When are the Heritage Open Days for 2016 in Bidston?

When are the Heritage Open Days for 2016 in Bidston?

When are the Heritage Open Days for 2016 in Bidston?


Bidston Lighthouse (Wilding Way), Bidston Hill 14th August 2014 taken by John Brace
Bidston Lighthouse (Wilding Way), Bidston Hill 14th August 2014 taken by John Brace

It’s nearly September, which means starting on the 3rd September will be a series of Heritage Open Days on the Wirral.

The full list of free Heritage Open Days can be found here, but below are some more details on the ones that are taking place in the local area I live (Bidston).

3rd September 2016

Bidston Windmill will be open from 10.00 am to 12 noon (last entry at 11.45 am). Further details are here. Booking is not required, but there is a minimum height restriction of 110cm for visiting the upper floors. Children under 11 must be accompanied by an adult. For further details email info@bidstonhill.org.uk.

Also on the 3rd September (as well as on the 5th, 6th and 10th) Bidston Lighthouse and Telegraph Station (accessible from Wilding Way) will be open to the public between 12.45 pm and 4.00 pm (with guided tours at 1.00 pm, 2.00 pm and 3.00 pm). Guided tours have to be booked in advance through their website. For further details contact Amanda Pickles on (0151) 653 7816 or by email to info@bidstonlighthouse.org.uk.

8th September 2016

St. Oswalds Church in Bidston Village will be open on Thursday 8th September 2016 from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm. No booking is required and for further details contact the vicar Ron Iveson on (0151) 378 5835 or roniveson@hotmail.com.

There are also Heritage Open Days for Bidston Community Archaeology (on the 3rd September and 11th September) near Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm, a Bidston Hill Walk on Tuesday 6th September and various events about Flaybrick Cemetery on the 7th, 8th and 10th September.

17th September 2016

Although not a Heritage Open Day, Church Farm in Bidston Village is having an Open Day on the 17th September 2016 from 2.00 pm to 9.00 pm. Admission is £1.

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What next for demolished Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory site (Joseph Proudman Building) on Bidston Hill?

A story about the former Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory (Joseph Proudman Building) site on Bidston Hill, Wirral, England

What next for demolished Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory site (Joseph Proudman Building) on Bidston Hill?


Demolished Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, Bidston Hill

First, a quick history of what’s been happening about this site. Last year in June, Wirral Council’s Cabinet received a report recommending demolition. People had asked the Cabinet about the effect of the Unitary Development Plan change in 2004 on a decision to demolish it, so as nobody seemed to know whether this was still in effect, a decision on it was deferred to the meeting on the 9th July 2012.

The Cabinet meeting on the 9th July 2012 was in postponed to the 10th July 2012 and was told that the bit of the Unitary Development Plan relating to Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory had been deleted in 2007. However between June and July an application had been made to English Heritage for listed status. A decision was then deferred again to Cabinet’s meeting of the 6th September (in the hope that English Heritage would’ve decided on listed status by then).

It wasn’t on the Cabinet agenda of the 6th September or the next meeting of the 27th September. By October a decision had been reached by English Heritage not to accept the application for listed building status and on the 8th October 2012 the Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources, Cllr Adrian Jones gave consent to demolition (effective from the 16th October) for the Joseph Proudman Building. Since then it has been demolished by Hunter Demolition.

Wirral Council owns the site of the former Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, but NERC (the Natural Environment Research Council) has a 99-year lease from 1973. Wirral Council receive £1,800 a year rent from NERC. However NERC have tried to sell their lease. Local residents are concerned that now the building has been demolished that there could a residential development on this site, especially as the Lighthouse Cottage and Bidston Observatory are now being used for this purpose.

In the evidence base (see page 112) for Wirral Council’s Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment 2012 it is listed as a site (it lists it as Bidston Observatory but the coordinates are for the Joseph Proudman Building) with a capacity for thirty-eight dwellings. This document gives it an achievability score of 3 (which means development of the site could be achieved in the next five years). It states in that document “Car park and other building require demolition/conversion” (which has already happened).

Any decision on new housing on the site of the Joseph Proudman Building would be first need planning permission and being a major development would be decided by Wirral Council’s Planning Committee. A future request for planning permission would attract opposition from local residents wanting to keep Bidston Hill as it is, its impact on the existing listed buildings (the Lighthouse and the Observatory) would also need to be considered. Until that happens the future of the site is up to NERC and Wirral Council.

Cabinet (Wirral Council) 10th July 2012 Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory saved from demolition

Well due to an application made to English Heritage for listed status for the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory Wirral Council’s Cabinet decided not to demolish it. This decision had already been deferred from an earlier meeting.

Cabinet also approved an amended Corporate Plan and a consultation on corporate and business planning.

Cabinet (Wirral Council) 21st June 2012 Part 1 Oval Leisure Centre lease to Wirral Met, future of Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, Bidston Hill

The agenda and reports can be found here.

