Rimrose Valley Friends

Campaigners protest at Manchester court against bypass plan through Liverpool park

  • Residents say road would decimate much-loved country park
  • They want a tunnel to be built under it instead of dual carriageway
  • Highways England says cost of tunnel is prohibitive

A group of residents took their fight against plans to build a road through a much-loved country park to Manchester’s civil and justice centre.

Rimrose Valley Friends staged the protest to call for a tunnel to be built under the park instead of a dual carriageway.

The judicial review came about after the Highways England plan was discussed by members of Sefton Council.

Hazel Davies, a trustee of Rimrose Valley Friends, said: “The options are flawed so that’s why the judicial review is taking place today.

“We’re hoping that the judge will also say it’s flawed and they will have to resubmit and present a tunnel option.”

The park is home to wildlife including otter and deer and is particularly important to the local community. The significance of the park to the local area was  demonstrated recenly when nearly 7000 residents staged a protest on the park against the plans.

Fellow trustee Mike Carter emphasised the need for the park to remain: “Rimrose is used by a lot of people – you get people going to school or work across it to get to the station, so it’s going to split the whole community in half.”

Rimrose Valley, protestors, Manchester high court, liverpool
Trustees Mike Carter (left) and Hazel Davies (right)

Highways England has suggested the reason for not including the option to construct a tunnel largely comes down to cost.

Chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said: “The considerable cost and disruption of constructing a tunnel and ongoing maintenance and operational costs meant it was never going to be a viable solution.”

According to Highways England, the tunnel would cost £1.5bn while the dual carriageway would cost £250m.

Rimrose Valley, protestors, Manchester high court, liverpool, highways england
Highways England’s proposed dual carriageway (orange) through Rimrose Valley

Stuart Bennett, of the Save Rimrose Valley campaign, argued that the tunnel option was a viable one

“It is claimed that the port of Liverpool’s expansion will bring huge investment into the region and the wider country,” he said.

“This should form part of the criteria when determining the budget for the scheme, but we are being told repeatedly that we aren’t worthy of greater expenditure.

“We find this offensive and will continue to fight the current plans.”