Planning Committee on 8:5 vote approves plans for Tranmere Rovers training ground to move to Leasowe

Planning Committee on 8:5 vote approves plans for Tranmere Rovers training ground to move to Leasowe

Planning Committee on 8:5 vote approves plans for Tranmere Rovers training ground to move to Leasowe


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Above you can watch what happened at the Planning Committee meeting to decide on the planning applications about Tranmere Rovers training ground.

Wirral Council’s Planning Committee yesterday voted eight votes to five on two linked planning applications to do with Tranmere Rovers Football Club. The first vote was on the application for a training ground at the Solar Campus, 235 Leasowe Road, Leasowe and the second was on a linked application for up to ninety houses on the Ingleborough Road site in Tranmere.

There were petitioners that spoke for and against the proposals. In addition to the petitioners, Jeremy Butler (Tranmere Rovers Chief Executive) made the last representation for Tranmere Rovers in support of the application. Finally ward councillors Cllr Ron Abbey (for Leasowe and Moreton East) and Cllr Paul Doughty (for Prenton) also spoke to the Planning Committee.

These representations were followed by a discussion about the linked applications by the councillors on the Planning Committee. If the applications were approved Mr Parry Davies told councillors that the plan was to move the existing plaque to the Birkenhead Old Boys who died in World War I to Hamilton Square.

David Ball referred to a letter from the Birkenhead Institute Old Boys to the Chief Executive Graham Burgess that he had received and assured councillors that they would work constructively if the applications were approved to remove the plaque to a suitable place in Hamilton Square to the men who gave their lives to the country. He also said that they would work constructively over the tree issues which were there in memory of the people who had died.

He explained that the previous approved application for Woodchurch hadn’t been able to be progressed so alternative sites had to be looked at. If approved he would make sure that the conditions were “rigorously enforced”. In discussions with Tranmere Rovers Football Club they had made a commitment to work with Wirral Council on those matters such as the men who fell in World War I.

In response to Cllr Phillip Brightmore he said that he would be sending written confirmation of this to Birkenhead Institute Old Boys that they would deal sensitively and appropriately and take all steps to make sure what he’d outlined would happen. His assurance was that the mater would be dealt with sensitively. He said he was happy to lead on it along with David Armstrong to make sure it was being dealt with at a senior level. Mr. Ball gave his assurance to councillors on these two matters.

Cllr David Elderton asked a question about heights and whether they could condition the housing planning application to reduce heights to not exceed more than two stories? Matthew Parry Davies replied that these would be considered at the reserved matters stage of any application. Cllr Denise Realey said that she lived near to Tranmere Rovers Football Club’s football ground (Prenton Park), she had heard councillors on the radio talking about it and what would be done with the money from the sale. She pointed out the five-mile distance from Birkenhead to Leasowe and didn’t think the benefits outweighed the problems.

Matthew Parry Davies replied that the National Planning Policy Framework didn’t require replacement facilities to be in the same ward or locality but just within the Borough. The section 106 agreement would make sure money from the sale of the land would be placed into an account solely for the provision of a new training ground. He then answered a question about the Leasowe site and its public transport links.

Cllr Stuart Kelly stated that it was a departure to the development plan and ought to be refused unless the circumstances outweighed the loss. He referred to the loss off the recreation ground and the heritage issues. Cllr Kelly referred to the intentions of those that built the pavilion to provide sporting facilities for young people in Birkenhead. He didn’t think that having a training ground in Leasowe was a suitable replacement. Cllr Kelly wanted a replacement in Birkenhead and referred the loss of open recreation land in Leasowe and traffic issues.

Cllr Christine Spriggs talked about the passions and emotions about these applications. She suggested that Tranmere Rovers Football Club had a real and meaningful dialogue with Birkenhead Institute Old Boys. Cllr Spriggs went on to refer to the housing built on the former site of the Birkenhead Institute School.