Cllr Phil Davies (Chair)
Cllr Ann McLachlan
Cllr Adrian Jones
Cllr Anne McArdle
Cllr Chris Meaden
Cllr Tony Smith
Cllr Pat Hackett
Cllr George Davies
Cllr Harry Smith

The Chair, Cllr Phil Davies welcomed those present to the first Cabinet of the municipal year. He hoped in the future they would have a more focused agenda and not a shopping list. Cllr Phil Davies said that they would be looking at corporate governance and the new corporate plan at a special Cabinet on Monday 9th July. The good news of £40 million of investment in Port Sunlight by Unilever was also something he wanted to highlight. Hillbark Hotel had been awarded a five-star rating and was the only hotel awarded five stars on Merseyside. He asked for any declarations of interest.

Cllr Ann McLachlan declared a prejudicial interest in item 19 (Lease of Land at the Oval Leisure Centre) by virtue of being a governor at Wirral Metropolitan College.
Cllr Pat Hackett declared a prejudicial interest in item 22 (Portas Pilots Round 2) as he had helped the Town Teams with their bids.
Cllr George Davies declared a prejudicial interest in item 12 (Tranmere Rovers Sponsorship Agreement 2012/2013) as he was on a Tranmere Rovers board.

The minutes of the meeting held on the 12th April 2012 were agreed.

The Chair said he would bring item 19 (Lease of Land at the Oval Leisure Centre) forward as there were a number of people here for it. Cllr McLachlan having previously declared a prejudicial interest in the matter left the room.

Ian Brand, Head of Asset Management gave a verbal report summarising the report on the agenda. He said there had been an objection to the disposal of the land, but that a decision had been made to lease the land to Wirral Metropolitan College for new facilities. Section two outlined the planning permission granted on the 24th May, which had been advertised publically. The objection to the sale of the land was outlined in 2.10, there was a request that call-in be waived, so that work could start as soon as possible.

Cllr Adrian Jones said he was mindful that Cllr Stuart Kelly had made representations, but it was necessary to make a decision. He had made a delegated decision to proceed and the local councillors had been involved. The college had arranged a briefing and the decision had been published. Cllr Jones thought it was a win-win and was surprised there were suggestions for further consultation as the opportunity for consultation had been there, he believed he’d taken the right decision.

Cllr Phil Davies said he had concerns that it had taken three months to respond to the complaint and that corporate governance needed to get better so that they dealt with complaints promptly. There was a criticism that officers were not impartial and he believed the complaint should’ve been dealt with more quickly.

Cllr Adrian Jones moved the recommendation at 12.1 .
Cllr Phil Davies asked the Acting Chief Executive if it was ok to waive call-in.
Ian Coleman said he was satisfied that they did.

Cllr Ann McLachlan returned.

Cllr Phil Davies said he had been made aware there were a number of members of the public here about the item involving Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory on Bidston Hill.

Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, Bidston Hill
Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, Bidston Hill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ian Brand said that it was a request from their tenant NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) to demolish the modern building constructed in 1973 on which they held the ground lease. The tenant would still remain responsible for the rent and maintaining the boundaries. NERC had tried to dispose of their interest, but failed, it was costing NERC money to maintain and the intention was to demolish the building.

Cllr Harry Smith said he had had a conversation with a concerned constituent who had made reference to the Unitary Development Plan from 2003/2004, but there was nothing about the UDP in the item, did Ian have information about that decision?

Ian Brand said that section 11 dealt with planning and that demolition did not require planning consent.

Cllr Harry Smith said he had been quite specific about the Unitary Development Plan and asked for deferment until there was further investigation.

Cllr Adrian Jones said that in principle he supported delaying the decision, he had had a phone call from Graham Clark who was best known for his association with the egg run who had similar reservations.

Bill Norman said the decision could be delegated to the portfolio holder.

Cllr Harry Smith said he was not happy and had further questions, he asked for it to come back to Cabinet.

Cllr Phil Davies said there were alternatives uses suggested at 2.5 and 2.6 and that they could use the special Cabinet meeting on the 9th July to have a report back on the alternative uses and UDP.

He have notice that he wanted to take an urgent item of AOB on the Liverpool City Region City Deal.

On item 3 Cllr Phil Davies had the following proposals.

On minute 360, it was consistent with the Improvement Plan, but could be brought to the special Cabinet on the 9th July and the Improvement Board. Minute 361 reflected on how they operated in practice, but there was the danger of adding another layer of decision making and bureaucracy, he said they had the scrutiny committees and Improvement Board, but he’d like to suggest a Leader’s Board which would be a forum to meet together to discuss issues of strategic importance. It would be an advisory not executive body. This was agreed by the Cabinet. On minute 362, he needed to confirm there was the £250,000 required and asked for a further Cabinet report. Minute 365 was the suggestion of the new administration, there would be a peer challenge in July and they would appoint an interim Chief Executive, he suggested they park the idea with the exception of the performance development and appraisals process. Minute 367 referred to an independent external ombudsman to deal with employee concerns, Cllr Phil Davies was not convinced this would add value to the organisation, he said there were already a raft of procedures on whistle blowing and grievance that they had to make sure worked effectively, so he wanted no action on minute 367. He agreed with 368 which he had read again and was a good document, he confirmed that since minute 372 a new procedure on compromise contracts had been agreed by the Employment and Appointments Committee.

