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Posted by: John Brace | 7th October 2012

Bidston & Claughton Area Forum 3rd October 2012 Part 5

Continued from Part 4.

Donnie said that was an interesting point and that the ten-year life of houses on Bidston Rise had been increased to thirty years. He wondered if there would be arguments for one or two bedroom bungalows.

Cllr Foulkes said that an important point was the ability of the registered social landlords to borrow money as there would be much less money coming in and they would have difficulty collecting the rent, which would terrify the banks. He said that they were a worse bet than they had ever been in history as a developer, but he had been told by some politicians that this change had been popular in the South-East.

A person introducing herself as Jill Smith, a project support officer with the Women’s Centre said that they were a small charity, but women were coming in were in an absolute crisis over fear of what was going on. She said it would have a big impact, that they received no statutory funding, but that the problem was only going to get bigger. Jill Smith said that they worked with women with mental health or emotional problems.

Cllr Foulkes said they were seeing more people in their surgeries.

Cllr Harry Smith referred to the lady who runs the food bank.

Jill Smith said that all charities would be put under pressure.

Reverend Jenny Gillies from St. Oswalds said that they should be creative over letting people know. She said they never used to have people wander off the streets, but there was confusion over Housing Benefit. Jenny said that Area Forums needed to think creatively over inviting the voluntary sector.

Cllr Foulkes said the demand on the third sector, was going to turn into a flood. They were asking people who had the opportunity in the consultation as to what services they should or could provide. However he wasn’t in Paddy’s camp as he didn’t like protests and leading people down cul-de-sacs.

Paddy said they should campaign to educate people to make rational decisions.

Cllr Foulkes withdrew his remark about Paddy.

Paddy accepted the apology.

Cllr Roberts asked for presentations from the partners.

Jim Thompson (Community Safety) said that Wirral was a safe borough, crime was falling, but despite the recession, crime hadn’t shot up due to vigilance. He said that people shouldn’t leave their houses in darkness when they go out or their windows open, he encouraging people to lock their doors and if they got people knocking on doors asking people to give them £200 for insulation, they were to ignore them and ring Trading Standards or the police on 101.

Leonora told the Area Forum of her experience of this.

Jim Thompson said that if it sounds too good to be true, it normally is. He said that nobody comes from Wirral Council and says they’ll take you to the cashpoint, well not yet (he joked) and that if people were concerned to ring the 101 number. They had a multi agency team looking at crime and disorder and information was shared so they could identify hotspots from the calls and prioritise.

A member of the public said they had called 101 when cars had been spray painted and that the police had been helpful and that they had been given the number for crime prevention, but after three days they hadn’t had an answer.

Jim Thompson said that the four crime prevention officers no longer existed, but if she wanted advice to ring 666 5443 and they would find somebody who could answer her query.

The member of the public said that if someone called from the police would the number be withheld?

Jim Thompson said the police and Council did call from withheld numbers and suggested that people don’t leave their house in darkness. He said the burglary rate was now less than twenty per a thousand whereas when he’d started it was forty-five.

Steve Preston said that 80% of burglaries were opportunistic, but this was no consolation for the 20% that weren’t.

Jim Thompson said that if it looks occupied they’d just walk past.

Paul Murphy, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service said they were looking at a £9.2 million cut, but that the Chair was on the Fire Authority. Their target of 13,000 Home Fire Safety Checks (which would still be free) and he was asking if people knew of any vulnerable households to tell them, but that they were working with the Safeguarding Adults Board to identify people.

From the 22nd October they would be removing debris in the lead up to Bonfire Night, he gave out statistics on accidental dwelling fires, last year there had been eleven, so far this year there had been five. They had completed 622 Home Fire Safety Checks since the start of the year. On deliberate secondary fires there had been 222 last year and 74 so far this year. He referred to the tragic road traffic fatality in Claughton, but that road traffic collisions were low compared to other Merseyside authorities. He gave the phone number of 0800 731 5958 which could be used for Home Fire Safety Checks or from 22nd October to report rubbish that needed to be cleared. He said that Birkenhead Fire Station was due for completion in 2013.

Cllr Harry Smith asked if they would be based with the ambulance station?

Paul Murphy answered that in Croxteth they shared the same building. Cllr Roberts said there were no plans to merge.

Donnie asked a question about the ring fenced road safety funding for Area Forums?

Cllr Roberts asked if he was referring to road traffic accidents?

Donnie said he was referring to the bus hitting the car and the tragic fatality, but also the 20mph zones?

Cllr Foulkes said that the money allocated locally was a small fraction of the Highways Department budget, but that money would be put sadly where there had already been accidents.

Cllr Harry Smith referred to hotspots.

Cllr Foulkes said that after a major accident or fatality there was an investigation to see if it could have been prevented, such as the lights being purposely staggered slower but that he wouldn’t preempt the investigation.

George Thomas said he was frustrated by the cuts and drew attention to November 15th when it would be voting day for a Police Commissioner. He said it was “Tory ideology” and costing £100 million to create the position. He said the Chief Constable would be paid £155,000 and the Commissioner £85,000 but that independents couldn’t afford to run as they needed a deposit of £5,000.

Cllr Roberts said yes, yes.

Cllr George Davies said it was a waste of money.

Cllr Foulkes said he believed in democracy and pleaded with people to get out and vote.

Cllr Harry Smith said he wanted people to vote for the Labour candidate.

Jim Thompson said that Home Office funds, currently £122,000 were given to the local authority, as well as £150,000 to £160,000 from the Area Based Grant, however from April 2013 this would be given to the Police and Crime Commissioner instead.

Cllr George Davies disagreed with Jim Thompson over the change. He said he objection was that the change to a Police and Crime Commissioner was that it was one person compared to seventeen on the police authority.

Anna said they had a positive event to report as a person was coming to the library to talk about Viking remains.

A member of the public commented on the road conditions and said they were pleased that in the last four months it had been seen to.

Cllr Roberts said as there were no further questions, she would close the formal part of the meeting, the next one would be Tuesday 5th February 2013 in the Bidston ward.

Michelle Gray said she would advertise the venue and write to people.


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