The Echo recently printed a story “Plan to build homes on old Alder Hey site”; the impression is given that 400 houses will be built on the park and the parkland diminished which is very misleading. While an outline planning application has been submitted for 400 homes and 3,300 square metres of commercial and retail space on the old hospital site, it’s important to know that Springfield Park will be reinstated with the same amount of parkland that was agreed with the Trust and Liverpool City Council once the old hospital is demolished.
The overall site of Alder Hey and Springfield Park covers over 20 hectares, comprising some 11.2 hectares of hospital land and 9.4 hectares of open space, the original plan was to extend the park northward (once the old hospital was demolished) to Alder Road, there wasn’t any housing planned. However, we would get back a basic Neighbourhood park, with some standard equipment, football pitches and low maintenance.
Alder Hey had a bigger vision for the park and in July 2015 they held a week of community consultation including local residents, businesses and young people. This consultation made it clear that there was a need for developmnet possibly including residential, retail or commercial elements in order to fund a world class park for the area. The new vision for Springfield Park created with the community included ideas for performance space, cafe, cycling, community growing scheme, events and activities with a focus on healthy living and healthy eating, improved security and lighting. Something that would be unique, a green flag park that would be a visitor attraction in its own right.
In order to achieve this vision Alder Hey and the City Council have embarked on a process of developing the proposals, this has involved working with a world class landscape team, inviting developers to considerand propose plans for the old site that would help fund the vision. The development would focus on Eco-Friendly designs, plenty of greenspace, which would link through to the new park and allows residents to relax, play and enjoy the community.
The Friends of Springfield Park have been aware of these proposals, receiving updates and presentations, as they have changed frequently. The principal of some development on the old site that would help fund a sustainable new park is something we wouldn’t necessarily object to, although we haven’t been formally consulted on any specific scheme yet.
Our bottom line is simple, we wish to see the return of our parkland THE SAME SIZE THAT WAS USED TO BUILD THE NEW HOSPITAL. Of course we will want to comment on the the recently submitted planning application that would reconfigure the layout of the new park, but it is not the responsibility of the Friends Group to comment on the wider implications of scale, massing and highway issues, that would be done under the planning system and public consultation.
We do however feel it is important to point out that in our view Alder Hey has been clear about the need to include development to fund the quality of park they and the community wish to see and that contrary to recent media reports this has not been hidden.
Today – 6th December 2016 10:30am Mayor Joe Anderson has released this statement which we welcome:
Statement from Mayor Anderson on the Alder Hey planning application:
Mayor Anderson said:
“The plans which have been submitted for the former grounds of Alder Hey Hospital, are based on what is best for the hospital and not the residents. The residents around the hospital have been loyal supporters of Alder Hey and backed the Council in supporting a new building. I am disappointed that there is very little information how the Hospital will put right the problems that exist now, i.e. parking disruption to the existing residential community. Any new proposal must take into account that the hospital is a neighbour to residents.
“I want to reassure residents that I and the local MP Stephen Twigg and their elected Councillors will hold the hospital to account. I personally will make sure this happens and make sure there is delivery on the promises made to me and to the community.
“I will not let Alder Hey deliver a housing schemes that ruins the lives of their neighbours, and I’ll defend Springfield Park, so they deliver the like-for-like world-class replacement park they were promised.
“The agreement was that an improved Springfield park, the same size as the old one (9Ha) would be provided and we expect a future planning application to be submitted that makes that clear.
“Meanwhile, on the current planning application, I know it can be a nightmare to live near a hospital with serious parking issues. So I expect Alder Hey to be more innovative about managing traffic concerns and to bring forward a housing scheme which is much lower density than 400 houses.”