There are grave concerns about the legitimacy of this repeat of 1960s mass clearance policies given the lack of detail in the outline applications, the lack of full public consultation, the weak grounds on which the plans are based and the likely damage to the city's communities and historic character.
In support of the many residents campaigning to keep their homes and fighting "social cleansing" you may wish to write to request that the Secretary of State Ruth Kelly "call-in" the applications and undertake a public inquiry into the relative costs and benefits of the clearance schemes.
The Secretary of State's policy is to be very selective about calling in planning applications. She will, in general only take this step if planning issues of more than local importance are involved. Such cases may include, for example, those which, in her opinion:
- may conflict with national policies on important matters;
- give rise to substantial regional controversy;
- could have significant effects beyond their immediate locality;
- raise significant architectural and urban design issues
On all these counts there is a very clear case for "call-in" - the more people make it the more likely it is to be subjected to the proper scrutiny so far lacking.
An outline letter is produced for your guidance below - please select, add and amend so the letters are not all identical, and distribute to others who may wish to support the case for call-in.
You can either write to the Secretary of State directly or to the Director of Planning at the Government Office for the North West, preferably both!
The First Secretary of State (Rt. Hon. Ruth Kelly MP)
Department for Communities and Local Government
Government Office for the North West
Director of Planning (Mrs Jo Lappin)
0161 952 4000
Fax 0161 952 4255
Web site www.go-nw.gov.uk
Dear Secretary of State,
I/we write to request the call in of planning applications 060/0631 (Anfield-Breckfield), 060 /0597 (Edge Hill) and 060/0890 (Picton), submitted to Liverpool City Council by Keepmoat plc and Bellway Homes, and approved on the 15th June 2006.
I/we also request that you issue a 'holding direction' under Article 14 of the Town & Country Planning (General Development Procedure) Order 1995, pending your decision on call-in.
The proposed developments involve the demolition of some 2,965 homes - 1,800 in Anfield-Breckfield, 640 in Edge Hill and 525 in Picton, many of which are in sustainable habitation, necessitating mass use of Compulsory Purchase Orders.
Conflicts with national policies on imortant matters
- applications run directly counter to national government planning policy, in particular as set out in Planning Policy Statement 1 (PPS1 - General Policy), Planning Policy Guidance note 3 (PPG 3 Housing), the emerging provisions in draft Planning Policy Statement 3 (draft PPS 3 Housing) and Planning Policy Guidance 15 (PPG 15 - Historic Environment)
- CABE and English Heritige criticism of inadequate detail and lack of conformity with the planning and regeneration aims of Government policy
- CABE support for call-in
- Contradicts th Government's environmental and social concerns
- Disproportionate negative impacts on racial and religious minorities
- Represents very poor value for public money
Of substantial national controversy
- Huge national and even international media controversy over Liverpool's emphasis on demolition
- Has provoked Parliamentary criticism of Liverpool's excessive use of CPO and clearance from ODPM Select Committee, and MPs and peers of all parties
- Support from respected national amenity societies for a greater use of refurbishment in Liverpool - Civic Trust, SAVE, Victorian Society etc
- Contravenes spirit of Liverpool's designation as a UNESCO World Heritage City
- Will set a national precedent that rewards unscrupulous agents of failure and renders any area of Victorian property unsafe from abuse of CPO and planning powers
- Brings well intentioned government regeneration initiatives into national and international disrepute
- Social cleansing
- European Capital of Culture will be a demolition zone
Flawed Evidence Base
- Dated research - CURS reports go back 6 years
- Market transformation - affordability issues, rocketing prices, burgeoning housing waiting list of 21,000 and growing, Shelter report on Liverpool's chronic overcrowding etc
- Lack of recent market testing
Questions over Local Planning Authority Impartiality
- Not based on real need but on manipulation of conditions through "deals" between the Local Authority and its RSL partners
- Neighbourhood Renewal Assessments and public consultations undertaken after intenral decisions to demolish already made
- Liverpool city council and RSL partners stand to benefit from the land deal with preferred developers
We urge that you subject these applications to a Public Inquiry - please keep us informed of your decision.
cc. Regional Director, Government Office for the North West
Don't resurrect the city's slum mistakes of 1960s
Jun 16 2006
By Larry Neild, Daily Post
LIVERPOOL is repeating the slum-clearance mistakes of the 1960s by agreeing to the massive demolition of thousands of terraced homes, a leading conservation campaigner warned yesterday.Florence Gersten, of the Save Our Cities pressure group, urged the city council's planning committee to reject a major scheme to bulldoze 1,800 homes in Anfield.Her opposition was backed by a number of local residents who also pleaded for their homes to be spared.The committee, which earlier toured the doomed streets, gave the green light to the multi-million plan that will also see 1,300 new homes replacing those pulled down.Committee chairman Cllr Lady Doreen Jones said a special working party would be established to ensure the development reflected the heritage of the area around St Domingo Vale.It followed concerns raised by both English Heritage and CABE, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.Residents will have a second chance to fight for their homes when a public inquiry takes place next month to decide whether a Compulsory Purchase Order should be confirmed.The regeneration scheme, spanning Sleepers Hill, Robson Street, St Domingo Vale, Oakfield Road and Walton Breck Road, has been put forward by Keepmoat.The scheme is within a bigger masterplan for the regeneration of the Anfield and Breckfield area of north Liverpool.Ms Gersten said she had never hoped to see again a repeat of the so-called renaissance of the 1960s that saw thousands of houses demolished in Liverpool."People are making assumptions of what people want, just as they did in the 1960s. People tell me the consultation process has been derisory."We are seeing thousands of homes blighted and in Anfield and Breckfield some of the streets now look like Liverpool in the Blitz of World War II. We have seen the buying up of houses by faceless organisations, and properties left empty and subjected to vandalism. "People are being offered ridiculous sums that would just about buy one room in the replacement houses. Yet in nearby streets similar houses are going for around £140,000."She told councillors they had the power to influence the futures of hundreds of people.Planning officer John Hayes said the plan was an outline application for the demolition of 1,800 homes and the building of 1,300 new homes."The scheme is in accordance with national government policies and we are trying to deliver a sustainable community. ."larryneild@@dailypost.co.uk