And now the Council wants to commercialise Heron Eccles Playing Fields

Heron Eccles

The Heron Eccles Playing Fields which could be commercialised

I have been forced to write to Football Association Chair, Greg Dyke to try and find what the council and FA are proposing to do in my ward.

Let em explain, “We found out by chance that the Merseyside Youth Association is being forced to leave the Heron Eccles Playing Ground in mid-April bringing chaos to the leagues that they run on the site which will have to close early. The justification for this is that the FA will create some sort of commercial sports development there which will require floodlights until 10 p.m. and 7 day a week use. Not only is this unsuitable but I am worried that the commercialisation of the site will affect the ability of the children’s leagues to pay for the pitches for their true community use.”

My colleague, Andrew Makinson, explains that the playing field is already creating traffic and parking difficulties because it lies in a closely developed urban area (in Abbotshey Avenue, Liverpool 18) which is entered by three dangerous junctions at Maher Avenue, Rose Lane and Booker Avenue. “The thought that there will be floodlights which will affect more than 300 houses and that these roads and junctions will have a massively increased use fills me with horror. I hope that the Mayor of Liverpool will come and see this before he presses ahead with this dangerous idea. ”.

I have asked for a meeting with the local FA and the council but have been stonewalled with the claim that there are only discussion taking place and there are no firm plans but I find this hard to believe when the MYA have been given early notice and staff have been warned of redundancy. I am hoping that Greg Dyke, as head of the FA will be able to help us shine a light on the dark corners of this ill thought interaction between the FA and Liverpool City Council”.

The full letter to Greg Dyke is attached.

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,
Church Ward Liberal Democrats
16, Dovedale Road,
Liverpool L18 1DW
07885 626913

Greg Dyke,
Chair Football Association,
Wembley Stadium
PO Box 1966

3rd November 2015

Dear Mr Dyke,

Re: Heron Eccles Playing Field, Liverpool 18

I am writing to you about a subject about which I am sure you have no knowledge but in an attempt to bring you up to date with an action of the local FA which might potentially have ruinous consequences for part of the community that I represent on the Liverpool City Council.

In short the Merseyside Youth Association have had the occupation of the use of the above Playing Field terminated in order that it can be used commercially for football and sports events by the FA.

I have endeavoured to get the FA to tell me what their proposals are but have had no success. The claim being that there are only discussion taking place. I find this difficult to believe as the council have confirmed that the MYA have been given instructions to leave the land in mid-April which will mean the early termination of the footballs leagues and training that take place there. I have asked your regional development officer to have a site meeting with my colleagues and I and to attend a public meeting at which there could be a full explanation to residents of the proposals I have no response to this.

In short we have no problem with the idea of more activity taking place at the playing fields. We have often wondered why it is rarely used during school holidays for example. But the question is of the degree of extra use and commercialisation that this land can take.

Heron Eccles is contained within a series of very tight knit streets where we already experience horrendous traffic and parking problems. To get to the site you have to access via three difficult junctions at Booker Avenue/Greenhill Road; Pitville Avenue/Rose Lane or Storrsdsale Road/Mather Avenue. There have been serious accidents at two of these junctions in the past few weeks both of which were connected with existing football traffic.

Lastly, we understand that the FA will want to use the Fields until 10 at night using floodlights. If you were to look at the Fields on Google Earth you would see how much this would impact on the surrounding neighbourhood.

We are sure that you will agree with so that the FA should work closely with local residents when it comes to putting forward proposals which will radically affect their lives. That is why we are surprised that locally the FA has been doing things to date without keeping councillors and residents informed and are so far not taking up our offer for meaningful dialogue and meetings.
I hope that because of this letter you will feel able to intercede on our behalf. If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,
Cllr Richard Kemp CBE
Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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2 Responses to And now the Council wants to commercialise Heron Eccles Playing Fields

  1. Catherine says:

    Hi Richard,
    Surely we need to know who initiated these talks, at the very least.
    An appropriately worded FOI request should elicit at least the initial correspondence or contacts, and we could then know whose idea this was – the Council’s or the FA’s. While they will certainly claim that the details of any negotiations or deal, if and when reached, are confidential, this hardly applies to the initial contacts establishing the negotiations.

  2. John Noon says:

    I think most residents in the houses around the playing fields will be worried about this development, these plans are bad enough what worries me is once the site is commercialised, would they be able to sell the site off for housing in the future, as we all know this labour council loves to sell off green areas of south liverpool as most of the little dears don’t live there, they don’t get many votes in mossley hill, what have they to lose.

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