Skip to Main Content
Members:   Log In Sign Up
Text:  A  A  A

Planning Application Objection

By Rev T R Stafford :  23/03/2008 :  Comments (10) :

We have posted this here so that ToffeeWeb readers can see why many Kirkby residents are objecting to the proposed Destination Kirkby plans. Reverend Tim Stratford of St Chad's church has written this letter (it's publically available in pdf format on the Kirkby Team Ministry website) and it has been to sent to Knowsley Council, Hazel Blears and the GONW:

I would like to put on record my objection to planning application 08/00001/HYB including the building of Tesco/Everton Stadium adjacent to the existing Kirkby Town Centre. I have detailed some general points relating to the negative contribution I believe this project will make to the town?s regeneration below followed by some more technical planning grounds for objection.

Social Cohesion and Stability

A great deal of regeneration has brought positive benefits to Kirkby over the past two decades. In the days of Z Cars Kirkby?s image was one of ?villains and scallies?. Even as late as 1992 Kirkby was called ?Little Beirut? (Sunday Times Magazine, October 25, 1992). Today Kirkby is a vibrant town with a buzzing town centre (albeit tatty) and a village feel at the community level. Although it is a place of deep socio-economic deprivation (upper 5% IMD [Index of Multiple Deprivation 2004] with a number of areas in the worst 1% IMD) it is also a place that people are happy to be. I have worked in Norris Green, Liverpool 11, for many years where I discovered that the majority aspired to live ?somewhere else?. In my experience most people in Kirkby aspire to continue to live here - better. Knowsley Borough Council has been a major partner in the regeneration story so far along with the people of Kirkby and its voluntary and community sector bodies. This regeneration has not been brought about primarily by building projects but by improving society and strengthening community. In fact imposing buildings on the community has in the past had the opposite effect.One of the most significant characteristics of Kirkby today that marks it out from its past is its peacefulness. On the whole this is a quiet and safe place to live. Low incomes and limited horizons do diminish the opportunities that young people access compared to more affluent areas. This can lead to frustration. Many young people also appear to be uncomfortable outside of their home area in a town that is dominated by the four large estates of Southdene, Westvale, Northwood and Tower Hill. There are occasional disputes and fights between gangs from different estates. This doesn?t impact heavily on most adults. Whilst it suggests that the stable and peaceful character of the town may be fragile, nevertheless the peacefulness prevails. It is difficult to see how a football stadium will contribute to this and easy to see how it might be a cause of increased rivalry and a spark for disorder.

Quality of Life

The 2004 Index of Multiple Deprivation data suggests that people who live in Kirkby are severely disadvantaged in terms of health prospects, income, and employment opportunities (all in the worst 5%) and educational achievement (worst 10%), the Index of Income Deprivation Affecting Children is in the worst 5% and for older people in the worst 10%. But there are things that people very much appreciate living in Kirkby and that contribute significantly to the quality of life. The presence of some extensive green space in the middle of the town, wildlife and an attractive approach to the town on the main road from Liverpool are important features. Building a stadium equal in height to a 14 storey building on this land at the side of Valley Road causes a loss of amenity with much greater significance than the size of its footprint. (The highest remaining other building in the town centre will be six stories high and of very small footprint). Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council had promised extensive outdoor sports and play facilities on this land between a new Learning Centre and the new Sports and Leisure Centre. This is now reduced to an undersized single five-a-side pitch. Meanwhile the substantial Kirkby Stadium and outdoor five-a-side pitches have been demolished to make way for a coach park. This is a considerable reduction in sports facilities at the heart of the town, in a community that is marked by poor health. There is also a common perception that the backtracking from a promise to build a new Learning Centre on this site is linked to the Borough?s desire to develop the site for retail and the Everton Stadium. This poor planning communicates that education is of secondary importance to people growing up here.

