Ingleborough Road site
TRANMERE Rovers FC look set to press on with their controversial plans to allow a memorial field to be redeveloped for housing.
The secretary of state for communities and local government Eric Pickles yesterday confirmed he will not “call in” the planning application for Ingleborough Road playing fields.
It means the decision of Wirral council’s planning committee in October to approve the building of 90 homes on the field in Birkenhead will stand.
The plans had been temporarily halted by the government after objections by protestors. That move raised the hopes of those who believe the field should be retained as a permanent memorial to 88 former pupils from Birkenhead Institute who died in World War One.
But Kevin Adderley, interim strategic director for regeneration and environment at Wirral council, said: “I am very pleased that the secretary of state is, after due consideration, satisfied that processes followed and the consideration against planning policies give no reason for him to consider calling in the application for his own consideration.”
Mr Pickles allowed the council to proceed after he “carefully considered the impact of the proposals”.
But the scheme remains subject to conditions, including a linked application by Tranmere to develop Woodchurch leisure centre being met before the planning permission for Ingleborough is issued.
Dean Johnson, who has campaigned against Tranmere’s plans, said the decision still leaves the club with “the delivery of the Woodchurch scheme before anything can happen at Ingleborough”.
He said the campaign will now focus on ensuring planning conditions stay in place “and no 'escape hatch' is made available for Tranmere”.
He added: “With regard to the secretary of state allowing the destruction of a WW1 memorial so close to the centenary is another matter.”