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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Plans to consult on changes to bin collections put on hold as Cllr Stuart Kelly requires councillors to look again at Cabinet decision

Plans to consult on changes to bin collections put on hold as Cllr Stuart Kelly requires councillors to look again at Cabinet decision

Plans to consult on changes to bin collections put on hold as Cllr Stuart Kelly requires councillors to look again at Cabinet decision

                                    

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

Councillor Stuart Kelly, who is pictured above at a “call-in” meeting in 2014, which you can read about at Cllr Stuart “Robin Hood” Kelly takes on Cllr Phil “Sheriff of Nottingham” Davies on a matter involving Wirral’s forest has started another call-in.

Cllr Stuart Kelly’s call-in is of the Labour Cabinet’s decision made last week to consult on changes to the bin collections.

The following councillors have “called-in” the decision, which will now be looked at again.

Councillor Stuart Kelly (Lib Dem)
Councillor Phil Gilchrist (Lib Dem)
Councillor Alan Brighouse (Lib Dem)
Councillor Chris Carubia (Lib Dem)
Councillor Dave Mitchell (Lib Dem)
Councillor Ian Lewis (Conservative)

Continue reading “Plans to consult on changes to bin collections put on hold as Cllr Stuart Kelly requires councillors to look again at Cabinet decision”

Wirral’s Cabinet expected to start consultation on 4% Council Tax rise and £2.4 million of cuts

Wirral’s Cabinet expected to start consultation on 4% Council Tax rise and £2.4 million of cuts

                                                                     

Cllr Phil Davies at a recent Cabinet meeting
Cllr Phil Davies at a recent Cabinet meeting

Wirral Council’s Cabinet will meet next Thursday evening to discuss further cuts to Wirral Council’s budget for the 2016/17 year. Councillors are expected to agree to a public consultation on £2.5 million of budget options as well as a 4% council tax increase. Cabinet is also expected to agree to a staff consultation on budget options such as reducing the pay rise from 2% to 1%.

The consultation will run from the 18th December 2015 and finishes on the 29th January 2016. At the end of the consultation Cabinet will propose a budget to be voted on at a meeting of all Wirral’s councillors.

The nine budget options that Cabinet is expected next week to start a consultation on start on page 16 of this report to Cabinet and are:


  • Community Safety (£367,000) – litter enforcement was recently outsourced to Kingdom Security and this proposal would see the same happen to dog fouling enforcement, Wirral Council hope to increase income to the community safety service from landlords and schools.

  • Discretionary Housing Payments & Advice (£406,000) – this proposal would see Wirral Council only covering rent shortfalls to people in hardship to the amount they receive from the government, it would also see the end of Wirral Council providing welfare benefits advice.

  • Girtrell Court service re-provision (£155,000) – Girtrell Court provides short breaks for carers of adults with physical and learning disabilities, this proposal would see that service provided by the private sector instead of directly by Wirral Council.

  • Highways Maintenance and Road Safety (£320,000) – This proposal means Wirral Council would only use the money it receives for highways maintenance, only 100 out of 300 grit bins would be filled and school crossing patrols would be reviewed.

  • Leisure Centres and Golf Courses (£641,000) – Discounts and free access would be removed, such as free access for long serving Council staff, foster carers and families, free swimming for those under 18 in the school holidays and free swimming for the over 65s between 9am and noon.

  • Libraries Re-provision (£203,000) – Transferring up to 12 of Wirral’s libraries into "community ownership" (run by volunteers rather than paid staff).

  • Parks Community Partnership Working (£108,000) – Increasing the role of community organisations and volunteers in parks maintenance and looking to increase parks income.

  • Charging for the Pest Control Service (£30,000) – Charging landlords, business and residents who can afford to pay for dealing with rats.

  • Charging for the Garden Waste Service (£196,000) – Increasing the brown bin charge from £35 a year to £40 a year (but with a £5 discount if paid online).

