Please find below all correspondence received in response to proposals for the use of land within Whiston Woods (most recent first)
Click to View Response from M. Harden, Chief Exec. KMBC - November 2023
Click to view Committee decision
Click to view Original Planning Application submitted to Committee
Click to view Report by resident regarding Original Cemetery Plans
Click to view Knowsley Cemetery - sharing of Accurate Information article
Click here for Response from Mike Harden, Chief Executive, Knowsley Borough Council to request for public meeting.
Click here to view copy of email from Mr JM Taylor to Granada Reports Television programme
Click here to view email from resident to George Howarth MP re Proposed Whiston Woods Development
Click here to view email from resident to Cllr. G. Morgan re Equestrians of Whiston Woods & Knowsley
Click here to view email from Mr JM Taylor to Councillor G. Morgan KBC 28/06/2023
Click here to view response from Knowsley Borough Council to resident's email re Consultation dates and venues
Please click here to view the Whiston Woods Community Consultation Boards published on 6th June 2023
Click here to view June 6th 2023 Report from John Taylor - amateur naturalist and interested party
May 31st 2023 Correspondence received from John Taylor - amateur naturalist and interested party
My name is John Taylor. I have been bird watcher and amateur naturalist for in excess of 50 years. I am addressing you as newly elected Councillors in the belief that you will fulfil your responsibilities and address the concerns of the electorate, your constituents for the fare of Whiston Woods.
I wish to know if a Sec 2 Environmental Impact Assessment has been conducted, if so when, and where I can view the results. On 14th May 2023 I conducted a mini survey of the Wood's bird population together with SJ Taylor over a period of just one hour and identified 29 species. Amongst those were Song Thrush, Amber listed with iUCN and Wood Warbler, red listed with iUCN. Since the survey another local naturalist has seen and photographed a Grasshopper Warbler, IUCN red listed since 2002.
As such these species AND their habitat are accorded protected status under the terms of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. I assume the Council is going to be bound by that legislation.
A further 4 species recorded that day are on the RSPB UK Red list as species in need of special protection. A further 4 species previously recorded also fall into that category.
These issues compound the concerns the local population have for the removal of their last piece of green space in what may only be described as an act of Environmental Vandalism.
During this survey we spoke with a number of walkers of differing ages who, without exception expressed disgust and dismay at the proposed plans and the loss of their green space.
This short survey took no account of wiidflowers, trees or the abundance of insects and invertebrates that form an I tegral part of the foodchain and maintain an ecological balance. Neither does it take account of the number of residents walking for pleasure with children or dogs or those simply visiting for peace an quiet.
Both Central and Local Government are allegedly committed to conservation and the battle against climate change yet you would seek to destroy one of the last vestiges of green space available to your constituents. We appeal to you to listen to those very constituents and abort this horrendous plan.
Copy of Statement received 24th May 2023, from Mike Harden, Chief Executive Officer, Knowsley Borough Council
I have been asked to provide you all with an update on the current position relating to Knowsley Cemetery and in particular the proposed extension of our Cemetery at Whiston Woods.
Some inaccurate information has been shared recently about the potential site for the Cemetery extension and what is included in these proposals. The current position is that the proposals are still being developed and therefore much of the information being discussed publicly is based on speculation – I expect the proposals to be shared for the first time when the Council launches a public consultation exercise on Monday 5 June 2023. In response to the current misinformation, we have published a “For the Record” article on Knowsley News which clearly outlines the facts. You can access that article via the following link - https://www.knowsleynews.co.uk/proposals-for-whiston-woods/.
Such misinformation includes allegations that the Council has, as part of the Halsnead Garden Village development, sold land for housing and that this land had previously been dedicated within our Local Plan for the expansion of the Cemetery. The Council has never sold any land at Halsnead Garden Village for housing development - all of the land which has been sold to date has been sold by private land owners.
By way of background, planning permission was granted in 1994 for the development of Knowsley Cemetery for an 8-hectare site (to be developed in phases). As details were only provided for Phase 1, permission was only ever granted for the Phase 1 area.
In 2011 and 2017, separate planning applications were approved for the expansion of the Cemetery. The expansion area created by the 2011 permission has since been fully used up, and the 2017 permission forms the current active burial area. There is enough remaining space at the Cemetery for approximately three years of burial capacity, hence the need for the Council to identify a further expansion.