The Chair asked a question about the fencing, to which the reply was that the five metre fence was to prevent balls leaving the training ground. Cllr Kelly also referred to the fence and asked if they could demonstrate special circumstances for the development? Cllr Daniel referred to the issue of social housing and was told that the viability assessment for social housing had been revised but that social housing wasn’t viable at the moment. The section 106 agreement would include a contribution to affordable housing if land values changed.

Cllr Brightmore asked if it was permitted development in the greenbelt? An officer replied that as it was for recreation or sport that this was an acceptable and appropriate use of the greenbelt.

The first vote was on agenda item 5 (the Solar Campus, Leasowe application). Cllr Kelly asked why they were having that vote first? Rosemary Lyons, legal adviser to the Planning Committee stated that they were dealing with item 5 first to enable them to make a reasoned decision on item 4 as the two were linked.

Cllr Kathryn Hodson proposed approval of item 5, seconded by Cllr Matt Daniel. Eight councillors voted for, five against so the application was approved.

Cllr Stuart Kelly moved refusal of item four because it was contrary to the Unitary Development Plan and under policy RE6 failed to demonstrate an adequate replacement provision regarding the location. Cllr Denise Realey seconded this.

More councillors voted against refusal then for approval (Cllr Christine Spriggs abstained).

Cllr Kathy Hodson moved approval, seconded by Cllr David Elderton. As before eight councillors voted for and five against. So both linked planning applications were approved by an 8:5 vote.

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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

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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Planning Committee 30th May 2013 (Wirral Council): Vote on new play area in Leasowe splits Planning Committee 7:6

Planning Committee 30th May 2013 (Wirral Council): Vote on new play area in Leasowe splits Planning Committee 7:6f

Planning Committee 30th May 2013 (Wirral Council): Vote on new play area in Leasowe splits Planning Committee 7:6


If there was ever a part of a meeting that sums up both the Kafkaesque bureaucracy of Wirral Council, item 12 (and its appendix) would serve very well.

It all started as usual with an officer saying it would’ve been decided by officers under their delegated powers if Cllr Lewis hadn’t asked for it to be decided by the Planning Committee (however with a qualifying petition against it and nine letters of objection it would’ve been decided by the Planning Committee anyway). The officer continued by stating that the planning application was for a children’s play area comprising five items and dated back to a 1997 agreement with a developer building a new housing estate. The area proposed for the play area was part of an area of open space established for the residents, residents had concerns, but environmental health had no objections to the proposal despite the area being a flood risk.

A representative of the petitioners, Steven Lindsay of 5 Aintree Close thanked the Planning Committee for attending the site visit on the day before the meeting. He pointed out it had been sixteen years since the original agreement for the play area had been signed and that since then many families had grown up, he referred to a survey conducted eighteen months ago of one hundred and forty-seven properties. Ninety percent had been against the play area, six and half percent for and three and a half percent hadn’t expressed a preference. Mr. Lindsay referred to another brand-new play area nearby which was well used by children and a further play area that had been built as the result of a section 106 agreement with a developer.

The concerns of the petitioners were of vandalism, theft of the play area equipment, antisocial behaviour and people gathering there who were not from the area. Another concern was that the site of the proposed play area was too close to adjoining properties and that a nearby play area had had equipment stolen. Two other play areas at a distance of 200m and 300m were nearby as well as Leasowe Common.

Miss Jackie Smallwood, of Wirral Council’s Parks and Countryside Service addressed the committee on behalf of Wirral Council. She said that when the section 106 application had been granted that the policy had been twenty metres from property boundaries, however the policy had since changed to ten metres to property boundaries and twenty metres from the facade of buildings.

