Matthew Davies: Thank you Chair, through you Chair, errm just remember there’s a qualifying petition as outlined in the details for this application as well.
The proposal is for the change of use for the garage to the property for a dog grooming parlour. The applicant outlines their intention to set up a business at the residential property, initially establishing a customer base for the dog grooming business facility. The garage is detached from the house with running water to the garage which appears to be well run.
The key issues to be considered to be essential are noise and disturbance and highway issues. Errm, considering the first, errm in this instance, the scale of the development as outlined is modest, the garage itself is five and a quarter metres by two and half metres which actually limits the activity which will be absorbed.
Conditions I’ve proposed have been agreed by the applicant to restrict the number of dogs to no more than two at any one time and no more than five in a given day. Hours have also been agreed by the applicant which restrict operations to 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday and 9am till 1pm on Saturday. There are no hours proposed on a Sunday.
Lastly, noise insulation will be required to the garage door which has been approved and no access is proposed through this garage door. Given these perhaps restrictive conditions it’s not considered unacceptable levels of noise in ordinary terms would arise nor be high through access.
Considering highway safety, the development may lead to a small increase in movements on the highway and a slight increase in demand for off street parking. However the scale of the development is modest and the structural impact upon it is minimal and no cause for highway safety issues. Given that conclusion reached the application is recommended for approval subject to the conditions as outlined.
Cllr Steve Foulkes: My issue is is very much around the errm the the the sort of errm pattern, so the reasons for refusal would be that dwellings sited on this rear garden area as proposed would introduce a pattern of development that would lead to a detrimental change in the character of the area and furthermore by introducing additional domestic activity into this backland site, the existing standards of residential amenities in the immediate vicinity of the properties surrounding the site will be seriously diminished.
Therefore I believe the proposal is therefore contrary to the guidance in HS4 and HS10 and those are my reasons for refusal, so moved.
Councillor Bernie Mooney (Chair): So, errm, the recommendation is for voting is that this application is for refusal, for those refusal reasons which have been been recommended and have been recommended and seconded. So could we put that to the vote please? Errm all those who are minded to refuse this application for those recommended refusal reasons.
(Matthew Rushton mutters something that can’t be heard to Cllr Bernie Mooney).
Cllr Steve Foulkes: OK, the proposal therefore meets the National, National Planning Policy Framework, can’t hurt to add those small words.
Cllr Bernie Mooney (Chair): Is everybody happy with that? Does everybody understand? No, so we can go to the vote on this for refusal so can we have a vote on refusal? OK, that application has been unanimously refused.
Cllr Bernie Mooney (Chair): We’ll move onto number thirteen please, errm could we have a presentation for number thirteen please?
Merseytravel agree £3.38 million of investment in disabled access at Birkenhead North station, comments from Wirral councillors and comment on the Roads v Central Trains Ltd  EWCA Civ 1541 case as well as links to the report, design work and key risks of the project
EXCLUSIVE: Merseytravel agree £3.38 million of investment in improving access for the disabled at Birkenhead North station
Last Thursday at its Annual Meeting, Merseytravel agreed £3.38 million of investment in improved disabled access at Birkenhead North train station. Merseytravel received £1 million towards the project from Network Rail’s “Access for All” fund, £1.2 million from Network Rail’s Enhancement Fund and a further £300,000 from Network Rail. The work is planned to be completed by March 2014.
Wirral councillors welcomed the news. Cllr Steve Foulkes told those present at the meeting that it was his local station and that completing the link to the car park would have a beneficial effect on residential parking at Birkenhead Park. Cllr John Salter thanked officers for coming forward with the proposals and referred to the regeneration going on in the area, such as Peel’s plans for an International Trade Centre.
John Brace, pictured in the photo who started campaigning for improved disabled access at Birkenhead North railway station in 2008 said, “The news surrounding the planned work to improve disabled access at Birkenhead North railway station by next year is welcome. Neil Scales, the former Chief Executive of Merseytravel stated in a letter to myself in 2008 that “Merseytravel’s … aim is to provide step free access at all stations on Merseyside.”
“There is a footbridge at Bidston and stepped ramps at both Upton and Birkenhead Park railway station, so there is still a long way to go before stations in the local area are accessible. A legal case in the Court of Appeal in 2004, Roads v Central Trains Ltd  EWCA Civ 1541, was brought by a wheelchair user against their local train company because of an inaccessible train station. Mr. Roads was paid £1,097 in compensation (and his legal costs) because of disability discrimination and Central Trains limited was forced (despite an estimated cost of £750,000) to improve disabled access at the train station.”
“People who certain disabilities are entitled to a free public transport pass, yet it is wrong that many disabled people have a pass that they can’t use at their local train station due to access problems. Improving disabled access also makes life easier for cyclists and people pushing pushchairs. I hope that Merseytravel and Merseyrail will take its legal responsibilities seriously not to discriminate against disabled people and improve the other inaccessible stations in the near future. Three Lord Justices agreed that the cost of adapting the train stations is not a reason to discriminate against disabled travellers.”
A brief blog post outlining the long running saga regarding filming public meetings of Wirral Council, covering the recent ban by the Chair of the Planning Committee, Eric Pickle’s advice and a brief run down of the history.
So, although the articles are broadly correct I’d like to correct a slight error and make a few clarifications.
“At a meeting of the planning committee on Thursday, a local blogger was again told to stop filming.”
This should read “Shortly before a meeting of the planning committee on Thursday, a local blogger was again told to stop filming.” If it had been at the meeting itself I would’ve posted the footage online, however yes, it has happened before (18th December 2012) on a close 6:5 vote. Back then Cllr Mooney said it would be “just for this meeting” (see video below).
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After a ban on filming happened at a Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting (on which Cllr Mooney sat) on the 28th March 2013 to discuss the controversial closure of Moreton Day Centre, I sent a letter before claim to Wirral Council (which is the first stage of a judicial review of a decision). I received this response by email back from Wirral Council’s Monitoring Officer Surjit Tour (the same Surjit Tour that Cllr Mooney said told her she could stop filming at meetings).
Tue, 2 Apr 2013 16:08:47 +0100
Dear Mr Brace
I am on annual leave until 15 April. I am somewhat surprised by your email and letter given that I have asked you a number of times to meet me to discuss this issue.
Furthermore, there no ban on filming as you and another have been filming a number of committee meetings.
I would suggest that no proceedings are issued until I have had the opportunity to respond. I therefore request an extension of time to 30 April.
I await your response.
Please can you also include Stephen Gerrard in any further response.
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I was allowed to film meetings until the Planning Committee meeting of 27th June 2013, a further letter before claim (with a proposed reply date of 12th July) was sent to Wirral Council’s legal department and interested parties on the 28th June 2013. At the time of writing I have not received a reply from either Wirral Council or the interested parties.
I will also make one small response to Cllr Mooney’s comments, I did say that if she as Chair asked a petitioner if they didn’t want to be filmed and they said no I wouldn’t. However she said, “I can’t do that” rejecting what I felt was a reasonable compromise. Despite her assertion that Planning Committee is the only committee where members of the public regularly address it, there are in fact others ranging from the Highway and Traffic Representation Panel, Licensing Act 2003 committee, Licensing, Health and Safety & General Purposes Committee and full Council meetings (public question time). I hope the above sets the record straight somewhat.