A Birkdale Councillor is calling on residents of the area to unite against the latest move by developers Centremodel Products Ltd of Fulwood, Preston, to wreck the historic West Birkdale Conservation Area by developing the playing fields of the former Deaf School, also known as “Terra Nova”. The developers have lodged a formal appeal to the planning inspector against previous rejection of their development plans.

 ots-cllr dawson lib dem southport ots onthespot ots otsnews.co.uk_0Dukes Ward Lib Dem councillor Tony Dawson describes the proposals, which are also opposed by English Heritage, as ‘gross vandalism’. He hopes that residents’ opposition to the proposals at the coming appeal will see them finally rejected by the Planning Inspector.Sefton Council’s planning committee rejected the proposals to build 30 houses on the playing fields in December 2013. The developers, not only want to be allowed to build the houses but want to be allowed to do this before they refurbish the main building into 27 apartments. Local residents are, not surprisingly, very suspicious of such moves, fearing that the fire-damaged building will simply be left to rot once the profit has been taken from the executive housing.

Councillor Dawson believes that the key document in this matter is the West Birkdale Conservation Area Appraisal, adopted by the Council in March 2008.

“This document is required to be treated as a material consideration in any planning process within the conservation area yet, to date, not one word of it has been quoted during consideration of this proposal.”

“The document is perfectly clear that the views across the playing field to the Terra Nova building are CRITICAL to the integrity of the conservation area. They should not, therefore, be allowed to be threatened.”

“Playing fields such as this one on Lancaster Road can be used for a variety of sporting activity and should not be thrown away simply to line the pockets of developers. We have already suffered too much ‘garden grabbing’ in Southport. But this proposal is the equivalent of grabbing more than thirty gardens.”

Anyone wishing to object to the development proposals can contact the Planning Inspectorate, quoting APP/M4320/A/14/2224988 and the address 40 Lancaster Road, Birkdale.

The Sefton MBC appraisal document for the Conservation Area is at:


The document describes (s 4.3) the views across the playing field toward the building from the South as:

“Views of specific buildings are not generally important to the West Birkdale Conservation Area as there is very little hierarchy between the older buildings. The only one ‘feature’ building and therefore the exception to this rule is Terra Nova, the former school for the partially hearing, due to its significantly larger size and open grounds. Views towards its prominent south facing elevation are a critical part of the character of the conservation area. ” 

The word ‘critical’ is defined in the Concise Oxford Dictionary as:

“Having a decisive or crucial importance in the success, failure, or existence of something”.

So, what the appraisal of the Conservation Area, which is a material planning consideration, is saying is that the view across that playing field is crucial/decisive in the success or existence of this conservation area. As such, it cannot be ignored or discarded lightly.

Sefton Council Planning Committee’s original rejection of the proposal, which is the subject of the Appeal, is here:


The deadline for objections to be received by the Planning Inspector is 15th February 2015.  The Case Officer is Melanie Dunn: email melanie.dunn@pins.gsi.gov.uk . Planning Inspectorate Customer Support Line is available on 0303 444 5000.

More details are here:



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