Keeping Everton in Our City

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 Post subject: ENQUIRY WEEK 2 - DAYS 4-8
PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 11:38 pm 
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Week Two – Day Five – Liverpool One Trembling at Kirkby!!
Week two began with the continued cross-examination of Mr Jeremy Williams, Knowsley’s planning expert, by Mr Roger Lancaster, the barrister for the combined authorities of Sefton, St Helens and West Lancs. Early questioning revealed that the applicants had failed to provide a proper evaluation of the need for a development of the proposed size and that what little evidence offered was flawed.

Mr Lancaster attempted to establish where in the league of supermarkets the proposed development would fall and questioned why Kirkby’s Tesco Extra needed to be 35% bigger than Asda’s store in Aintree. Mr William’s explained “There is a need to compete” to which Mr Lancaster eruditely replied “But I thought that this development was for the needs of Kirkby…..”

Like a dog with a bone Mr Lancaster wouldn’t let this go, moving on to the Unitary Development Plan (UDP), having established that St Modwen and Development Securities had each proposed separate development plans within the recently adopted Knowsley Replacement UDP (KRUDP), which had been so readily abandoned once Tesco had expressed an interest, Mr Lancaster asked, “Could you explain why a UDP that needed only 7,000sq m of comparison development, in the whole borough, now required Kirkby to have 38,000sq m?” Mr Williams appeared unable to answer and when Mr Lancaster returned to the subject of “need” he appeared equally lost for words when asked about a complete lack of evidence, for even 20,000 sq m let alone 38,000, had been presented to the inquiry. In the end all Mr Williams could offer was that the massive increase was needed to attract investment.

Mr Lancaster now turned his attention to the portrayal of Kirkby as a totally deprived area in desperate need of saving by Tesco. He explained that this development is threatening Skelmersdale, a town centre with a 30% commercial vacancy level that has dropped 150 places in the retail hierarchy in the past year alone. Their proposed £360M redevelopment, which complies with their UDP, will not go ahead if Kirkby is approved.

In retail terms Bootle is now one-third bigger than Kirkby but will be one-third smaller if the development is given the go ahead. The town is further up the retail hierarchy, is under pathfinder renewal and will have funding diverted from the upgrading of The Strand if Kirkby is approved. Mr Lancaster asked Mr Williams “If Roger, Tym and Partners (Knowsley’s own consultants) can recognise this, why can’t you?”

St Helens is a named centre in the retail hierarchy and ING, the owners of Church Square, have stated that its redevelopment won’t be brought forward if Kirkby is approved; this is contrary to the Regional Spatial Strategy.

In closing Mr Clarkson, the applicants QC, displayed a total disregard to agreed local, regional and national planning policy when he arrogantly referred to “The trembling Liverpool One that was terrified of this new Kirkby proposal”; words that may well incite Liverpool and Grosvenor into trembling for another reason.

After only one week of this inquiry it is rapidly becoming apparent that the needs of the ordinary people of Kirkby and the supporters of Everton Football Club are of little consequence where vast sums of money are at stake for a select band of people.


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 Post subject: Day Six of the Public Inquiry
PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 11:40 pm 
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Thursday, 27 November 2008
Day Six of the Public Inquiry
Day six saw Melvin Davis, a master planner from Broadway Malyan, the developer of the master plan for the applicants, inform the inquiry of some disagreements within the Knowsley camp with regard to the stadium design however he denied that the development was little more than a bunch of car parks and retail sheds.

Mr Stephen Sauvain, QC for Liverpool City Council enquired if the development was in an out of town style, that it wasn’t a town centre plan and that it was aimed at achieving regional or sub-regional status, was it not? Mr Davis agreed. Mr Sauvain continued “we still don’t know how big the store will be, with or without its mall and that the area South of Cherryfield Drive has been treated as part of the town centre from the start” adding that the looked like a retail park because it was one!

Mr Roger Lancaster then took his opportunity to question Mr Davis. Mr Lancaster established that the scheme had been in gestation in 2006, before Tesco owned any land in Kirkby; Mr Davis confirmed that he had been working on this since April 2006. Mr Lancaster then asked, “Had any checks been done to see if a smaller Tesco could fit on the North site?” “No” answered Mr Davis. Mr Lancaster then attempted to confirm the status of the development in planning terms; Mr Davis confirmed that it would be of regional significance.

