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28 June 2010  

A crime against the community was committed on Friday 25 June 2010 when housing developer Worksharp EcoHomes of Southport demolished the historic Great Eastern pub.

Wirral Borough Council's Planning Committee had met on 1st June and deferred making its decision whether to approve the proposals for 10 new semi-detached houses until 6th July.  However, the developer had recently turned some members of the community against this landmark building by deliberately opening it up for vandals to hasten its demise. In what is perceived to be a raspberry blown at local protestors seeking to save this historic building, the developer demolished it before the planning committee could get to see it.

Because the pub was not listed nor in a conservation area, planning regulations allow building owners to demolish their buildings if they wish to do so - without having to ask anyone's permission.  This flawed planning policy has allowed many other similar historic buildings to be destroyed around the country for the last 30 years.

148 years of unique history were snuffed out by the short-sightedness and monetary greed of this developer seeking to make a quick profit out of destroying one of our community's historic landmark assets. The mistakes of the 1960s and 1970s - when many historic buildings were demolished in our towns and cities to make way for "modern" buildings (many of which have since been demolished themselves because of their comparative poor quality and design) have not been learned. Landmark buildings are what give a community its identity; not by turning it into endless rows of bland, cheap domestic architecture. Without landmarks, communities such as New Ferry will become as anonymous as a suburb of Telford.

Those who allowed this to happen should hang their heads in shame.

The Council's planning officers are recommending approval of the new housing scheme, despite some allowances being made which will result in the new houses to be built closer to the existing homes in Clipper View than national guidelines permit. Clipper View residents had better be ready to have their new neighbours looking directly into their rear bedroom windows when the conifer hedge eventually comes down after the new homes go up.

In 2008, a planning application by another developer to demolish the pub to make way for two blocks of apartments was rejected by the planning committee as being "unsuitable for the site".

At the end of April, at the close of the consultation period on the planning application, a petition with over 400 names of those objecting to the proposals was handed in to the Council to be considered.  You can view the electronic part of the petition with nearly 150 names and comments here.  As a community, we would have expected our combined voices to be heard and have a planning policy which reflects community wishes.  Instead, that policy only seems to pander to the whims of individuals and organisations wanting to make a profit by abusing their own properties to the detriment of the communities in which they are situated.

See a series of photos below that were taken by resident Martin Morrow as the developer's workmen tore the last of the building down.




Leave your comments about the loss of the Great Eastern on our Guestbook.