Just two days after our last Newsletter was dispatched, we heard that the Lessee of the former Manweb sports ground, Thingwall Road, was holding a 'public consultation event' in the disused clubhouse on 5th April. We did our best - via email contact - to notify our members of this event, and later issued a Statement of our views.

Since that time, a lot has happened. Local residents, who had already set up a Save Manweb Playing Fields campaign group, held a public meeting at the Coffee House pub on 11th April, and another is planned for the Garden Suburb Institute on 17th May (7pm). There have also been several 'committee' meetings, as a result of which a website has been set up (
), an e-Petition has been launched ( and it has been decided to formalise the group under the title 'Olive Branch Wavertree Residents' Association'.

Our own Committee has been kept fully informed of the residents' activities and proposals. While we recognise that our own members have many differing opinions about the current Lessee's proposals for the future of the Sports Ground, we have decided to give our full support to OBWRA's plan to draw up an alternative scheme for the land, which would involve a wider range of 'community led' sporting/recreational activities and would not involve any housing or similar development.

This was the text of the Statement which we issued on 15th April:

"At the Public Consultation event held on 5th April 2013, we were disappointed to find that so little progress had been made in 12 months. The only apparent changes to the plans were the substitution of a Wainhomes housing estate (16 detached dwellings) in place of the previously proposed Care Home on the corner of Thingwall Road and Millstead Road, and the inclusion of earth mounds ('bunds') and acoustic timber fencing around the perimeter of the site to reduce the noise impact on the existing residential properties.

"The Public Consultation event was held on the top floor of the former Manweb Sports & Social clubhouse. Access to the room where the exhibition was held was via a series of rubbish-strewn rooms and dark narrow staircases, hardly indicative of the 'care for the community' said to be one of the owner's concerns. Several elderly and/or disabled residents turned back and did not attend owing to the difficulty of accessing the building.

"Mr Chris Chetwood (co-owner of the Lease) was present from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. He answered questions from visitors to the exhibition, and our notes on some of the questions and answers heard are set out elsewhere
on our website. The answers given did not give us confidence that the scheme had been well thought out.

"On 11th April 2013 the Wavertree Society's Executive Committee resolved unanimously to re-affirm its statement of July 2012 - see Newsletter 190 - but (bearing in mind that the deadline for QE2 Fields nominations is 1st June 2013, so this is almost certainly no longer an option) also resolved to add a further paragraph requesting Liverpool City Council to:

(i) Enforce the terms of the Lease with regard to maintenance of the land and the perimeter fence.

(ii) Negotiate with the Lessee with a view to the City Council taking over the Lease.

(iii) Hold public meetings - in a safe, accessible venue - and a professionally designed and managed consultation exercise to ascertain the views of local residents.

(iv) Study the demand for and the economic viability of making provision for various different sports in this location.

(v) Find a new Lessee who is willing and able to operate the sports ground in a way that both meets the identified demand of potential users and maintains the amenities of local residents."

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