OPPONENTS of Tranmere Rovers’ bid to build houses on an historic playing field have insisted they will fight on – despite the proposals being given planning permission.
An outline application by the club for 90 homes on Ingleborough memorial field in Prenton was approved by councillors last Thursday.
A parallel application to take over part of the council-owned Woodchurch leisure centre and redevelop it as a training ground with community access was also granted.
The decision was hailed as a “significant moment” by the Tranmere Rovers Supporters Trust, which said it would help to secure the long-term viability of the club.
But Dean Johnson, who has led opposition to the scheme, said he believed the decision would only galvanise support for his campaign.
Those against the plans have maintained the field is a memorial to 88 former Birkenhead Institute pupils – including poet Wilfred Owen – who died during World War I.
Their argument was rejected by council planners who said that while the field was a war memorial, it had no legal protection.
Mr Johnson, who set up the Wilfred Own Story Museum in Birkenhead, said: “We are in a win-win situation. It’s not a loss for us or a victory for them.
“We also want to look at the legal side of trying to keep covenants on the site which say it must be used for recreation.”
Mr Johnson has now approached the government’s National Planning Casework Unit, which can refer planning decisions to the Secretary of State.
He said the Wilfred Owen Story would no longer participate in the Wirral Remembers steering group, which was set up to plan events for the centenary of World War I.
Ben Harrison, chairman of the Tranmere Rovers Supporters Trust, said: “We can now look towards the future with renewed optimism.
“These two developments will deliver a number of significant benefits, including new housing, a host of jobs and state-of-the-art sports facilities.”
Tranmere Rovers said it had no comment.