UPDATED: Planning committee approves sell-off of Tranmere Rovers' former training ground for redevelopment

UPDATED: Planning committee approves sell-off of Tranmere Rovers former training ground for redevelopment

UPDATED: Planning committee approves sell-off of Tranmere Rovers former training ground for redevelopment

First published in News
Last updated
Wirral Globe: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

TRANMERE Rovers' plans to sell its former training ground to make way for redevelopment have been approved by Wirral's planning committee tonight.

Councillors voted by eight to five in favour of the scheme, which went hand-in-hand with a parallel plan to create four full-sized football pitches plus one junior academy pitch and one training area on land near the Solar Campus in Leasowe that was also approved.

Rovers' new owner, Mark Palios, who took over control of the club with wife Nicola earlier this month, said last week that the club's future would be jeopardized if the sale of its former training ground was rejected, adding that it was key to the club's self-sustainability.

The land will be used to make way for a future development of 90 houses.

All money raised from its sale will be placed into an account to pay for the development in Leasowe.

Addressing the committee on behalf of Mr Palios, Rovers' chief executive Jeremey Butler said: "Nicola and Mark are committed to having a football club that Wirral can be proud of.

"A move to Solar Campus is crucial to the club's future."

During the debate at Wallasey Town Hall tonight, committee members heard from those both in favour and against the plans.

Campaigners were concerned that the move to Solar Campus would lead to an increase in noise and traffic.

Among committee members voting against the plans was Cllr Denise Realey, who was concerned that Ingleborough field's sale would not benefit the area, leading to the loss of an open space for Birkenhead.

Ingleborough is also a memorial to 88 former students of Birkenhead Institute, who lost their lives in the First World War. Campaigners were concerned that the plan to sell Ingleborough fields was "disrespectful" to their memories.

As part of the recommendations, a plaque currently housed in Ingleborough's pavilion will be moved to Hamilton Square and a plaque honouring the soldiers' sacrifice will be sited across the road from the playing fields.

A decision on the proposals was deferred by Wirral planning committee last month until site visits had taken place.

The schemes had the support of the club's supporters' trust, who recently said development would be in the interests of the wider community and the club.

Speaking after the plans were approved, trust chairman Ben Harrison told the Globe: "It's good news for the future of the club. It needs to stand on its own two feet.

"The club's been around for 130 years, we want it to be around for another 130 years."

In a statement - that was read out by Jeremy Butler at tonight's meeting - Mr Palios said last week: "We have already publicly stated that our plans to make Tranmere Rovers Football Club self-sustainable are predicated on two planks.

“One is being a development club and the other is being more than a Football Club, with Rovers becoming a sports hub in the heart of the community.

“The move to Solar Campus is a central part of our thinking and if we fail to achieve this aim it will present a serious set-back to our plans.

“If we are unable to follow through on our plans to build a first class academy complex at Solar Campus, the club will find it impossible to provide the adequate training facilities required to retain our prized Category 3 Academy status.

“Failing to gain Category 3 status would mean Tranmere Rovers losing the crucial central funding provided to Football League clubs and this would put in jeopardy our ability to continue with our youth development programme.

“This would stop the current and future generation of youngsters achieving their dreams of playing professional football and also end the work the Academy does in the community in helping young people on the Wirral.”

He added: “The sale of players from our Academy has raised over £15m in recent years and income of that level is impossible to find in the current climate.

“So on several levels it is important for Tranmere Rovers and the Wirral community that we are successful with our plans to move to Solar Campus.

“We are truly excited about this project and the benefits it can bring to the area as a whole.”

The plan to sell Ingleborough field had sparked controversy, with campaigners calling it “disrespectful” to the memories of Wirral soldiers killed in the First World War.

Eighty-eight trees representing the fallen soldiers were planted around the field as a living memorial to the dead in the 1920s.

The council and Tranmere Rovers will also work with Birkenhead Institute Old Boys (BIOB) to discuss their concerns over the plaques.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Alun Hughes told the Globe after tonight's meeting: "It's disappointing, but I think we now have a way forward. It's our hope that Tranmere Rovers will now agree to meet with us to work through this issue."

Comments (12)

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9:20pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Lurkinhead says...

quote Alun Hughes:

"Speaking on behalf of the group, Alun Hughes told the Globe after tonight's meeting: "It's disappointing, but I think we now have a way forward. It's our hope that Tranmere Rovers will now agree to meet with us to work through this issue.""