Bidston and Claughton Area Forum 12th June 2012 Part 2

Colette raised the issue of the NHS doing armchair exercise with a pensioner’s luncheon club, she said the NHS had only guaranteed to pay for the coach for a further nine weeks, after which they’d have to pay. She said the existing coach was very good and that Arrowe Park Hospital were referring people to them.

In response to a question Colette clarified that the coach was a person and not a transport issue. It was pointed out that a decision over the Area Forum funds wouldn’t be made until October.

Michelle Gray pointed out that the St James Centre also had funding for community projects.

Donnie asked if the £83,000 included Your Wirral funds?

Michelle Gray said no as that was dealt with by regeneration and Wirral Partnership Homes.

John Cocker suggested they could put the existing IT suites in the community centres to better use, but that they needed someone to run it.

Michelle Gray encouraged them to apply for the participatory budget funding.

Colette asked the police to investigate cars braking harshly in the early hours of the morning in Grange Road West. She said there had been drug activity and a recent stabbing there.

I asked the police about what had been done about antisocial behaviour around the Tollemache Road play area. Inspector McGregor said they had had more patrols in the area.

Inspector McGregor said they had monthly meetings with their partners and concentrated on hotspots. He referred people to the handout and said there had been a reduction in crime. Three lads had been arrested which had led to a drop in crime. Joy riding of vehicles on Bidston Hill and Bidston Moss was still a problem, but they now had a quad bike to patrol and were working to engage the young people in positive activities. This was aimed not just at those that had got into trouble, but also as a reward for good behaviour.

Colette said she used to go to neighbourhood action group meetings, but these had stopped. Inspector McGregor said they’d been replaced by Have Your Say meetings, as well as an emailed newsletter that went out to 3,000 on the mailing list.

Paul Murphy of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service explained that the main fire station in Birkenhead would soon be demolished and rebuilt over the next year under a PFI scheme. He provided statistics on different categories of fires and home fire safety checks done. He asked those present to identify vulnerable residents and to tell the fire service about them via the free phone number so a Home Fire Safety Check could be carried out. There had been a reduction in deliberate secondary fires. They were aiming for a target to reduce smoking which was the cause of some fires in this area.

Leonora asked about tyres dumped on Bidston Hill and about these had been set on fire before they were removed. What could be done to stop dumping of tyres here?

Paul Murphy said it was partly seasonal, as children were more likely to light fires in the holidays. They had received training as to where the hydrants were and trained the Community Patrol. He felt that the removal of flytipping was an issue for Wirral Council.

A member of the public asked where the fire service would be operating from while the building was rebuilt?

Paul Murphy said there would be temporary accommodation while it was constructed.

A member of the public asked what would happen if the building work overran?

Paul Murphy said that there were penalty clauses in the contract and that other PFI contracts had been finished on time.

Community Safety gave an update encouraging new Neighbourhood Watch schemes, there was also a new Birkenhead Park Watch. He also said they now had a more robust reporting mechanism for disability hate crime which involved the safeguarding team at the Department for Adult Social Services and the Sigma team at Merseyside Police.

There was a camera monitoring Tapestry Gardens and one monitoring the new Asda, although levels of antisocial behaviour there had not been above the normal level they expect. The limited resources they had such as the Contactabus had gone to a hotspot in another part of the Wirral.

Cllr Harry Smith asked if Neighbourhood Watch scheme stickers were available. Ian Lowrie said they were and they were trying to link the Neighbourhood Watch scheme areas to No Cold Calling Zones.

Donnie advised against residential properties displaying the stickers as they could become targets for crime, but suggested lamp posts instead.

Ian Lowrie said that in the No Cold Calling Zones there would be signs at either end of the street to advise traders.

Laura Quigley gave an update on the changes affecting the GP Commissioning Groups. From April 2013, they instead of the PCT would commission services. There were sixty-one GP practices in three groups on the Wirral, there were patient groups at each GP that patients could contact or they could raise matters with their GP. It didn’t involve privatisation and healthcare would still be free at the point of delivery.

A member of the public asked if it would lead to a postcode lottery?

The answer given was that the big things such as Arrowe Park hospital services would be commissioned together.

The Chair asked what would happen next.

Laura Quigley answered that before they commissioned any services they had to be authorised which was a rigorous process. They would find out in January 2013 if they were, if not a NHS Commissioning Board would commission services.

A member of the public said the three groups had similar names, would they be commissioning the same sort of services and what was the logic in having three?

Laura Quigley answered that they had been formed in isolation, however they would commission some services together.

Colette asked how this would affect hospital services.

Laura Quigley replied that there wouldn’t be a change as the yearly contract would be made on behalf of all three groups for emergency and elective care.

The issue of the vascular services review was brought up by Colette. The Chair said there had been public consultation and public meetings.

A member of the public brought up speeding in the morning in Wexford Way and asked for traffic calming. Another member of the public asked for Buttermere Avenue to be resurfaced as there were many potholes. Someone else asked if the double yellow lines outside shops were reviewed as many shops were closing. Cllr Harry Smith suggested people contact Streetscene about it.