Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service recommend councillors on Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority appeal refusal of planning permission for Saughall Massie Fire Station to Planning Inspectorate

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service recommend councillors on Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority appeal refusal of planning permission for Saughall Massie Fire Station to Planning Inspectorate

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service recommend councillors on Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority appeal refusal of planning permission for Saughall Massie Fire Station to Planning Inspectorate

Planning Committee meeting (Wirral Council) 15th December 2016 councillors voting to refuse planning permission for a fire station at Saughall Massie L to R Cllr Pat Cleary, Cllr Stuart Kelly, Cllr Ian Lewis, Cllr Kathy Hodson, Cllr Eddie Boult, Cllr David Elderton
Planning Committee meeting (Wirral Council) 15th December 2016 councillors voting to refuse planning permission for a fire station at Saughall Massie L to R Cllr Pat Cleary, Cllr Stuart Kelly, Cllr Ian Lewis, Cllr Kathy Hodson, Cllr Eddie Boult, Cllr David Elderton

Last month councillors on Wirral Council’s Planning Committee rejected (by 7 votes in favour of refusal to 6 votes against refusal) a planning application for a fire station in Saughall Massie on land in the greenbelt on land off Saughall Massie Road.

Following the refusal of planning permission (on grounds of impact on residential amenity and on the greenbelt), a recommendation has been made by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service to councillors on the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority (who will meet in public) next Thursday afternoon (26th January 2017) to appeal the refusal of planning permission to the Planning Inspectorate and to submit a revised planning application.

The report to councillors on Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority criticises what ward councillor Councillor Chris Blakeley said at the Planning Committee meeting last month. The criticism relates to remarks the councillor made at the meeting about Upton Fire Station being a “fall-back” position, comments about the impact of a new fire station at Saughall Massie would have both on Arrowe Park Hospital and also what Cllr Blakleley stated about response times.

If the recommendation is approved by councillors on the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority the costs of producing the documentation for a revised planning application are estimated in the report as “in the region of £56,000” (which would include a detailed lighting impact assessment). The costs of legal advice, preparation and representation for an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate are estimated to cost between £36,500 and £49,000.

The item is the last item on the agenda (item 9) and is expected to be held in public starting at 1.00 pm on the 26th January 2017 in the Liverpool Suite, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters, Bridle Rd, Bootle, L30 4YD.

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Why did hundreds of residents go to a Planning Committee site visit on the Saughall Massie fire station proposal?

Why did hundreds of residents go to a Planning Committee site visit on the Saughall Massie fire station proposal?

Why did hundreds of residents go to a Planning Committee site visit on the Saughall Massie fire station proposal?

                                         

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Planning Committee (Wirral Council) site visit (APP/16/00985) Saughall Massie fire station, land adjacent to Saughall Massie Road

Planning Committee site visit to land off Saughall Massie Road 13th December 2016 Left Cllr Steve Foulkes Right Cllr Anita Leech Chair-min
Planning Committee site visit to land off Saughall Massie Road 13th December 2016 Left Cllr Steve Foulkes (Planning Committee) Right Cllr Anita Leech (Chair, Planning Committee)

In a muddy field on a cold winter morning, Wirral Council’s Planning Committee met to visit the site for a proposed fire station in Saughall Massie on Wirral Council owned land just off Saughall Massie Road.

Many local residents and the three local councillors (Cllr Chris Blakeley, Cllr Bruce Berry and Cllr Steve Williams) were there to observe what happened on the site visit.

The only person there with a placard in favour of the planning application was vastly outnumbered by those with placards opposing the planning application for greenbelt reasons.

Cllr Anita Leech, Chair of the Planning Committee opened the site visit by apologising for being late and explained the purpose of the site visit and the procedure that would be followed. She asked a planning officer to introduce the planning application.

Matthew Parry-Davies (who works in Wirral Council’s planning department) explained that the planning application was for “a single storey two bay community fire station”.

He explained that access to the fire station (if planning permission was granted) would be from Saughall Massie Road. Mr Parry-Davies described the distances to the nearest properties on two different sides of the site.

The outline of the proposed building had been pegged out. A question was asked of Mr Parry-Davies as to where vehicles would exit and enter the proposed fire station.

Cllr Anita Leech (Chair of the Planning Committee) asked if any ward councillors for the area had any questions.

Cllr Chris Blakeley (a councillor for Moreton West and Saughall Massie ward) pointed out that the pegs that were laid out were for the building only, not the curtilage of the site.

Therefore the area of the pegs didn’t include the training area or car park and that if the pegs had been put round whole of the proposed development it would appear much bigger.

There was applause for Cllr Chris Blakeley from many of the residents.

