Liverpool parks to be protected ‘forever’ from development

Acting Mayor of Liverpool Wendy Simon is today pledging to protect 100 parks and green spaces in the city from ever being sold for development. Tony McDonough reports

Stanley Park, Liverpool
Stanley Park in Liverpool will be protected from development forever


100 parks and green spaces in Liverpool will be protected from development “forever” under a plan put forward by Acting Mayor Wendy Simon,

As one of 10 promises in its ‘Great Outdoors’ pledge, the city council will form a partnership with the charity Fields in Trust to ensure that the 100 parks and spaces, totalling 1,039 hectares, will not be built on or sold off.

It will also outline the ambition that every resident in Liverpool will live no more than a 10-minute walk from a high quality green space. This could be a park, a smaller neighbourhood green space, football pitches or a play area.

The partnership will secure the future of dozens of parks and green spaces across the city in a phased approach which aims to be completed by the end of 2023. For the first phase, Fields In Trust has carried out at a thorough strategic review which has identified the spaces which have the most potential to improve physical and mental wellbeing.

As a result, 20 areas – which equates to 60 per cent of the city’s green space – will be protected in the first 12 months. And, by the end of the process, more than 1,000 hectares of land will be protected.

Liverpool City Council will retain ownership of the green spaces and will continue to be responsible for the maintenance of all the parks.

Retention of green space has long been a hot topic in the city. Campaigns against development around Calderstones and Sefton Parks, as well as a short-lived proposal to build a new stadium for Everton FC on Walton Hall Park, galvanised huge public support.

The importance of parks and green spaces has never been highlighted more than in the during the COVID-19 pandemic. They provide been a safe place to meet loved ones and connect with friends and neighbours.

Fields in Trust’s evaluation of Liverpool’s green space shows that there is around 25.3 square metres per person, around a quarter of the size of a six-yard box on a football pitch. Yet only four hectares of Liverpool’s parks are currently protected leaving them vulnerable to loss or building development.

Sefton Park, Liverpool
Sefton Park is one of Liverpool’s best-loved green spaces


This new commitment will protect green spaces in every one of Liverpool’s 30 wards which will remain as green spaces forever. This is vital when 1 in 6 people in Liverpool (16%) have no access to a private or shared garden, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Fields in Trust chair of trustees, Jo Barnett said: “Through the pandemic we’ve realised just how valuable parks and green spaces are to our health and wellbeing, yet across the UK only 6% of parks are protected and access to them is not equitable.

“We welcome this pioneering commitment by Liverpool City Council to recognise the proven physical and mental health benefits of local parks. These are valuable places; places where we can all move, breathe, run and play.

“We need to champion and support these precious spaces by protecting them for future generations to enjoy. Because once lost, they are lost forever.”

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