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Keeping Everton in Our City • View topic - ENQUIRY WEEK 1 - DAYS 1-4

Keeping Everton in Our City

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 Post subject: ENQUIRY WEEK 1 - DAYS 1-4
PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:27 am 
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Let Battle Commence
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Promptly at 10:00 am the no nonsense inspector, Mrs Wendy Burden, began the eagerly awaited public inquiry into Tesco’s planning application for a massive retail park, supermarket and, perhaps most controversially, a 50,000 seat stadium for Everton Football Club.

Opening on behalf of Tesco Stores Ltd, the packed audience witnessed Mr Patrick Clarkson QC attempting to portray Kirkby as a massively deprived area in desperate need of the benevolence of Tesco; this led many to believe that a delegation from Oxfam and War on Want were about to descend on Kirkby led by Bob Geldof with his plans for a charity single to help the poor souls of Kirkby.

Everton faired little better; describing the need to relocate as chronic and highlighting the results of a fan survey, which placed Everton 19th out of 20 in terms of fan facilities he went on to explain, somewhat inexplicably to Evertonians present, that 53% of the seats at Goodison were obstructed and that inadequate facilities constrain revenue which in turn reduces necessary investment in stadia. He continued “Everton are unable to expand and that the club required 50,000 seats.

Mr Clarkson went on to explain that the critical mass of the retail is now classified as an attractor and that as a consequence of the retail this will enable, but not in the usual sense, the cross funding of the stadium for the benefit of the community, he later explained that the demolition of 72 residential units (homes) is being sought with the greatest of reluctance.

Covering the refusal by the applicants to release certain documentation, citing confidentiality and commercial sensitivity Mr Clarkson highlighted that one of the objectors, St Modwen as developers at Skelmersdale, had likewise cited the same when Tesco made enquiries regarding their £360M in what he described as a less deprived area. Mr Clarkson appeared oblivious to the patently obvious fact that St Modwen’s development, which incidentally meets all planning requirements, wasn’t the subject of a public inquiry.

He closed his opening statement by stating that they (the applicants) will seek to explain to the secretary of state “in the exercise of balance, the advantages of the scheme, with the unique coincidence of needs overwhelm any disadvantages.

Mr Martin Kingston QC for Knowsley continued the deprivation in Kirkby theme by explaining “the current proposal would break the cycle of deprivation which had been a feature of the area for so long and to do so in a way which will make a real and sustained ton the area”

The planning inspector reminded the applicants that after several requests many documents were still to be released by the applicants to the inquiry.

The opposition led by Liverpool City Council and the combined authorities were next with Liverpool’s QC, Mr Stephen Sauvain, entering the fray. It was very noticeable that whilst the applicant’s legal teams were attempting to simply paint a positive picture of the future, under Tesco, the opposing teams were happy to illustrate the departures from established planning policies, both Mr Sauvain QC and Mr Roger Lancaster demonstrated time and time again that the applicants case was hopelessly inadequate in relation to local, regional and national planning policies.

Mr Sauvain concluded his opening statement with an attack on the applicant’s apparent shift in their position on the correlation between the stadium and the size of the retail, he elucidated, “The role of the stadium in these application proposals seems to be confused. Initially the planning statement repeated again and yet again that the proposed quantum of retail development was required in order to perform an enabling function by meeting a £52M gap in funding for the stadium. Knowsley were left in no doubt that the faced a “once in a lifetime” opportunity however the applicant and the local authority now seem very coy about providing any information which would explain the financial relationship between the quantum of development proposed and the cross-subsidy which, we are told, is required by the club” Mr Sauvain concluded by questioning the apparent shift in position over the applicants explanation concerning the meaning of enabling when during the planning process they explained that on over fifty occasions the level of retail is needed to deliver the cross subsidy of £52M.

Tony Barton then gave a passionate speech that contained a brief chronological history on the events surrounding the campaign against the building of the stadium leaving Ronnie Round, the leader of Knowsley Council, blankly staring into space as Tony described the decision not to hold a referendum on the basis that the people of Kirkby would be unable to understand the complex issues involved.

Dave Kelly of KEIOC concluded the introductions by giving an equally passionate speech regarding being a lifelong Kirkby resident and a lifelong Evertonian who welcomed appropriate regeneration of his hometown but not Everton, as a 50,000-seat stadium doesn’t belong in a 42,000 resident town. Southdene not Dixie Dean and Mere Green not Quarry Green he explained to the assembled residents.

