Supporters Trust says Ingleborough field plan will be a 'lasting legacy' for future generations (From Wirral Globe)
Send us news by text, start your message Globe News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Supporters Trust says Ingleborough field plan will be a 'lasting legacy' for future generations
9:20am Friday 19th October 2012 in News
Tranmere Rovers Supporters Trust is calling on Wirral's planning chiefs to leave what it calls "a lasting legacy for generations of young people" by approving plans to build a new housing development at Ingleborough Road and state-of-the-art sporting facilities at Woodchurch Leisure Centre.
Wirral Council's planning committee will sit next Thursday, October 25, to deliver its long-awaited verdict on Tranmere Rovers' application to construct up to 90 new houses on the Ingleborough Road playing field and a new sports and training complex adjacent to Woodchurch Leisure Centre.
TheTrust believes the proposal, which planning officers are recommending councillors approve, would "deliver enormous benefits" including state-of-the-art sports facilities for generations of young people, much-needed housing provision and a host of jobs.
The application has been at the centre of heated exchanges between those in favour and those against.
Campaigners have fiercely argued the site’s historical significance should be preserved for future generations.
The field is a dedicated memorial to 88 former students of Birkenhead Institute who lost their lives in the First World War, among them the renowned war poet Wilfred Owen, who was educated at the school.
Eighty-eight trees representing the fallen soldiers were planted at Ingleborough as a "living memorial" to them in the 1920s.
The new development would incorporate a dedicated, landscaped memorial area at the southern entrance to the site to serve as a publicly-accessible tribute to the dead.
.A decision over the scheme has been delayed three times in the last year, Rovers also withdrew their original application in February before later re-submitting it.
The Trust says approval would safeguard the future of Rovers, which has been a “focal point of the Wirral community for more than 125 years.”
Chairman Ben Harrison said: "It is time for Wirral councillors to deliver the only verdict that would benefit local residents.
"The choice is between retaining a privately-owned, inaccessible field which is not fit for purpose and serves nobody, or giving approval to a transformational scheme which would benefit thousands of people for years to come by creating jobs and providing new housing and top-rate community sports facilities.
"Let us be very clear. Ingleborough and Woodchurch residents have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the schemes, while the Tranmere Hall Residents Association have submitted their approval to the council and have been integral to the design and planning process all along. Out of 166 representations submitted to the council, the majority were in favour.
"Our great year of sport has inspired young people across the country and the complex at Woodchurch would provide facilities that the peninsula badly needs. We are urging the planning committee to make the only sensible decision available to them."
Trust vice-chairman Mark Bartley said: "We appreciate this is an emotive issue but the plans make provision for a landscaped memorial area within the housing development.
"We have long argued that the overwhelming benefits of both schemes, combined with local residents' wishes, make this an acceptable compromise and have yet to hear a rational argument to dispute this.
"Tranmere Rovers counts a number of servicemen and women among their support and arguably does more than any other organisation on the Wirral to promote respect for our troops and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country, whether it be through partnering the Royal British Legion, promoting the poppy appeal, raising thousands of pounds annually through collections or having special match-days dedicated to the armed forces."
Although council officers say the scheme should be given the go-ahead, it will be for councillors on the planning committee to make the final decision when it is put to the vote next Thursday evening.