Planning Application No 15F/0516:
SITE OF FORMER GATEACRE COMMUNITY COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL, GRANGE LANE, LIVERPOOL L25 4SD
1.1 The Gateacre Society was founded in 1974 as the Civic Trust-registered local amenity society for the Gateacre area. We comment on all major planning applications within our area, which is centred on Gateacre Village but extends as far as Quickswood Drive/Black Woods in the west and Belle Vale Shopping Centre in the east.
1.2 We have always taken a keen interest in the future of this site, because of its size, its proximity to Gateacre Village Conservation Area, and its protected (UDP Green Space) status. When the school announced its intention to relocate to Belle Vale, we suggested to the Council's Planning Department that a development brief needed to be drawn up - with community involvement - to guide prospective purchasers. We regret that this did not happen.
1.3 We feel that the public consultation exercise carried out by Countryside Properties in November 2014 had a number of shortcomings. Their Mailing Area was not big enough, several residents who were supposedly on the list to receive a leaflet (e.g. in Grange Lane, Elmsfield Close and Grange Weint) did not get one, and our Society - in spite of its known longstanding interest - was not specifically invited to participate. The A5-sized 'Feedback Form' which was distributed with the leaflet was unnecessarily small and cramped, and totally unsuitable for anyone with poorer-than-average eyesight; the combination of tiny white lettering on a blue background, or pale blue lettering on white, rendered it almost illegible. The wording of the questions was also, we feel, ambiguous and in need of clarification.
1.4 We made Countryside Properties (via Turley) aware of our concerns, but no satisfactory answers were ever received. The fact that - according to the submitted Statement of Community Engagement (February 2015) - only 57 feedback forms were returned, out of the 1,000 distributed, suggests that many other people found them difficult to complete.
1.5 Not only were our concerns about the consultation procedure not satisfactorily addressed, but our own comments on the draft proposals (which we submitted to Turley on 3rd December 2014, in a five-page document entitled 'Feedback from the Gateacre Society') were almost totally ignored. No explanation has been offered for this. Nor have we been able to obtain a list of the changes which were made to the layout as a result of the public consultation. The submitted Design & Access Statement (February 2015) states - in para.4.10 - "The feedback received provided a mixture of comments with comments regarding highways, access, housing numbers, green space and public transport all being raised. All comments have been reviewed and considered by the project team and accommodated in the revised layout where possible". However, we have been unable to detect ANY significant changes.