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Inquiry Reports

Friday, January 23, 2009

Day 29 – Forged Evidence?

The Kirkby residents presented their proofs of evidence and were subjected to limited cross-examination.

Mr. Jim Gittens presented his document referenced Krag/P/1.

Mr. Patrick Clarkson during cross-examination attempted to get Jim to agree that matches were not very often and activity only lasted for a few hours.

Jim did not agree that matchday activity was limited to only a few hours at a time so therefore its impact would be minimal. He told the inquiry that matches would be at the weekend and evenings, during resident's quality time.

Mr. Clarkson wanted agreement that for 99.9% of the year there would be no matches.

Jim said that you have to disregard the hours between 11pm and 6am.

Mr. Clarkson stated that he would be putting the figure of 99.9% in his submission.

Jim explained that residents would be affected in their free time, after work and at weekends; this would be premium time.

Mrs. Jenny Wharton and Mrs. Ann Murphy from the Women's Group presented Krag/P/2

Mrs. Burden was nodding in agreement when Jenny talked about the importance of open space for children and the effect that sleep deprivation has on them in the classroom.

Ann talked of how transport issues would affect care providers and services.

Mr. Clarkson began his cross-examination by asking Jenny about good and bad diets affecting worklessness.

Jenny explained that patterns of eating that had gone on for generations. It was a cultural thing that people don't live on a diet of protein rich pulses.

Mr. Clarkson asked Jenny to agree that the area suffered from high heart disease rates, Jenny replied that this project would add to the problem.

Mr. Clarkson then asked if her class of 8 year olds would welcome the opportunity to go to a football match? Jenny replied that they would and they can go to them now.

Mr. Clarkson asked, “don't they have fun when they go?”

Ann Murphy interjected at this point by telling Mr. Clarkson that Jenny wasn't a football supporter.

Jenny explained that she didn't think residents should be burdened with the stadium. Mr. Clarkson made his position clear by explaining that people should be given the chance to go to the match. He said that little boys would want to go and little girls would if Ronaldo or Beckham were playing wouldn't they?

Jenny responded that she would rather they participated.

Mr. Barrett representing Knowsley Council brought up the Everton In The Community programme. Jenny replied that it was a stand-alone charity and it shouldn't need a stadium to allow access to these services.

Mr. Barrett suggested that a high profile football club would promote sport and lift the town's profile. Jenny said that Everton and Liverpool hadn't done that in their current areas.

Mr. Dodds of KRISP was next to attempt cross-examination. He asked Jenny about the current use of the greenspace and that he had been there over 100 times with 62 businesses and seen no one. Jenny instantly replied “well I have.”

Mr. Dodds put it to Jenny and Ann that the current town centre was not wheelchair friendly. People have to get served outside shops. Ann replied that this was not the case. Her sister uses a wheelchair and has no problems whatsoever. Ann invited Mr. Dodds to come with her and see before adding that the old Kirkby stadium was wheelchair friendly but that a hoist was needed for the new sports facilities.

Mr. Peter Ross presented Krag/P/3

Peter explained that the primary proof refers to PP17, OS1 and OS2.

OS1 - fails on every count. Urban greenspace, sport and recreation

OS2 - fails on every count. Urban greenspace

OS4 - protection of playing pitches or other formal sporting facilities. There will be a deficit of 7.99 hectares, therefore non-compliance. There is no benefit to sporting interest.

Mr. Barrett pointed to Hallam's evidence which suggests there will be some amenity green space left but did agree that there is some conflict with policy. Sport England though, sees replaced provision as adequate

Peter put it to Mr. Barrett that Sport England policy was to protect land for professional sports pitches.

Mr. Barrett replied that benefits have to be weighed against negatives.

Peter stated that only the positives have been pushed forward, the negatives are in his proof.

Mr. Barry Fearnhough presented Krag/P/4

Barry is a Grange resident who used to live in Walton. Residents there had to put up with anti-social behavior and were trapped in their homes on matchdays. Barry claimed that car minding is extortion but it exists, that the controlled parking zones didn't work and that there was little evidence of segregation of away fans. Barry told the inquiry that his father and neighbours were attacked for confronting fans urinating on cars. Barry claimed that if KMBC didn't recognize there will be anti social behavioral problems, how can Kirkby residents have confidence in their council. Barry explained that fights still happen at pre-arranged meeting places away from the ground and that it was not always football fans but aggressive local youths. Barry closed by stating that these proposals are wrong and potentially damaging for Kirkby. Mr. Ian Ross of Everton had said prices would go up in Walton when EFC move.

Under cross-examination all Mr. Clarkson wanted was Barry's address and what number he lived at.

Mr. Barrett put it to Barry that Merseytravel and Merseyside police's views should be given considerable weight. Barry pointed out that they do get it wrong; look at the battle of Everton Valley.

Mrs. Dot Reed presented Krag/P/5

Mr. Clarkson asked if Dot had received a DVD about the proposals? Dot replied that a neighbour obtained one from someone in Tower Hill.

Mr. Clarkson put it to her that she would have known all about the proposals from attending Krag meetings. Dot replied that there were rumours about demolishing houses; George Howarth had said there were no plans.

Mr. Clarkson informed Dot that they could all be re-housed together but Dot replied that she wanted to live where she lived. Mr. Clarkson replied that that was a matter between her and the housing co-op.

Mr. Barrett said that there were fortnightly meetings with CDS Housing Association but Dot told him that they don't listen. Mr. Barrett mentioned replacement dwellings, Dot said that their options had reduced from 6 to 1 and they were now getting told where to live.

Mr. Barrett asked if she was speaking for all 72 residents but Dot stated she was only speaking for people in Spicer grove, not Cherryfield Crescent.

Mr. Barrett asked about a petition from Karen Bulger of Cherryfield Crescent, Dot immediately replied that it was forged, no-one in Spicer Grove had seen it, let alone signed it.

Mrs. Pauline Pendleton presented Krag/P/6

Pauline is worried about the cheap alcohol available in Tesco. She lives on Tithebarn Lane but wasn't consulted.

She feared fans will get to know Kirkby's roads and alleyways, passageways through to Kirkby Station. She felt that away fans wouldn't respect Kirkby and Police protection will be toward crowd control.

Mr. Barrett said that information had gone to all households and that there had been a wide consultation exercise. Pauline replied that there was no face-to-face consultation with residents of Tithebarn Lane. The information was inadequate as a consultation base; everything was geared towards the town center

Dr. Tim Stratford presented Krag/P/7

Tim explained that there has been great difficulty for Krag to have conversations with the Local Authority. Their councillors wouldn't speak, they had been told not to.

Tim stated that the consultations were very one sided, it felt like the plans were just being sold.

There needs to be a separate inquiry into dates (TEV/INQ/16)

Tim explained that Everton In The Community is a discreet charity. The community centre is hands on in the community; it has a strong network.

The inquiry closed for the day.

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