So to summarise the proposed cuts (along with a 4% council tax increase) are to dog fouling, community safety, covering rent shortfalls for those in financial hardship, axing the welfare right service, the short breaks for carers service, highways maintenance, grit bins, school crossing patrols, free swimming for children, free swimming for pensioners, free leisure access for some Council staff, transferring many of Wirral’s libraries to be run by volunteers, having more volunteers involved in parks maintenance, charging for dealing with rats and increasing the brown bin charge by £5.

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Council (Wirral Council) 14th October 2013 Answers to Questions to the Cabinet Member for the Environment and Sustainability (Cllr Brian Kenny)

Council (Wirral Council) 14th October 2013 Answers to Questions to the Cabinet Member for the Environment and Sustainability (Cllr Brian Kenny) on dog fouling, litter, garden waste, brown bins, Wirral Coastal Strategy and flooding in Leasowe

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Cllr Brian Kenny’s answers start at 4:58 in the video above.

Council (Wirral Council) 14th October 2013 Answers to Questions to the Cabinet Member for the Environment and Sustainability (Cllr Brian Kenny)

                               

Continues from https://johnbrace.com/2013/10/28/council-wirral-council-14th-october-2013-questions-to-the-cabinet-member-for-the-environment-and-sustainability-cllr-brian-kenny/.

Cllr Brian Kenny replied, “On the first question from Cllr Rennie, I must admit I do smile when this Labour administration has been forced to implement cuts of over £109 million over three years, a third of our budget in a situation where there doesn’t appear to be any protest to the national Government for resources, .. into that position. Many decisions that we have to make as part of last year’s Budget are very difficult decisions that we did have to implement and now we’re getting complaints as a result of those reductions. So can I say that we are very concerned about dog fouling, litter picking et cetera and one of the reasons why we’re shortly going to be allocating £10,000 to each of the new four constituency committees to spend on the basis that we want them, within their constituencies, to use that money to basically clean up the area, decide for themselves what their priorities are et cetera et cetera. So money will be allocated for that.

Also at the end of last week Mr Mayor I did have a meeting with Mike Collins, one of the senior dog wardens, on the whole question of dog fouling. I understand a couple of staff have recently left and have not yet been replaced. That is in the process of being dealt with at the moment but hopefully before too long the number of prosecutions will come up but when we’re talking about prosecutions, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again now. People can’t be prosecuted for allowing their dog to foul unless somebody is willing to come forward with evidence. So if anybody in this chamber or anybody in the Wirral has ever got any evidence of allowing their dog to foul without cleaning up please pass the evidence on and I can assure you that evidence will be viewed.

On Cllr Doughty’s question, yes you can from the report that we’ve already had over thirty-five thousand people in the Wirral sign up for the new garden waste scheme. The original target was thirty thousand, so we’re well above the target and again as you can see in the report I’ve been asked to go and speak at a conference, unless it’s called in, but I’ve been asked to speak at a conference outside of Wirral on this whole area, … but I understand that many councils up and down the country have already as Cllr Doughty said, have already introduced charges for garden waste, most of those seem to be well above the charges that we introduced on the Wirral and as we speak many other councils are now considering introducing charges for garden waste and they are very interested in learning from our experience here in the Wirral. Again Cllr Doughty mentioned home composting, I think again the figures in the report are very encouraging because one big aspect of introducing the garden waste scheme was that we wanted to encourage more residents of the Wirral to go down the road of home composting and I’m pleased to say that many of them have already done that.

Again Cllr Gilchrist referred to the question of garden waste. Now we will very shortly be going out to tender to get bids in for the taking away of brown bins for those people who don’t want them. Brown bins will be taken away around about the end of November. At the moment there are no specific figures as to how many are going to be taken in, it will be part of the tendering process as to what the people who tender will intend to do with the brown bins. I am happy to give a written answer on that when we have more details.

Cllr Janette Williamson asked about the Wirral Coastal Scheme and said basically can we afford it. I think my answer to that is we can’t afford not to. We’ve just spent over two years looking at the whole of Wirral coastal strategy scheme to decide what we’re going to do for literally the next hundred years. I can’t guarantee I’ll be here at the end of that hundred years, I probably won’t but it is such an important issue for the Wirral, obviously with it being a peninsula it’s surrounded by water on three sides so we can’t afford to ignore this issue, and that’s why we’ve instructed Kevin Adderley to go away and identify funding from places like the Environment Agency, other areas of funding where the work can be done over the next twenty years to make sure all the coastal areas are protected. So we’ve got to find the money for that one it is so important.

