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9th May

2014

Meeting Held With Jake Morrison 8th May

An illuminating meeting was held yesterday with Jake Morrison, independent councillor for Wavertree. The meeting was attended by local residents and also Malcolm Kennedy, the Liverpool City Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration unexpectedly arrived. Also present was a Journalist from the Liverpool Echo.

The meeting quickly became centered around Malcolm Kennedy as he outlined the councils views and responded to a barrage of questions from angry residents. The main points are as follows:

The council currently favour only 1 plan for the Manweb playing fields which is placing a 100 houses on the playing fields and placing a village green in front. Councillor Kennedy called this the council plan but it is exactly the same plan put forward by the lease owners ISM. Some of the proceeds from the sale of the land would fund development of a sporting facility on Jericho Lane by ISM which is in another part of Liverpool. No planning application has been put in. ISM have no track record of developing sporting facilities. As the council admit and as ISM admit, the lease they own is their pension pot. Our land and our community’s future are now brazenly being called the pension pot of two property developers.

Strung Along

The business plan put forward by Olive Branch Wavertree Residents Organisation has been deemed by the Council not to be financially viable. When we presented this plan to the council last year they responded favourably to it and agreed to work with us to develop the plan. They also expressed great dissatisfaction with ISM for breaches of the lease and led us to believe they wanted to remove them from the lease and work with us to develop a viable solution. Fast forward 6 months and we find our plan has been cast aside; no feedback from the council has been given to us; there has been no attempt to work with us; our enquiries from them have been met with ‘be patient’ responses. The council have also had the gall to state that we have been ‘unresponsive’ . When we have developed a business plan as they requested and constantly contacted the council, to then call us ‘unresponsive’ behind our backs reveals the level of professionalism and commitment of the council to Wavertree Residents. Even we were shocked at the extent to which we have been strung along.

Council Ignorance of OBWRA Plan

When Councillor Kennedy was quizzed about our plans he displayed a level of ignorance of them which showed how little our plan had been examined. We presented three options, two of which actually had housing elements in them to fund the development. We are realistic – we know the money has to come from somewhere. He didn’t even know this. How he can turn up at a meeting with Wavertree residents to defend the council’s position when he hasn’t even looked at our plans doesn’t just show the contempt with which we are treated, it even shows political naivete.

The Political Decision Has Already Been Made.

Possibly the most revealing fact of all came from one resident, Peter Campbell, who noted that Christ the King school after many years trying to get permission from the council to build another classroom block has suddenly had it granted with the explanation that there will be large increase in residents in the area. There is only ONE place in Wavertree where a large increase in residents can take place and that is on Manweb playing fields around the corner from the school. It is now clear that at a political level, the decision has already been made, and we can be forgiven for feeling patronised, when Councillor Kennedy states that the current plan the council favour is only a suggestion.

The Council Position

The council wish to see the lease expire. Patronisingly, they have said we all want the same thing which is to remove the current lease owners from the land. Yes, we do but for very different reasons. We want to see the land continue to be used primarily as a sporting and recreation facility and it is abundantly clear that the current lease owners only interest is their pension pot not the community.

The council want to see the current lease owners relinquish the lease so that the lease will then become void. Once that happens the conditions on the lease which stipulate the site is for sporting and recreation facilities will disappear. This will then clear the path for the council to sell the land for housing to generate much needed funds.

What the Council don’t Understand

They are here to serve the community. They are elected by the community. They cannot work in a way which rides roughshod over the wishes of a community. Yes, they need funds, but they need these funds to serve the community and to act in its interests. They have to consider the long term implications of their actions not just the short term. It has been well documented that reducing recreational space and green field land has negative impacts on the health and well being of the surrounding community and lowers the average lifespan. We don’t want to live in a concrete jungle. These small pieces of green land that have survived development are jewels to be treasured and preserved, not just because they look pretty but because they are fundamental to the health and well being of our community and its children. Once you build on green space then it’s gone forever. It’s irreversible.

This is not a group of residents opposing housing because we don’t like the look  of them, it’s a group of residents fighting to protect green space and sporting facilities. ISM never understood that and it looks like the council don’t either.

What Next

We’re going to war. We will fight this plan tooth and nail. At a legal level. At a political level. At a personal level.

Feel strongly? Do you think this is a fight worth fighting? JOIN OBWRA.