Very few people appear to be convinced that the low paid jobs brought into the town by additional shopping facilities and the hospitality industry will extend their horizons. Such jobs are within easy reach in the City of Liverpool and those brought to Kirkby will only marginally extend a pool of work for Liverpool, Knowsley, St Helens and Sefton residents. There will also be an element of displacement of existing businesses. These businesses involve owners and traders whose responsibility, entrepreneurship and income far exceeds the opportunity extended to checkout assistants.

Indeed the stadium will itself contribute towards a reduction in the quality of life of local people across the town. A powerful indicator of this is the housing market?s judgement. Most people would expect houses adjacent to such a development to reduce in value. They will be severely affected by light pollution throughout much of the night, noise, delivery traffic and litter. Research by the Kirkby Residents? Action Group shows that in Coventry a wide circle of houses reduced in value when the opposite trend prevailed across the rest of the UK. Coventry is the stadium cited by KMBC as being most like the Kirkby proposals. This is important not in itself but that it indicates the expectation of a reduction in the desirability of a residential area and its quality of life. For this to be imposed on a poor area like Kirkby is a planning travesty. Crowds, traffic and parking.

Poor health is a very strong feature of this town. The stadium will bring increased triggers for fear amongst the elderly on match nights and during other events. The heavy policing normally associated with such occasions will serve to exacerbate this. Many will regard their own street as a no go area at these times. Data from West Midlands Police indicates that crimes in the beats around the Coventry Ricoh stadium are more than twice as high on match days as is the case on non-match days (request reference 430/07).

The retail outlets will bring into the town a considerably larger amount of motor traffic than it currently endures including heavy goods vehicles making deliveries to the 600,000 ft2 of shops. On a match day it is anticipated by the developers that there will be an additional 17,000 motor journeys to a town that has a current motor car population of 9,000. This will add to poor air quality and contribute to the likelihood of addition child road deaths and adult accidents alike.

Only 4,600 parking spaces are planned at present as far as I can count. That sounds a lot against Kirkby?s current needs but is patently inadequate for the proposals. On street parking is going to be considerable. Everton FC have promised free permits to local people. At present local people can already park on the street for free (many have no other option) and so can their families and guests who aren?t local.

Impact on the existing town centre

Whilst the existing town centre is tatty and provides mainly for only very small retail units it is vibrant and well used. This could be extended and supplemented by a sensitive development but Tescos appear to propose an alternative development. There can never be any guarantee that phase 4, upgrading the existing town centre in 2010, will be delivered. By that date it may already have died from the alternatively cited substantial competition anyway. This is not the best way to improve the space that is occupied by people and traders who are already heavily committed to the town, many of whom live here. Planners should bear in mind that Development Securities who already own substantial parts of Kirkby Town Centre, have submitted proposals for a more evolutionary approach.

As well as private businesses Kirkby Town Centre houses many public facilities and community & voluntary sector organisations. The Tesco proposals represent a considerable reduction in this provision. These are the very facilities that have brought regeneration in Kirkby over recent years.

These proposals appear to assume that regeneration is brought about by new buildings being built on grass land. Concrete and stainless steel may make a place look industrious but it can also contribute to degeneration. One Liverpool resident recently commented, ?They have just regenerated our community and they?ve taken the heart out of it?. Planners must ensure that the regeneration of a community is the focus for Kirkby and not the development of a piece of land.

Democracy

Whilst democracy is not most obviously a planning issue it is relevant. Kirkby has surprisingly low participation in democracy. Many council wards are uncontested and turn-out rates are exceptionally low. There is a strong sense throughout the population that people are normally not listened to and are often ?done to?. These things contribute to low self-esteem and should be tackled by any well thought through regeneration strategy. Consultations over the Tesco proposals conducted by KMBC have been little more that strong armed marketing exercises. The July 2007 consultations over the current UDP and the Council?s IPS mentioned neither of these, and gave residents no space to register an objection on the printed survey form. In fact many Council officers staffing the consultation did not themselves know what UDP was nor what were the prevailing plans for the land in question ahead of Tescos? plans. This manifestly did not take local people seriously and raises serious questions of the whole scheme as a regeneration strategy.

Technical Objections

I further believe that this planning application should be refused on the following grounds.

