HIGHLY-CONTROVERSIAL plans by Tranmere Rovers to sell off a historic memorial field have been scrapped.

The club has withdrawn its application to build almost 100 homes on the Ingleborough Road playing fields.

Wirral Council’s planning department also confirmed that a scheme to revamp Woodchurch Leisure Centre, which went hand-in hand with the Ingleborough Road proposals, has been pulled.

The plans sparked objections from many residents and Dean Johnson, founder of the Wilfred Owen Story, launched a high profile campaign to save the memorial field.

Opponents to the project believed the sale of the former Birkenhead Institute site would mean the loss of its commemorative status.

However Rovers’ fans pledged their support for the project as it was vital to “secure the longevity of the club’s future,” according to planning documents.

Following the news that the application has been scrapped, Dean expressed his relief and paid tribute to his campaign’s supporters.

He said: “It’s a great relief but I always thought that the club would understand how important the meaning of the memorial was in the end. I am really happy at the moment for the families of the fallen heroes who are commemorated there because their memories can now live on undisturbed.

“My campaign was never about going against Tranmere Rovers, it was more about how I strongly I felt about the field. It is such an important place and I think it means a lot to commemorate soldiers especially when we have young lads fighting out in Afghanistan now.”

It is not yet known why the application was scrapped.

Club chairman Peter Johnson contacted us on Thursday to break his silence over the plans and insisted that Woodchurch residents has been given the opportunity to make their objections known.

He also said that neighbouring residents of Ingleborough Road were the “most important people” to consider and that it was a “win-win situation” for them because the housing development would take Tranmere traffic away from the area.

Now Dean is eager to register the field with English Heritage so it will be tough for any future applications to be approved.

He added: “I think it would be useful to set up a ‘friends’ group so Ingleborough can stay the focus of people’s attention.

"Our application to have the field registered with English Heritage is being pushed through so if the club do try again, the same issues will always be there.”

Following the news of the withdrawal, fans' website Total Tranmere claimed the club intended to re-submit both applications, with adjustments to the Woodchurch proposals.

However a spokesman for Tranmere Rovers refused to confirm or deny this.