On the commencement of the delivery of the evidence of Mr John Francis, a witness on planning issues for Tesco / Everton, the revised Section 106 agreement made an appearance only to be found to be wanting by all the opposing parties. Mr Francis was firstly guided through his evidence by Tesco’s QC before Liverpool’s QC, Mr Sauvain, began a thorough cross-examination with, amongst others, confirmed:

That the retail park wasn’t a retail park!
That Tesco didn’t need the stadium, they could go ahead without the stadium
A key component of the applicants case is that South of Cherryfield Drive was big and brash
That an alternate site for Everton and a Tesco was being sought in 2004.
Mr Francis confirmed that even though 11,000sq m are needed within the existing town centre 50,000sq m have been applied for
That the Knowsley Replacement Unitary Development Plan ("KRUDP") had been abandoned.

The overall assessment of the first day is that already the weaknesses of the Tesco application are all too readily exposed for all to see and that both Tesco and Everton could be in for rough ride as the opposing lawyers line up for their opportunity interrogate the witnesses.

KEIOC will endeavour to bring you the highlights of the days events at Kirkby every evening, the full text of the opening statements will appear here a little later.


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 Post subject: Re: "Let Battle Commence"
PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 1:30 pm 
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I like the 2nd last paragraph. I await more of the same comforting words.


Really. You would think they would pack their bags and run. Could Kenwright live out his remaining years with a red face :oops: .


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 Post subject: Re: "Let Battle Commence"
PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:01 pm 
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Can't believe BK's not employed Perry Mason as his brief and Jimmy Stewart as the star witness who'll turn the case on its head with his dogged pursuit of truth in the face of rabid questioning from KEIOC's 'Tom Hagen'.

:idea: (*Hmm - better copywright it before BK rips it off!)


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 Post subject: Enquiry day two
PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:22 am 
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Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Day Two of the Public Inquiry
The morning of the second day of the public inquiry saw the continued cross-examination of Tesco’s planning expert Mr John Francis. As expected the questioning didn’t take long before the concerns surrounding the planning policy departures raised their head. Mr Stephen Sauvain, QC for Liverpool City Council, highlighted the non compliance with the Regional Spatial Strategy, a policy regular readers of the KEIOC website will be very familiar with. Mr Francis reluctantly admitted that whilst there were some deviations it was of some concern that Kirkby had in fact been ignored in the policy. This was not the case, Knowsley made several robust representations to the Government regarding this when the policy was under review; they were all dismissed but that clearly doesn’t prevent Knowsley and Tesco from ignoring the government and the wishes of five neighbouring authorities. Indeed the LCC QC, as he did yesterday, suggested that the agreement between Knowsley, Tesco and Everton led to the scrapping of the recently adopted UDP. Mr Francis claimed that it is the applicants case the development is there to meet the needs of 225,000 people as the desired residential quota of Kirkby, 80,000, has never been achieved. With regard to the claim that the football stadium will enhance the image of Kirkby Mr Francis, after struggling with his geography, didn’t appear to know where the Reebok or the Ricoh arena where, Mr Sauvain appeared to make his point that a stadiums name attracted the attention, not its location.

The counsel for the combined authorities continued in the same vein, focusing on Kirkby’s current and projected position within the retail hierarchy, an element within the RSS, which is there to protect, previously agreed regional centres. Knowsley and Tesco appear to have their own version. With total disregard to the stated policy Mr Francis reiterated that the application does comply with the requirements of the RSS through meeting the needs of the community. That would be the needs identified in Knowsley’s UDP and abandoned on the strength of the promises that yesterday Mr Francis admitted had no guarantees of delivery, specifically elements of phase 3 and all of phase 4, even if planning permission is forthcoming.

In keeping with the applicant’s new position on the stadium and the size of the retail, Mr Francis refuted that there was an inter-relationship between the critical mass of retail and the stadium preferring to concentrate on the alleged benefits that the relationship would deliver to the community.

A resident of the Grange Estate brought up the spectre of the Environmental Impact Assessment in relation to their homes, information that was requested at the pre-inquiry meeting and is yet another piece of information whose non appearance joins a growing list of information to test the patience of the no nonsense Mrs Wendy Burden.

Finally Mr Dave Kelly of KEIOC requested that the alternative site assessment document should be disregarded owing to the fact that it was made after the elusive exclusivity deal was signed, this was declined. Finally Mr Francis once again struggled when asked if valley hills were a designated green space, “was that in Scotland Road?” queried Mr Francis. Lets hope he found his way home after a day on the ropes!


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 Post subject: Enquiry day three
PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 12:09 pm 
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Thursday, 20 November 2008
Day Three of the Public Inquiry
Day three dawned but unfortunately the planning inspector, Mrs Wendy Burden, had managed to come down with a bout of food poisoning; fortunately her two colleagues weren’t victims so the ordeal of cross examination continued for Mr Francis, the applicants planning witness.

Mr Francis confirmed that Everton could not leave the stadium for 25 years and that Tesco had a 999 head lease with Everton securing a 999 year sub lease for the stadium. When questioned about the groundwork required Mr Francis admitted that the ground would need compacting or excavating, a very costly process, but he was unable to confirm which would be required.