I hope so too Alun, although with respect, as I have previously discussed with Pollexfen on here (is that you btw?), you really do need to consider withdrawing Dean Johnson from any negotiations, as he has been a toxic influence on this whole debate from Day 1, and I fear may be an impediment for you as regards meaning negotiations as to the scale, design, and position of any lasting memorial at Ingleborough Road.
quote Alun Hughes: "Speaking on behalf of the group, Alun Hughes told the Globe after tonight's meeting: "It's disappointing, but I think we now have a way forward. It's our hope that Tranmere Rovers will now agree to meet with us to work through this issue."" I hope so too Alun, although with respect, as I have previously discussed with Pollexfen on here (is that you btw?), you really do need to consider withdrawing Dean Johnson from any negotiations, as he has been a toxic influence on this whole debate from Day 1, and I fear may be an impediment for you as regards meaning negotiations as to the scale, design, and position of any lasting memorial at Ingleborough Road. Lurkinhead
  • Score: 12

9:29pm Thu 21 Aug 14

freebase says...

Alan hughes as chief executive sponsor's Dean machinations in argyle St so I doubt it
Alan hughes as chief executive sponsor's Dean machinations in argyle St so I doubt it freebase
  • Score: 3

9:30pm Thu 21 Aug 14

freebase says...

Be a pox on you soon lurkio
Just wait
Be a pox on you soon lurkio Just wait freebase
  • Score: 1

9:42pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Lurkinhead says...

freebase wrote:
Alan hughes as chief executive sponsor's Dean machinations in argyle St so I doubt it
Whoa, hold on.....

You are not suggesting that the Alun Hughes who is the boss of the Methodist Housing Association and sponsor to Dean Johnson's shop is the same Alun Hughes who is main player in BIOB are you mate?

I would be shocked if it is, as that would, on the face of it anyway, seem to be a conflict of interests by sponsoring a mate's commercial venture - surely not???
[quote][p][bold]freebase[/bold] wrote: Alan hughes as chief executive sponsor's Dean machinations in argyle St so I doubt it[/p][/quote]Whoa, hold on..... You are not suggesting that the Alun Hughes who is the boss of the Methodist Housing Association and sponsor to Dean Johnson's shop is the same Alun Hughes who is main player in BIOB are you mate? I would be shocked if it is, as that would, on the face of it anyway, seem to be a conflict of interests by sponsoring a mate's commercial venture - surely not??? Lurkinhead
  • Score: 11

7:09am Fri 22 Aug 14

Lurkinhead says...

If, as BIOB request, talks are agreed by TRFC with regard to "the way forward", it may be helpful if they refrain from the tone of hyperbole already resorted to by Dean Johnson elsewhere in the local press, where he calls the decision "a national outrage". The reality. of course, is that it is local planning decision, which on balance, has come to a conclusion he did not favour.

Whilst vain attempts to up the ante by the use of hysterical rhetoric are true to form for this man throughout the campaign, coupled with his own bizarre behaviour (photoshopped war graves, a pox upon thine house etc), apart from perhaps achieving a few cheap headlines in the local press, such language is unlikely to assist in the process of brokering discussion between BIOB and TRFC, or achieving mutually acceptable outcomes re any unresolved issues.

I would respectfully suggest that BIOB may wish to consider the value (or not) of Dean Johnson to their cause at this point, as I would contend he constitutes a negative and toxic influence, who will invariably hamper their aspirations re any notion of consensus or compromise in respect of important unresolved issues such as the design, scale and position of any lasting memorial at Ingleborough Road.
If, as BIOB request, talks are agreed by TRFC with regard to "the way forward", it may be helpful if they refrain from the tone of hyperbole already resorted to by Dean Johnson elsewhere in the local press, where he calls the decision "a national outrage". The reality. of course, is that it is local planning decision, which on balance, has come to a conclusion he did not favour. Whilst vain attempts to up the ante by the use of hysterical rhetoric are true to form for this man throughout the campaign, coupled with his own bizarre behaviour (photoshopped war graves, a pox upon thine house etc), apart from perhaps achieving a few cheap headlines in the local press, such language is unlikely to assist in the process of brokering discussion between BIOB and TRFC, or achieving mutually acceptable outcomes re any unresolved issues. I would respectfully suggest that BIOB may wish to consider the value (or not) of Dean Johnson to their cause at this point, as I would contend he constitutes a negative and toxic influence, who will invariably hamper their aspirations re any notion of consensus or compromise in respect of important unresolved issues such as the design, scale and position of any lasting memorial at Ingleborough Road. Lurkinhead
  • Score: 11

10:37am Fri 22 Aug 14

freebase says...

dont forget in the past he agreed to meet the trust then used that meeting to further his own publicity.
dont forget in the past he agreed to meet the trust then used that meeting to further his own publicity. freebase
  • Score: 7

4:45pm Fri 22 Aug 14

Lurkinhead says...

