The agenda and reports for this committee can be found by clicking on this link.
Corporate Governance Committee
Chair, Cllr Steve Foulkes
Cllr Phil Davies
Cllr Adrian Jones
Cllr Anne McArdle
Cllr Ann McLachlan
Co-optee (no voting rights) Cllr Jeff Green
Co-optee (no voting rights) Cllr Tom Harney
Bill Norman (Borough Solicitor)
Jim Wilkie (Chief Executive)
Ian Coleman (Director of Finance & Deputy Chief Executive)
David Smith (Deputy Director of Finance)
A couple of members of the public/press
A number of other officers
Cllr Foulkes, once the microphones had been put out began the first meeting of the Corporate Governance Committee.
He said he couldn’t start the meeting without him [Cllr Jeff Green]. Some jokes were made about Cllr Jeff Green’s smoking habit and the people present waited for Cllr Jeff Green to return. Once he returned Cllr Foulkes asked for any declarations of interest. No declarations of interest were declared.
Cllr Foulkes said there’d be a slight change to the agenda as Chris Hyams [Head Of Human Resources & Organisational Development] needed to leave early as Cllr Foulkes said she had worked hard. Therefore they would be dealing with item 7 first which was on performance management, along with its six appendices.
Cllr Dave Mitchell and Cllr Eddie Boult proposed and seconded Application APP/11/00911. All councillors voted in favour so the application was approved.
The committee considered Application APP/11/00932. The officer said this was for a change of use as a hyperbaric training centre was being relocated from Murrayfield. The site near the water was a key location requirement. There had been a letter hand delivered from John Moores University confirming that there had been no commercial discussions or contracts signed and that they had nothing to do with the current application. Therefore the reference to John Moores University should be deleted.
Cllr John Salter and Cllr Eddie Boult proposed and seconded the application. All councillors voted in favour.
The last planning application APP/11/0133 was for a single storey rear extension. Cllr Mitchell proposed it, Cllr Keeley seconded it. All councillors voted in favour.
Cllr Elderton asked for any comments on the quarterly performance report. There were no comments, so the report was noted.
There were comments on the planning applications decided under delegated powers and no any other business so the meeting ended.
Cllr Mitchell asked why numbers 3, 4 and 5 were only 10.5 metres apart? The officer said they recommended a flexible approach between new properties.
Cllr Realey asked if there was any possibility that the speed limit could be reduced to below 20mph as this was “really fast”.
The officer from technical services said there would be physical measures to slow vehicles down and that it was Wirral Council policy to have 20mph speed limits on residential roads. If the speed limit was below 20mph it would be difficult to enforce as speedometers were not accurate at these low speeds.
Cllr Glasman referred to the comments from Merseytravel and the extra traffic that would result from the Asda development in Birkenhead.
The officer from the Technical Services Department asked if she meant whilst it was constructed?
Cllr Glasman said the submission was about buses and was likely to be a problems.
The officer from the Technical Services Department said that in the process of construction, vehicles going to and from the site can be disruptive. It was on a main classified road.
Cllr Salter referred to tree protection and wanted to make sure the trees were reinstated. The officer said there were two conditions on the retention and protection of trees.
Cllr Clements asked about a condition for renewable energy and whether this was feasible or viable?
The officer said that regional policy on this matter gave the developer a get out. However it would be up to the developer to prove.
Cllr Mitchell referred to a Notice of Motion a decade ago and how it was already council policy. He thought they should be doing more to make sure developers were environmentally friendly and reducing the carbon footprint of developments.
Cllr Salter and Cllr Mitchell proposed accepting the application. All councillors voted in favour.
Cllr Mitchell asked about separation distance and whether the windows were obscurely glazed.
The officer said they haven’t asked for obscure glazing. Separation distance weren’t considered as the two dwellings face at an oblique angle.
Cllr John Salter and Cllr Eddie Boult proposed and seconded the application. Ten councillors voted for the application and Cllr Kelly and Cllr Mitchell voted against, so the application was approved.
The committee then considered planning application APP/11/00714. The officer said this was a residential development of sixty-two houses. These would be mainly two storey, with ten being two and a half storeys high. It would largely use the existing road layout, but there would be gardens and off-road parking. The key issues were separation distances, which were internally shorter than normal standards. Two properties’ windows were within 14 metres and were only partly obscured. The people moving in would be aware of this. 30% of the housing would be purchased by Wirral Partnership Homes as affordable housing due to the development agreement with Keepmoat. There would be a 20mph speed limit on this residential development.
Cllr Elderton asked about the fear that the roads would lead to a rat run under the proposed layout. Cllr Mitchell asked about the implications of the separation distance being below the normal requirement.
The officer said that it had been proposed to make Brett Street a through road, but had led to concerns expressed by Merseyside Police. The plans had now been amended to a cul-de-sac, so there was not an extra route.
Cllr Dave Mitchell asked to see what the front elevation would look like. Cllr Elderton stated that there was a nineteen person petition against the application. He asked if there was a ward councillor present? There wasn’t.
Cllr Dave Mitchell asked about the raised elevation to the rear, which Cllr Elderton described as “quite dramatic”. The officer said they had a sketch of the rear elevation. When this was shown to Cllr Dave Mitchell he said it was “sufficient for me not to like it”. Cllr Salter said it would be about a hundred metres from the front, well inside the Mariner’s area, not pronounced or on a corner. Cllr Stuart Kelly said it was a pity the petitioner had not met the threshold, he had a concern about the very open aspect. He had seen additional plans on the internet and felt it was “too big, intrusive and alien”. He said it “looked horrible” and he was not “enamoured by the impact”.
