In 2015, Liverpool City Council announced plans to develop a 49 property private housing estate on a 13 acre part of Harthill and Calderstones Park in partnership with Redrow Homes.
The Harthill Estate was purchased by the council in 1914 specifically to extend Calderstones Park, and most of the site has been open to the public, or for community use ever since. Despite over 100 years of council documents saying otherwise, Liverpool City Council now attempt to claim that this land is not part of the park.
The plans involve building on 5 main council owned sites off Harthill Road.
Harthill Model Railway
This popular miniature railway has operated continuously on this site since 1943. It is run by volunteers and is open every Sunday, providing free rides to park visitors.
It has been continually advertised by the council as being an attraction situated within the park.
A separate planning application has been submitted to relocate the railway to the North Western side of Calderstones Park, resulting in a further 2 acres of the park being lost.
Beechley Riding Stables
This is an accredited disabled riding centre, providing therapy, education and fun for young people with disabilities. Originally run by the council, it is now operated by the charity Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA).
The site includes grade 2 listed stables, an indoor arena, paddocks and a woodland trail.
The paddocks formed part of the park. Over the years fencing has been added for safety of riders, horses and park users – however the site has remained open to public access.
The council has proposed to relocate the centre to Clarkes Gardens in Allerton. This could involve enclosing 9-10 acres of that park. No plans have been published, and the council have refused to confirm the cost of the move, estimated to be £5 Million. Originally the council announced that this would be funded by a lottery bid. More recently they have admitted that the council would need to pay for the move.
In 1951 hothouses were built on this site house Liverpool’s world famous botanical collection, and formed a major attraction of Calderstones Park.
They were demolished in 1984, a move described as one of the worst acts of municipal vandalism. You can read more about the Botanical Gardens here.
Until recently the cleared site was used as a depot for the maintenance of Calderstones and other nearby parks.
Calder Kids Adventure Playground
Set in lovely tranquil surroundings of Calderstones Park providing play, leisure, youth, after school and outreach provision for children and young people with disabilities.
Previously a nursing home, this Grade 2 listed Georgian Merchant’s mansion was purchased for over £800,000 by Liverpool City Council to help assemble the site for Redrow.
It is proposed to convert the building, and associated summer house into flats. The listed ha-ha wall will be restored. We do not object to this part of the development, but the expense to taxpayers of purchasing this site adds to our concerns about the economic benefit of the overall scheme.
Planning permission was approved for the site on 14th February 2017.You can read the original planning application and supporting documents here. Or the shorter (58 page) report to the planning committee here.