The Rev Tim Stafford, vicar of St Chads, enquired what Mr Davis meant when he described Kirkby as “a non place”? Mr Davis explained that it lacks any form of cohesion; coming up Valley Road you have no sense that you’re coming into Kirkby. When the Rev Stafford explained that people were proud of their current gateway, (which contains green space, trees and St Chads in the distance), Mr Davis suggested that this was a conversation for another day. The Reverend then asked what consultation had been conducted with the residents across Valley Road; predictably the answer was none.

To the casual observer of the inquiry the subtleties and nuances of the planning process are perhaps a mystery so just to explain the admission that the scheme is and always has been aimed at achieving “regional status” is very important in relation to agreed planning policies. In addition to this there is an ongoing disagreement of the measurement from Tesco’s to St Chads parade, this will determine whether the proposed development is “edge of centre” or “out of centre” which will result in different criteria being applied. As one of our planning advisors explained, “this isn’t a navigation around the planning policy, it’s a total disregard”

Mr Davis next faced questions from Mr Trevor Skempton, urban design consultant and a fervent Evertonian. Mr Davis avoided Mr Skempton’s first questions regarding the capability of the stadium to match Everton’s ambition and future ability to compete with other top clubs, an ability to expand to 75,000 had been mentioned by Everton’s previous CEO. Mr Skempton indicated that this design couldn’t achieve this, as the filling in of the corners would impinge on local housing and there was also an agreement effectively binding Everton to the stadium for a period of twenty-five years; Mr Davis stated that he couldn’t comment but explained that the corners would fit the footprint.

Mr Skempton asked about integration and permeability, the ability of the stadium to soak up people like stadia do at Goodison, Newcastle and Cardiff, one urban walk way, no designated car park, a bus park and limited access to the main road. Incredible. Have you accounted how it will operate, not releasing everyone at once? Mr. Davis explained that the transport people had gone over this in great detail.

Mr. Skempton’s next questions surrounded the new urban design agenda for the next ten years, CABE having suggested a mix of uses, would encourage people to be around 24 / 7, how will this be delivered in the initial phases? Mr. Davis stated that they had attempted to bring in leisure uses such as food and beverage; it will change the perception of Kirkby. Mr Skempton responded that modern stadia should be stuffed full of other activities, what is the scope of this; Mr Davis indicated that the question should be asked to someone else.

When asked how the presence of the stadium will change the perception of Kirkby physically or in the media Mr. Davis explained that Kirkby will be the home of Everton, Kirkby will be mentioned in a positive light, it will be associated with Everton.

Mr Skempton then asked, in light of the previous answer, how the new stadium could justify the role it was being given, he suggested that the proposed stadium had no distinctive features, in fact “it looked more like a multiplex cinema than a stadium” Mr. Davis explained “It looks different because of the brief; not in the round. It has a functional brief, deliverable but not a ‘money no object’ stadium.

So there we have it, confirmation that Everton will no longer be associated with the world famous maritime city of its birth, it will be associated with Kirkby, it will be associated with a cheap functional stadium on a retail park in the home of that other white elephant, the Ski Slope. If you listen carefully you can hear Sir John turning in his grave at the thought of this board turning a great football club into the laughing stock of the premier league.


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 Post subject: Day 7 - The Cracks Are Appearing
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 11:40 pm 
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Day 7 - The Cracks Are Appearing

Day seven of the Public Inquiry brought the applicants next witness, Graeme Tulley of DTZ, an expert on regeneration. It emerged that Everton are expecting an average attendance at the stadium of 44,000 for premiership games and six other events.

The planning inspector Mrs Wendy Burden enquired if there had been studies into what was the matchday spend currently spent in Liverpool; as usual this study hadn’t been done.

Mr Tulley’s own evidence was questioned by Mr Stephen Sauvain, QC for Liverpool City Council, he pointed out that even job creation development needs to fit a planning policy and that North Liverpool is as deprived as Kirkby. He explained further “In Kirkby, objective one had begun to make differences; differences which would happen with or without this development.” For Mr Tulley, however, the change needed to be faster. Mr. Sauvain reminded him of his own evidence, which states that the Town Centre has a low vacancy rate. This will increase until phase 4 is done, if ever.

