a place of far left factions fighting to keep control of a rotting corpse of a Party whilst the needs of the poor get removed by a lack of political scrutiny, power and researched and practical options.

Whilst Labour continue to fight each other Tim Farron and the Lib Dems will continue to hold the Tories to account. Our 8 MPs are doing more at present than all the Labour MPs to try and challenge the Tories in the House and elsewhere.

Who knows how many Labour candidates there will be at next year’s elections and who will be fighting for them? Tomorrow is only a snapshot of a political process. Who knows what will be left when the tectonic plates keep shifting!?


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What now for South Africa?


Is Jacob Zuma currently the President of ANC and the Republic of South Africa now an electoral liability to his Party?

As readers of this Blog know I keep in regular touch with local government throughout Africa but especially with colleagues in Southern Africa. I do this because I was heavily involved 6 years ago in bringing together the Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone communities which had drifted apart across Africa and healing a split which was destroying the unity of purpose for mayors throughout the continent.

South Africa is a talking point throughout the continent. In the immediate aftermath to the first full mandate election there was a massive hope that South Africa would evolve into a truly international as a well as an African powerhouse. For the first few years this was buoyed up by the very real improvements made in governance and with the way that the Truth & Reconciliation Commission undertook its healing work.

But for the last 5/6 years there has been a growing sense of distress in South Africa and the continent as a whole that this early promise has not been fulfilled. No-one in South Africa expected that the rifts would be healed easily or that the massive disparities in wealth would be dealt within in a few years. But what last week’s local elections there showed us that there is huge discontent with the rate of progress. The ANC star has waned to its lowest level since the full franchise was grated. True it still gained 54% of the vote last week but this is its lowest vote ever and there are clear signs that this drift down will only accelerate.

In describing the problem the ANC and State President Jacob Zuma coined the phrase ‘thinking blacks’. It is an unbelievable phrase and in the hands of a white person would be clearly of racist intent but from Zuma cannot be. What he was describing even before the local elections was a new awareness of politics in the educated middle classes who were not voting on the lines of the old colonial struggle of the past but of the complex issues which face South Africa in the future. In the big Metropolitan areas only 4 still have majority ANC control. Cape Town has a full majority Democratic Alliance Council with 66% of the vote. Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane/Pretoria and Johannesburg have strong DA presences with DA leading in Nelson Mandela Bay and Tshwane.

The DA is the biggest gainer of these elections. Previously seen as a white led Party (having come out of the Progressive Party whose one MP was Helen Suzman a committed white liberal under apartheid) its vote is now much bigger than the white and coloured population and is led by its first black African leader. Inside the Western Cape Region they are the dominant force controlling all but one council after the elections. It has a clear reputation for solid service delivery and an open and transparent system of government. The other key gainer is the EFF which has been formed as a result of a fracturing of votes within the ANC. It clearly took ANC votes in the first local elections it has fought but much of its 11% came from other smaller opposition parties whose votes it seems to have hoovered up.

So why did the ANC lose? Well as in so many elections it was not necessarily the fault of the local Mayors many of whom like Parks Tau in Jo’burg are thought to have done quite a good job in trying to keep the City’s reputation as a financial and economic centre intact whilst trying to deal with the acute problems of Soweto and other townships. It would appear that in the major conurbations the ‘thinking blacks’ have moved to an open assessment and scrutiny of the ANC as a whole. In rural areas the ANC’s appeal is still strong with DA getting small vote sin three of the provinces but times have moved on.

It is clear that there is a reaction to President Zuma. His image as an old style African Chief with 4 wives and a huge palace costing 350,000,000 Rand does not look good to an increasingly educated and modern electorate. Even at Zuma’s speech after the election there were demonstrators about an old rape case which has been suppressed since Zuma became President. But perhaps it is the slow pace of real change that is ANC’s major problem. Some of the systems that run the big areas of change within the nationalised industries have become at best sclerotic and at worse useless in bringing people the power, water, drainage, housing and jobs that are all so badly needed. Instead of a general dispersal of wealth, although there have clearly been many improvements for many people, there is still a great cronyism in the state where jobs and opportunities and positions are kept within the Party, its members and supporters.

