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26th Jan


Email Comments expressed after last meeting

I write to give my view on the announcement that a prospective new owner of Manweb Sports Ground had offered, through the Council, to ‘give’ half the land to OBWRA.  Who they are or why they would be prepared to buy land (worth £1.5 million per acre with housing on it) and then give it away was not explained.
In my opinion this is about Mayor Anderson being able to say that the council have consulted the local community who accept housing on the site in principle so that the plan to re-designate the land from green-space to housing can proceed unopposed. His vague aspirations toward community involvement and green-space should not be taken as promises.
If the council really are serious about keeping half the land as green-space then, reasonably, they should have no problem in taking that half out of the list of the sites they have published for re-designation as housing land in the new Local Plan.  If it is true that the prospective purchasers (housing developers) only want half the land and the council supports this, then why shouldn’t the other half remain designated as green-space under future planning policy (new Local Plan)?  As a ‘bona fide’ to show they act in good faith, they should make a public announcement that they are doing this after consultation with local people. They have just recently announced a string of sites taken off this list so to argue they could not do this now would show just how far their ‘promises’ are to be trusted.
This summer when they finally put forward Manweb Field for re-designation from green-space to housing land in the Draft Local Plan, they have a legal obligation to take our (hopefully, commonly held) opposition to housing development into account. Our only negotiating tool with the council is our consent.  Let’s not give it away cheaply for a ill defined promise, which, as we have seen so many times, will anyway not be kept.
There will be a six week consultation period when they publish the Draft Local Plan sometime this year, this will be our chance to go on the record with our aspirations for the field. This is what Mayor Anderson fears – that the local community’s opinion is placed on record and goes before the independent government inspector and they must show how they have taken these views into account.
Even if we admit that, given the council’s powers, some housing is inevitable on the site, I feel it is, nevertheless, wisest for us, as a community, to continue to, if not actively oppose development of the land, at least withhold our consent until we have some effective guarantee from the council of the proportion of green-space to be retained.
Meantime we should make no promises, or express anything other than a reserved interest in the council’s plans. If we were express support for a 50% housing/ green-spaces split, then, who doubts that that would soon be portrayed in the media by the Mayor as community support in principle for housing with no mention of any agreed split? Then, too late, when the developers’ plans are published it would be no surprise to see an 80/ 20% split or worse. Note that the ‘village green’ proposal put forward by ISM was an 80/20% split with around 100 new houses (not enough green-space for a cricket or football pitch).
Fig 1 – ISM proposal to Wavertree Institute
I do hope that you will see the fairness in holding a second meeting about this important proposal where the whole community can have a chance to hear the arguments before any further communication with the council takes place. The meeting on 20th Jan at the community centre was called with no indication whatsoever of what was to be discussed or that a vote would take place and it also happened to coincide with a LFC FA Cup game!
Would you have any objection if I were to circulate this argument to the other OBWRA members?


My feedback would be that once there is agreement in principle to have development on the land then that would make any planning application for development possible and ultimately it would end up being much more than 50%, possibly 100%. Companies make these promises and then turn around saying the economics of it have prevented them from fulfilling their plans – like ISM. How would their promises be enshrined in law? Heron Eccles playing fields are being taken over and that leaves a huge number of football teams with nowhere to play – the space at the back of the playing fields would be ideal.

Had it been made known that a vote like this formed part of the agenda of the meeting I suspect there would have been a better attendance.


To be honest, we were always just putting off the inevitable. Houses were always going to be built on that land, so it was just a matter of time. So I think building on just 50% of the land is the best deal we are going to get. If we can ask to see the plans, to see where about they intend to build, and how many houses, then we will see if this suits all parties. Also, if we could find out what will be done to the other 50% that won’t be built on.

Sorry I was unable to attend the meeting last night but would agree with the numbers that this needs to move forward .
I think the best way is for the 50%
Community and 50% development

Not sure if I sent my email last night to the right address, both Eddie and I are in agreement, makes sense to have some control over something than none at all

Sounds like a good plan, the best so far!

I voted in favour because, in many ways it eases the burden necessary for the organisation and running of the recreation and sports facilities if satisfactory agreement is reached with the Council. It also is a compromise suggestion which does not take away the ultimate objective of OBWRA and would seem to provide funds to assist. There are many questions to be asked, but I won’t burden you with them just now, and I am sure they are already in your portfolio.

