Campaigners out in the cold weatherwise but in the warm with people’s concerns
Apparently it has just occurred to the Mayor of Liverpool that to develop the Meadowlands area a large number of trees would have to be developed. That is hardly surprising as there is a tree every 10 yards, they have been there for more than 100 years and there is a tree protection order on every one of them. The current proposal is to fell more than 25% of them – apparently the original proposal was to fell even more. The change has made a massive reduction in the amount of money that the Mayor thought he would get for the land. As I have just told Radio City my solution to the Mayor’s dilemna is simple. Just say “No”. He is not going to make much money for the City. Redrow won’t make much money and we can still lose the land to some underwhelming architecture.
The council now has a real dilemna. If Redrow put in the existing planning application the Council would probably chuck it out BUT they would win on appeal. The council should immediately tell Redrow that they will NOT now sell the land. BUT they may be liable for paying some of Redrow’s expenses for a large amount of work put in on this development including their Mickey Mouse consultation. If that is the case it would be better to tell Redrow now so that the council’s costs would be limited.
Wally Hall Park Campaigners out in force in the Summer
Meanwhile up North the Council is indulging in more dodgy consultation. The Council have proposed a Community Engagement Group with regard to the development proposals for Walton Hall Park. It would appear however that this a group designed to have consultation about the councils’ plans to develop the Park for EFC and not a genuine consultation about the future use of the Park. I have advised the Walton Park campaigners to have nothing to do with this Group and start their own consultataion about what the community want to see the Park used for and how they want the Park to be run. Consulting about the implementation of plans they have already approved is a typical Labour tactic for ignoring the people.
Why are Labour behaving this way? Because for the first time in some years they are now politically on the defensive. They hope to knock me off the Council in May but instead are having to retreat to defend wards they thought were sewn up tight. They will probably lose Greenbank to the Greens and Mossley Hill to my Lib Dem colleague, Paul Childs. In the North people will either vote Lib Dem in wards like County and Warbreck or might choose to vote for independent anti-development campaigners should they stand.
Our door step and phone Canvassing in my own ward reveals strong anger against Labour for their green proposals and the way they are wasting money in times of restraint on champagne receptions and resplendent mixer taps.
We are keeping up the fight politically and the community groups have united in a city wide body to campaign against all the individal development on green space proposals.
The Mansion House, the heart of Calderstones Park
Finally I have been asked by the “Keep Calderstones Green Group in my own ward to reaffirm my commitment to the Green spaces in our area. I am delighted to do so and append below my response to their e-mail:
Thank you for your e-mail.
1. With regard to the land in the centre of the Menloves. I have received legal advice that when this land was gifted to the Council there was a covenant put on the land that it should always be used for green, open space. Three weeks ago I asked the Chief Executive to confirm that and asking him to officially withdraw the land from any threat of potential sale for development. I have yet to receive a reply. I do not believe that this land should be built on and whatever the response from the Chief Executive I will do whatever I can to maintain it is a green space.
With regard to the Calderstones Park land, which is effectively the former Harthill estate, I am unequivocally opposed to its sale. Whilst the council may be able to relocate the RDA stables and the Calder Kids playground they can only do so by effectively moving them to other land in parks which would then not be available for the general public. This would also be true of the allotments where the Council would be legally obliged to provide land to replace the ones sold off. Where would that be? Presumably in another part of Calderstones Park as there is no other land!
Again whatever the council does about relocations I will oppose the use of the land for development. If we are to ensure that our city is attractive and that people want to live in it we must maintain our parks and open spaces to as high a level as possible. There are many green uses that this land could be put to if current users moved not least for more allotments as there is a massive demand in this part of Liverpool with a 3/4 year waiting list for them.
Finally there is a principle involved here. If there was an acute shortage of land for housing in the city I might be prepared to consider some sales. However there is no land shortage. There is enough land available to build homes for up to 76,000 people at current development densities. More if we improved building quality and density. That will keep us going for about the next 40 years if we also dealt with under occupation of current propoerties. The time to consider areas such as this is in 30 years time and not now.
I hope that I have made it clear where I stand on these issues in the ward I represent. I would be delighted to meet with you and your committee at any time that is mutually convenient to discuss how we take our joint beliefs further.