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 Post subject: Knowsley council’s chief executive rules out legal challenge
PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 8:57 pm 
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Knowsley council’s chief executive Sheena Ramsey rules out legal challenge to government decision on Everton FC stadium
Nov 27 2009 by Richard Down, Liverpool Echo

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KNOWSLEY Council’s chief executive last night ruled out a legal challenge to the government decision.

But Sheena Ramsey admitted there was a sense of regret that the authority was left without a Plan B for Kirkby.

The authority, along with Everton FC, has never admitted to having a second option but many assumed that this was a matter of talking a good fight ahead of any government decision.

But speaking to the ECHO, she said: “I kind of wish there was something we could pull out of the top drawer now we’re in this position.

“But this was an all or nothing development.

“If it wasn’t successful we would have to go back to the drawing board and that’s where we are now.

“One of the problems we’ve faced is that people believe that there were other options that we’ve for some reason chosen to ignore.

“That wasn’t the case.”

Yesterday the ruling Labour group’s Lib-Dem opponents said that someone should pay for the mistake.

Cllr Fred Fricker said that council leader Ron Round should step down.

Ms Ramsey said that was a political matter but did confirm that she had not held any conversations with Cllr Round concerning his future.

But the three way exclusivity agreement was dead, she confirmed.

Knowsley is free to look elsewhere for a partner in regenerating Kirkby although Tesco is still likely to be the private investor the council works with.

Ms Ramsey said: “Tesco is not shackled to us now.

“But over the years we’ve worked together and developed a great understanding and got a great idea of what is needed for Kirkby.”

She repeated her real disappointment that the council’s efforts to bring about a massive change to Kirkby’s fortunes fell through.

She said: “Personally, I feel this is a missed opportunity.

“People have worked phenomenally hard to get to this point.

“It’s incredibly disappointing.”

But she said the council had not totally given up of the idea of bringing Everton to Kirkby after John Denham’s letter refused to rule out a future “appropriate” stadium scheme.

The letter said that inspector Wendy Burden was concerned about the conditions for those residnets living with Everton’s proposed stadium.

But this did not rule out an alternative proposal for a stadium.

“New schemes would be considered on their own merits.”

Ms Ramsey said: “That is an interesting chink of light. Everton’s view at this stage would be that we’re not ruling anything out.

“It is an interesting twist in the tale but one that would require a whole new application and a whole new set of work – we have spent a number of years getting to this stage.

“I’m really looking forward to a full post mortem.”

She admitted the council needs to deal with those affected by compulsory purchase orders along Cherryfield Drive but said Knowsley is not in a position to be able to take definitive steps yet.

She said: “That’s something we need to look very quickly look at. The CPOs were for that particular scheme and we’re looking at them as a matter of urgency.”

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