Campaigners rally to save Noctorum Field as plans for houses are resubmitted

People are campaigning to save “a quiet oasis in the middle of Birkenhead” after plans are resubmitted for 33 houses.

The houses are proposed on the Birkenhead School’s sports ground on Noctorum Road. The plans are a resubmission of plans that were previously rejected by Wirral Council and then upheld by the Planning Inspectorate.

The plans are largely the same as the previous application but with a greater contribution towards local sports facilities. The planning inspectorate found the previous proposal would not “provide equivalent or better provision for the loss of the existing sports field.”

The proposal for 33 homes has been heavily criticised by people in the area with 850 people signing a petition by the Noctorum Ridge Residents Association (NRRA) against the current plans. More than 1,600 people signed a petition against the previous application.

Carmel Nolan, from the NRRA, said, “It shows that people really value it as a green exercise space on their doorstep. It also shows it is popular. People like the openness and the quiet. It’s a quiet oasis in the middle of Birkenhead.”

She said the playing fields were an integral part of the area, adding: “We have all been quite astounded Birkenhead School is continuing its efforts to bulldoze their own green space, rather than reconsider its value to them and their future generations of children.”

She added, “It seems, sadly, that the school are simply chancing it again with this carbon-copy application of the last one ahead of  a decision to designate the playing field a local green space is formalised when the new Local Plan is ratified.”

The land is currently designated a local green space under Wirral Council’s draft Local Plan though it is not currently accessible to the public.

CGI representation of the proposals

Birkenhead School in response said they wanted to “fully address some of the apparent misrepresentations or misunderstandings of our plans for Noctorum Field that still appear to be circulating” and that the playing field had been underused for decades.

Headmaster Paul Vicars said, “We are a school and a charity and are not, therefore, motivated by money or profit, but by providing opportunity, including sports, for current and future generations on Wirral.

“The proceeds of any development will be spent on many community benefits – including substantial investment in two local sports clubs repeatedly identified by Sport England and the Council as requiring that investment, but with no prospect of it from elsewhere. 

“It will also contribute to the building of a new sports hall at the School with daily use by many of our girls and boys and more than double the current community use of our existing facilities. Further, a substantial sum will be automatically allocated to affordable housing in the borough.

“The view from the walkway alongside Noctorum Field is an enjoyable one with the tree canopy on one side – and this will be maintained. Indeed, the same tree canopy partially or fully obscures the view of the grass field on most sides. The development proposals will enhance the biodiversity of the site beyond a plain grass field.

“Most aspects of the plan have been resubmitted as they were, because they were fully accepted as appropriate by the planning inspectorate in July 2022. Indeed, within the appeal documents, the Council stated “the proposal site is acceptable ‘in-principle’ as a residential proposal in urban location within the urban fabric of Birkenhead, in a predominately residential area

“The only outstanding issue was demonstrating appropriate investment in sports elsewhere, which we believe we have more than assured with an enhanced contribution in our resubmission – an unused, private field being replaced by new and improved community facilities at Prenton RFC, with its vision to become a community hub, and Old Parkonians RFC.

“The school said they had put their plans in the public domain as far back as early 2020 and “hope that, in due course, residents of Noctorum Ridge will be happy to share their beautiful area with a further number of resident families in a development that further enhances Wirral as an attractive place for families and businesses both now and for future generations.”

Main image credit: Noctorum Ridge Residents Association

Why not follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter? You can also send story ideas to

Share this

Subscribe to our FREE newsletter

Facebook comments

Latest news