 

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7

Comments

Warren Bradley

2014-05-09 10:25:40 Reply

I was well aware that this was to happen, something I stated some time ago. It became more apparent following the disappearance of the Labour Councillors and MP who conveniently attended one of the activity days arranged by OBWRA. These Labour Councillors or MP don’t give a damn for local residents or the community. It doesn’t really matter as there’s no opposition to Labour, despite me trying in the last election. There is an election on 22nd May, local residents should work to beat the Labour candidate, who not only ignores local residents regarding this, but does little work elsewhere, Wavertree is a disgrace! I see no way forward now, as always the bullying authority will crush the local people because they’ve been offered a bag of gold!

Kenny Williams

2014-05-09 11:01:06 Reply

Find it quite amazing that the usual MPs are jumping on the bandwagon for their own publicity. I have emailed Jake over two years ago and still had no reply (this was in conjunction with the traffic problems caused by the housing development on King David, the same applied to Mr Storey, ( only time he wanted to speak was Election time) Mr Bradley did turn up for meetings but done nothing about the problem when he was in charge.
The traffic now is the big concern, somebody will be killed (some already have) and then the MPs will have their picture took for the local rag and claim to be the Knights in Shining Armour.
The Manweb fiasco goes back years, people who were trying to promote sport and the use of the field for sports purposes were continually ignored and proposals from high ranking sports people were thrown out (just like the current group) because of Ego`s and bullying tactics from those who were in charge at the time.

jill mccormack

2014-05-09 15:02:02 Reply

Some months ago I complained several times about the broken pedestrian lights as you join queens drive from Thingwall road and turn right to queens drive heading towards the fiveways. The traffic goes from 3 lanes to 2 and regularly lights are jumped by 4 or 5 cars each time racing to get in front.
The answer from our local mp Luciana was to refer it to the councillor. The answer from the councillor was- no funding for a lollipop person, no plans by the police to put cameras up and he would pass on the details about the broken lights – which have been reported as broken several times over 18 months. Nothing has been done.
How much worse is the traffic going to be with 100 houses plus another almost 100 at the old rocket trading estate currently being built (I assume that’s also behind the planning permission change of heart for CTK school).

Ms. Fletcher

2014-05-11 11:55:29 Reply

I suspect that the day we showed Mr Kennedy and his colleagues, what a viable community asset we had, in the heart of our community to benefit the health and well being of our residents, they immediately realised what a financial asset they had at their avail. I suspect that they never had any intentions to hold the current lease holders to account for reneging on their lease through non payment of rates, for allowing the building ( ex club house and changing rooms ) plus the land to become derelict and dangerous, with no perimeter saftey/security fencing and for permitting the lease holders to sub let the builing in the dangerous state it was to a questionable charity who alleged to house a wifi hub in the club house for the benefit of our community to access the Internet ! It could be suggested that Liverpool City Council placated OBWRA by acknowledging OBWRA’s, transparently and fairly gathered community petition, after thorough consultation with the local community through the meeting of OBWRA and allegedly appearing to listen to the Community Speak. It could be suggested that LCC have requested that OBWRA be patient after receiving a presentation via a plan and a vision of a viable and deliverable plan from the very hard working volunteer members of the OBWRA committee, who in fact presented a very professional submission of ideas and plans, without the promised help from LCC, to enable LCC to allegedly adopt the plans and ideas of ISM the current lease holder. OBWRA’s plans, vision and ideas were collated from a full consultation with the local community, expressing their needs and ideas and at every stage the community has been consulted with leaflets, personal door to door conversations and structured consultation meetings. As with the recently published article in the Liverpool Echo, regarding the ‘Anfield’ regeneration, it is suggested that LCC can aquire land and property, with out and owner or leaseholder’s human rights being breached, and these rights can be overriden and they can be qualified if there is sufficient public interest justification! I would like to question the definition of PUBLIC INTEREST JUSTIFICATION? Residents of Wavertree expressed public interest when asking LCC to hold the current lease holders of the Ex Manweb Playing Field and Club House, to account for their breaches of lease etc, but residents where told to be patient because it was legally difficult to relinquish the lease, but now that LCC have a figure of £7 million on the value of the Manweb Field, for housing of 100 houses, it has become possible for LCC to relinquish the lease off ISM? If it was just a case of re housing ISM’s ‘ideas’ then LCC could lease them the suggested area on Jerricho Lane and then Let OBWRA and the community return the Ex Manweb to a genuine community facility with a community centre, recreation facilities and accommodation for, supported living and facilities for disabled children and adults and thus providing a true community facility that is needed by our community. We have included OBWRA’s plans in our business plan for the development of Calder Kids, for Disabled Children but the Cabinet Member for Regeneration admitted that he knew nothing about this. It could be suggested that our community have not been listened to and indeed that LCC are not concerned with the consultations that have already taken place. The offer of £7 million to build 100 houses on the Ex Manweb facility might be best value financially for LCC but what is best value for the present and future community here in Wavertree? Better Community facilities, better health, better recreation, better quality of life for residents of Wavertree.

