Our public meeting at the Wavertree Garden Suburb Institute on 22nd November attracted a good turnout of local residents. Councillor Warren Bradley was there, but sadly no Council officers. It was left to Mike Chitty to outline what the City Council needs to do - in terms of advisory leaflets, a Conservation Area Character Appraisal, and a management plan - to safeguard the future of the Garden Suburb. All those present were in agreement that the area has a unique character which deserves to be highlighted and protected. But the overwhelming feeling was one of unfairness, and lack of support from the City Council. There was concern about the lack of clear guidance on topics such as window replacement. Few had knowledge of the other items (such as external painting) for which planning permission is required. Most people knew of a neighbour who had been told that they would have to have work re-done 'in due course', but few were aware of this threat actually having been enforced. Those people who had tried to report their concerns about unauthorised work or to seek advice about their own proposals had seldom managed to get beyond the initial phone call to Liverpool Direct.

In the current financial climate, with the Council's Planning Department particularly affected by the spending cutbacks, we were not optimistic that anything would change. However, in early February we learned that a new, temporary member of staff - a postgraduate Civic Design student with a degree in Heritage Conservation - has been assigned to the Wavertree Garden Suburb Conservation Area and tasked with producing the documents which we have been asking for. We have already taken him on a guided walk round the area, pointing out the particular aspects which need to be looked at, and suggesting that he also refers to the comments made by residents last year in response to the Planning Manager's letter about windows and hardstandings.


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