2. Green Space issues.
2.1 The whole of the former School site (including the footprint of the buildings) is designated as Green Space in the Liverpool UDP. This means that the value of the Green Space, in terms of recreation, visual amenity (including vistas) and nature conservation needs to be assessed before redevelopment plans are drawn up.
2.2 The past recreational value of the site was as playing fields for the School. Now that the School has moved, alternative provision has been made adjacent to the new site. We are told that Section 77 Consent has been granted by the DfE for disposal of the site, though we have not seen the details of this and we were unaware of any S77 public consultation taking place. However, the site is defined by the Liverpool UDP as falling within a Park Deficiency Area. This means that every effort should be made to incorporate an area of recreational open space within the new development.
2.3 The visual amenity value of the site is considerable. It is overlooked by housing on three sides and also offers vistas towards Prescot and the Pennines to passers-by along both Cuckoo Lane and Gateacre Park Drive. It is a rare piece of open - not tree covered - space in this formerly rural, now suburban area of the city of Liverpool. The less distant vistas, towards Grange Lane from the north-western corner of the site, are also of interest as they feature two Listed Buildings - the Crying Tree (originally Gorsey Cop, but listed as Chez Philippe) and Grange Hollies (the Abbeyfield home). Both of these were built as merchants' villas in the mid 19th century to take advantage of the rural surroundings, and their setting is enhanced by the existence of the green field opposite. Neither of these Listed Buildings is indicated on the 'Opportunities and Constraints plan' that was displayed at the Public Consultation event. The small sandstone building called The Lodge, on the corner of Grange Lane and Gateacre Park Drive, is another interesting 19th century building, the setting of which is enhanced by the adjacent green space. (It is incorrectly marked as a Listed Building on the Opportunities and Constraints plan).
2.4 The nature conservation value of the site is likely to have been limited as a result of its past management as playing fields, but a survey would no doubt indicate habitats and features of interest which should be protected. We welcome the proposal to provide every house with a garden, and trees, which will attract birds and other wildlife in the future.
2.5 Considerable emphasis has been placed on the 'remediation' aspects of the redevelopment scheme. Much of the former playing field area was a landfill site, which we understand was created in the early 1950s for the specific purpose of raising the ground level to provide sports pitches. We have yet to see the results of the ground investigations that have taken place, but we feel it is important that these results are published as soon as possible. Local residents need to be reassured that the building of new houses on the site will solve rather than exacerbate any contamination problems.