Cllr Elderton referred to representations received on this application in the areas of cycle parking, privacy, preferable sites nearby and an objection over rehousing.
Cllr Kelly joked that it was a pity it was not a retirement village for planning officers. Cllr Keeley referred to the considerable petition. Matthew Rushton said the petition was on one sole issue, to do with accommodation during development. Cllr Mooney said the main objection was that the people rehoused are elderly, there would be disruption which was not a planning issue but was “heartbreaking”.
Cllr Keeley asked a question about appearance and amenity. He referred to a recent appeal decision, where the committee’s decision had been overturned. The A4 use was upheld at appeal, but it was not mentioned in the report which he felt was subjective.
Matthew Davies said the planning regulations were clear, planning appeals are material as long as they are relevant to the application being assessed.
Cllr Keeley said it was material as it was on the same road, however it was subjective and they had to be careful.
Matthew Rushton said he hadn’t got a copy. Cllr Elderton said he had raised valid points.
Cllr Keeley moved refusal on the grounds it contravened guidance in SPD 3 & would led to a proliferation. Cllr Realey seconded refusal. Cllrs Stuart Kelly, James Keeley and a number of other councillors voted to refuse the application. Cllr Dave Mitchell and Cllr Wendy Clements voted to accept the planning application. The application was refused.
Cllr Elderton said they had all got the gist, but they would require something specific afterwards.
Cllr Keeley said it had not met the separation distances in SPD 3 & would lead to a proliferation. Cllr Elderton asked Cllr Keeley to email Matthew.
Cllr Bernie Mooney returned (having previously declared a prejudicial interest in this item).
The Planning Committee then considered Planning Application APP/7/00887. The officer said there would be temporary accommodation for the residents who would need relocating and that the closest dwelling was at number twenty, it was recommended for approval.
Cllr Elderton referred to the two premises within forty metres and the “demonisation of chip shops”. Cllr Salter picked up on the secondary school within four hundred metres.
Matthew Rushton responded by stating that the four hundred metres separation distance to secondary schools was a reference to a policy in place in Barking & Dagenham. Barking and Dagenham did have a policy of not having this sort of use within four hundred metres of a secondary or primary school. This was because they had different supplementary guidance, but there was no change on Wirral. In respect of the flue to the property, the forty metres separation distance referred to noise and disturbance, not environmental health. There was a condition that the applicant would have to come up with a written scheme which covered the likelihood of flue odour problems. How it affected the character of the area and the numbers of other similar uses was a subjective issue. He said although Liscard had been identified as part of the Neighbourhood Development Plans, this was at an early stage and not material.
Cllr Glasman said she sympathised with Mr. Hale and the ward councillor. She said a greater number of hot food takeaways and chip shops would be competing for a slice of the cake. She thought they were already full.
Cllr Elderton said they weren’t to get involved in commercial viability. He asked about the proliferation of facilities.
An officer replied that they could take consideration of the overall numbers of restaurants, takeaways and public houses in the immediate surroundings.
John Hale (petitioner) said that the flue would be within 11 metres of 3 Moseley Avenue. He said residents do not agree that the character and nature of the Liscard area had changed sufficiently to accept a sixth chip shop. Mr. Hale said there were many hot food takeaways, four kebab shops and a myriad of other hot food takeaways. Going back eleven years, he said there were only seventeen places that hot or cold food could be bought but now there were fifty-eight.
Mr. Hale said the sleep of residents was being affected and the character and nature of the area was being eroded. He pleaded with the Planning Committee not to approve any more. He said the limit had been reached to what residents could put up with and they would remember when it came to voting next May. He mentioned the Neighbourhood Development Plan for the area and how they were a trailblazer in this regard. He said that it would be the only food shop there and would be out of character, he trusted the Committee had read the report and thanked them for listening to him.
Cllr Elderton asked if there was anyone on behalf of the applicant, there wasn’t. Cllr Darren Dodd said he wanted to add weight to what Mr. Hale had said and that there were plenty of hot food takeaways, chippies and kebab shops. He said there were two properties within forty metres and that he had spoken to Mr. Hale and the residents. Cllr Dodd said that residents were bitter because of the late night travelling to the hot food takeaways. He added his weight to the points raised by Mr. Hale.
Cllr James Keeley asked about the A4 use and whether this led to too many in a small area on that basis?
Cllr Elderton asked if he meant a proliferation of licensed premises?
Matthew Davies said there had been no changes, no change in local or regional policy. There had been a change in national policy but this wasn’t grounds to refuse the application.
Cllr James Keeley asked as there was no one from environmental health present, could the decision be delayed?
Accepting the application was proposed by Cllr Realey and seconded by Cllr Mitchell.
Nine councillors vote for, with Cllrs Kelly, Keeley and Johnson voting against. The application was approved.
The next application was for a change of use to a chip shop in Liscard (APP/11/00977).
Cllr Elderton said it could be found on pages 73-78 of the agenda. Matthew Rushton said it was a change of use to A5 and planning policy SH1 and SPD3 applied. He referred to separation distances, a section 106 agreement for a litter bin and a restriction on opening times.
Cllr Elderton said there was a petitioner and invited him to speak. David Hale said he spoke for over twenty-five households and had outlined nine points in his email. He said government guidelines issued four years ago stated that applications for a chip shop should not be approved within 400 metres of a school. Within 400 metres of the proposed chip shop were two schools, a secondary school called Oldershaw and a primary school St. Albans. He said there were two residential properties 1 Moseley Avenue and 3 Moseley Avenue which were within 40 metres on the highway route.