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Monday, 06 October 2014 (3057588)
'We'll fight Everton over their stadium plans' vow angry Walton residents
by Holly Rummens

HUNDREDS of campaigners staged a protest at Liverpool's Walton Hall Park to voice their concerns over plans to build a new stadium for Everton FC at the site.

People young and old gathered outside Walton's Lifestyles Leisure centre to wave banners and protest against the proposals that will see Everton FC build a bigger stadium along with sports facilities and up to 600 new homes.

The protestors have formed two groups, Friends of Walton Hall Park and Save Walton Hall Park and have gathered more than 2,000 signatures with more demonstrations being planned.

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson, who is backing the scheme, said he wanted to see a comprehensive regeneration of the area and believes more than 1,000 jobs could be created in the process.

The city council will be involved as an official partner, along with housing association Liverpool Mutual Homes, which will build new properties as part of the overall scheme.

But residents who protested on October 5 said they wanted to stop the loss of green space for future generations.

Chrisie Byrne of the Friends of Walton Hall Park said the turn-out was brilliant.

She said: “Walton Hall Park is a 130 acre site filled with green space which is enjoyed by families, joggers, dog walkers, fishermen, school groups and community sports and disabled groups.

”We also have plenty of wildlife that live in the park including swans, bats, owls, geese, ducks and many more wildlife and insects.

“When asked at a local meeting held for the community, Everton FC wouldn't put an exact number on how much space will be left for the community, with figures ranging from 20 to 50%, all they guaranteed to leave was the lake.

”We are going to fight this all the way, this will be detrimental to not only our area but to Liverpool as a whole and its environment.

“We need more green spaces not more concrete villages. Friends of Walton hall park demand both our local councillors, Mayor Joe Anderson, Liverpool Mutual Homes and Everton Football Club to rethink their plans and move on to one of the many brown filled sites in and across our city and leave the park alone.

”The residents do not want to deal with the rubbish, noise and traffic this will inevitably generate to our area, the Goodison ground is a mile away from the park and already has an impact on our area through parking and noise pollution so we do not want it on our door step.“

Ms Byrne said future plans included a leaflet drop and regular meetings for different communities affected by the proposals.

A Liverpool City Council spokesman said: ”This is an exciting opportunity for North Liverpool and investment in this area will bring job opportunities and address important social needs such as health and education.

“The scheme is still in its early stages, yet we are committed to working with the local community throughout the project, listening to their views and developing ideas together which will benefit the area as a whole.”


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