Beesley & Fildes Respond to Council Criticism over Whitakers Planning Application

By on Thursday, May 25, 2017

[Update 14/06/17: Scroll down for Knowsley Council’s response.]

The owners of Whitakers Garden Centre have hit back at criticisms from Knowsley Council’s planning department.

Beesley & Fildes filed an application to build houses on former greenbelt land adjacent to the Whitakers site, on Liverpool Road, Prescot.

Having withdrawn an initial application, they submitted the revised request earlier this year, but it was rejected.

In a letter that Prescot Online now publishes at the author’s request, company chairman John Beesley said Beesley & Fildes had followed planning procedure and “dealt with all the issues raised by the council.”

Talks between Beesley & Fildes and Knowsley Council have been ongoing since 2012, and at “considerable cost” to the business, according to Mr Beesley.

He described the planning refusal as “political,” saying it was clear that “the real reason why the council rejected the revised application is that they do not want to be seen to approve it with so many people opposing the application. They prefer us to appeal so they can state it was central government who approved it and not them.”

Prescot Online readers may read the full letter online (PDF). Knowsley Council’s original public announcement, dated 25 April, is online at

Update (14 June 2017): Knowsley Council have published their response to Mr Beesley’s claims. Read it here (PDF).


  1. Allan Jones.

    Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    The greed of Beesley & Files in this matter is staggering. They are willing to destroy the last field in Prescot despite the opposition of the residents of the area many of whom will be their customers. Their arrogance and contempt for local people is breathtaking.

    • john beesley

      Monday, June 5, 2017 at 10:53 am

      you have no idea what you are talking about ,the fields are not used and there is a chronic shortage of decent quality housing in Prescot the fields are not in greenbelt so i would suggest you look into things in more depth before you put pen to paper.

      • Allan Jones

        Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at 3:01 pm

        Mr Beesley, many thanks for your reply, dismissive and derogatory though it may be.
        The fields could be used…the only reason they are not used is because of your Company’s lack of investment in developing the nursery side of your garden centre business. They were in the greenbelt but have only recently been released due to Knowsley Council’s obsession with concreting over the entire borough so please don’t dismiss these fields as some sort of waste land. A community does have to have some green spaces and Prescot now has very very little and if you and Knowsley Council prevail there will be even less. The land could easily be developed as I said above to support your garden centre but with some of it (perhaps the field nearest to the road) being given over to the public as developed parkland with amenities for the local population…but of course you would not make any money with that idea so it is probably a non starter. There are, I have heard, over 400 houses to be built on the old B.I.C.C. site, hundreds on land in Scotchbarn Lane and other places all over Prescot. So perhaps the last fields in Prescot will remain green as there is no need for them to be “developed.” Sadly however Council and greedy developers will not be happy until all the green spaces have been built on…and then of course they will move elsewhere, oblivious to the problems of lack of schools, doctors, hospitals etc that their huge developments have created.

        • Mick

          Friday, October 13, 2017 at 3:59 pm

          Scotchbarn lane Alan, the old Beasley shop where it all started houses, the old co-op milk yard houses, the swimming pool and car park houses, old BICC club and leisure houses, Edmund arrow smith school and playing fields houses. and please watch this space for the football fields in Two butt lane. more blinking houses. Knowsley council haven’t they destroyed old Prescot enough ?

  2. Michael

    Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    Why doesnt he build the houses in Bickerstaffe where he lives!!

    • john beesley

      Monday, June 5, 2017 at 10:58 am

      there will be a new estate that will be built that has been pushed by West Lancs council that comes from Skem towards Bickerstaffe ,we do not build enough houses in the UK for the demand they have got to be built somewhere.

  3. Andy

    Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    I’m not quite sure what mr beesley is on about – they were advised to make changes in terms of traffic on and off site. His company didn’t, the plans got rejected. Sounds like bad business planning and rather sour grapes

    • john beesley

      Monday, June 5, 2017 at 11:00 am

      the traffic consultant did all required in order to prove the junction works again the council were aware of this and ignored it so sorry it was not bad business planning but a politically motivated council that has caused the problem.

  4. Paul nesbo

    Saturday, May 27, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    So there were a lot of people who weren’t happy with the proposal. That called democracy Mr beesley. Just realise that you bought Whitakers to develop the land and now you are stuck with a garden centre. Ha ha ha.

    • john beesley

      Monday, June 5, 2017 at 11:05 am

      look at what Whitakers was like before we bought it,run down and a mess we have improved it beyond recognition and created jobs as well as giving the people in the area a better shopping experience i am happy to be stuck with the garden center it is causing no problems and services the community well.

  5. Tony Ely

    Sunday, May 28, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    As it states in the letter from Beesley and Fyldes this is Prescot SUE within the local plan. It is not Greenbelt yet the people of Prescot have voted for Lib Dem councillors who have convinced them for votes that it is. #FIBDEMS After GE2017 as a resident of Prescot NORTH i challenge our elected representatives on KMBC to hold a Public meeting to debate this properly. I await their response.