The planning inspectorate were keen to establish where the heart of the Kirkby centre would be if the new development went ahead, Mr Francis pointed to a general area that included a road crossing and a car park.

With regard to the stadium, once again the CABE report was quoted; Mr Francis declined to answer and explained that these questions need to be addressed to Mr Elstone. He couldn’t comment on the cost of the stadium at this moment other than it would be based on the Cologne stadium.

It was said that the height of the Stadium would be 34m above the brook (the Environmental Impact report suggests that the stadium is 38.5 metres high), when asked by the inspector if the local residents, closest to the, Everton CEO site, would see this Mr Francis explained that residents would “glimpse ” the structure, when pressed he admitted that they’d see it!!!!

The planning inspector then turned his attention to an area within the development known as Everton Walk, Mr Francis described this as the major access to bus and rail facilities explaining further that a car park was also cited there. The inspector suggested to Mr Francis “although he said walk it perhaps had all the characteristics of an alley” “more of a functional route” explained Mr Francis.

The inspectors attention was then drawn to the loss of football pitches in the Southdene area, it was explained that people using these facilities would have to travel to Westvale or Tower Hill. It was further explained that local rivalries could cause problems, as youths from Southdene would not be welcome in those other areas.

Returning to transport the tram made a fleeting appearance once again when Mr Francis was asked about the possibility of its resurrection. Mr Francis’ answer was that this question was best directed towards an officer of Liverpool City Council but explained that while the proposition was dead remained a key aspiration. This will come as news to Liverpool Council as they have a report that indicated the priority is for North / South transportation within the city not East / West (to Kirkby).

The final batch of questioning surrounded the purchase of the existing town centre by Tesco and the fears that, once the building of the new retail and supermarket was completed, this area would be allowed to fall into decline. Mr Francis explained that this was not in Tesco’s interest and that they would not have spent a considerable amount of money to purchase the town centre from Development Securities to simply leave it in its present state. It will be remembered that the previous owner had a rival plan that delivered the much needed redevelopment of Kirkby’s town centre including an anchor supermarket, Asda, within the local UDP and compliant with the RSS.

With some signs of relief the cross examination of Mr Francis concluded. Lets hope the next witness for the applicant is as helpful to those opposing the scheme and that Mrs Burden makes a swift and full recovery


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 Post subject: Re: Enquiry day three
PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 12:27 pm 
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somewhat shorter summing up on the OS:

Quote:
http://www.evertonfc.com/news/archive/destination-kirkby-inquiry-day-three.html

The third day of the inquiry was curtailed by illness to the lead inspector.

Wendy Burden, a town planning expert, was unable to attend the third day at the Kirkby Civic Suite. In her absence the assistant inspectors listened to proceedings.

The morning continued with John Francis, the planning expert called as a witness by the Applicants' for the development, being cross examined.

Following the completion of his cross-examination proceedings for the day were drawn to a close.

The inquiry will re-convene at 9.30am on Friday morning with a new witness taking the stand.

Jeremy Williams, who has been called by Tesco and Everton to present the main retail evidence in favour of the planning application, will be questioned by the Applicants' QC, Mr Patrick Clarkson.


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 Post subject: Re: Enquiry day three
PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 12:28 pm 
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Quote:
Tesco man put on the spot at inquiry

http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/eve ... -22307976/

Nov 21 2008 by Richard Down, Liverpool Daily Post

A PLANNING inspector has questioned whether Everton FC and Tesco’s joint £400m plans for Kirkby are based on “sound urban design principles”.

Paul Jackson, who deputised for the unwell Wendy Burden yesterday, quizzed the superstore’s planning expert on the quality of the Destination Kirkby plans.

He referred to Knowsley council officers’ own judgments put before members of the planning committee last June.

Mr Jackson read the conclusion of the committee report, which said: “Officers are disappointed that the design does not incorporate stronger urban form based on sound design principles.

“Within the development, the design and quality of the landscaping and public realm, while creating some points of visual interest, disappoints when measured against sound urban design principles and the expectation of policy.”

He then asked John Francis, in his third day of providing witness for the club and supermarket chain: “Weren’t you concerned by this? Do you accept there are set backs in terms of urban design?”

Mr Francis said this was just one viewpoint and was not accepted by Tesco and Everton.

But Mr Jackson continued to probe, asking whether the criticism levelled at the scheme by Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment’s (Cabe) was accepted.

Mr Francis said: “The comments were given without a knowledge or key understanding of Kirkby’s needs. I don’t accept their comments that this is a wasted opportunity.”

Mr Jackson went on to point out that a significant part of Mr Francis’s witness evidence, as well as the opening statements supplied by the applicants, spoke of the run-down and disjointed nature of the existing town centre.

He questioned whether the regeneration plans would materially change this.

