£1.2m football hub scrapped after backlash from residents

£1.2m football hub scrapped after backlash from residents

by Tom Martin (August 2022)

CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating after controversial plans to build a £1.2million football hub in Orrell Mount Park were scrapped by Sefton Council.

The decision comes after the results of a two-month consultation were made public on Monday, August 8, which showed 49% of 1,000 people who responded were against the proposal.

The Champion has reported how a large group of residents formed the Friends of Orrell Mount Park when the proposal was first revealed last year.

They claimed that the Litherland park is well used by local dog walkers and football teams, and is also the only green space left in the area.

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The 3G pitch, along with new floodlights and changing facilities, would have been largely paid for by the Football Foundation and run by Jamie Carragher’s JC23 Foundation.

Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher said: “I understand this will be a huge disappointment to those who were in support of the scheme, especially our young people and boys and girls who clearly need high-quality training and playing facilities like this.

“But, throughout the process, we have promised to listen to the public’s views and act accordingly and that’s a promise we are keeping.”

The council had actually tried to start work on the new 3G pitch last year, but local residents formed a barricade at the main entrance so vehicles couldn’t access the site.

They demanded a consultation was held and it resulted in the council pausing the start of work and publishing a consutlation on the Orrell Mount Park Masterplan.

As well as the football hub, the council also proposed a number of other park improvements, including new pavilion gardens, a nature trail, upgrades to the existing play area and the pavilion brought back into community use.

These sections of the plan were widely supported in the consultation, and the council has said it will carry out the work “should resources become available.” 

Cllr Maher added:  “The consultation showed there is support for the wider master plan for Orrell Mount Park, which would bring considerable improvements to this space for communities and future generations, and I will ensure that, should resources become available, the Council will progress with these developments.

“Through our playing pitch strategy, Sefton Council recognises there is a clear need for more training and playing facilities in the borough and I want to reassure our communities and our young people who will be our future sporting stars that we remain committed to creating much needed 3G playing pitch developments.

“We will continue to work with the Football Foundation to identify sites for future development and we have recently entered into a partnership with the Football Foundation to create a dedicated project management role to oversee and develop such schemes.

“I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in this process including those people who took time to provide feedback.

“While it may not have been the decision many wanted to see, this process has shown that Sefton Council is committed to open and transparent consultation and to making decisions guided by local people’s views.” 

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