Mr. Tulley's evidence aims to prove that retail has been used before to pump prime stadia. He cited the Millennium, Eastlands and the Emirates but Mr. Sauvain reminded him that they were not retail led. When Mr. Tulley insisted that they brought regeneration, it was put to him that Eastlands hadn't.

“Eastlands is a work in progress” he replied. Mr Sauvain pointed out “Cardiff is in a City Centre in fact all the examples given are in major cities so it’s an unfortunate point that you are making isn’t it?”

No impact study had been done on what will happen if EFC don’t leave Goodison Park. As for extra income into Kirkby, it was pointed out to Mr. Tulley that fans wouldn’t be spending money in the retail; fan money goes on betting, concourse food and drink. Mr. Tulley suggested there would be outside competition for this, to which Mr. Sauvain concluded that the only uplift is additional expenditure not already spent at GP.

When Mr. Sauvain told Mr Tulley that the project was dependent on EFC having the money to fund it, Mr. Tulley could only reply that “EFC have a pressing need.” Mr Sauvain stated that if EFC had to pull out, regardless of the 25 years in the Section 106 agreement, this scheme could still be successful.

The Reverend Tim Stafford asked Mr Tulley how a football stadium could reduce crime and fear of crime? These are major indicators of deprivation. Mr Tulley could only repeatedly answer that some people would welcome the regeneration. The vicar also failed to discover what was the positive benefit of Everton in the Community in Walton.

Mr Roger Lancaster then began his cross-examination; he stated that, in relation to the UDP, the scale, role and function of the development was inappropriate. That the council had failed to conduct an assessment of the Development Securities proposal for redevelopment on the site of the current town centre using a plan that was within the existing UDP. Mr Roger Lancaster continued, why had Tesco spent £65M? Was it in order to sterilise, develop now or develop in the future? As Tesco own the land in the existing town centre, that fits the UDP, why not analyse the benefits of Tesco developing this now? No answers were forthcoming, nor could Mr Lancaster obtain a decent answer to the question “ how will the stadium enhance the quality of life?” All that Mr. Tulley could offer was that other facilities will. Mr Lancaster pushed the witness “Can I have an answer?” “It’s about job opportunities” to which Mr Lancaster, in search of his answer, replied, “It’s a simple Question” Mr. Tulley could not or would not provide an answer. The Kirkby residents’ quality of life would be enhanced with jobs but it emerged that, once again, no exercise had been done to find out why Kirkby people were not getting access to Kirkby jobs. Mr Lancaster, on a roll, continued to probe, “was Walton’s image high profile because of Everton’s presence?” Mr Tulley appeared unable to comment. “Eastlands, do people go there because of the stadium?” At last Mr Tully offered a response, “It’s a work in progress…The Millennium…The O2…..” Mr Lancaster interjected “The Millennium is a national stadium and the 02 is not a football stadium, can you tell me has Westhoughton gone up in perception because of Bolton Wanderers?” Mr Tully chanced his arm “The Reebok is associated with Bolton” and Mr Lancaster promptly tore it out its socket “But Westhoughton is four miles from Bolton” Finally Mr Lancaster asked a question about bus and rail services, “Matters are still not squared with Merseytravel are they?” Mr Tully explained “there are plans for improvement in the Section 106 agreement” so that’s a no then!

The inability of the applicants to justify the existence of the proposed massive development at Kirkby is becoming more and more apparent as each day progresses. Many more people are struggling to see the benefit to the long-term viability of Everton Football Club.


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 Post subject: Day 8 – A Bad Day at Cherry Meadows for Stadium Plans
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 11:42 pm 
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Monday, 01 December 2008
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Day 8 – A Bad Day at Cherry Meadows for Stadium Plans

The day began with the continued examination of Mr Graeme Tulley, the applicant’s regeneration witness from DTZ, by Mr Roger Lancaster, the barrister for the combined authorities of Sefton, West Lanc’s and St Helens. Mr Lancaster probed Mr Tulley on the issues of deliverability and the effect on the deprived area of Liverpool surrounding Goodison, Walton. Somewhat incredibly, Mr Tulley explained that the applicants had conducted no such study. Due to the fact that Liverpool is even more deprived than Knowsley this is somewhat remarkable seeing the applicants are making a big deal of regenerating deprived communities through the construction of a massive retail park and a stadium designed to deliver an additional £6,000,000 to a private company. The Government table below would appear to indicate that Knowsley are improving without such an intervention.

