What are the Conservative and Liberal Democrat budget proposals for Wirral Council for 2018-19?

What are the Conservative and Liberal Democrat budget proposals for Wirral Council for 2018-19?

What are the Conservative and Liberal Democrat budget proposals for Wirral Council for 2018-19?

                                                      

Councillor Ian Lewis (Leader of Conservative Group) Wirral Council (Council, 11th December 2017) who proposed the Conservative Budget Objection
Councillor Ian Lewis (Leader of Conservative Group) Wirral Council (Council, 11th December 2017) who proposed the Conservative Budget Objection

As a declaration of interest, I will start by stating that I’m married to someone will have to pay the 5.99% council tax rise (if agreed tonight).

This evening, all 65 councillors at Wirral Council have been invited to a public meeting in the Council Chamber at Wallasey Town Hall to decide on the Council’s Budget for 2018-19 (1.4.18 to 31.3.19) starting at 6.00 pm.

The ruling Labour administration (who hold 38 out of 65 seats) proposed their Budget at the Cabinet meeting held on the 19th February 2018.

However both the Conservative Group of 21 councillors and the Liberal Democrat Group of 5 councillors have proposed alternatives to be considered this evening.
Continue reading “What are the Conservative and Liberal Democrat budget proposals for Wirral Council for 2018-19?”

What’s in Wirral Council’s 96 page Hoylake Golf Resort contract?

What’s in Wirral Council’s 96 page Hoylake Golf Resort contract?

What’s in Wirral Council’s 96 page Hoylake Golf Resort contract?

                                       

Continuing from yesterday’s post about the cancelled hearing, I’d better once again state I was the person who made the information request.

Here however is a brief chronology of what has happened so far.

12th December 2016 – EIR request made to Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council by myself for 122 pages of information. Continue reading “What’s in Wirral Council’s 96 page Hoylake Golf Resort contract?”

How was the planning application (APP/17/00306) for a fire station in Saughall Massie decided?

How was the planning application (APP/17/00306) for a fire station in Saughall Massie decided?

How was the planning application (APP/17/00306) for a fire station in Saughall Massie decided?

Wirral Council’s Planning Committee 20th July 2017 voting to approve planning application APP/17/00306 (Saughall Massie fire station)
Wirral Council’s Planning Committee 20th July 2017 voting to approve planning application APP/17/00306 (Saughall Massie fire station)

Edited 21.7.17 by JB to include contact details of National Planning Casework Unit and video clip part 2

Edited 23.7.17 by JB to include video clips part 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7

Edited 24.7.17 by JB to include video clips 8, 9 and 10

Edited 26.7.17 by JB to include published video clips

Yesterday evening a large number of people waited in the Civic Hall for Wirral Council’s Planning Committee’s decision on planning application APP/17/00306 (for a fire station with a training tower, drill yard and car park on Wirral Council owned land in Saughall Massie in the greenbelt).

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Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 21st July 2017 Part 1 of 17

Continue reading “How was the planning application (APP/17/00306) for a fire station in Saughall Massie decided?”

Why has Wirral Council agreed to write to the government asking for money and for the government to meet people affected by the New Ferry explosion?

Why has Wirral Council agreed to write to the government asking for money and for the government to meet people affected by the New Ferry explosion?

Why has Wirral Council agreed to write to the government asking for money and for the government to meet people affected by the New Ferry explosion?

                                                  

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Council (Wirral Council) 10th July 2017 Part 8 of 17 (Support for New Ferry)

Usually the press outnumber the public in the public gallery above the Council Chamber at Wallasey Town Hall.

Wallasey Town Hall (public gallery) Wirral Council 10th July 2017
Wallasey Town Hall (public gallery) Wirral Council 10th July 2017

Monday evening’s meeting of Wirral Council’s councillors was different as many people (see photo above) with connections to New Ferry had turned up to listen to the debate on the notice of motion about New Ferry following the explosion earlier this year.

After around two hours of waiting, councillors rearranged the agenda so that the Support for New Ferry motion was heard first (rather than fourth). This motion was proposed by Cllr Warren Ward and seconded by Cllr Phil Davies.

A large explosion in New Ferry happened on Saturday 25 March. Many buildings in the area had to be evacuated because of structural damage (these were buildings used for both residential and business purposes), roads were closed and at least one person injured ended up in hospital. Cllr Warren Ward’s notice of motion asked for Wirral Council to write to the national government to intervene and to help.

Councillor Phil Davies (Leader) estimated that Wirral Council’s costs so far in dealing with the aftermath as around £300,000.

Cllr Warren Ward (Bromborough) criticised the government for sending a minister to visit the area some time after it happened.

He singled out a government minister for further criticism, stating that the minister had said in a local radio interview that the government had been supporting Wirral Council since day one of the explosion. Cllr Ward described this as a “kick in the teeth to all those residents affected crying out for government support only to receive nothing”.

Councillor Warren Ward thanked the “phenomenal emergency services”, “[Wirral] Council officers” and “community members”. He referred to the community members as “picking up the burden”.

