In response to social media posts being shared online about trees being felled in Halewood town centre, Knowsley Council would like to clarify a number of issues and can confirm that:-
- The trees and land in question forms part of the privately owned M Park Halewood (known locally as Halewood Shopping Centre). It is not Knowsley Council land.
- The site is owned by, and the tree works have been commissioned by, LCP Group who own M Park / Halewood Shopping Centre.
- Like Halewood Town Council, Knowsley Council does not condone the actions of LCP and Officers and Members of Knowsley Council are as upset as residents are regarding the works that have been undertaken.
- Knowsley Council is aware of a post on Halewood Town Council’s Facebook page that suggests that Knowsley Council has a legal responsibility for woodland management and that the Council employ a Tree Specialist to deal with such matters. The post also suggests that the removal of trees generally is subject to planning approval. Unfortunately, neither of these comments are correct.
- Knowsley Council does employ a Tree Specialist; however their role is to manage and deal with the Council’s own tree stock and to investigate dangerous trees on private land. These trees are not part of the Council’s tree stock nor were they considered to be dangerous.
- Works to trees (including their removal) does not require planning permission unless the trees themselves are located within a Conservation Area or are protected by a Tree Preservation Order – neither of which apply in this instance.
- The Council is aware of a suggestion that trees automatically become protected by a Tree Preservation Order after 10 Years. This is not the case.
- LCP did not require planning permission to carry out the activities at their site. Therefore, Knowsley Council does not have any jurisdiction to intervene in this private matter.
- The work carried out at Halewood Shopping Centre do not form any part of the Halewood Levelling Up project.
On a separate matter, views are being shared locally that detailed plans have been prepared and finalised for the Halewood Levelling Up project which show development on Grace Park including the construction of a road though the park to link Wood Road with Leathers Lane. This is untrue and no such plans have been developed.
With regards to the next steps for the Levelling Up project, the Council has appointed specialists to develop a masterplan for the wider project area. These plans are still being prepared, but the Council hopes to receive draft proposals towards the end of this year.
Once received, the Council will share the proposals and seek the views of local residents and businesses. The intention is that the proposals for Grace Park will be very much focussed on its retention as a green space with enhanced parkland features including formal walking links.