(Photo by Lisa Worth of the campaign group on the stairs of the Town Hall immediately after the Liverpool City Council meeting)
Campaigners were dealt a blow on Tuesday 29th January when Liverpool City Council’s Planning Committee voted to demolish a much loved community space in the business district.
Lisa Worth with a follow up article on the Bixteth Gardens demolition
A twenty person strong delegation attended the meeting at Liverpool Town Hall to oppose the council’s plans, which will see a 32% reduction in green space and the destruction of 54 mature trees.
As one of only two green spaces within the commercial area, Bixteth Gardens is used by local residents and employees alike, but the council sold the land to CTP and Kier Developments, who plan to build offices on it.
A member of the campaign group and local resident, Victoria Hyam-Beavan, said: “The decision was heart-breaking. I feel completely let down by the system and the people that are supposed to represent us.”
A petition launched on Change.org to save the space has been signed by over 1800 people, and to date 64 letters of objection have been lodged with the City Planner, Peter Jones.
At the meeting nine of the campaigners took to the lectern to explain the importance of the space to the community, and the mental health benefits of engaging with wildlife for inner city residents. But seven out of the nine councillors on the committee passed planning permission for the remediation of the land.
The substantive planning application has yet to be submitted to the council for the area, which is adjacent to The Plaza, St Paul’s Square, where vacant office suites were recently advertised.
There is a real fear that if recession dawns after a “No Deal” Brexit, any investment that might have been secured will be withdrawn, and a barren wasteland will be left at the heart of the community.
When the decision was announced at the Town Hall it was to cries of “shame” from members of the public, with some noticeably distressed.
Victoria Hyam said: “I feel suspicious. After hearing personal accounts and seeing the reactions of the committee with my own eyes, I now feel that there never was any intention to really listen to us.”
She said that campaigners have vowed to unite and continue their fight to protect Bixteth Gardens, “and the relationships we have built with our neighbours and co-workers, all because of this little city park.”
Contractors have already been seen on the site, and preparation work has begun to remediate the inner city community space.