St Julie’s School rebuild approved

The final project in the £169m Liverpool school renewal programme has been approved by city planners, with St Julie’s Catholic High School in Speke Road to undergo a £20m redevelopment.

All buildings on the site currently occupied by the school will be demolished, to make way for 100,000 sq ft of new facilities across three interconnected blocks.

The rebuild has been controversial as 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.

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.

Campaign group Save Woolton Woods held a silent protest outside the school and outside Liverpool Town Hall yesterday to coincide with a meeting of the council’s planning committee.

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

The mayor’s pledge to deliver 14 new or revamped schools in the city in a £169m programme was the local authority’s response to the collapse of Building Schools for the Future in 2010.

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Frightening stuff. The Mayor has pledged to build 12 new schools and so he must! At any cost. The frightening thing when all the St Julie’s issues were going on where that the Council refused to provide/said they hadn’t done any studies on what was the most economical solution for the school. This is both frightening and probably very untrue given that the council has Quality Assurance and Best Value policies. They just wouldn’t provide it.
There are a series of link corridors on the drawings linking different blocks – which seems a lot of waste – but what about the council tax payers money?
this is just the start and if LCC can break the covenant – and say just because/the covenant isn’t valid without explaining this will happen again and again.

When they decided not to put St Julie’s on Beaconsfield the Mayor said at the public meeting that he had walked around Beaconsfield Road that day and ‘he could not live with himself’ if he allowed the school to be put next to SFX. This is very worrying Joe Anderson only realised this at the last minute – considering his own son went to SFX on Beaconsfield Rd. It makes one wonder whether he has looked at how much money he is wasting overall across the city, how he could have a better and more economical and energy efficient design for the school without taking the wood, and still give the girls the school they need! And still sell the land he wants to sell to Redrow. Beats me why he wont do this.

No devolved powers for Liverpool please!

By Bob Dawson

The devolved powers would be to an area covering the 6 authorities Bob, and would be served by a devolved structure quite different from that of LCC.
Surely the issues involved in the devolution of powers are separate from those at St. Juie’s. Liverpool will lose out in the long term if the wider area does not come together and sell itself as the much bigger city area it is. Birkenhead for example should be where Salford is now. Imagine how many jobs would be created if it was!

By Paul Blackburn

Paul yes I can see that. And it is a crying shame that we are losing out. But the question is with the current people running the city would we use the devolved powers and the resources given wisely? Would we actually effectively group to form a stronger union. Or would there just be in fighting like the last time the toys were thrown out of the pram and its all over the news for the wrong reasons? Im not saying never – Im just saying we need a change, just not now.

By Bob Dawson

We need to persuade them to make a better job of it Bob and to confine the infighting and parochialism to the past. The Wirral is the key! Salford and Wirral were roughly comparable 25 years ago when they were both competing to host the Imperial War Museum of the North. Wirral had a better historical case for that museum with Liverpool’s role in Battle of the Atlantic, and the Borough’s hosting of historic war ships on the East and West Floats at Wallasey Docks. ‘Twelve Quays’ is still struggling to reinvent itself as Wirral Waters despite a spectacular city waterfront setting, whilst Salford now has media city and ever growing office and residential quarter at the Quays. The Manchester area has worked solidly in unison since the 80s. The Liverpool area must do the same as once it does it will catch up, for the benefit of all those people in Birkenhead, and the rest of us too!

By Paul Blackburn

It is a disaster and the thin end of the wedge in relation to our green spaces. There is no need to take this public land as there is sufficient land already on the site to rebuild the school. In spite of everything Joe Anderson says about there being no plans to build houses on any part of the existing school site, just wait – we’ll find out if Anderson is telling the truth but then it will be too late.

By Chris Hartley