In 1994, the site of the Cemetery and surrounding land was allocated in the Local Plan as green belt, and it remained as green belt in subsequent Local Plans up until the adoption of the current Local Plan in 2016, when the surrounding land was identified as part of the South Whiston Sustainable Urban Extension site (latterly known as Halsnead Garden Village).
Although the land adjoining the Knowsley Cemetery site is Council-owned, it has never been allocated as Cemetery extension land under the Local Plan. The land is allocated for development purposes as part of the Halsnead Garden Village Masterplan and continues at this time to be leased to a farmer for agricultural purposes.
A review of alternative expansion sites identified Whiston Woods as a suitable site form an extension due to its proximity to the existing Cemetery, its size, and the ground composition.
As you will see in the “For the Record” article, the Whiston Woods site is 20 hectares and the proposal is to utilise around 4 hectares (i.e. less than one quarter of it) for the cemetery extension – it is important to say that all 20 hectares would still be accessible and available for the public to use.
The proposal would accommodate 10,000 new burial plots, thereby providing around 100 years of burial capacity. Improvement works are also proposed to public access, parking, paths, highway junctions (Cumber Lane) and habitats to allow for the diversification and enhancement of the woodlands across the site. Whilst the proposal does include some trees being felled, all tree loss would be mitigated and compensated by replanting trees on a “two for one” basis.
All of the proposals, including visuals as to how the site could look, will be available when the Council launches a month-long public consultation exercise from Monday 5 June 2023. Communities will be encouraged to view the plans and share their views.
The consultation will be available online as well as a range of public drop-in events. We will share further details with you once the consultation goes lives on 5 June 2023.
Mike Harden (He/Him)
Below is the response from Mike Harden, Chief Executive of Knowsley Borough Council, received on 18th May 2023, in response to letter sent by Sandra Mayers, Town Clerk
I refer to your letter to me dated 25 April 2023.
As you note in your letter, the proposals for a Cemetery within the Whiston Woods area are currently in the early stages of development. We are in the process of developing a communications plan to support a programme of community engagement in relation to these proposals.
The community consultation on these proposals will be above and beyond those that are required via planning legislation. I will ask the relevant Council officers to ensure that Whiston Town Council are fully engaged as these proposals are developed so that this consultation reaches as many local residents as possible and they have the opportunity to share their views.
5th May 2023
In response to concerns raised by residents with regard to the proposed use of land within Whiston Woods, please find below the response, received from Marie Rimmer MP on 5th May 2023, to correspondence from the Town Clerk of Whiston.
Dear Ms Mayers,
Thank you for your recent email in relation to Whiston Woods.
I understand that a number of residents have highlighted their concerns about this proposal, and I recently wrote to Knowsley Council regarding this issue, who provided the following response:
”There is currently a proposal for Knowsley Council to purchase the land in question from the Forestry Commission for use as a Woodland Cemetery. This proposal was approved by Knowsley Council’s Cabinet in July 2022 – the details are published on the Council’s website.
The proposal would enable the extension of the current Foxes Bank Cemetery, which is due to reach capacity within the next four years.
It is worth noting that these proposals are currently in the early stages of development. In terms of next steps, the Council will continue to work on the plans, and we will share them with local residents in due course. Community meetings and a full community consultation exercise would take place in respect of the proposals before the submission of a planning application. We expect this consultation to take place over the coming summer months.
Only if and/or when a planning application was approved would Knowsley Council actually purchase the land from the Forestry Commission and carry out any necessary works.
Again, the views of local people will be taken into consideration in developing these plans and the Council is committed to ensuring that any proposals are of the highest standard and respectful of the local amenity, environment and residents.”
Knowsley Council’s Chief Executive has also assured me that all future information regarding these plans or consultation will be shared under the ‘news’ section of Knowsley Council’s website, to enable residents to keep up to date with the situation.
I hope that this response provides residents with some useful information. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any further assistance with this or any other matter.
Marie Rimmer CBE, MP
Member of Parliament for St Helens South and Whiston
Century House | Hardshaw Street | St Helens | WA10 1QU
Telephone: 01744 752075 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
www.facebook.com/MarieRimmer | www.twitter.com/MarieRimmerMP