Cllr Ian Lewis agreed with the petitioner Mr. Lindsay and said it was unusual to have a planning application for a play area. He pointed out it had been sixteen years since the section 106 agreement and that since then they’d spent £75,000 on a play area as part of the Playbuilder scheme whose catchment area included this estate. He pointed out that in a further change that 23,000m² of the public open space had been sold, leaving 5,000m² and that the appendix pointed out that as a condition of the planning permission that the developer was to provide 60m² of open space per a property. He asked why the land left was well below the recommended limit of 60m²? In a survey of every home in the development by Taylor Wimpey, ninety percent of residents had been against it. As Wirral Council was the applicant, he said that they had nothing to lose and that they had to recognise the cost of maintaining a particularly small play area which was not wanted as Wirral Council would be taking on a further liability. He asked the Planning Committee to refuse the application. He passed around details of the sale of some of the public open space.

Cllr Elderton said that the petitioner and ward councillor had shown that times had changed, that the site visit had shown it was in an established residential area and the evidence of the petitioner showed that the residents would prefer not to have it developed as a play area. He suggested that they refuse the application on the grounds that it was no longer necessary. Cllr Elderton also pointed out the fact that as the Council was the applicant that it couldn’t sue itself and that they should go along with what residents want.

Matthew Davies said that the original permission (OUT/1994/6791/D) had been granted sixteen years ago and that the Planning Committee in August 2011 had revisited the issue. He said that the developer had paid money for the installation of a play area, which had been approved in 1997 and 2011, therefore the play area could be erected under permitted development, however the developer had wanted the details to be considered as a standalone item. If they refused the planning permission, they would have to reimburse £50,000 plus interest which would come to £75,000. Officers had assessed the existing play areas and felt that they were not acceptable or accessible as they were separated from the development by busy roads.

Cllr Steve Foulkes said that the training that councillors on the Planning Committee had received meant that they should consider each planning application on its merits, without any consideration as to the applicant. He said he hadn’t been a member of the Planning Committee back in 2011 and that whilst a survey had taken place that they had to be ultra careful if they were turning it down for this reason. Cllr Foulkes pointed out that the nature of the estate might change, that it was a “viable planning application” and that the play area “might well be seen as an asset”. He said he understood there were fears and pessimism, but if they went down that route then there wouldn’t be any play areas. Cllr Foulkes said that it was a bit of a cop-out that the Council wouldn’t appeal its own decision, that he had seen the site and location and that areas that were well looked at and overseen didn’t tend to attract antisocial behaviour. Cllr Foulkes asked “Is it a good thing?” and then answered his own question with the answer being “probably yes”.

Cllr Simon Mountney said it was reminding him of the George Orwell novel 1984 and that [Cllr Foulkes] was sounding like the Politburo. He pointed out that the residents wanted them to spend the money elsewhere and enforcing a play area on them was not right. Cllr Mountney referred to the “massive consultation”, the result had told them “please don’t give us” [a play area] with the public telling us [the Planning Committee] “thanks but no thanks”. Cllr Mountney said that they couldn’t make an assumption over the nature of the estate over twenty years. He received applause for his points.

Cllr Wendy Clements said that at 4.9 in the report, that before development progressed Wirral Council would have to consult the local community, therefore public opposition to the scheme was a material consideration in determining the planning application.

Cllr Elderton said he agreed with Cllr Wendy Clements, that times had changed and they had to make sure it was appropriate. He pointed out that things had moved on from sixteen years ago and that he’d been on the Planning Committee in 2011. Cllr Elderton said they should consider the current position rather than bury their heads in the sand. He said that he didn’t like to see councillors overturn the will of the local community to merely support something from sixteen years ago and that wasn’t the reason why he’d become a councillor. Cllr Elderton said they should support the aspirations of all local communities.

Matthew Davies said that the appendix had come as a report to the Planning Committee in 2011 and that they’d heard the comments from petitioners and Cllr Ian Lewis then, which was more recent than sixteen years ago. He cautioned them against refusing permission and that the permission granted sixteen years ago could take twenty, thirty or forty years before it was built. Mr. Davies said that as it had been approved it could be built without further consent which they needed to be aware of.

