The amount of green space available for use by the local community is set to increase under revised plans to redevelop St Julie’s Catholic High School in Liverpool.
Consultation has been underway on a plan to rebuild the Woolton school largely on its present site, but also using five percent of a neighbouring field.
Now, the city council has followed up an innovative suggestion that almost 3,000 square metres of the private woodland behind the school owned by the Trustees should be opened up to the community to more than compensate for the small loss of public space.
The Trustees of the school have agreed in principle, and the city council is now drawing up indicative plans to show how at least 10 percent of the woodland could be used, and will also look at options to potentially open up more of the much loved local woodland in the future.
The Council will work with the community on ideas for what they want to see the woodland used for. Initial ideas include a children’s play area, woodland trail, cycle routes, trim trail and woodland management if deemed appropriate. It would be funded as part of the school development as a community-led project.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “This scheme will deliver a fantastic new school for the area, benefiting hundreds of families who live in and around Woolton, as well as the wider community.
“We have listened to local people who have made constructive suggestions over how to compensate for the loss of open space while still delivering the much needed new school.
“This is an exciting opportunity to develop a new piece of public space which can be used by the whole community, and means that there will actually be an increase in the amount of land available for use by local people.”
Head teacher of St Julie’s, Tim Alderman, said: “We are delighted that Liverpool City Council has come up with a plan that enables current and future generations of students in this community to benefit from fantastic educational facilities.
“I hope the community will continue to use our range of facilities out of school hours too as well as enjoy the woodland areas that the Trustees have said could form part of this proposal.”
A complete rebuild on the existing footprint of the St Julie’s site is not feasible due to tight site constraints, and a comprehensive survey has shown there are no other suitable sites nearby which would deliver a large enough building or with safe access.
The project is part of the Liverpool Schools Investment Programme, which will see at least 12 new schools built. It was devised as a rescue package following the scrapping of Wave Six of Liverpool’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) project, and is one of the Mayor’s key pledges.