A LEADING Tranmere Rovers supporters group and a campaigner fighting the club’s plans to build on a World War One memorial field held “positive discussions”.
Musician Dean Johnson – leading opposition to the proposals for Ingleborough Field, next to Prenton Park – last week met members of the Tranmere Rovers Trust board in a bid to resolve the dispute.
The trust set up the meeting with Mr Johnson in a bid to find common ground after weeks of increasingly bitter debate over the future of the former Birkenhead Institute playing field.
Two weeks ago Mr Johnson and protestors from the Wilfred Owen Story launched a “Heroes Not Houses” campaign – but it sparked a furious response from fans.
Tranmere want to sell the land to boost club funds by £5m.
In a joint statement, the trust’s vice-chairman Mark Bartley and Mr Johnson said: “The Tranmere Rovers Trust and The Wilfred Owen Story have held positive discussions around the Ingleborough Road planning proposal.
“We share the same concerns about the heritage and legacy of the club and Wilfred Owen, and believe they are vitally important to this development. We are in the process of working together on proposals that will reassure people with interests on both sides.”
The Wilfred Owen Story has asked for the trust’s assistance in arranging a meeting with Tranmere Hall Estate residents’ association, which is understood to have voted in favour of the plans.
Last week association member Esther Lewis, of Everest Road, told the News a majority were in favour because they were concerned the only alternative would be the field developed as a training ground with floodlights.
She said residents thought the housing plan could “make more” of a plaque on the site which commemorates former pupils such as poet Owen, who died during World War One.
Campaigners maintain the entire field should be preserved as a memorial.
Since the plans became public last summer, competing petitions have been set up.
A date for the proposals to come before Wirral Council’s planning committee has yet to be set.
Tranmere Rovers Trust is holding its AGM before Rovers’ game with Huddersfield on Saturday, January 28 from 12.30pm in the Belmont Suite at the rear of the Bebington Kop stand.
Board members will give an update on the Ingleborough Road development and negotiations with club chairman Peter Johnson over their bid to take the club into community ownership.