ALTCROSS FOOT PATH - KEEP IT OPEN!
CAMPAIGN UPDATE 15th November 2009
This isn't just about a foot path, this is about much more, we're talking
about a footpath that is said to be more than 500 years old, that goes
back to the early 1500s. The wider Liverpool 11 community has already
lost more than most of us can bear to remember in the past two decades:
playing fields, the local further education college and adult education
centre, a number of schools, and the Sayers bakery in Norris Green, closed
and demolished earlier this year, the last big employer in Liverpool 11.
Our community has withstood a stream of social injustices - is it any
wonder we've experienced such serious crime and disorder here recently?
Many of us - including my family and one of my next door neighbours have
seen our former homes and neighbourhoods demolished. We've had the Norris
Green `Boot' housing estate demolished and neighbourhood broken up, we've
recently had two estates demolished in Croxteth. This year Croxteth Community
Comprehensive School was given notice of closure in August 2010.
It really is TIME for us to stand up and say "enough is enough"
in Liverpool 11. We can't continue to live under constant threat of losing
services, resources, homes, schools and facilities by order of the council
- NOW we're going to fight back! It begins with defending this centuries
old public footpath!
BACKGROUND TO GATING/CLOSURE:
Liverpool's Lib Dem Councillors voted, against senior council officers'
advice, on 14th of October at the Traffic and Highways Representation
Committee (THRC) to gate/close Altcross Foot Path in Croxteth. The foot
path starts in Altcross Road, where I live, and passes between the six
years old Riviera Drive estate and the older Cubert Road onwards through
Dam Woods, passing by the 1980s built Croxteth Hall Park private housing
estate, where Rhys Jones was shot, onwards through to Oak Lane North where
it meets a pedestrian crossing and the Kirkby Drive Gate entrance into
Croxteth Hall Park.
CRIME USED AS REASON TO GATE/CLOSE AND DIVIDE
The single reason given for closing Altcross foot path is because it's
a focus for crime, that closure will somehow stop crime in that area,
but regular foot path users have stated to me in person that they haven't
themselves experienced crime while walking through the foot path over
many years. A family who lives on the Riviera Drive estate whose home
backs directly on to the foot path stated to me in person that their family
have not suffered crime from the foot path since they moved in over five
There have been letters in the Liverpool Echo covering the issue. On October
14th the Council heard our passionate opposition to the gating/closure
of the Altcross foot path, additionally a 700-name petition was also submitted.
I myself sent in a letter of 'objection' and also spoke at the council
meeting. The Ramblers Association also addressed the meeting; the Primary
Health Care Trust also submitted a letter of objection, as did directors
of the Croxteth Communiversity and Alt Valley Community Trust and a broad
range of other local people.
On October 30th the order to gate and close the footpath was signed. I
was originally told gating would occur within three weeks after 30th of
October. Last week I was informed by email from the council's legal services
the following: "I anticipate that the gates will not be fitted until
next month." So now it could `officially' be any day in December.
The reality is that closure of the footpath will not deal effectively
with crime in the area, as the head of the council's own 'Community Safety'
stated clearly right at the end of the meeting. A car was broken into
on the driveway next to Altcross Road foot path entrance sometime before
7am on Tuesday 10th November, the locked alley gate would not have stopped
this crime as the attack on the car was plainly made over a low fence
on the main road outside of the planned alley gate.
What gating/closure does do though is arbitrarily and collectively punish
the whole community of Croxteth for the crimes and misbehaviour of the
few. Two huge and permanently locked metal gates will physically divide
old Croxteth from new Croxteth, friends and family from easily visiting
one another. I live in old Croxteth, at the Altcross Road end.
All three local councillors live in new Croxteth on the private Croxteth
Hall estate, which will be closed off from old Croxteth. Young and old
alike will be permanently locked out from the public footpath and access
to Dam Woods. A number of young harrier hawk flyers will now be at a loss
as where to take their birds to fly, additionally locals use the footpath
to access fishing locations. The foot path provides the safest and shortest
route to Croxteth Hall Park, additionally it will impact seriously upon
residents of Croxteth Hall Park who daily use the foot path to get to
the regular bus routes on Altcross Road, the sports centre, library, post
office, shops, health care centre, schools, other services and to get
This is a poorly thought out and reactionary decision by councillors that
will physically segregate Croxteth. The vast majority of people in Croxteth
haven't been informed of the imminent closure of the public footpath on
Altcross Road. There is a lot of anger, upset and disbelief that a 500
years old footpath could just be gated/locked and people who use it daily
will be permanently excluded as will others who use it less frequently
in winter. I only knew it was going to be closed because I live on Altcross
Road and was able to register my 'objection' to closure, the vast majority
of the community haven't been asked or informed so they could not object
I organised a meeting for `objectors to closure'. The Emergency Meeting
took place on Monday 9th November at 7pm at the Croxteth Sports Centre
on Altcross Road, opposite the footpath entrance. However it was undermined
by the few who vocally and aggressively want gating/closure and physical
division of Croxteth. I was informed by the police that they'd had an
anonymous tip off that violence was expected at the meeting, the few supporters
of gating/closure aggressively attempted to undermine the meeting, I was
regularly and rudely shouted down, the next day a couple from that meeting
verbally abused and insulted me at our community picket while I was speaking
We've tried it the so-called `democratic way' - letters, petitions, speaking
to councillors and attending committees – the process failed us!
The only option now left to us is to "legally" and "peacefully"
protest in our community against the posts going in and gates going up!
Croxteth -as a community- is now in dispute with Liverpool City Council.
Come and visit us between 8am and 9.30am by the Altcross Foot Path entrance.
Altcross Road, Croxteth. Opposite the `Communiversity' and Sport Centre,
on the 14A/14C Bus Route from town.
8am every weekday – since Monday 9th November.
Support against gating/closure is growing. I'm on the community picket
every week day, drivers beep us as they drive past, others give the thumbs
up, local people have brought us cups of tea, parents taking children
to school stop and say hello. We're there daily to "Keep It Open!"
and speak to people and tell them why it's simply an injustice against
the entire Croxteth community. We've argued and reasoned with gating/closure
supporters and a few now see the bigger picture and realising the repercussions
of gating/closure upon the community now support our campaign to "Keep
LATEST: (Sunday 15th November 2009)
On Sunday 15th at the end of the Breakfast for Palestine event I was able
to briefly address an audience of many hundreds about the situation, for
which I thank Liverpool Friends of Palestine, support shown was fantastic
and a boost to morale. A group of Palestinian Fire Fighters offered their
support for our campaign, but due to a fully booked up schedule can't
visit our "community picket".
For more see:
Kai Andersen, 15th November 2009