He explained that Wirral Council employees had been working “15 hour days” at a cost of “hundreds of thousands of pounds” asking, “why isn’t the government playing its role in supporting the residents affected by the New Ferry disaster?”

At the end of his speech he received nearly thirty seconds of applause and a standing ovation.

Cllr Adam Sykes (Clatterbridge) moving an amendment to Cllr Warren Ward’s notice of motion started by thanking the members of public in the gallery for waiting “a long time”.

He described meetings of residents he had attended and the impact and distress the disaster had had on them. Cllr Sykes described people who had lost everything and how others had no insurance and how people were “looking for answers”.

His speech covered the cause of the blast and resident’s fears that it could happen again. Wirral Council employees were once again thanked and the community for their “hard work”. Describing Cllr Warren Ward as an “outstanding example of a councillor in our Council for all his tireless work ”, he explained that the amendment wasn’t to take anything away but sought to support by “exploring other options”.

Cllr Sykes explained that in the short-term Wirral Council should use its own funds held in reserves for emergencies and to explore financial assistance under the Bellwin Scheme as he was not sure whether that had been done yet.

He agreed that Wirral Council should work with the government to “resolve this situation” and said he had spoken to the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP (Minister for Communities and Local Government) on a number of occasions and that the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP was clear that the government “wished to help” to discuss a plan with Wirral Council officers.

During the general election (when Cllr Sykes was the Conservative candidate hoping to be MP for Wirral South after the general election in June) he said that he hadn’t wanted to bring the Rt Hon Sajid Javid to the blast site, as it would appear that Cllr Sykes was after a “photo opportunity”.

He was at this point heckled by the public gallery.

Cllr Sykes said he had told Cllr Warren Ward that he didn’t want to make the issue a “political football”, he repeated his request for Wirral Council to provide a plan to the government. Referring to a visit by the Minister for the Northern Powerhouse on the 6th of July 2017, he said that the Minister had asked during that visit for the plan to be submitted so “things could move forward”. The councillor continued by saying that it was the responsibility of “all of us” (referring to both Wirral Council and the government) “to look after our neighbours when they”re in need”. He said it was about “basic compassion and shouldn’t stop at [political] party boundaries” and that he wished to work with all Wirral Council councillors and the community to help the people of New Ferry.

He was further heckled by the public gallery.

Cllr Irene Williams (Bromborough) thanked the Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram for a contribution by the LCRCA of £20,000. She thanked Wirral Council employees and people in the community who she described as “working tirelessly”, she said that New Ferry was in need of “emergency funding”. Cllr Williams said that the government had indicated it couldn’t help because of the general election (which had now been over for a month) and referred to residents being “traumatised”. She described some residents as suffering flashbacks, how businesses will close and how some buildings would have to be demolished.

Cllr Williams described New Ferry as “struggling before the explosion” and asked for a “fair share of help from governnment”. She received applause for her speech.

Other speakers in the debate were Cllr Ian Lewis (Wallasey), Cllr Ron Abbey (Leasowe and Moreton East), Cllr Dave Mitchell (Eastham), Cllr Chris Blakeley (Moreton West and Saughall Massie), Cllr Jerry Williams (Bebington), Cllr Stuart Whittingham (Upton & Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport), Cllr Chris Carubia (Eastham), Cllr Tracey Pilgrim (Clatterbridge), Cllr Phil Davies (Birkenhead and Tranmere & Leader) and finally again Cllr Warren Ward (Bromborough).

The vote on the Conservative amendment was lost (24:36:1 (for:against:abstain)).

The vote on the original Labour motion was passed (60:0:1 (for:against:abstain)).

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Incredible: how many more people will die early from air pollution as politicians delay?

Incredible: how many more people will die early from air pollution as politicians delay?

Incredible: how many more people will die early from air pollution as politicians delay?

                                    

Mayor Joe Anderson Chair at a meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority 21st April 2017
Mayor Joe Anderson Chair at a meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority 21st April 2017

Air quality is an issue that affects everybody and is a cross-cutting theme that covers both the Combined Authority Mayoral election and the General Election.

The story so far is that the judiciary ruled that the government was not doing enough to combat air pollution. Air pollution was causing an estimated 40,000 early deaths a year.

The judgement published in November 2016 ([2016] EWHC 2740 (Admin)) pointed out that the 2015 Air Quality Plan had to be quashed and the government was required to come up with a new Air Quality Plan.

Despite having 5 months to come up with a new plan, now they want to delay matters by at least a further 2 months because of the General Election (followed by a consultation).

As a result of the court case, the government were required to publish a new Air Quality Plan by 4 pm yesterday (but didn’t), instead they have made an application to the court for an extension.

I include below what was said in the House of Commons yesterday on this matter which contains Parliamentary information licensed under the Open Parliament Licence v3.0
Continue reading “Incredible: how many more people will die early from air pollution as politicians delay?”

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