The planning inspector said: “You have talked about a lack of heart in the old town but where will the heart be once the redevelopment has finished?” Mr Francis pointed to a revolutionised crossing that will be developed between the new south “edge of town” development and St Chad’s Square, in the current shopping centre.

The major superstore and the landmark stadium would be visible from here, he said, marking out a step change in the appearance of the town.

But Mr Jackson said: “There doesn’t seem to be any relationship in an urban design sense to the old town centre. They (the landscaping features and layout of the junction) don’t seem to relate to the importance you have said this junction has.”

Mr Francis argued that it would become a focal point. He said the design would, in fact, revitalise the appearance of the town.


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 Post subject: Re: Enquiry day three
PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 4:02 am 
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Herefordblue wrote:
But Mr Jackson said: “There doesn’t seem to be any relationship in an urban design sense to the old town centre. They (the landscaping features and layout of the junction) don’t seem to relate to the importance you have said this junction has.”


Damming - if you need succour and comfort, this suggests that the weight of evidence is already against?


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 Post subject: Day Four of the Public Inquiry-Friday 21st November
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:54 pm 
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Day Four of the Public Inquiry
Friday, 21 November 2008
http://www.keioc.net/index.php?mact=New ... eturnid=15

After some illness, Mrs Wendy Burden felt recovered enough to take her position on the fourth day of the public inquiry into Tesco’s planning application. Tesco’s QC, Mr Patrick Clarkson, led their second witness, Mr Jeremy Williams, an expert in retail planning, through his evidence.

Agreed planning policies continued to be thrown out of the window as the depiction of Kirkby as some retail hinterland devoid of suitable facilities and in desperate need of a massive philanthropic transformation into a retail centre serving 225,000 continued with Mr Williams informing the inquiry that no major retail investment had occurred in Kirkby while at the same time others, in surrounding major centres, such as Liverpool and Warrington and other centres within Knowsley, had received considerable investment. Mr Williams illustrated that surveys conducted by Tesco had revealed a real need for a substantial increase in retail in the town. Very few could argue that Kirkby wasn't in need of appropriate redevelopment that reflects the needs of its 42,000 inhabitants, however what many people are bewildered with is the need to transform the community into a massive shopping destination with a floor space far beyond the needs identified by the hastily abandoned UDP of 2006.

Mr Williams concluded that whilst he conceded that, as a result of the Tesco development, Kirkby would enhance its position in the regional retail hierarchy he denied that it would have an effect on the neighbouring retail centres including St Helens, Wigan and those in Sefton.

Mr Williams’ easy ride was over when Mr Stephen Sauvain began his cross-examination. Mr. Williams conceded that three fifths of the new development was sited away from the existing town centre, presumably more if phases three and four aren’t delivered as promised, and that it would indeed enhance Kirkby’s role in the regional hierarchy but that many residents do their shopping elsewhere. Presumably the forecast increase in retail spending will be achieved thorough the cessation of the fleet of coaches, provided by KRISP, taking Kirkby people to the Trafford Centre.

On questioning the need to adopt the planning application route they have undertaken to deliver the transformation of Kirkby from a community based shopping centre to a massive out of town retail destination Mr Williams again conceded that it was normal to adopt the development plan process for an application of this size.

Mr Sauvain suggested that it was the case that Asda and Sainsbury’s have a greater focus in the North West and that with Asda having stores at Switch Island and Huyton Tesco were simply attempting to address the balance rather than the needs of the people of Kirkby.

Mr Williams adhered to the script concerning the size of the development meeting the needs of the community. With some acerbic wit Mr Sauvain pointed out that it was a thought that the current town centre was perhaps too big as it had been originally designed to meet the needs of 80,000 residents.

Despite Mr Williams’ protestation that Kirkby would have little or no effect on Liverpool One and in an attempt to highlight the sheer size and the increase of available retail that Kirkby would have on offer, as a result of this application being approved, Mr Sauvain suggested that Kirkby would join the £320M turnovers of St Helens, Wigan and Warrington when it expands from £60M to over £300M. This clearly begs the question as to where these shoppers with an additional £240M of spending power are hiding, perhaps the inquiry need look no further than the opposition benches containing Liverpool City Council, Sefton, West Lanc’s and St Helens, Grosvenor and St Modwen.

Perhaps it was a slip of the tongue but Mr Williams, when asked about the stadium, explained that the cross-subsidy from Tesco had now inexplicably risen to £54M, who knows, in fact who really knows anything about this completely unnecessary event. If sense prevailed Kirkby residents could have their supermarket and their appropriate redeveloped town centre and Evertonians could have their redeveloped Goodison Park or new stadium in a suitable part of Liverpool. However, someone seems to want 50,000 sq m of retail whether there’s actually a need or not.

Let’s see what the second week brings.


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