  • The application will lead to a significant adverse visual impact on the Old Hall Lane Conservation Area which is directly opposite the planned stadium across Valley Road. The Conservation Area includes the Grade 2* St Chad?s Church. An important aspect of this building is its visual presence throughout the town. This was protected in restricted covenants when the Earl of Sefton developed its surroundings limiting the height of any construction within 300 yards. The visual impact of the church extends well beyond 300 yards and is a source of civic pride for many residents. This is a breach of PPG15.
  • The application is a departure from the Knowsley Unitary Development Plan which zones the greater part of this site south of Cherryfield Drive as urban green space, and it further conflicts directly with the Kirkby Town Centre Regeneration policy.
  • The application conflicts with regional and national planning policies with respect to retail developments. The retail element is inappropriate for the role and function of Kirkby Town Centre, and would result in Kirkby becoming a competing rather than a complementary centre to established regional and sub-regional centres including Liverpool, St. Helens, Southport and Ormskirk.
  • The application fails to meet the sequential test for new retail development set out in PPS6. Tesco own a site within the existing Kirkby Town Centre area, and they have failed to set out a justification for developing this green field site rather the available town centre alternative.
  • The development would lead to a massive increase in traffic and offers inadequate parking provision given the inevitable impact of a major retail destination and football stadium. This would result in local road congestion, increased on-street parking, nuisance and loss of amenity to local residents. Furthermore, the proposals for reducing the impact of traffic from the stadium are based on a wish-list of schemes, (new buses/coaches/trains, Park & Ride sites, etc), none of which are deliverable, or committed to in the application.
  • The application only contains detailed proposals for the new Tesco food store and football stadium. It fails to provide any mechanism for the wider improvement of Kirkby Town Centre or local community and social infrastructure.
  • The Environmental Assessment does not comply with the requirements of the legislation as it does not adequately assess the environmental effects of the development and is therefore unsound.

Furthermore as a local resident I feel that Knowsley Council are not competent to determine this application as they are the principal landowner and have already granted the developer exclusivity status and have signalled their strategic support for its objectives.

Revd T R Stratford
This objection is offered in my personal capacity
as there has not yet been time for the Church
Council to discuss its contents.

Reader Comments

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer


Robert Carney
1   Posted 24/03/2008 at 14:30:08

Report abuse

Many thanks to the to Reverend, this reiterates the many postings regarding access and the baloney that says all Kirkby residents want this development.

As the planning decision comes towards us, we will see many many more objections like this. Based on fact ? not propaganda the Board spews out.
Paul Gladwell
2   Posted 24/03/2008 at 15:03:24

Report abuse

Here, here, Robert, we all want something done regarding progression, but how on earth can anyone trust Wyness with the responsibilty of doing this?
Lies, lies and more lies... but if we don't do it, we will die!!!! Utter bullshit.
Jay Harris
3   Posted 24/03/2008 at 15:31:37

Report abuse

Totally agree both objectively and subjectively.
Why ruin the current lifestyle of Kirkby residents and Evertonians for the sake of lining somebody?s pockets.
And more importantly being pushed by incompetents that have no idea or experience of such a major community development.
Karl Masters
4   Posted 24/03/2008 at 17:22:08

Report abuse

Other than the planting of a giant stadium in the middle of a small town, which is far from desirable on many levels, the most telling point for us mnatchgoers is near the end:

’ Furthermore, the proposals for reducing the impact of traffic from the stadium are based on a wish-list of schemes, (new buses/coaches/trains, Park & Ride sites, etc), none of which are deliverable, or committed to in the application.’

My biggest concern from a selfish point of view is being locked in some sort of Park & Ride, Gridlock, Traffic frenzy before and after the game. If the Team was not doing too well or had nothing to play for it would deter me from attending.

