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13th May


A Letter to Joe Anderson

We thought the letter below was well written so with the permission of the sender have published it here:

Dear Mayor Anderson,
I would like to express my concerns regarding the future of the former Manweb social club and playing fields on Thingwall Road in Wavertree. I have just attended a meeting about the site at which Councillor Malcolm Kennedy kindly gave up his time to come along and try to bring residents up to date with the latest state of play.
Unfortunately, as a lifelong Labour supporter I was rather disappointed both with what Coun Kennedy had to say and his general manner towards the local residents who tried to question him about the council’s stance on the issue of the playing fields.
You may be aware of the saga surrounding the site and the serious concerns residents have had with current leaseholders ISM. It was with some dismay that we were told by Coun Kennedy that far from taking punitive action against ISM for a catalogue of breaches of the terms of the lease, the council was in effect prepared to reward them by allowing houses to be built on the Manweb site to help fund ISM’s proposals for a sports development at Jericho Lane.
As a fellow Socialist can you honestly say you are happy with the idea of a Labour council being prepared to line the pockets of a couple of opportunistic individuals by effectively handing over land that actually belongs to the people of Liverpool (the council owns the freehold on the Thingwall Road fields, the council acts on behalf of the people, therefore the land belongs to the people)?
Twelve months ago, ISM released a set of proposals to turn the Manweb site into a series of floodlit all-weather football pitches, paid for in part by releasing a portion of the land to housing. This initial plan led to the formation of OBWRA, a residents’ group dedicated both to fighting ISM’s proposals and coming up with an alternative, community-led scheme.
OBWRA took its proposals to the council’s Regeneration team, including Coun Kennedy, who agreed to work with the residents to finesse the scheme (which also includes Calderkids, an organisation close to your heart) and, at the same time, deal with ISM and its flagrant breaches of the conditions of the lease. OBWRA has regularly pressed the council for feedback and has repeatedly been told to be patient.
According to Coun Kennedy, the OBWRA plans are ‘unviable’ although that was the extent of his briefing on the issue. He was evasive and patronising and did little for the Labour Party’s public image – not an ideal state of affairs on the eve of a local election.
I would urge you to look into the matter and to ensure that OBWRA and Calderkids are allowed to progress their proposals.
Yes, there is more money in selling off the land for housing, but again a Labour council (or an authority of any political persuasion for that matter) should not be in the business of promoting the crudest form of capitalism at the expense of the community.
The community can – and will – make the OBWRA proposals work. They are not pie in the sky; all officers need to do is provide guidance and work with council taxpayers to build a bright, bold future for themselves, help the most vulnerable members of society and ensure that their local area is a vibrant, attractive place to live rather than reward those who have no interest in supporting the people of Liverpool.
Many thanks for your time.

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