Thank you for the informative meeting last night. Can I echo the sentiments that were voiced by thanking you and the Olive branch committee for your hard work over the last four years. The proposal you described appears to be the best option the community could have hoped for. I understand some of the concerns those in attendance regarding trusting the council and any potential developers, but the community has to approach this proposal with an open mind. As for the future use of field, the lack of playing fields around the city means that having a well maintained facility could be a highly prized asset in years to come.
I back the proposal. Please keep me informed regarding future meetings or proposals.

Thingwall Road resident I took an interest at the start as I had fond memories of playing cricket against Electric Supply, as the team were known, on many occasions in the past and think it a shame that so many playing field sites appear to be disappearing.  As things stand at present I think that the best option would be the offer of 50% for community use but would like to think that OBWRA may be given a chance to have a say in its planning as far as the lay out and use of the recreational side is concerned, so as to benefit of the local community and to ensure you are not left with areas of ground that are not suitable.

The 50/50 offer sounds as good as we’re likely to get, and I agree, in principle, that we should explore exactly what the proposed buyers have in mind.
Would the community space have a frontage on to Thingwall Road, because I think it is vitally important to retain as much open green space as possible, in what will become an ever more congested area?

1) Where exactly do they plan to build the houses? If they will be facing Thingwall Road, what will be the impact on traffic?

2) If the community facility is located at the rear, will it be visible from the road? If it’s concealed it may not be used much, in which case the developers may say at a later date that it should be built on because of lack of interest from the community.

These are just our initial thoughts.

I’m sorry we had to shoot off early last night and therefore didn’t take part in the vote. I think the meeting was getting to the stage of going round in circles and I could sense your frustration!
Many thanks for all the hard work, time and effort you and the other members of the OBWRA team – especially Diane – have put into trying to secure what appears to be the best possible deal for the community.
I think it’s always been the fear of everyone living near the field that once Manweb/Scottish Power moved out the site would be turned over to housing. And that as it was effectively in private ownership there would be little anyone could do to stop an estate being built on it.
Your tenacity has (hopefully!) proved otherwise, and the fact that the mayor has taken such a close interest in the situation is testament to the determination of OBWRA to challenge both the often cosy relationship that exists between councils and developers, and the “there’s nothing we can do about it” outlook of a lot of people.
Obviously, in many ways, this is just the beginning but my view is that the proposal put forward by the developer who wants to build on a maximum of 50% of the land, with an S106 applied to the rest of the site, should be supported in principle.

I would think that this compromise would be acceptable, as long as you can
be certain MAKE CERTAIN that the 50% for the community ends up as such.
Maybe legally sell it or rent it for a peppercorn amount so that
circumstances won’t change their minds

I am in favour of the land on Thingwall Road being used for both housing and community use with up to 50% being sold for housing.  I would like that housing to be built at the flat area at the back of the land with the sports/recreational land being at the front, where the land meets Thingwall Road.  Between the playing fields and the housing I would like the community centre/changing facilities to be placed between the housing and the playing fields.

I think this will be an excellent example of Liverpool City Council and the Mayor’s Office working with the community at this time of austerity and feel it could provide an example of best practice for other sites.

I support the comments made of up to 50% being allocated to development the remaining would be given for the community.
Would it be the  50 % for development be for private housing or for other purposes?

Please put me and ***** down as being in support of the proposal for half the site to be given over to the community to enable us to make decisions about its future. The way I see it, I’d rather be part of a decision making process over something as opposed to doing nothing and having things done to us we have no control over. Let’s take the first step forward.
Thanks to Marc, Diane and everyone else for providing us with the opportunity by giving us the information tonight.

After hearing what was said at the meeting I am in agreement that we should be speaking to this company so that ownership of that 50% plus would come to the community. I would want the housing to be on the flat section at the back and the field at the front onto Thingwall Road. Between the field and the housing I would want a community centre with enough space for community events and a bar, and also proper changing facilities for sporting activities.

Sorry didn’t stay for the vote but I would have added my vote to the agreement total.
As I said last night we always thought the best case scenario we would get would be to have ‘some’ houses on the field alongside an area of community space. This offer appears to fit that.
Also at the start of the process the community owned none of the field – potentially we could own half of it at the end of the development, plus there is the suggestion that we could have some input into the size, location, number of properties built.
All good news but I’m sure there will be some healthy discussions about where the properties should be built – we’re all going to have opinions!
Again thanks to you, Diane and the rest who have worked so hard to get us to this position
And I’m looking forward to that first beer in the new club when it’s all finished!

We left the meeting early this evening so we would like to add our votes in agreement to the policy mentioned above.

That sounds reasonable – but I would check the provenance of the company in question – and the finer details and legal side of any agreements.

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