Answer; Re-develop Goodison or build a shared Stadium in Stanly Park. The aea has a proven record and infrastructure to deal with large crowds. And now Kirkby is likely to cost Everton FC in excess of £100m, the above 2 options are probably just as financially attractive.
Tim Davis
5   Posted 24/03/2008 at 18:17:01

Report abuse

His voice is no more valid than any other knowsley resident - and that includes the 40,000+ Kirkby residents who havent signed objections and petitions - the silent apathetic majority which will almost certainly be proved once and for all in the local elections, there?s a strong chance that the already small and very localised anti-stadium movement will be stone cold dead in about 5 weeks time if the ?First for Kirkby? lot win just one seat or none at all in North Knowsley - then the decision will be 100x easier for KMBC and the GONW.

Some people miss the point entirely that wherever we move to that isn't used to having a stadium on its doorstep ie anywhere apart from staying at Goodison will have a couple of thousand objections - building on Walton Hall Park would make objections in Kirkby seem like a small tea party - same for the loop, residents in Everton wont want a stadium near them either - easily another 2,000+ objections from there as well.

I?m still waiting here with baited breath waiting for the KEIW (Keep Everton In Walton) campaign to start up - I wonder why it hasnt? Oh my god its not because they?ll be glad to see the back of us is it. ;)
Steve Hogan
6   Posted 24/03/2008 at 18:34:34

Report abuse

This piece whilst well written and the basis of considerable empirical research is hugely contradictory from the very beginning to the end.

Now I?m sure the reverend is fairly close to his flock of local parishioners but to describe downtown Kirkby as having a ?village feel? at community level is stretching ones imagination a little methinks!

Also, his later statement that there will automatically be an increase in ?child deaths? because of an increase in local traffic on matchdays is bordering on some of the most ?alarmist? comments I seen yet on the whole Kirkby debate.

The surrounding streets of Goodison contain some of the most densly populated residential areas in europe, yet I can?t remember one child death over the last forty years due to matchday traffic?

Suggest you stick to the facts reverend old chum.
Dan McKie
7   Posted 25/03/2008 at 12:20:01

Report abuse

The rev really does sell the place doesnt he? He might aswell have just said "Kirkby is a total doss-hole full of low paid, out of shape, thick scallies"! I thought pretty much the whole article was a load of rubbish from someone who is completely out of touch!
Steve Syder
8   Posted 25/03/2008 at 13:27:36

Report abuse

I wonder what colour scarf the reverand dons on a Saturday?
Robert Carney
9   Posted 25/03/2008 at 22:54:24

Report abuse

Tim Davis; do not underesimate the residents of Kirkby. Like many other working class people, they will vote independently. Look at the residents of Everton (sic). Whilst being tied with a load of dodgy official candiates they voted un-official labour for many years. Look at the rent strike in Kirby in the early seventies, I admit people are not particulary political these days but they are easily awoken.

Plenty of neighboring councils are also against the proposals.

To think that Evertonians miss the point entirely is a show of arrogance. Anyone with a brain knows it is a sell out to Tesco and particular Leahy. Our chairman and board have stitched themselves up so much they have no-where to turn. The most sucessful retailer in Britsh history is laughing his socks off.

Also if you laugh at a village feel to things (Steve Hogan), open your eyes. The whole of Liverpool whether Speke, Garston, West Derby, Aintree, Toxeth, Walton, Anfield, god forbid Norris Green has a village feel to it, they are just not pretty in our minds of what a village should be. ps: visit Wales and the lakes they are pretty and have the same competitive feel about them and the same social problems of the places I have mentioned above. Dan Mc Kie, why is a person who spends his professional life in one area is so out of touch. You do not say why you are so in touch. I guess you know fuck all about Kirkby.
Steve Syder, it is a pity your only contribution comes down to a colour of a scarve. You do not do the people of Kirkby or football fans in general with a statement like that.
Billy Cuddy
10   Posted 19/05/2008 at 16:32:40

Report abuse


If Everton FC move to Kirkby,I beleive that they should change their name to Kirkby Town.
If this was to happen we will have less complaints about this on going saga.

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment to Column articles, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and MailBag submissions across the site.



© ToffeeWeb
Menu
OK

We use cookies to enhance your experience on ToffeeWeb and to enable certain features. By using the website you are consenting to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.