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Last night’s Economy and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee started a few minutes later than planned and the first part of the meeting (about half an hour) is above which can be viewed in High Definition (if your internet connection is fast enough for HD video). The meeting itself starts at 2m30s in.
Most of the first half hour is a presentation by CETCO who manufacture waterproof linings used in the construction industry.
The representative from CETCO told those present about what CETCO did and how its American parent company had originally wanted to close CETCO’s operation on the Wirral which would have led to a loss of about fifty jobs. However thanks to help (and some investment in automation) from Wirral Council they were able to convince the parent company to keep CETCO on the Wirral and there were only a handful of job losses.
Paula Basnett said that since 1993 (Invest Wirral had formerly been called Wirral Direct), it had been involved with 941 investment projects and sixteen thousand jobs had been created or safeguarded.
In 2010/11 Invest Wirral had been involved with £13 million of investment covering 652 jobs, had an average of engaging with 800 companies a year and in the last three years had helped with £50 million of investment covering 3,000 jobs.
Cllr Denise Realey asked if they helped fund planning applications?
Paula Basnett said they didn’t reduce planning fees, but they could help businesses attract business rate relief on their business rates.
Cllr Denise Realey asked about the over 2,000 businesses registered on the website. She asked how they check they do good work, had they been into every business or did they just rely on the information the businesses had given? What would they do if the businesses were not doing a good job? How did they check these businesses out?
Paula Basnett said they ask for turnover, contracts and employees. If they are receiving support they measure this over six months and twelve months to see how it’s changed.
Cllr Realey asked again if any of the businesses work was actually checked.
Paula Basnett replied that for businesses that just register, they don’t vet them for the online forum as they’re not Trading Standards.
There were two recommendations in the report at 19.1 and 19.2. These were in relation to the Liverpool Waters and Wirral Waters projects and are below:-
19.1 Members are requested to note the decision by the Secretary of State
not to intervene further in the planning application W/OUT/2009/06509,
the current position in relation to regional planning policy, update of the
106 Legal Agreement, and the submission of the Liverpool Waters
19.2 Members are requested to endorse this report which concludes that
there are no material considerations arising from the above that give
grounds for revising the decision of Planning Committee in relation to
planning application W/OUT/2009/06509 or the proposed planning
conditions and associated s.106 Legal Agreements.
Further information about the Wirral Waters project can be found here. It should bring jobs and benefits to the people of Bidston & St. James. Due to a lawsuit regarding the Regional Spatial Strategy no decision had been issed over the planning application.
So the Planning Committee had to reconsider the Wirral Waters application, taking (this time) into account the material considerations contained within the Regional Spatial Strategy.
Cllr Mitchell proposed both recommendations, he was seconded by Cllr Elderton. All councillors voted for the Wirral Waters scheme and Wirral Council’s response regarding Liverpool Waters.