Wirral Heritage Open Days 2013 (St. Oswald’s Church, Bidston, Bidston Windmill, Bidston Community Archaeology & Flaybrick Memorial Gardens)
As it’s September once more, a number of Heritage Open Days are coming up (some in Bidston and St. James). The first of four in Bidston and St. James is on Thursday 12th September when St. Oswald’s Church in Bidston Village will be open from 10 am to 3 pm. There’s no need to book, the church has disabled access and there will be refreshments. Tours around the church will happen throughout the day and for further information you can contact Mr Tony Endean, the churchwarden on 0151 652 7328.
Bidston Windmill “bats permitting” will be open for visitors from 10 am to noon on Saturday 14th September. There is no need to book in advance, but children under eleven need to be accompanied by an adult. A minimum height restriction of 1.06 metres applies for those who want to go to the upper floors. For further details contact John Jakeman or Nic Harding on 0151 653 9332.
Also on Saturday 14th September Bidston Community Archaeology are holding an open day running from 10.30 am to 4 pm. They are currently excavating a medieval farmhouse fifty metres from the Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm and will be showing the public their finds. Again no booking in advance is needed.
The last event in Bidston and St James running on two days (Saturday 7th September and Saturday 14th September both at 11 am) is a “Local Heroes Military Guided Tour” of Flaybrick Memorial Gardens starting at Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm. The walk will take about one and a half hours and does need booking in advance, which you can do by contacting Chris Morris on 0151 608 5050.
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Looking back over the last half-year or so since this blog started, what were the stories and pages on this blog that have captured the public’s attention and brought them to this blog?
There was the story about the 2011 Census, which many people had questions about ranging from why was there no question 17 (it was a question asking if you understand, speak, read or write Welsh).
The About John Brace” page was popular and attracted a number of comments. It’ll be updated soon.
This Cabinet meeting about the Conservative-Lib Dem budget and Labour not being happy was read over a hundred times.
Merseytravel’s response on Mersey Tunnel’s issues also aroused interest.
The pages about protest outside Birkenhead County Court regarding Council Tax and the Save our Forests campaign were read just a bit more than stories about the Chinese New Year celebrations in Liverpool, HMS Campbeltown, ID Cards being scrapped or the Labour Chair of Merseytravel using his casting vote to increase Mersey Tunnel tolls.
More local issues also aroused interest such as the Lib Dem plan to invest £1.8 million in Cathcart Street primary school as a result of the closure of Cole Street primary school and the relocation of the Children’s Centre across the road to Cathcart Street Primary School, how much councillors are paid (which was used by some parties during the election to show how some councillors were getting £50,000+/year), Arriva not stopping its buses at the new bus stop near Tesco, the Lib Dem Mayor at Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm, Flaybrick cemetery flytipping and the Corsair in Bidston Village being demolished.
Over the Winter the issue of gritting and bin collections was on resident’s minds. The street level crime website and minimum price proposals for alcohol were also topics the public were interested in.
In total there have been 5,557 views of pages on this website and it has been read keenly by certain councillors and others. Yet who knows what the public will be wanting from its elected representatives in the next 12 months?
Well yesterday the Conservative & Lib Dem Cabinet “unveiled” their Wirral Council budget for 2011/2012. Labour’s (opposition) budget will arrive by noon on Friday the 25th February.
Next Monday (1st March) the full Council will vote on the budget, although with 41 (yes I know it’s 42 including the Lib Dem Mayor but generally he doesn’t vote as he’s supposed to be politically neutral as part of his office) “progressive partnership” councillors to Labour’s 25 24 (edit – I sometimes forget Cllr. Knowles had switched from Labour to Tory and the independent Cllr Kirwan isn’t still with Wirral Council) councillors, I’m sure even Labour can do the maths and realise Labour’s budget will be defeated next Monday (with no need for Budget Part 2 on the evening of the 9th March) by around seventeen votes.
Can you see which bits of the Budget are from the Lib Dem side and which from the Conservative side? Yes you can see “the seams” between the two halves as we continue to be two independent political parties with minds and policy making processes of our own. If you look really hard you can see the bits influenced by yours truly and others (for example the 4-year rolling programme for 20 mph residential zones discussed last year by the party when Cllr Quinn was Cabinet Member for Streetscene and Transport) now carried forward by Cllr Rennie.
One Lib Dem policy coming into play is the pupil premium which means about £5 million extra for Wirral Schools to spend on children on free school meals, looked after children and service children. You should’ve heard the “wails of anguish” at the Wirral Schools Forum from headmasters/headmistresses from the more prosperous parts of the Borough when they realised £5 million would be spent on improving the educational chances of the most needy! Clearly Wirral is a place of large social divides and the extra money will be a welcome boost to the schools in Bidston & St. James.
So what may you ask is “in the budget”? Well, first to deal with the elements of the council tax that are made up by Merseyside Police’s budget and Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service’s budget. Both Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service froze their contributions from Council Tax compared to last year (2010/2011).
Due to increased costs and inflation (as well as a high proportion of its costs being on staff), Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service will be cutting some jobs. Their Chief Exec/treasurer explains the situation in a self-styled “podcast” (I don’t think he quite knows what a podcast is but I have to give them a few marks for trying), which unfortunately with my browser Firefox either opens a blank black window or six video windows of him at once creating an echo effect so I’ve uploaded it to Youtube (which has slightly better audio quality than five echoes).
For the purposes of any copyright lawyers out there, as the work has been made previously available to the public (and still is on Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service’s website at this location), this is classed as “fair dealing” under s.30 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and is being done for the purpose of news reporting (and making sure you can hear what the speaker says).
Quite why councillors on Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service left it to an officer to record a video to explain the cuts is a mystery I’m sure my humble readers can enlighten me on in the comments section (or maybe I’ll just ask Cllr Ellis, Cllr Niblock, Cllr Rennie or Cllr Roberts next time I see them).