This means that for many there has been no real improvement in their lives since the ANC took place. Worse they have lost their ‘enemy’. It was easy to cast blame on externalised whites and absolutely true that the blame should be laid for decades at those who supported apartheid. But now it’s a black government who got police to open fire on striking miners. It is black cronyism and nepotism and much harder to deal with.

That is why so many of my ANC and other Africa friends have been so upset. Inside SA there is beginning to be a feeling that the Country might, just might, become like Zimbabwe. Throughout the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa there is a concern that external investment might to choose to bypass them if ‘even South Africa with all its advantages’ cannot get it right.

Only time will tell whether SA can pick up the big momentum again. In the meantime we are offering all assistance we can to new Mayors and Councillors taking their seats. This in itself is a mammoth task Jo’burg alone has more than 250 councillors and is a unitary council serving and strategizing the needs of its entire population.

In the meantime the future of SA lies in the hands of those who should control its destiny – its people. It is a fledgling nation that has embarked on a tricky road to economic, social and democratic fulfilment. We should all wish them well and offer our support in these testing times for the Country.

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Live longer with a bit more of this – a bit less of the other!


This machine told me that my body mass index, blood pressure, heart and other things were right within 2 minutes of standing on it!

Imagine a timeline that that starts 10,000 years ago with the first modern man (and woman!). For 9,999 years, 364 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 15 seconds we were effectively hunter gatherers. From 45 seconds ago to 9 seconds ago we were farmers tied to the land but still physically working. For the last 9 seconds we have adopted a largely sedentary lifestyle using machines, sitting in offices, taking less exercise and eating and drinking too much.

I am reminding you or telling you this not just because it is an interesting fact but because we all need to reflect that our bodies have been honed over (actually) tens of thousands of years for one purpose and now we use them for a largely different purpose. Put simply we sit around too much, eat and drink too much and take insufficient exercise. Our bodies respond to this in a number of ways which affect our health and affect our longevity. This means that we are becoming increasingly obese which turn means a whole lot of health problems.

You might say that this rubbish. Look at the way our life spans are still increasing. We live longer than our parents and a lot, lot longer than just 5/6 generations ago. All that is true but much of that longevity is down to better water, better homes, better sewage, better food and to some extent better medicines and health and social care. We are now reaching the limits of improvements can be made using these methods and there are signs that longevity will begin to decrease.

Let’s be blunt if you are obese when you are 11 it is likely that your bones will not have developed properly and that you will be obese throughout your life. That leads to heart, liver, lung and other complaints which will cause you to die earlier than you otherwise would. Obesity has replaced smoking as the one big thing you can change to enhance your life prospects.

This week we will see the Olympic Games start in Brazil which means that it is now 4 years since the highly successful (on some measures) London Olympics. Where the London Olympics failed was on the measure of health legacy. We were told that they would ensure young and old alike to flock to the sports grounds and thus improve our health. Regrettably they created a ripple in the health currents and not the major change in direction that is so clearly required. 4 years on they have clearly had little effect in the take up of sport or the way we think of exercise.

I personally believe that this is because the Olympics require us to make heroic gestures. To be Olympians we have to lock ourselves away from society, push our bodies’ harder and harder, have a mental attitude to success that is iron strong and totally committed. The trouble is that this probably isn’t you and it certainly isn’t me!

Fortunately it doesn’t need to be. As I have looked at the public health agenda I have come to the conclusion that for most of us small and easily achievable things will make all the difference between a healthy life and an unhealthy one. Let’s look at these in turn.

Don’t stop drinking alcohol  (that one is a relief for me!) The guidelines of 14 units taken over a week allow you to go and enjoy a beer of a glass of wine when you want to. Unless you have been previously addicted the regular but occasional glass will do you no harm and will perhaps help you as well as giving you pleasure.

