2nd July 2015
See this recent article in the Liverpool Echo:
Map of the site in question:
Proximity to downtown Birkenhead:
So, as we can see, it would be a very short walk back to the Chelsea tractor for shoppers loaded down with M&S bags.
Since anybody can remember, this site has been a pleasant, safe, grassed area with trees, owned by Wirral Council, where local children constantly played. Despite this, in March 2014, Council leader Phil Davies oversaw its sale to SIP Car Parks – entirely without conditions – and in return for £106,000.
However, planning permission for two car parks was originally refused, and the application is now at appeal with the Planning Inspectorate. When this happened, still smarting from the local Green Party’s victory in this ward, Frank Field MP and Phil Davies got together to produce a colourful, smiley leaflet making some bold claims, an excerpt of which is reproduced below:
In effect, as the May 2015 election approached, it appears Council leader Davies used this planning refusal to claim that regardless of permitting an unconditional sale of the land in March last year, his intention all along had been a ‘campaign to protect green spaces.’
With the general election safely out of the way, what happened next (without a peep from either Phil Davies or Frank Field, who’d claimed to be concerned and protective of the land) was atrocious. Compare the image above with the one below.
The developer who’d bought the land trashed it, felling trees, churning up the ground and transforming what had once been a safe haven, and the local kids’ favourite play area into this:
The site remains in the same torn up, unsafe condition to this day and the three questions which need answering now are:
- After an overwhelming rejection of the initial planning application, was the site trashed deliberately in order to influence the process, to bias the appeal, and to place doubts in the mind of the planning officers?
- Is it simply a matter of time before the area is tarmaced over, the pay and display machines are installed, the roar of internal combustion engines fills the air and the anticipated takings quickly surpass the £106,000 purchase price as income streams go pouring into the coffers of SIP Car Parks?
- Despite Frank Field and Phil Davies’ stated concerns for public safety and the environment, local people here have not seen sight or sound of them since the May election and are now wondering where they are, why they’ve lost their tongues and why they’re keeping silent about the destruction of a green space that was once so very close to their hearts?
Note: local media / newspapers refused to cover this story …and another important question is …Why?
Are their hands tied?