On the last question Mr Mayor about this question about flooding. Well I understand one of the main areas of flooding in the Wirral over the last few years has been in the area of Reedville Grove and Reeds Lane in Leasowe and I understand as a direct result of a public meeting called by Cllr Abbey and Cllr Leech, followed by meetings with United Utilities, we’ve now I think got good news on that one. United Utilities have recently announced that they are putting aside £5 million to resolve this problem. So they’re going to introduce a new pumping station and I think that would be very much welcomed by the residents that live in that area and also people who have cause to use the local station, Leasowe station so there is some good news on that one Mr Mayor.”

Continues at Council (Wirral Council) 14th October 2013 Questions to the Cabinet Member for the Governance and Improvement (Cllr Ann McLachlan).

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Council (Extraordinary) (Wirral Council) 30th April 2013 | Revisions to the Constitution | Cllr Blakeley “Where will it end, what next? Will Wirral be twinned with Pyongyang?”

Council (Extraordinary) (Wirral Council) 30th April 2013 | Revisions to the Constitution | Cllr Blakeley “Where will it end, what next? Will Wirral be twinned with Pyongyang?”

Continued from Council (Extraordinary) (Wirral Council) 30th April 2013 | Revisions to the Constitution | Cllr Harney “We don’t know where we came from, we don’t know where we’re going”

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Council (Extraordinary) (Wirral Council) 30th April 2013 | Revisions to the Constitution | Cllr Blakeley “Where will it end, what next? Will Wirral be twinned with Pyongyang?”

Council meeting (Extraordinary) 30th April 2013 Revisions to the Constitution Cllr Chris Blakeley

The Mayor thanked Cllr Harney, he asked councillors to keep their speeches to three minutes so that everyone who wanted to could have a say.

Cllr Blakeley said he would stick to three minutes. He said that twelve years ago when the Cabinet form of local government had been started, there was a select committee for each portfolio. This was so there would be no overlap and Cabinet Members were invited along to be asked questions, he said “everything seemed to work ok”.

These were deemed to be “too unwieldy” and “taking too much of officer’s time” so they were reduced to six, although there were some overlapping responsibilities it “was in the main manageable and workable”. Now they [the Labour administration] wanted to cut six committees to three, which Cllr Blakeley regarded as “extremely dangerous”. Cllr Blakeley referred to the Children and Young Peoples Overview and Scrutiny Committee and high-profile cases that had happened in other Boroughs such as Victoria Climbié and Baby P.

He asked them not to forget the overcharging of vulnerable adults on Wirral. He said the new committee would have to “scrutinise these two vast departments”. Cllr Blakeley said, “This is typical of Labour’s control freak dictatorial ‘We know what’s best’ capacity”.

He said that Area Forums made a difference by “giving local people a real opportunity to have a say”, “yet here we have Labour wanting to grab power back to the centre” and that the new constituency committees would be given a “token amount of funding” far less than the funding to the Area Forums they replaced. Cllr Blakeley said it was a “failure to understand what people of this Borough want”.

On the changes to Council meeting procedures, he said if it went through it would “effectively gag councillors from debate in the Council Chamber and put even greater power in Labour’s hands”. Cllr Blakeley said, “Sadly tonight Mr. Mayor, we are witnessing the destruction of the last vestiges of democracy in Wirral and the residents of this Borough will be ruled by a controlling, tyrannical Labour Group”.

He referred to the refusal of the £1.3 million Council Tax Freeze Grant, increases to car parking charges, the brown bin charges and asked “Where will it end, what next? Will Wirral be twinned with Pyongyang?”

Continued at Council (Extraordinary) (Wirral Council) 30th April 2013 | Revisions to the Constitution | Cllr Foulkes “it was the committee system that actually put in the policies that led to the overcharging within the Klonowski report”.