Rank 2007 2004
1 Liverpool Liverpool
2 Hackney Manchester
3 Tower Hamlets Knowsley
4 Manchester Tower Hamlets
5 Knowsley Hackney
6 Newham Islington
7 Easington Easington
8 Islington Nottingham
9 Middlesbrough Hull
10 Birmingham Middlesbrough
Mr Tulley avoided answering a question on Everton’s legacy for Walton indicating that this would be an issue for the club to deal with. Mr Lancaster closed by pointing out to the inquiry that the potential combined loss of new jobs in Skelmersdale and St Helens, if this development were to be given approval, needs to be a material consideration.

Mr Peter Fisher, Knowsley Constituency Liberal Democrats, enquired about Tesco’s job guarantee scheme, especially when Tesco, like all companies, need to comply with the equal opportunities guidelines so that in reality there were no guarantee of jobs for the people of Kirkby. Mr Tulley was unable to offer an opinion on this matter, which was also the case when Mr Fisher asked why Arsenal and Everton has not brought down the indices of multiple deprivation in their respective areas of Islington and Walton? Mr Tulley continued his 100% consistency of being unable to answer when Mr Fisher continued to ask questions of him surrounding the evidence of the viability of the building they were standing in, it is scheduled for demolition under this scheme, and the ability of Everton to get 47,000 fans to the proposed stadium.

The fifth witness for the applicants was Mr Alan Black, an expert on the commercial aspects of the proposal; anyone interested in Mr Black’s evidence can read it here: http://www.knowsley.gov.uk/resources/23 ... e_list.doc.

Mr Black has supplied additional letters to appendix TEV/P/6/1. These are letters from Boots, Tushingham Moore (HMV), Brantano Footwear, Next, Marks and Spencers, JJB Sports and Pizza Hut amongst others, Mr Black admitted many of these were present on retail parks but explained, “they were also present in town centres.” There was also a similar letter from Arcadia confirming their interest in a store in “Cherry Meadows”.

The Arcadia Group is the UK’s largest privately owned clothing retailer, owning seven of the high street’s best-known fashion brands they have more than 2,500 outlets. Multi-billionaire Sir Philip Green owns Arcadia and is a very close friend of both Everton Chairman Bill Kenwright and alleged director of Everton Football Club Robert Earl. Bill Kenwright described Sir Philip as his friend and therefore a friend of all Evertonians at the recent Everton EGM where he also stated that he had no knowledge of Arcadia having an interest in Destination Kirkby. After the mysterious resignation of Mr Keith Wyness, on the eve of the announcement of the call in of this scheme, Sir Philip, accompanied by Robert Earl, raced across the Mediterranean in his powerful £32M 208ft yacht “Lionheart” from Sardinia to Puerto Andratx, on the south west coast of Majorca, to confront Mr Wyness who had been complaining to the press that outside interference with the management processes at Everton contributed to his resignation. More recently Sir Philip was seen dining in London with financier and self-styled football club guru Ms Amanda Staveley and major aAim investor Simon Cowell.

Mr Stephen Sauvain, QC for Liverpool City Council, first examined Mr Black. He enquired if Tesco had a Plan B in the event of planning permission not being secured. He managed to establish that there was an opportunity to improve the retail offer of the existing town centre and that the multiple nationals had never been attached to this size town before. Curiously of all the letters of support from retailers confirming interest there were none in support for buildings surrounding the existing town centre, the later phases of the development, only letters of support for the units south of Cherryfield drive. Mr Sauvain continued probing the enabling element of the development, querying if the development without the Stadium would be successful, Mr Black, remembering the script, stated, “it was all or nothing”. Mr Sauvain persisted, “this £52M cross-subsidy that was going towards the stadium, the stadium would be costing the scheme money?” “It’s a cost item, yes” replied Mr Black, but couldn’t explain the cross subsidy even though he was appearing as an expert witness for the application on the commercial aspects of the proposal.