Kenny Williams

2014-05-12 09:26:01 Reply

Sport England are the people to contact, they seem to have a lot of power, the whole scenario stinks, it would be viable for the club to be re-built and for the fields to be maintained. Certain MPs were on fund raising nights for amateur football clubs over 3 years ago, why? Ask yourself, this project is just a money making cash cow for individuals who should hang their heads in shame. An example of what can be achieved is Caldway Drive , prime development land but now an excellent football facility used every week by the community and further afield . Manweb could easily be put back to its original status, all the governing sports bodies need to be contacted plus an online petition to stop these people

Warren Bradley

2014-05-13 16:22:28 Reply

In response to Kenny, I drove the new school at King David with local residents: what was achieved on that site is there for all to see. The issues with traffic was something that we attempted to resolve, I wasn’t the Council Leader when we met on site with all partners including the school etc, had I been the issue would have been resolved as the money would have been provided, we did some traffic calming as part of the scheme including the bollards in Beauclair Dr. There wasn’t an easy answer to the indiscriminate parking by parents had there been it would have been resolved; as would all parking issues around all schools throughout the country. Regarding Caldway Drive, again this is a scheme I promised and delivered, and had the pleasure in opening officially. The Council sadly has changed leadership, where I supported youth and sport, the Mayor and Council don’t! They have earmarked the sale of land throughout the city, akin to the 80’s/90’s when the city last had a Labour leadership. We can bury our heads and pretend this isn’t the fact but the documents are there for all to read. The developers and Council (Mayor) are hand in glove and that’s why the MP and Cllr’s have been absent, even when the building burnt down. Sadly the inevitable is now reality, the lease will be sold, planning permission will be granted and another piece of sports and recreation land will be lost forever. The local residents have been ignored for the sake of a quick buck, I hope residents remember this when they go to vote in the local elections; this city needs an effective opposition something that isn’t on offer at present, too much time is spent on national issues at the expense of important community issues. I hope I’m completely wrong but I doubt it!

Kenny Williams

2014-05-17 11:39:49 Reply

Mr Bradley I am led to believe that you were the Council Leader at the time I met you, that is why I contacted you. The school had no representatives at our on -site meeting and I continually emailed you every single time a crash , or a innocent child was involved in a RTA but you never once replied. The site at King David is there for all to see, plenty of new homes, more green space taken away, continual problems every single day with traffic (school days) houses up for sale caused by the King David development and only one traffic attendant for 3 roads, brilliant. But low and behold when we asked for traffic to be moved or calmed or diverted your Council stated there was nothing that could be done because of the expense for highways to be altered, then all of a sudden a new junction is dropped in on Childwall Road, amazing.
The cost for a fatality is now over £1million, and yet we have bollards fitted on Beauclair Drive, which cause nothing but mayhem every morning, well done again.
In relation to Caldway Drive, this facility was set up over 35 years ago by local men in the Netherley area and was funded by Bovis Construction who had a great contribution in local grassroots football at the time, it was then left to demise by our Council and it was only the efforts of local people again who revived the same and turned it in to what it is now.
The downside of this was that Netherley Comprehensive lost all its sports facilities which were 6 full size football pitches, tennis courts,cricket nets,three indoor gymnasiums, a sports hall, long jump pits, discuss areas, rugby pitches and a 400 meter running track. This facility was the hub of the community and the envy of most areas of Liverpool at the time. If however if you were involved as you state re Caldway Drive then well done to you.
When you were leader of the Council you attended meetings about the said site and surely you could of foreseen what was coming, why did you not do anything about it then?
As I have stated the whole thing stinks and the plans will go ahead , god help us in 50 years when there is no green space at all but many millionaires will be off into the sunset, just like our MPs when they move up the Political ladder.
Yours In Sport
Kenny

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