Don’t stop drinking fizzy drinks but only do so occasionally. The occasional coke or tonic does no harm but drinking can after can of the stuff will introduce too much sugar into your body.

Don’t stop having tasty food with some sugar and some salt in. But not too much. Think about what you eat and avoid processed food as much as possible. Increase your fruit and veg intake by just a little. Try and eat fresh cooked food and not take-aways on a regular basis. Have fun in preparing food for your own table. Save a fortune in doing some

Take some exercise on a regular basis. You don’t need to train 5 hours a day. A brisk 30 minutes’ walk three times a week can suffice although more would be better. This is not difficult to do. Just walk to the local shops instead of taking the car. Set aside time to go for a walk and a chat with someone. Look at the park or other interesting features.

Two things that you must avoid are tobacco and drugs. The things above will be of little value to you if you smoke or inject yourself to perdition!

Some people might say that I am advocating the nanny state here. Perhaps but I do talk to people who regret the path that they took earlier in life. It is never too late to start eating properly and exercising properly but it does become more difficult if you have never eaten, drunk or exercised properly and wish to in later life. Your body has physically and mentally adapted to the wrong things and sends you messages to continue doing some of those wrong things.

Why do I care about these things? Firstly because I do care about my fellow citizens and do want to promote and support things which are for their benefit. But also because not doing them properly is causing a major strain upon our National Health Services which is becoming unaffordable. If we can help people stop doing things that keep them unhealthy and help them do thing that will help keep them healthy we can prevent them needing to access services. That means we can devote more services to those, especially the elderly, whose treatment has become unavoidable.

At the end of the day do any of us really want to be unhealthy? Most of us want to be fit. There is no fitness pill that has been invented that can do it for us and it is highly unlikely that there will ever be one. Medicine is reaching its peak of effectiveness and now it’s down to us as individuals, as parents as carers as part of the community to ensure that we maximise our own health outcomes to live a longer, healthier and happier life. The whole public health research and debate tells us that making small but consistent changes produces good and consistent outcomes.


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Residents take on Fight against City Council & Redrow Homes

Vill Green Photo

Local residents braved the rain to launch their Village Green Application for parts of Harthill & Calderstones Park

A major step forward to save parts of Harthill and Calderstones Park from development has been made this week when local residents have submitted a Village Green application for parts of the Harthill estate including the paddock, woodland and nature trail.

The application has been brought together by local residents Katie & Richard Breed and is supported by the Friends of Harthill & Calderstones Park and local councillors Andrew Makinson and Richard Kemp.

The land in the park is threatened by the council who are seeking to develop it for housing in a joint proposal with Redrow Homes. But residents believe that the green space is vital if the City is going to provide a healthy and green environment for its citizens.

Katie Breed says, “I have lived in this area all my life and I have many friends and family members here who have always been able to use the land for recreational and educational purposes. There is plenty of land on which to build housing in the City without attacking our green spaces. If Liverpool is to prosper we need to keep the land as green space. This land has always been the ‘village green’ for thousands of people with access through Beechley House and from the main section of Calderstones Park”

Rosemary Brice, Chairman of the Friends of Harthill & Calderstones Park said, “Ever since 1914 when the Harthill Estate was purchased by the Council to join with the Calderstones Estate they have been recognised as being one unit and as being one  facility for local people. This land is much loved by local people and indeed by the people from all over the city who use it”.

Cllr Andrew Makinson, who with Cllr Richard Kemp is fully supportive of the Village Green application, said, “It is clear that the Council realise that there is a real difficulty in developing this land. The Harthill estate has no less than 8 ‘listings’(s) on it including Beechley House, the haha and all the entrance gates off Harthill Road. The Redrow/Council Partnership are already seriously behind their own targets for public consultation and involvement. The easiest thing for them to do is to drop this ill-thought out proposal.

Details from:   Katie Breed 07887587250

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