The following has been received via the Liverpool Parks Friends Forum.

Liverpool’s Green & Open Spaces Report and the Local Plan.

Liverpool’s Draft Local Plan will become available for the Council’s Cabinet meeting on 19 August 2016. The Green & Open Space Review Board’s Final Report was due to be published on 6 October 2016.

Liverpool is one of the few local authorities to commission a major strategic review of green and open spaces for the city. This mayoral commission was established at the end of 2014, in part, reacting to the high profile and vocal campaigns of local people to save Sefton Park Meadows, Walton Hall Park and Woolton Woods. However, during the first consultation for Liverpool’s Local Plan a number of house builders also recommended a review of the city’s green space and green wedge land – to encourage the city to provide a planning policy structure to identify the best green spaces to exploit for development. 

The Green & Open Spaces Review Board’s research was carried out to inform and feed into the city’s Local Plan. Liverpool’s Local Plan sets out the city’s planning and cultural policy for the next 15 years or more. Central government have set a deadline for all local authorities to finalise their Local Plans by March 2017 and the period for public consultation is limited to six weeks. Liverpool’s existing Unitary Development Plan (UDP) policy will be replaced by Liverpool’s Local Plan once government inspectors approve and finalise it.

The formulation of the Local Plan comes at a time when central government cuts are severely biting into the City Council’s budget. Without any statutory obligation to fund parks and green space the Council predict that by 2017 there will be ittle or no money to maintain these public green spaces. This period also coincides with the government’s push for local authorities to provide more houses.

Housing developers are keen to exploit this situation and are persuading the city to part with historic parkland for housing schemes. Redrow Homes North West is the Council’s preferred developer and they favour building on previously undeveloped green spaces. In recent years Redrow have acquired from the city five former school playing fields and designated green space for housing schemes. Redrow now have their sights on the highly profitable areas of green space located in the leafy suburbs of south Liverpool for ‘executive’ homes.