Ingleborough Road site
PLANS by Tranmere Rovers to develop a memorial field for housing took a major leap forward after Wirral council agreed to lift a covenant protecting the site.
The Wirral club had asked the council to lift the restriction on building on the Ingleborough field in Birkenhead, currently used as its junior team training ground.
The council has already granted planning permission for joint projects, which would see 90 homes built at Ingleborough while the Woodchurch Leisure Centre will be upgraded and the new facilities shared with the local community – but the club needed the council to lift the restrictive covenant on the land before this can go ahead.
Wirral council's ruling cabinet decided at its meeting in Wallasey town hall last night to approve the request in principle allowing officers to negotiate on the final terms.
But campaigners opposing the club's plans reacted with dismay. They have argued that the Ingleborough field is a WWI memorial.
They say that 88 trees were planted in memory of the Birkenhead Institute's former students who died in the war and the site should be preserved.
One of the lead campaigners, Dean Johnson, admitted he was disappointed with the decision but said the cabinet had at least accepted they had a role in ensuring there is a lasting memorial to those who died, including war poet Wilfred Owen.
The cabinet added an extra recommendation that an "appropriate" sum of money is set aside to ensure a memorial is put in place.
Estimates suggest Tranmere could raise £5m from the Ingleborough development while the cost of the Woodchurch work, to include facilities such as all-weather pitches, may be £2.5million.