Once the applause had died down, he pointed out that the nearby properties were sheltered accommodation. He referred to a survey of the people in the sheltered accommodation which had shown 85% opposed to the planning application.

Cllr Blakeley received more applause.

The Chair of the Planning Committee asked if any councillors on the Planning Committee wanted to ask questions.

A question was asked by Cllr Kathy Hodson and an answer was given by Matthew Parry-Davies.

After another point was made, Matthew Parry-Davies pointed out that the pegs marked out the footprint of the building. He added that there were different pegs that showed the outline of the site proposed.

The Chair then asked Members of the Planning Committee to look at the boundaries of the site that were in the planning application.

Moving away, the Planning Committee discussed the proposed development around the building, such as the car park. There was a lot of pointing at this point. Distances and elevations were referred to by Mr Parry-Davies.

After more discussion and pointing the Planning Committee returned to its original spot.

The site visit ended with the Chair, Cllr Anita Leech thanking everyone for their attendance and that she may see some of them on Thursday evening.

Pictures below this article are of the green belt site, banners and people present for the site visit.

Wirral Council’s Planning Committee will meet to decide on planning application (APP/16/00985) for a fire station on land (owned by Wirral Council) adjacent to Saughall Massie Road in Saughall Massie at a public meeting starting at 6.00 pm on the 15th December 2016 in the Civic Hall, first floor, Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street, Seacombe, CH44 8ED.

photo 1 Land off Saughall Massie Road Saughall Massie 13th December 2016
photo 1 Land off Saughall Massie Road Saughall Massie 13th December 2016

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Councillors on Wirral Council’s Audit Committee approve changes to Annual Governance Statement after critical OFSTED report

Councillors on Wirral Council’s Audit Committee approve changes to Annual Governance Statement after critical OFSTED report

Councillors on Wirral Council’s Audit Committee approve changes to Annual Governance Statement after critical OFSTED report

                                         

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Wirral Council’s Audit and Risk Management Committee meeting held on the 26th September 2016 | The item on the Annual Governance Statement starts at 41m:22

Wirral Council's Audit and Risk Management Committee (26th September 2016) voting on an amended Annual Governance Statement L to R Cllr Phil Gilchrist, Cllr Kathy Hodson, Cllr Les Rowlands and Cllr David Elderton
Wirral Council’s Audit and Risk Management Committee (26th September 2016) voting on an amended Annual Governance Statement L to R Cllr Phil Gilchrist, Cllr Kathy Hodson, Cllr Les Rowlands and Cllr David Elderton

Councillors at a meeting of Wirral Council’s Audit and Risk Management Committee on Monday finally voted to approve an amendment to the Annual Governance Statement for 2015-16 relating to the recent OFSTED report.

Councillors talked about the Annual Governance Statement and amendment to it for fifty-six minutes, followed by an adjournment for twenty-one minutes (so the spokespersons and Vice-Chair could reach agreement on it in the Library), followed by a further eight minutes before it was finally voted on.

This is what was in the amendment:

“ As Members will be aware the Council received a report from Ofsted on 20 September 2016 which rated Children’s Services in Wirral as inadequate.

Given the significance of the issues highlighted the following amendment are [sic] to be made to the Annual Governance Statement:-

Section 6 : Significant Governance Issues

The Council received a report from Ofsted on 20 September 2016 which rated Children’s Services in Wirral as inadequate. The report highlighted ‘serious and widespread failures’ in the delivery of services to children who need help and protection in Wirral; focusing on frequent changes in social workers, issues in how partners work together, and evidence of poor records management across a range of areas.

The Ofsted findings have been accepted and the response will deliver major and sustained improvements which are carefully planned and considered.

An Improvement Board has been established and will initially be led by the Chief Executive until the appointment of an Independent Chair. The Improvement Plan has to be agreed with the Department for Education before 30 December 2016. A Department for Education adviser will assist the Council and Ofsted will return quarterly to review progress.

Description of Governance Issue Responsibility / Lead Officer Expected Delivery
Ofsted highlighted serious and widespread failures in the delivery of services to children who need help and protection in Wirral; focusing on frequent changes in social workers, issues in how partners work together, and evidence of poor records management across a range of areas.

Improvement Board established to lead the process including identification and delivery of an Improvement Plan.

Improvement Board / Julia Hassall (Director of Children’s Services) Improvement plan before 30 December 2016

Later in the same meeting councillors heard from Wirral Council’s external auditor Grant Thornton that because of the OFSTED report, their value for money opinion for 2015/16 would be qualified.

