Tranmere building plans approved

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Left: Tranmere Rovers' football stadium, with the War Memorial Pavilion in the field opposite. Right: War poet Wilfred Owen. © Wilfred Owen Memorial Story

Left: Tranmere Rovers’ football stadium, with the War Memorial Pavilion in the field opposite © Google Earth. Right: War poet Wilfred Owen © Wilfred Owen Memorial Story

Tranmere Rovers’ plans to build on a war memorial site have been approved by the government.

The club is set to build 90 homes on Ingleborough Road Memorial playing fields, a war memorial for 88 former pupils of Birkenhead Institute School, including famous poet Wilfred Owen who served in the Somme.

The plans were approved by Wirral Council in October and then postponed while the Department for Communities and Local Government reviewed them.

Secretary of State Eric Pickles has said he sees no problem with the plans and has given his support.

Dean Johnson, founder member of The Wilfred Owen Story, told JMU Journalism he is “disappointed that Eric Pickles has not appreciated the cultural significance of memorials to those who gave their lives for this country”.

Birkenhead Institute Old Boys is seeking reassurance from Wirral Council that the memorial stone will be protected and not used in a disrespectful way by the football club.

The Wilfred Owen Story is now calling upon Tranmere Rovers owner Peter Johnson to attend talks with Birkenhead Institute Old Boys to discuss creating a replacement memorial at the site.

Although the building plans have been approved, the club must comply with section 106 of the building plan agreement.

This means that the plans to re-develop Woodchurch leisure centre must be complete and in use before any houses can be built on the playing fields.

Mr Johnson told JMU Journalism: “There was a danger the Secretary of State could have called in the application and approved it without the section 106 .

“Our campaign now focuses on ensuring the section 106 stays in place and no ‘escape hatch’ is made available for Tranmere Rovers with regard to the Secretary of State allowing the destruction of a WW1 memorial so close to Centenary is another matter.

“Mr Pickles has handed Tranmere Rovers Football Club a shovel to bury the past with.”

About Rachael Leitch, JMU Journalism