Controversial plan to build nearly 100 homes near Alder Hey tipped for green light

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The controversial application has been recommended for approval despite a number of objections.

A proposed housing development on former hospital land that has caused consternation in the community is facing a final decision on its future.

More than two years ago, plans were given the go-ahead for the housing put forward by property developers Step Places and McCarthy Stone compromising four blocks up to five storeys high on part of the former Alder Hey Hospital site on Alder Road. Amended plans, following portions of the land bought back by the NHS for the development of neighbouring Springfield Park, were submitted to Liverpool Council.

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A decision on the application, which has caused controversy in the community regarding the long-running saga to handback Springfield Park in full, will be made next week with objections raised by community leaders over the development.

Under the plans submitted by Manchester-based Step Places, 59 retirement units would be built alongside 31 houses and eight autism assisted living units would now feature. When the original plans were submitted for the old demolished Alder Hey site, almost 500 objections were lodged with the city council – an online petition of more than 1,300 signatories has been submitted alongside a series of formal objections.

The wrangle between the community in Knotty Ash and the hospital over Springfield Park has continued since a land exchange agreement with Liverpool Council made in 2012. In 2015, the specialist children’s hospital opened its new healthcare campus on land within Springfield Park resulting in green space being lost in the community.

Alder Hey is obligated to return 9.4 hectares of land back to council ownership. Dame Jo Williams, chair of the Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust board, said she recognised it had been a “long and extended period of time” for the full park to be handed back to the community.

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Documents made public ahead of a Liverpool Council planning committee next Tuesday have laid bare the litany of objections registered regarding the development. Among them was ward member Cllr Joanne Kennedy.

She said: “In order to facilitate this development, swales are being built on park land. A housing development was never part of the original deal when the community agreed to a new hospital being built on Springfield Park.

A 98 home development for Springfield Gardens is recommended for approval. Image: Planning docsA 98 home development for Springfield Gardens is recommended for approval. Image: Planning docs
A 98 home development for Springfield Gardens is recommended for approval. Image: Planning docs | Planning docs

“The fact that these swales are now taking away from the 9.4 hectares that was promised back to the community is unacceptable.” Additionally, concerns have been raised about how a development over three storeys would be out of keeping with the surrounding area.

Members of Friends of Springfield Park – who have campaigned to have the area restored back to the community – set out their fears the development may discourage people from using the green space.

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Despite the concerns raised, the plans have been recommended for approval by council officers. The report said: “It is considered that the proposal offers a high-quality residential scheme that would lead to the re-development of a brownfield site improving the built environment and as such would be a regeneration to the local area.”

The application will be subject of a site visit before councillors make a decision at Liverpool Town Hall.

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