Housebuilder's Allerton Priory appeal 'a slap in the face' for council

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save green space in Liverpool have called on Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson to fire Redrow as the city’s “preferred housing partner”.

As part of the deal struck three years ago, hundreds of Redrow homes have been built - and many more are currently being constructed on land across the city - among them a 13 acre slice of the Calderstones/Harthill estate earmarked for Redrow executive homes.

Campaigners estimate the legal challenge will cost the city around £100,000, money, it says, it can ill afford

But Redrow’s decision to appeal against a city council refusal of planning permission for an even bigger housing development, at nearby Allerton Priory, shows an “audacious contempt” for the people and politicians of the city, campaigners claim.

Their call for the house builder to be fired came as a date was set to hear its appeal against the Allerton Priory refusal. A public inquiry will start on October 3 and last around eight days, with the hearing taking place at the Cunard Building.

Campaigners estimate the legal challenge will cost the city around £100,000, money, it says, it can ill afford.

In 2014 Liverpool City Council appointed its official Housing Delivery Partners, a consortium made up of private housing developer Redrow Homes, affordable housing provider Liverpool Mutual Homes and its building contractor Willmott Dixon. 

Two years on and Redrow identified 36 acres of Allerton Priory land – an area the size of around 24 football pitches - as one such area on which to build 160 houses. Last December a planning application was unanimously refused by councillors, on the grounds that the land contained designated heritage assets of national importance

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Green space campaigner Steve Hopley said: “Redrow’s actions really take the biscuit. The council has paved the way for hundreds of new homes, creating an easy path for Redrow through the preferred developer status. And when the mayor and the council say no to development at Allerton Priory it must be seen as a huge slap in the face from the company owned by Garston-born Steve Morgan. 

“As a Liverpool lad himself he must know the way the green spaces of south Liverpool are treasured as precious by people from across the whole city.”

The case officer’s report at the planning committee in December started:  “The park of Allerton Priory, within which the application site is located, is an important example of a small 19th century park set around a small country house. It is also of importance as part of the setting of Allerton Priory and its Lodge which are designated heritage assets of national importance. Consequently, the grounds and park of Allerton Priory are considered to be of national importance.”

Mr Hopley went on: “Redrow Homes did not even appear at the planning meeting in December and now has compounded its disgraceful behaviour by stating that it intends to appeal the decision. This demonstrates an audacious contempt for the people of Liverpool and its elected representatives by Redrow.

 “As a result of the contemptuous behaviour by Redrow we must ask ourselves if it is truly a partner or is it exploiting the city for its own profit and greed? It is our opinion that this contractual “partnership” must be seriously examined and, if possible, terminated with immediate effect and a more honourable partner found.”

He  added: “We estimate it is going to cost the city around £100,000 it can’t afford to challenge Redrow at a public inquiry.”