The acerbic Mr Sauvain, clearly bemused, enquired if there was a witness he could call to explain and examine as the word “enabling” had been used fifty times in the planning application! Mr Clarkson, QC for the applicants, sprang to his feet shouting that “they were not running an enabling case”, which must have further confused the Everton officials and members of the public present believing that they were sure that they’d been told that the critical mass was needed to provide the cross-subsidy for the stadium. Mr Clarkson elucidated that no witness would be brought forward which encouraged the droll Mr Sauvain to state that “he was anxious to understand this as the application was littered with references to it” All Mr Black could mumble was “the desire to attract as much retail as possible was to achieve critical mass” Mr Sauvain, now in full flow, continued by quoting directly from the DTZ Report, (2.3) “no stadium, no retail; no large retail no stadium” taunted Mr Sauvain much to the discomfort of the applicants.

Mr Sauvain continued with his observations “this document was written before the size of floorspace was reduced but stores are still interested now, even though they said then that the scheme had to be of that size for them to come, are you saying Mr Black that if it was further reduced they still would not come? Mr Black offered “If you took anymore floorspace off Tesco they couldn’t sell all that they needed to attract investor confidence” Mr Sauvain quickly responded “I assume these letters were requested to say that the quantum was important?” “Are you suggesting that they were told what to write?” replied Mr Black, Mr Sauvain asked him directly “were they?” Unfortunately no answer was forthcoming.

The questioning continued over the placing of the two key anchors and them being so far from the Town Centre. “Shouldn’t one be at the other end, closer to the Town Centre, to offer the dumb-bell effect with a Marks & Spencer in there that would also act as an anchor?” An unanswered Mr Sauvain continued “There would be little incentive for people to go to the North from the South. Furthermore it transpires no assessment has been made of the market footfall; also no survey of Tesco customers using markets had been conducted” Moving on to the matter of the acquisition of land from the Archdiocese Mr Black stated that he couldn’t help with the date that Tesco would be acquiring the land. Mr Sauvain pointed out that the land off Cherryfield Drive was essentially a ransom strip and that the store couldn’t open until the got the land, Mr Black confirmed that it was the case that the link had to be in place.

Just when Mr Black thought his ordeal was over Mr Roger Lancaster, barrister for the combined authorities, began his questioning; rhetorically he stated, “Stores like Debenhams and John Lewis wouldn’t be likely to come to a town the size of Kirkby would they?” and continued “this size of development is for the cross-subsidy of £52M to go into someone else’s pocket, isn’t it?” A shaken Mr Black retorted, “No, the size of the retail is to regenerate” without hesitation Mr Lancaster came back with “but this development, is it regenerating or creating a new town centre?” Mr Black “Both” “But if only phase one happens that won’t regenerate Kirkby Town Centre will it?” asked Mr Lancaster. “Yes, that right” admitted Mr Black ominously. A clearly upbeat Mr Lancaster pointed out that St Modwen Properties PLC and Development Securities had Asda and Morrisons lined up as anchor stores and these schemes would have regenerated the existing Town Centre, so there is a clear indication that there is interest in redeveloping Kirkby’s Town Centre” It must also be said that these plans would have been achieved within the UDP and therefore would comply with current regional and national planning guidelines thereby avoiding an incredibly expensive public inquiry.

Mr Black couldn’t answer many more questions as he was new to the post and he also remembered that the person who prepared the DTZ report was on maternity leave!!!

Mr Peter Fisher, Knowsley Constituency Liberal Democrats, enquired, “Isn’t all or nothing, as Roger Tym and Partners pointed out, ruling out a viable alternative for a Tesco store in the North of the Town Centre?” With absolute consistency Mr Black replied, “It was all or nothing”. A phrase that’s rapidly becoming something of a mantra for the applicants.

Finally John Fleming for the Kirkby Residents asked if the project had been given the name “Cherry Meadows?” Mr Black replied that it must have been an error!

Next week the weakest link in the project comes under scrutiny, Messrs Sauvain and Lancaster must be salivating at the thought.


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