Cabinet Wirral Council 15/3/2012 Parts 1 to 7 (15th March 2012)

The Cabinet meeting of Wirral Council of the 15th March 2012 in Committee Room 1, Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street, Seacombe, Wirral in audio form (7 parts). Also links to agenda, reports, supplementary agenda and meeting information.

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Video of Wirral Council’s Cabinet meeting from 15th March 2012, here is a playlist with all seven parts, apart from the odd few seconds in between. Can anyone tell me how to embed a playlist into a WordPress post? Thankfully the battery lasted, so did the tape. Will do write-up and more subtitles later when I’ve had more sleep.

Mainly audio only as there’s no way to film video and write subtitles without a tripod (I only have a pair of hands!), so apologies for the “scribbling noise”! I might get a tripod in the next few weeks soon, if more people start watching this videos, or leave nice comments. One retweet of part 4 already, which is pleasing.

Any tips on Youtube please feel free to leave advice in the comments (whether on Youtube or here).

Here are links you might need to understand it:-


Agenda reports

Supplementary Agenda reports (item 27)

Meeting page on Wirral Council’s website

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Cathcart Street Primary School – Start of Autumn Term delayed – Apology from Wirral Council

In an update to an earlier story about Cathcart Street Primary School it is now planned to open on Monday 12th September instead of Wednesday 7th September.

David Armstrong, Interim Director of Children’s Services, explained:

“Cathcart Street Primary School is undergoing £1.8m worth of major refurbishment works, which will create a better learning environment for pupils and new build accomodation for the after school club and satellite children’s centre. Contractors did as much work as possible prior to the summer break and despite working hard throughout the school holidays, there are still some final improvements to complete before the school can re-open.”

“It is regrettable that the school is not able to open on time, however, the safety and wellbeing of pupils is our priority. We are confident that this three day delay will not impact children’s education and that the investment being made will make a real difference to everyone attending Cathcart Street Primary. We apologise for any inconvenience that this has caused but hope that people understand that we have pupils’ best interests at heart.”

Looking back over the last 12 months

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?

Labour Rose: Election Special

Whilst out today with my wife, I spotted Cllr Harry Smith on Worcester Road and sure enough when I returned home there was a Labour leaflet delivered.

It seems both the Lib Dems and Labour agree that the nearly £2 million spent on Cathcart Street Primary School is a good idea. The very spot Cllr Smith and former Cllr Cocker are standing in in a photo on the leaflet was where we were told by a caretaker that photos couldn’t be taken! I have also listened to the concerns of John Cocker and the headteacher which they have aired at a number of public meetings when the future of the school was under threat.

It was however not Labour’s decision to make. It was Liberal Democrat and Conservative councillors that decided to close Cole Street Primary School, save Cathcart Street Primary School and invest money into Cathcart Street Primary School (in fact they will be making a decision on the contractor on Thursday).

Onto the second story in the leaflet, as Cllr Smith knows it was Liberal Democrats that campaigned for road safety measures on Fender Way. We were the ones who handed in a petition over over a hundred residents. We lobbied the local councillors, showed them photos and kicked up such a fuss we were told (after Cllr Smith complained to Cllr Roberts) never to bring a petition to an Area Forum ever again!

His claim that he "made sure resources were allocated from local Area Forum funding" is a strange one to make. The decisions over the local Area Forum funding allocation for road safety for this financial year were made by Wirral Council’s Cabinet (comprised of Conservative and Lib Dem councillors). We have an email from Wirral Council stating that no decisions are made by the Area Forum panel in respect of this. Wirral Council may have it wrong, so we will look into the matter and report back in a later more detailed post.

Cllr Harry Smith then takes credit for "more than £250,000" allocated to road repairs on Wirral. Going by a press release about pothole repair, the figure is £625,931 and judging by the large difference in the amounts, Cllr Harry Smith seems to be referring (despite writing "the recent cold spell" to not last Winter, but the Winter before when a Liberal Democrat Cabinet member for Streetscene and Transport Cllr Jean Quinn decided to put extra money towards potholes.

Cllr Smith then goes on to mention the Liberal Democrat Party. He states "Are you aware that the Liberal Democrat Party has long been in favour of votes for prisoners?"

Jeremy Brown, Lib Dem MP for Taunton and spokesperson for the party said in the House of Commons, "It was said that my party favours votes for prisoners, but that was not in our manifesto and the Leader of my party has made it explicit that he does not favour them."

In February MPs voted 234 to 22 against giving prisoners the vote. I will write an article further on this. However if you wish to view the debate in the House of Commons on this issue it can be viewed on the BBC’s website.

May Elections

I’ve just read the latest press release from Cllr Holbrook about the May elections.

As he points out, Liberal Democrats work hard for residents all year round. Unlike Labour who announced budget cuts to libraries, then defended the plan to the public, then spent thousands on a barrister at a public enquiry, the Lib Dem/Tory coalition on Wirral Council consulted first with the public.

I have previously pointed out myself that thanks to Lib Dems in government, 4,400 Wirral residents are now not paying income tax and 102,000 people are paying £200 less. £5 million extra is going to Wirral’s schools, targeted where it is most needed in areas like Bidston & St. James.

The designation of Wirral Waters as an Enterprise Zone will further help local residents searching for employment.

There are those that criticise the Liberal Democrats for forming a coalition government with the Conservative Party in the national interest (and similar criticism of the local progressive partnership with the Conservative Party on Wirral Council). Do you think more money would be going to schools in areas like Bidston & St. James and that people on a low income would pay less tax under a Conservative council or Conservative government?

Cllr Holbrook says “Unlike other parties, we do not rely on negative criticism, empty insults and blank sheets of paper to try and win votes.” I think he is referring to Labour who won’t come clean about the £14 billion of cuts they planned. The difference between the Coalition government cuts and Labour’s cuts are things like the following:-

ID cards: £86 million saving to the taxpayer
£800 million saving to the public in fees

Instead of cutting waste, Labour let government spending get out of control. Thanks to the tough decisions made by Lib Dems on Wirral Council no Sure Start centres had to close yet in Labour run councils massive cuts have been made to vital services people rely on like Sure Start and libraries.