Wirral Council consult on £1.1 million scheme to change Birkenhead’s Hamilton Square

Wirral Council consult on £1.1 million scheme to change Birkenhead’s Hamilton Square

Wirral Council consult on £1.1 million scheme to change Birkenhead’s Hamilton Square

                                                

Remembrance Day 2012 outside Birkenhead Town Hall. If the traffic scheme goes ahead then this area outside Birkenhead Town Hall won't be solely for pedestrians but will be open to two-way road traffic
Remembrance Day 2012 outside Birkenhead Town Hall. If the traffic scheme goes ahead then this area outside Birkenhead Town Hall won’t be solely for pedestrians but will be open to two-way road traffic

Councillor Pat Cleary (Green Party for Birkenhead and Tranmere ward) writes on his blog about a current consultation by Wirral Council proposing changes to Hamilton Square and the surrounding area.

If agreed the changes (you can view a plan of the proposals on the Wirral Green Party’s website it would mean:

  • The removal of the taxi rank outside Hamilton Square train station in Hamilton Street. The reason would be so there could be a puffin crossing outside Hamilton Square train station. This taxi rank would be relocated to two sections of Bridge Street (one for four taxis, one for five taxis).
  • A bus stop in Bridge Street would be relocated to Hamilton Street.
  • The existing bus stop outside Hamilton Square train station would be moved further down Hamilton Street.
  • The area in front of Birkenhead Town Hall which is now closed to road traffic, solely for pedestrians and protected by bollards would become part of the road and open to traffic.
  • The mini roundabout at the Hamilton Square/Hamilton Street junction (to the North-East of Birkenhead Town Hall) would be removed and replaced with a Give Way junction instead.
  • The mini roundabout at the Hamilton Square/Hamilton Street junction (to the South-West of Birkenhead Town Hall) would be removed and replaced with a Give Way junction.
  • The closure at this junction which prevents traffic going to Hamilton Square from the South-West along Hamilton Street would be removed.
  • Hinson Street (now one-way) would be made two-way between Hamilton Street and Henry Street.
  • Hamilton Street (now one-way between Hamilton Square and Conway Street) would be made two-way between Hamilton Square and Conway Street.
  • Conway Street will be closed at its junction with William Street.
  • Alterations to the traffic signals at the Bridge Street/Hamilton Street junction.

The deadline to respond to this consultation is Friday 13th November 2015.

You can respond to the consultation online by visiting this link to Wirral Council’s website (then click on “Comments and objections about new traffic schemes“).

Click Next.

Then enter your contact details and email address (twice).

Click Next again.

The Scheme name/details to enter on the next page are “Hamilton Square re-design“.

The Scheme number is “DC-STEP-1516-2

If you wish to comment or ask a question on the scheme select Comment/ask a question about the scheme from the drop down menu.

If you wish to object to the scheme select Object to the scheme and enter your reasons in the box below.

If you wish to do both select All of the above and enter your comments and objections separately.

Then click Next, followed by Submit.

There was a drop in session on Tuesday November 10th 2015 at Birkenhead Town Hall, Hamilton St, Birkenhead CH41 5EU, between 3pm and 7pm so people could view the plans.

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1 invoice and 1 letter about the secret Court application I’m not allowed to write about that cost Wirral Council £535.20

1 invoice and 1 letter about the secret Court application I’m not allowed to write about that cost Wirral Council £535.20

1 invoice and 1 letter about the secret Court application I’m not allowed to write about that cost Wirral Council £535.20

                                  

I’m going to write a story now to show you how difficult it is to do investigative journalism in this country due to the legal framework here, as there are details I know about this story which is would be unlawful for me to publish.

There are two documents associated with this story so first I have to explain the background as to what they are and why I got them. The first is an invoice dated 13th January 2014 to Wirral Council from Lees Solicitors to Wirral Council for the sum of £535.20. This is for:

36 minutes preparation for a hearing at £160/hour 36 minutes which is £96 (+ VAT of £19.20) = £115.20

Counsel’s fee £350 (+VAT of £70) = £420

Grand total: £535.20

Due to legal restrictions *(*don’t you just love this country sometimes and their restrictions on the press?) although I know the names of the parties (such as the Applicant and Respondent) in this case, I’m not allowed to publish either of them on this blog. I cannot tell you who (although I know) the Applicant or Respondent are. In fact I’d better not tell you the date of the hearing, just in case you use that to somehow figure out who the Applicant and Respondent are. As far as I can tell (maybe I’m wrong) I’m not allowed to get a copy of or publish the Court Order (if there is one) that resulted from the hearing to consider the application.

This is openness and transparency in the local courts British style.

So why are Wirral Council paying £535.20 to Lees Solicitors for the legal work outlined in the invoice below? I think I’ve gone as far as I can do in answering that question as the rest would be educated guesswork.

Ironically I get more openness and transparency from Laura Quarry of the Family Court at Birkenhead than I get from Wirral Council in this matter in her letter to me dated 27th October 2014 (also below that the Wirral Council invoice). Mind you it is not hard to be more open and transparent than Wirral Council is it?

Laura Quarry states “Thank you for your letter dated 24th October 2014. This case is a Private Law Family matter. Therefore as you are not a party to this application, we cannot provide you with the documents you have requested. The documents you have requested refer to a civil matter and the case number you have provided is not a civil case number.

If you can provide us with a civil case number we can process your request. Please find enclosed your fee.”

If anyone would like to translate exactly what that means by leaving a comment, please do! I think I understand what she means although I may be wrong!

So which department is involved at Wirral Council in Family Court matters that the press aren’t allowed to write about? Why the Children and Young Peoples Department at Wirral Council of course! Who else?

In a recent change a few years ago, the press can be present at court hearings in the Family Court, however we’re still not allowed to report the details. The Family Court run to a different set of rules to the rest of the court system you see.

redacted invoice Wirral Council £535.20
redacted invoice Wirral Council £535.20
Letter from Birkenhead County Court dated 27th October 2014
Letter from Birkenhead County Court dated 27th October 2014

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