Just a further observation on Alun Hughes / BOIB's hope for a meeting with TRFC to "work through this issue", it is my view that TRFC should only consider engaging in talks re details such as plaques / memorials, if they receive a binding assurance from BIOB and their associates that there will be no further attempts to derail the housing development at Ingleborough Road going ahead.

Previous requests for dialogue with the club from some of the opponents of the planning application have occurred at he same time as they were planning further legal appeals, publicity stunts or whatever, and I believe that unless an absolute assurance is received that such conduct will not recur, Mark Palios should not entertain further discussion.

For me, it is time to move forward now, and BIOB and other opponents of the development should decide whether they wish to be part of that process, or whether they wish to continue to agitate for their own primary goal, in which case they should be excluded from any talks.
Just a further observation on Alun Hughes / BOIB's hope for a meeting with TRFC to "work through this issue", it is my view that TRFC should only consider engaging in talks re details such as plaques / memorials, if they receive a binding assurance from BIOB and their associates that there will be no further attempts to derail the housing development at Ingleborough Road going ahead. Previous requests for dialogue with the club from some of the opponents of the planning application have occurred at he same time as they were planning further legal appeals, publicity stunts or whatever, and I believe that unless an absolute assurance is received that such conduct will not recur, Mark Palios should not entertain further discussion. For me, it is time to move forward now, and BIOB and other opponents of the development should decide whether they wish to be part of that process, or whether they wish to continue to agitate for their own primary goal, in which case they should be excluded from any talks. Lurkinhead
  • Score: 7

8:19pm Sat 23 Aug 14

uncatom says...

The outcome was not unexpected, the council have little time for the living never mind the dead, so no surprises there, I wonder how long it will be before TRFC decide that their latest acquisition is unfit for purpose and needs to be sold to the highest bidder? no doubt the betrayers will all be at the Cenotaph on the 11/11/2014 solemn faced and bowed heads, and later stuffing their faces and raising their glasses, at the expense to the taxpayer of course, I feel shame for Wirral on this special year as I do for those that have indulged in this disgraceful event.
Lest We Forget.
The outcome was not unexpected, the council have little time for the living never mind the dead, so no surprises there, I wonder how long it will be before TRFC decide that their latest acquisition is unfit for purpose and needs to be sold to the highest bidder? no doubt the betrayers will all be at the Cenotaph on the 11/11/2014 solemn faced and bowed heads, and later stuffing their faces and raising their glasses, at the expense to the taxpayer of course, I feel shame for Wirral on this special year as I do for those that have indulged in this disgraceful event. Lest We Forget. uncatom
  • Score: 0

11:51am Mon 25 Aug 14

Positive thinker says...

Can't see any reason why TRFC are under any obligation to enter
into talks with anyone,as it's there land with PLANING PERMISION
the only talks they'll be taking part in will be the final how many
zeros on the cheque they waited a long time for.

Enjoy your retirement
Can't see any reason why TRFC are under any obligation to enter into talks with anyone,as it's there land with PLANING PERMISION the only talks they'll be taking part in will be the final how many zeros on the cheque they waited a long time for. Enjoy your retirement Positive thinker
  • Score: 1

12:28pm Mon 25 Aug 14

uncatom says...

Liverpool Echo,
TRFC's decision to use Leasowe may lead to closure of Woodchurch leisure centre, Council say the future of Woodchurch Leisure centre will not be affected by TRFC's decision to use Leasowe, as they have not been involved with the project for a long time, mmm, oh what tangled webs we weave.
Liverpool Echo, TRFC's decision to use Leasowe may lead to closure of Woodchurch leisure centre, Council say the future of Woodchurch Leisure centre will not be affected by TRFC's decision to use Leasowe, as they have not been involved with the project for a long time, mmm, oh what tangled webs we weave. uncatom
  • Score: 0

8:11pm Mon 25 Aug 14

freebase says...

Muck raking by councillor kelly when you read the story fully

Woodchurch won't be closed
Muck raking by councillor kelly when you read the story fully Woodchurch won't be closed freebase
  • Score: 1

1:09pm Wed 27 Aug 14

uncatom says...

freebase wrote:
Muck raking by councillor kelly when you read the story fully

Woodchurch won't be closed
I wish I had as much confidence as you, the council giveth and the council taketh away, TRFC have had the good, now someone has to pay, they have just trampled roughshod over Ingleborough, what makes you think Woodchurch will fare any better?
[quote][p][bold]freebase[/bold] wrote: Muck raking by councillor kelly when you read the story fully Woodchurch won't be closed[/p][/quote]I wish I had as much confidence as you, the council giveth and the council taketh away, TRFC have had the good, now someone has to pay, they have just trampled roughshod over Ingleborough, what makes you think Woodchurch will fare any better? uncatom
  • Score: -1

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