Protest against £20m St Julie’s rebuild

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Campaigners are holding a silent protest outside St Julie’s Catholic High School in Speke Road today followed by a demonstration at Liverpool Town Hall, to protest plans for a £20m rebuild of the school which would encroach on part of Woolton Woods.

The events organised by campaign group Save Woolton Woods coincide with a site visit and a Liverpool City Council planning committee meeting on Tuesday 16 June, to decide on proposals to demolish the current school buildings to make way for 100,000 sq ft of new facilities across three interconnected blocks.

In addition to the current school site, the redevelopment will extend onto a 27,000 sq ft strip of land on the field in front of St Julie’s, described in planning documents as “encroaching onto Woolton Woods in a near-wedge shape”.

The plot would equate to 5% of the 75-acre Camp Hill and Woolton Woods parkland area next to the school.

St Julie’s High School is the final project in the £169m Liverpool school renewal programme and has been recommended for approval by city planners ahead of the planning meeting tomorrow.

Initially the council planned to relocate St Julie’s to the former Lower Lee Special School on Beaconsfield Road in Woolton, but designs were shelved due to issues with highway safety. In June 2014 the existing site was once again examined, taking a proportion of the adjacent land.

As part of the development the council has agreed a deal with the school’s trustees to open up a three-acre area of private woodland behind the school, to compensate for the loss of land.

During a consultation on plans in February, 200 letters of objection were received, along with a petition of 7,017 names from four sources; Woolton Village Residents Association, Woolton Village Residents Association, Save Woolton Woods and the Liberal Democrats. Woolton Village Residents Association also submitted an electronic database annotated by 717 people commenting as to why they are objecting to the proposals.

The objections centred on the loss of green space and issues with the four-storey height of the new school blocks.

The school was designed by IBI Group and will be built by Kier Construction.

Liverpool City Council declined to comment ahead of the planning committee meeting.

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This truly was a silent protest – but there appears to be a bending of the truth from the naughty head master. Tut tut tut

By Tom Alderman