So, what is happening at Calderstones Park?

caldiesdemo

Residents turned out in force to protest about the development of part of Calderstones Park for housing. They and the local councillors are in the dark as to the Mayor’s current proposals

To be honest I haven’t a clue what the current state of play is for the Harthill part of the Calderstones estate. But let me start by telling you what we do know:

  1. Redrow have received planning permission.
  2. We were told that the model railway would move by the end of the year (this one!). But it hasn’t, and no work has been done on the new site for which planning permission has been granted.
  3. We were told that the capital costs for the relocation of the Riding Stables; Model Railway and Calder Kids would be made available in September or October. They haven’t been published and the council is refusing all our requests for information.
  4. The 3-year licence which was granted to the Riding for the Disabled expires in October 2018. No planning application for a move has come forward. No costings have been provided. It seems unlikely that everything required could be done by October to enable a move.
  5. The Village Green application for part of the area covered by the planning consent has yet to be heard 18 months after it was submitted and 12 months after it was submitted in its final form.
  6. No planning application has been submitted for the relocation of Calder Kids.

So, you might conclude one of two things;

  1. That the whole thing is an absolute shambles. This is possible because we understand that the Council will make little profit from the sale because the projected cost of the relocation of the RDA is far, far more than originally anticipated. The market has also gone flat since the whole programme was originally conceived; or
  2. That Uncle Joe has a cunning alternative plan. OK that’s a bit far-fetched so let’s take out the word cunning!

A little clue was given at the last council meeting when the Mayor announced his proposals to create a housing company to build quality and reasonably produce social housing. We have not opposed this because we think that this is a good idea. We doubt that the Council can deliver its objectives because, let’s face it, it has proved to be inept at delivering almost everything!

But in the Council, he challenged Cllr Makinson and I to support the idea of social housing on the Harthill site. Cllr Makinson and I immediately agreed to a meeting with him. One has yet to take place because I suspect that he thought we would not want one. We believe that part of the site could be used for housing and in this we are supported by most local residents. At the planning committee Andrew and I and other local people made clear that we thought that Beechley House should be developed for housing (12 x 2-bed homes according to the application) and that some room around it could be made available for more housing. This is housing land and could and should be used as such.

We object to the use of green space for housing which is the status of the land occupied by most of the RDA; model railway and Calder Kids.

So, is it goodbye to Redrow on this and Sefton Park as the Council decides to use the land for its own purposes? This would certainly be a better financial model than the partnership with Redrow. So perhaps Joe is doing yet another U-turn and now supports our proposal to end the disastrous Redrow Partnership.

But we reiterate that in the case of most of the Calderstones site and all the site at Sefton Park Meadowlands we oppose the building of any housing on this site social or private. This land is too important as the lungs and soul of our city to be built on when there is land to build homes for 70,000+ people readily available in the City.

Let us recall that it is now more than 3 years since Redrow submitted the planning application for the Meadowlands. They have failed to reply to 2 letters that I sent their MD in October. According to the planning department there have been no discussions with Redrow ‘for ages’.

These matters, these sites, are too important to people to be left in this way. I fear that one of the Council’s solutions will be just to terminate the lease for the RDA. These parks and green spaces are precious to people. They belong to the people of Liverpool and it is the people of Liverpool who should make the final decisions on what happens to them.

So, come on Joe. I know your follow my Twitter account and blog because you regularly quote me in Council. Stop playing games with the people’s assets and let us know what your intentions are. Who knows – we might even support them!

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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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