U-turn on Fort Perch Rock car parking charges and 2 other updates
There have been developments recently with a number of stories I’ve written about on this blog so I thought I would give an update for each story.
New Brighton Fort Perch Rock car parking charges
A week ago I wrote a story headlined Over 3,000 people have signed a petition against car parking charges at Fort Perch Rock in New Brighton but what happens next?
Personally I thought nothing further would happen on this story until the September meeting of Wirral Council’s Highways and Traffic Representation Panel. However, since writing that story Wirral Council have issued a press release that’s titled either “Resort parking plans quashed” (when it’s linked to from their homepage) or “Wirral Council leader says no to plans to charge for parking in New Brighton” from the press release.
There is a very interesting quote in the press release from Councillor Phil Davies that states “Cllr Pat Hackett, our Cabinet Member for the Economy, has been meeting with traders and business leaders in New Brighton to discuss the proposals, and they made a powerful case for not proceeding. When we looked at the plan and the possible impact on parking and tourism across the whole of the resort, I made the decision to stop the proposal”.
On the 22nd December 2014, I wrote on this blog When Wirral Council introduces car parking charges at Fort Perch Rock, will 3 hours free parking end for a further 423 New Brighton spaces? (later updating it this year by including the public notice). I published the three pages of Wirral Council’s lease for the Marine Point development at New Brighton that detailed if Wirral Council introduced car parking charges at Fort Perch Rock car park, charges could be introduced at the supermarket car park and the “health and fitness” car park (originally Bubbles was going to be a gym but they couldn’t find a company that wanted to run it as a gym). This was plenty of time before the 2015/16 budget for Wirral Council was agreed on the 24th February 2015 for councillors to change their mind.
An article by Liam Murphy in the Liverpool Echo states “But Promenade Estates, who manage part of the successfully regenerated resort, say if the charges are imposed they would have little choice but to follow suit. This would mean parking charges on the car parks serving Morrisons, The Light Cinema, Bubbles play centre and other businesses.”
So it wasn’t just a “possible impact” but a “probable impact”. On the 9th December 2014, Councillor Phil Davies proposed and voted for this resolution at a Cabinet meeting, that was seconded and agreed by all councillors including Cllr Pat Hackett:
“We also feel that it is appropriate to introduce a modest charge for parking at Fort Perch Rock in New Brighton up to 6 p.m.”
“67.We also feel it is appropriate that a modest charge for parking up to 6 pm. at Fort Perch Rock in New Brighton should be introduced.”
So Councillor Phil Davies U-turned on his own policy! However it begs the following question, if the reason for stopping the proposal is the impact on parking across the resort (as stated in the quote from Cllr Phil Davies), then why wasn’t he told about the impact on parking elsewhere in Marine Point by his own officers before Cabinet made the decision? As you can see below from the first page of the lease that has the clauses about parking, Wirral Council is the landlord for the Marine Point development.
I’ll also draw readers attention to a leaflet from April 2015 from Tony Pritchard (the Conservative candidate for New Brighton ward and former councillor opposing parking charges at Fort Perch Rock car park.
The mysteriously missing Employment Tribunal judgement
I wrote previously about my failed attempts to get a copy of an Employment Tribunal judgement in a case involving Wirral Council. I have since been told by a clerk to the Employment Tribunal that the case hasn’t concluded and that there will be a final hearing listed for November 2015. After the final hearing I can request a copy of the judgement.
Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority and DHA Communications
An earlier story headlined Why did Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority pay a PR agency £650 + VAT a day? which involved Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority paying a £1,625 monthly retainer has led to a statement from Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority which I will quote here:
“I confirm that the Authority no longer retains DHA Communications and the use of their services ceased as of March 31st 2015. The Authority recognises that some parts of its relationship with DHA Communications was not fully formalised in some time periods. The Authority has reviewed its practices in relation to this type of contract and has now put in additional measures and monitoring in place to ensure that an accurate audit trail is retained.”
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