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Posted by: John Brace | 16th June 2012

Bidston and Claughton Area Forum 12th June 2012 Part 1

The Bidston and Claughton Area Forum was held on Tuesday, so having previously mentioned it was happening as I was there I thought I should write up what happened.

Cllr Roberts welcomed people to the June Forum and asked those present from the public sector to introduce themselves. Apologies were given for Cllr Crabtree. She asked if there were any matters arising from the last meeting.

Michelle Gray said she wished to provide a follow up to item 5 which had changed that day, she gave updates on a number of different issues involving Buttermere Avenue, Tapestry Gardens and Beaufort Road. She also gave an update on a stolen grit bin.

Inspector Roy McGregor arrived.

A member of the public brought up the issue of a telegraph pole on Stanley Road. Cllr Smith asked her if it was in front of the new housing, she answered yes. Technical Services said they would investigate.

Cllr Roberts said if there were no further questions they would move onto item 3.

Rob Clifford gave a brief talk about the 20mph zones consultation. He said it would cost £1.1 million and be in two phases covering 132 areas between now and 2014. On the leaflet the blue areas within phase one would be consulted on over the Summer, with schemes started in October. The red areas would be consulted and implemented a year later. He welcomed comments and there would also be a consultation advert in the local newspaper, a leaflet would go to houses in areas proposed as 20mph zones by the scheme and plans would be available in libraries. He asked for comments on the postcards.

Cllr Roberts asked how long the consultation would be for?
Cllr Smith answered twenty-eight days.

Cllr Smith asked if the police would enforce the 20mph zones? He blamed it on the previous coalition Cabinet and said it wasn’t the police’s fault. He brought up the example of a 20mph zone in Oxton (where he lives) where he had seen the police driving at 30mph. He thought that the £1.1 million to be spent on 20mph zones was a waste of money.

Inspector McGregor pointed out that under strict criteria the police were allowed to go at up to 40mph, their response time for grade one calls was ten minutes.

A member of the public brought up the issue of ambulances using their sirens in residential areas and how the police used their sirens every night on Corporation Road coming out of the Custody Suite.

Inspector McGregor said the police received advanced driving training and if they didn’t use their sirens and lights when exceeding the speed limit and there was an accident, that the driver would be culpable.

Donnie was surprised the police nationally didn’t recognise 20mph signs in built up areas.

Cllr Crabtree arrived.

Donnie asked if Streetscene could be told that the Area Forum failed to agree on the 20mph schemes.

Cllr Smith said it wasn’t the police’s fault as police numbers had been cut. In his view they had their hands full and he’s heard crime was rising. He mentioned that the Council had to cut £80 million from its budget over the next few years.

Inspector McGregor said that although the majority adhered to the law on the current 30mph zones a small minority break the speed limit, but that enforcement wasn’t the only answer and that it partly relied on members of the community.

Cllr Smith said he’d agree to disagree.

Pat Landsborough from Grosvenor Road that the 20mph zone in Claughton had been very effective. Rob Clifford said they were implementing a 20mph policy across the Borough.

Cllr Smith said it would not be implemented in areas that didn’t want it following the consultation.

George Thomas said he thought it was a waste of public money and pointed to the scheme whereby members of the public were given speed guns.

Donnie asked now that Labour were in charge, were they in a position to rescind the £1.2 million? He called it “crazy”.

Cllr Smith said that the Labour administration was reviewing all budgets.
Cllr McLachlan mentioned the consultation.
Donnie proposed a vote.
Michelle Gray said the minutes of the meeting would be passed to Rob’s team as part of the consultation.
It was suggested that instead of moving rejection, people could make their point on the cards. Every house in the areas covered by the first phase of the scheme (in blue on the map) would receive a leaflet.

Michelle Gray gave an update on the Neighbourhood Plans which there were also handouts about. Local people had asked for more sporting activities and a lack of youth services on the Beechwood had also been highlighted. Road repair had also been an issue. Issues surrounding health and social lives of the elderly had also been brought up. More education and training was wanted, as well as courses on stopping smoking, alcohol, drugs, sexual health for young people and on losing weight.

IT training in the community centres was wanted and the existing free courses needed better promotion, one stop shops and libraries were suggested.

In the Your Economy theme, jobs was the main issue, the feedback on Reach Out was positive, but people wanted more job clubs and better advertising of the existing ones. In addition to this, people wanted help with CVs, mock interviews, volunteering opportunities and work experience.

Better service from the job centres for those made redundant was asked for as well as free training in basic skills such as maths and computers.

She also highlighted the funding available in two pots, Funds for You and You Decide. She have the example decided in a previous year of an extra foot patrol for Flaybrick Cemetery/Tam O’Shanter which had reduced antisocial behaviour.

There was also £35,000 ring fenced for road safety funding.

The application forms for funding would be available from the 2nd July 2012 with a closing date of the 17th August 2012. Initial applications would be filtered by officers to see if they met the criteria. They were looking this year for applications in community safety, environmental health (such as projects that would reduce litter or flytipping), public health, improvements to community life, projects benefitting children or young people, projects that would train people or offer skills and advice, projects that would support work experience or volunteering and projects that would help SMEs.

Pat Landsborough asked why it was £83000?

Michelle Gray said that for this financial year, it was because some areas with higher need were allocated more money.

Pauline asked about organisations applying that served people across Wirral?

Michelle Gray said they should tick all eleven Area Forum areas on the application form.

It was asked if the priorities were the same across all areas?

Michelle answered that each area had slightly different priorities, but there were some that were common Wirral-wide.

George Thomas said that Beechwood had been abandoned by Wirral Met and Birkenhead Sixth Form College who said they would provide courses such as employability skills, but can’t pay the rent. He said Reach Out had just made eight redundancies.

Michelle Gray asked if the rent was covered, was the training free?


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