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Councillors on Wirral Council’s Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee will review Cabinet decision to consult on changes to bin collections at a public meeting on Tuesday 26th July 2016 starting at 4.00 pm

Councillors on Wirral Council’s Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee will review Cabinet decision to consult on changes to bin collections at a public meeting on Tuesday 26th July 2016 starting at 4.00 pm

Councillors on Wirral Council’s Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee will review Cabinet decision to consult on changes to bin collections at a public meeting on Tuesday 26th July 2016 starting at 4.00 pm

Councillor Stuart Kelly explains to the Coordinating Committee why he disagrees with the Cabinet decision about Forest Schools and Healthy Homes 18th September 2014 Committee Room 1, Wallasey Town Hall
Councillor Stuart Kelly explains to the Coordinating Committee why he disagrees with the Cabinet decision about Forest Schools and Healthy Homes 18th September 2014 Committee Room 1, Wallasey Town Hall

As reported previously on this blog the Wirral Council Cabinet decision to consult on two options involving changes to the green bin collection and a new food waste collection was called in.

A public meeting of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee has been arranged to consider the call in. It will meet in Committee Room 2 at Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street, Seacombe, CH44 8ED starting at 4.00 pm on Tuesday 26th July 2016.

The papers for the meeting, which include the original Cabinet decision and the reasons for the call in were published on Wirral Council’s website today.

The following 25 councillors have called it in (a minimum of six is required to trigger a call in):

Cllr Stuart Kelly (Lib Dem)
Cllr Phil Gilchrist (Lib Dem)
Cllr Chris Carubia (Lib Dem)
Cllr Dave Mitchell (Lib Dem)
Cllr Alan Brighouse (Lib Dem)
Cllr Lesley Rennie (Conservative)
Cllr Tom Anderson (Conservative)
Cllr Bruce Berry (Conservative)
Cllr Chris Blakeley (Conservative)
Cllr Eddie Boult (Conservative)
Cllr David Burgess-Joyce (Conservative)
Cllr Wendy Clements (Conservative)
Cllr David Elderton (Conservative)
Cllr Gerry Ellis (Conservative)
Cllr Jeff Green (Conservative)
Cllr John Hale (Conservative)
Cllr Paul Hayes (Conservative)
Cllr Andrew Hodson (Conservative)
Cllr Kathy Hodson (Conservative)
Cllr Tracey Pilgrim (Conservative)
Cllr Cherry Povall (Conservative)
Cllr Les Rowlands (Conservative)
Cllr Adam Sykes (Conservative)
Cllr Geoffrey Watt (Conservative)
Cllr Steve Williams (Conservative)

Video footage of the Cabinet meeting on the 27th June 2016 that took the decision can be watched below.

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Wirral Council’s Cabinet meeting 27th June 2016 (item 9 Domestic Refuse Collection Outline Business Case starts at 25 minutes 21 seconds)

Those behind the call in are asking for a longer consultation (a consultation over three months) and a consultation on more than just the options agreed by Cabinet.

The green bin options were to consult on either:

a) switching to every three weeks for the green bin collection but keep the same size green bin

or

b) to keep fortnightly green bin collections but issue residents with a smaller green bin.

The Cabinet decision also proposed a consultation on a new food waste collection.

The Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee is made up of the following councillors (although if councillors can’t make it to a meeting they can send deputies from the same political group in their place):

Cllr Phillip Brightmore (Chair), Labour
Cllr Steve Foulkes (Vice-Chair), Labour
Cllr Tony Jones, Labour
Cllr Julie McManus, Labour
Cllr Christina Muspratt, Labour
Cllr Louise Reecejones, Labour
Cllr Thomas Usher, Labour
Cllr Joe Walsh, Labour
Cllr Irene Williams, Labour
Cllr Adam Sykes (Conservative spokesperson), Conservative
Cllr Tom Anderson, Conservative
Cllr Bruce Berry, Conservative
Cllr Tracey Pilgrim, Conservative
Cllr Les Rowlands, Conservative
Cllr Chris Carubia, (Liberal Democrat spokesperson), Liberal Democrat

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Election Result (Wirral Council, 2016): Heswall: Conservative hold (Kathryn Hodson)

Election Result (Wirral Council, 2016): Heswall: Conservative hold (Kathryn Hodson)

                        







Heswall Ward
 
Name of candidate    Description (if any)  Votes  %
HODSON
Kathryn Anne
 Local Conservatives 2,776  65%  Elected
JUDGE
Jeff Anthony
 Labour Party 868  20%  Not elected
BURTON
Barbara Florence
 Green Party 334  8%  Not elected
TYRRELL
David Robert
 Liberal Democrats 290  7%  Not elected

There were 24 rejected ballot papers, the electorate was 10,768 and the turnout was 40%.

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