  6. JohnJ

    Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 12:32 am

    The point is, the land was greenbelt and had been for many years. It could still be returned to greenbelt status and there are many who, for various reasons, hope for that, but once building starts that hope is gone. Knowsley Council have (and are required to have) a ‘Green Space Strategy’, to maintain and provide open and green spaces across the borough, some of which are in the greenbelt, but most are not. The strategy identifies many reasons for having and providing access to green spaces, including visual amenity, recreational purposes, maintenance of wildlife, reduction of noise and pollution, and benefits to physical and mental health.

    The council claims to have ‘a strong reputation as an advocate of the benefits of green spaces’, but in terms of action this basically means existing parks (which has not stopped them releasing a chunk of Stadt Moers in Whiston for housing development, or a failed attempt to offer Henley Park for development as car parking for Whiston Hospital).

    East of Prescot, the area surrounding Scotchbarn Lane Two Butt Lane and Delph Lane was more than 50% open space until the 1990s when housing development covered the area surrounding Delph Lane Quarry and the school and playing fields. Among about 430 new homes in two huge housing estates the developers provided one oval grassed island and one rectangular grass plot (size about one sixth of a football pitch).

    The Scotchbarn Pool and Leisure facility has gone (35 houses, no open space), The BICC social club site, (car park, bowling greens), has planning application in for 68 houses with a token strip of grass and trees on the border with Scotchbarn Lane, the Delph quarry landfill site has outline permission for 44 houses, Two Butt Lane Playing field is released from greenbelt (maybe 120 houses) the St Edmund Arrrowsmith School site and field has a planning application for 133 houses (Planning meeting is 15 June), providing no green space but offering to enhance green space “external to the development”. Since all the other open spaces in the area are offered for development, that means Henley park, or the grass plot between Edward Road and Gilbert Road, which seem hardly adequate for the existing population, let alone an additional 400 homes.

    Under the green Space Strategy, and in consideration of the future needs of increased population for schools and recreation, there is a good case for preserving the green space for the community, or at least calling for restriction of new development to the footprint of former buildings.

    • john beesley

      Monday, June 5, 2017 at 10:56 am

      then why did the council contact us to consider putting houses on the site ?

      • GO

        Saturday, June 24, 2017 at 10:41 pm

        So if money is not an issue, why don’t you donate the land to the community of prescot in trust using it as open space and turning into a wildlife area with plant life etc being funded by your garden centre. Would be nice to give something back from the wealth you have created from the people of Merseyside though your many business.

    • Mick

      Friday, October 13, 2017 at 4:05 pm

      Well said John

  7. David J

    Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    oh dear, it seems the backhanders and brown envelopes have been ‘lost’ and the new planning officials have a very different view towards building willy nilly all over Prescot (greenbelt or not).

    Ask Lord Derby to have 1000s of houses built on ‘his’ land. He seems really keen to sell off ‘his’ land for development all over Eccleston and St Helens so why not build on the Stanley Estate if we need housing ??

    • JohnJ

      Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 10:30 pm

      No, it’s business as usual. The planning decision on the Scotchbarn Lane site was a foregone conclusion, objections dismissed, and the developers allowed to circumvent the requirements for public open, green or recreational space by paying for enhancements to such space “off-site”, i.e. 2 miles away at Stadt Moers Park.

  8. Elizabeth Oxley

    Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at 11:34 am

    Dya kno wha cracks me up yas r all jealous of John Beesley whats the point in avin a field doin nothin wen u cud put it to use! Some childish people leave him too it complain wen he asks u lot to pay for it its his business no 1 elses
    Good luck John beesley.

    • David J

      Monday, June 19, 2017 at 10:36 pm

      That’s the problem, you and the Council think everyone in Prescot will hop on a bus or jump in the car or walk 2 miles to Huyton or elsewhere to have a swim or play some sport. Absolute joke.
      KMBC have made a right horlicks out of it and no, we don’t need more houses ad infinitum… solve the problem at source and house prices will find a balance without trashing green spaces.

      • JohnJ

        Saturday, June 24, 2017 at 1:00 am

        No worries David, tell the kids who don’t want to play football to go play on the railway line, or hang around the off-licence. On our latest site the new houses aren’t allowed to have any walls or fences forward of the property, so there’s a ready-made adventure playground for them among the parked cars and front windows.

    • David J

      Monday, June 19, 2017 at 10:37 pm

      I’d stay off the crystal meth, luv.

  9. Barbara shiels

    Sunday, January 19, 2020 at 3:46 pm

    We have hundreds of houses being built along Knowsley Lane, as far up as the beginning of Prescot.We don’t need any more.I’m sure that space could be turned to better use, besides houses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *