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Posted by: John Brace | July 28, 2014

Merseytravel discuss the Open Golf & free trips over the Silver Jubilee & Mersey Gateway bridges for Halton people


Merseytravel discuss the Open Golf & free trips over the Silver Jubilee & Mersey Gateway bridges for Halton people

                         

Outside Merseytravel’s headquarters, the (usually busy) main road was closed to traffic and crowds gathered.

Crowds gathered outside Merseytravel headquarters
Crowds outside Merseytravel headquarters

Just across the road from Merseytravel’s headquarters, souvenir programme sellers were selling “official souvenir programmes” for £5 each.


Souvenir programme sellers outside Merseytravel headquarters (25th July 2014)

The world’s media had descended on Liverpool for an event referred to as the “Giants”. However this is not about the giants outside, but instead the giants of Merseyside politics inside Merseytravel’s headquarters that met on Friday afternoon.

Merseytravel meeting of the 25th July 2014
Merseytravel meeting (25th July) Right Cllr Les Rowlands, centre background Cllr Steve Foulkes and Cllr Ron Abbey

If you wish you can read the agenda and reports for this meeting on Merseytravel’s website. Prior to the meeting starting, councillors had a one and a half hour “workshop” followed by a short break.

The Chair (Cllr Liam Robinson) thanked people for attending and apologies were given for Councillor Friel and Cllr Fulham. No declarations of interest were made and the minutes of the AGM were agreed.

Cllr Liam Robinson said, “Steve you just want to make a point?”. Cllr Steve Foulkes replied, “Chair, I don’t know where else on the agenda it would fit, other than possibly the minutes but I think speaking on behalf of all the Wirral Members [councillors] and anyone who’s involved in the Open Golf Championship recently on the Wirral.

I think it needs to be recorded somewhere that the coordinated transport approach from obviously Merseyrail, from Merseytravel, from Stagecoach and all of the people involved in it. Particularly given that we did have some inclement weather and we had a joint you known tee off time when lots of people arrived and left all at once. I think you know, given the circumstances around that I think we need to be recording our thanks as a committee to everyone involved in the organisation and particularly our own staff who were part of the big band structure of the event.

So on behalf of you know people, on behalf of groups that unfortunately I had to attend the golf on most days. *laughter and mock groans of sympathy from other councillors* Unfortunately it was actually you know and I spent lots of my time talking to ordinary people who were getting to and from it, they were highly complimentary about the organisation and there were no issues about performance. I’d like then just record somewhere our thanks to those involved in that event and I’m sure you know subsequent to today’s events as well, someone else will move that, but that’s from the Wirral point of view if that’s ok Chair?”

Cllr Liam Robinson (Chair) replied, “Yeah, that’s excellent. Thanks very much Steve, I think we all sort of warmly applaud that accordingly. OK, item 4, Tony?”

Skipping ahead to what councillors said at the end of the meeting about the Mersey Gateway Bridge project in Halton.

Cllr Liam Robinson (Chair) said, “John, you just indicated?” Cllr John Stockton (Halton) said, “I’m sorry Chair but there’s been some important information that colleagues may be interested in that we’ve just received, myself and [Cllr] Harry [Howard].

We had a visit this afternoon colleagues from the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to Halton. He’s announced that the government’s going to put forward the money to ensure that all Halton residents will not have to pay for any journeys across both the Silver Jubilee Bridge and the new Mersey Gateway. *groans from some and some heckling of “for goodness sake” from one councillor*

OK? *laughter from some councillors at the heckling* So I hope you might be interested in that. *laughter and more heckling including “Will Wirral try?”* Unknown councillor “I think there must be a General Election on”. *laughter*

The Chair Cllr Liam Robinson replied, “You’d never know would you [Cllr] Harry [Howard]? *laughter* OK, well with all those bits of news if I can thank everybody for attending today and wish everybody a happy weekend with the Giants if you’re coming across them at all.”

Continues at Cllr McGlashan “before you even get out of the airport you’ve got to change money to get a pound to put the bloody..”.

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Responses

  1. Why free crossings to Halton? Wirral has been waiting for the free tunnel since Queensway was opened!
    They can do it why not us? Or is it because we are their cash cow like car parking!

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    • There’s a story in the Wirral Globe this morning about that very point.

      Currently the Silver Jubilee bridge isn’t tolled, when the new Mersey Gateway bridge was finished the plan (in 2017 but that’s just from memory so I may be wrong) was to toll both bridges at similar rates to the Mersey Tunnels. However due to an underspend on the project a certain number of free journeys a year were originally offered to Halton residents.

      Now (at least it’s my reading of the recent announcement) after a fuss was kicked up by local residents as well as a local Labour and Conservative MP the number of free journeys a year for local residents seem to be an uncapped amount.

      I think the outrage was partly because the existing bridge is currently free to cross. As to Wirral, as pointed out in the Wirral Globe article there have been tolls for so long that people have got used to them, despite an initial promise that the Mersey Tunnels would be eventually toll free.

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  2. Having to pay a fee to travel by vehicle from one part of our ‘County’ to the other is bizarre. The civil servants that created Merseyside County probably didn’t visit the area and just worked it out from maps. The same twits who tried to create a Parlimentary constituency incorporating Wallasey and Kirkdale,and latterly Eastham and Halton.

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    • After backbench Conservative MP decided they didn’t want to go ahead (despite the Coalition agreement) with reform of the House of Lords, the Lib Dems withdrew their support for the constituency boundary changes so the 2015 General Election will be on the current boundaries to constituencies.

      As to the Merseyside issue, Wirral, Merseyside etc was created back in 1974 before I was born so I’m not familiar with the intricacies about how its creation came about.

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  3. […] Friday, as well as discussing the Open Golf and Mersey Gateway bridge tolls issue councillors on Merseytravel also discussed (which is rather topical as many people will be using […]

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