A Planning inquiry into developers’ proposals to build dozens of luxury homes selling for millions of pounds on the playing fields to the south of the former Birkdale Deaf School starts today.
Leading the opposition to the proposal is Local Lib Dem deputy leader Cllr who represents West Birkdale on the Council.
Councillor Dawson, who hopes to address the Inquiry on behalf of local residents and the wider public is scathing not only of the proposal but of the timid opposition to it which has been presented by Sefton Council to date.
“The Council seems to only be quibbling about affordable housing” says Cllr Dawson, “but this proposal is about destroying a view and vista of “Terra Nova” the only listed building within the West Birkdale Conservation area which the Council’s own documents say is a critical element in the Conservation Area. This clear policy of the Council, adopted in 2008, is, in turn, required to be a material consideration in any proposal to develop this site. Yet the Planning Committee has, so far, only quibbled about a bit of affordable housing.”
“I sincerely hope this second Inquiry (the first one three years ago threw out the development proposal in half a day) will nail the lid on these money grabbing attempts to spoil one of the best bits of our town.”
Councillor Dawson is also appalled that the Council has no Sports field strategy worth talking about.
“Diabetes and obesity are on the rampage yet Sefton’s only strategy for playing fields appears to be to concrete them over,” he says.
“It is a total scandal that this valuable sports facility, once also a marvellous recreation area for local people, has been denied the residents of Southport, young and old, for many years because of the intransigence of the owners of the site. It requires restoring and giving over to the Southport & Birkdale Club who have been willing to maintain the grounds for free, had only they been allowed to. The club tried to get back in there but were slapped in the face.”
As for Terra Nova itself, this Jewel in Birkdale’s crown withstood the efforts of arsonists to raze it to the ground but its structure is suffering and it remains an eyesore in an otherwise attractive area.
“The conversion of the listed building itself needs to proceed apace.” says Cllr Dawson ” Water damage continues in large parts of the house If we do not see progress within a few months then the Council needs to slap a ‘Repair Order’ on the owners and even consider compulsory purchase.”
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