Preserving important green spaces
Back in the summer of 2018, a resident tipped off Liverpool Green Party that a notice of intention to dispose of open space at St James Place had been published in the Liverpool Echo on 19th July, just as the school summer holidays were about to start – a time when few people were likely to notice it.
This is the area known as The Flat Iron, because a pub of that name stood there over 40 years ago.
The deadline for comments and objections was set at 3rd August. Green Party Councillors Lawrence Brown and Tom Crone submitted objections but missed the deadline for response by a few hours; they were eventually accepted by Liverpool City Council Legal Services as ‘late objections’.
The objections supported comments made by the respected environmentalist Paul Slater. Paul drew attention to the importance of the site for various reasons, not least
- residential amenity
- pollution control and
- the wildlife habitat it provides.
The Councillors’ objections can be found on the final page of this agenda for the Regeneration and Sustainability Select Committee public meeting on 18th January.
We heard nothing further publicly until 20th December – shortly before the Christmas break and just as the school holidays were about to start, again a time when the public were least likely to notice. This time a second supplementary agenda for the Cabinet meeting on 21st December was published. Councillor Lawrence Brown spotted this late addition of an agenda item. It proposed including the Flat Iron site in a development package for about 430 properties. Here is the agenda for that meeting, and the supplementary agenda (see page 147).
Councillor Brown was concerned that the item
- was a late addition to the agenda,
- it was listed as exempt from the public part of the Cabinet meeting, and
- it had not undergone any scrutiny through the usual channel, the Regeneration and Sustainability Select Committee.
He therefore wrote to the City Solicitor regarding scrutiny and received a response following the meeting, here are the emails.
A meeting of the Regeneration and Sustainability Select Committee was arranged for Friday but this was subsequently cancelled.
To sum up, here’s the timeline:
19th July (Just before the school holidays and summer ‘break’): Notice of proposal to dispose of the land was published in the Liverpool Echo.
20th December (Just before the school holidays and winter ‘break’): Notice published that the matter would be dealt with at Cabinet beginning at 9am on 21st December.
7.24am on 21st December, Cllr Lawrence Brown intervenes to request that proper scrutiny is afforded to this decision.
11.38 am on 21st December, City Solicitor confirms that decision was deferred for scrutiny at Regeneration and Sustainability Select Committee.
Meanwhile Greenbank Greens have been accused on Twitter, by a senior Labour Councillor, of lying. They are yet to be informed about what the lie was supposed to be. Anyway the facts speak for themselves.