Cllr Mountney said they were there to support residents. The Chair, Cllr Bernie Mooney said they were there to uphold planning policy and that the policy was still the same.

Cllr Mountney asked who was going to build the playground? Matthew Davies said that as the developer had made the contribution that the Council would put the play equipment in place. Cllr Mountney expressed concern that they were “riding roughshod over the public”. The Chair, Cllr Bernie Mooney said it had to be agreed and that the only reason it was back here was to approve the type, amount and the age group.

Cllr Foulkes asked if it was refused, would the old planning permission take precedence leaving it as a decision for the Executive [Cabinet]?

Cllr Hayes referred to the 60m² of open space per a resident and asked a question about commuted sums and the section 106 agreement. Matthew Davies answered that it was something to consider when drafting the section 106 agreement whether or not to accept commuted sums, which could be used to upgrade existing facilities, however when it was drafted in 1997 they decided not to go for a commuted sum. He said the fact the land was sold had no bearing as the green space and play area were separate issues.

Cllr Muspratt said it was quite compact and had concerns about the guidelines on different age groups mixing. Matthew Davies said there were guidelines but they were outside the planning remit. He said that colleagues in parks and leisure tended to put an upper age limit of twelve on play areas as this was when people tended to stop using them.

Cllr Brightmore said that the residents were asking them to refuse the application. Matthew Davies said they could refuse this application as it was a standalone application, therefore they could refuse this specific play area. Cllr Wittingham referred to the petition of twenty-nine households but said he would be uncomfortable to refuse the application as it would mean children would have to cross Reeds Lane.

Cllr Stuart Wittingham moved accepting the planning permission and Cllr Joe Walsh seconded it. Cllr Foulkes said he didn’t enjoy councillors trying to make a fool of him. He said that he didn’t like being set up or being pilloried.

The Chair asked for a vote of those in favour of the planning permission. Cllr Stuart Kelly, Cllr Bernie Mooney, Cllr Brightmore, Cllr Christina Muspratt, Cllr Joe Walsh, Cllr Stuart Wittingham and Cllr Irene Williams vote for (7).

The other councillors (6) voted against, so the planning application was approved by 7 votes to 6.

Licensing, Health and Safety and General Purposes Committee (Wirral Council) 23/1/2012 Part 2

Licensing, Health and Safety and General Purposes Committee (Wirral Council) 23/1/2012 Part 2




Cllr Kate Wood
Cllr Sue Taylor
Cllr Ian Lewis
Cllr Tom Anderson


Cllr Bill Davies (Chair)
Cllr Irene Williams
Cllr Steve Niblock
Cllr Chris Jones
Cllr Patricia Glasman

Lib Dem


Cllr Bill Davies said he would make a start to the meeting and deal with the polling stations and Wirral Award first. He asked for any declarations of interest.

Cllr Steve Niblock declared a personal interest in item 5 as he knew the nominees and one of those nominated.

Cllr Ian Lewis declared a personal interest in item 3 as he is a councillor for Leasowe and Moreton East specifically in relation to polling district TC.

Cllr Ian Lewis also declared a personal interest in item 5 as two of the nominees were known to him.

Cllr Patricia Glasman declared a personal interest in item 3 as it mentions New Brighton ward.

Cllr Sue Taylor declared a personal interest in item 3 as it mentions New Brighton ward.

The minutes of the meeting held on the 10th November 2011 were agreed.

Cllr Chris Jones said she wanted to declare an interest, she declared a personal interest as she is a councillor in Seacombe ward.

Cllr Patricia Glasman declared an interest in item 5 as she knew one of the nominees.

The Committee then considered the report on Polling Districts and Polling Places. Surjit Tour said it was an update to the polling stations, which has been reviewed. Issues had been raised with polling districts WE and TC as they had required further work. The options related to the work.

For polling district TC the current polling place was Sacred Heart RC Primary School. Yew Tree Online Centre had been suggested as an alternative. Yew Tree Online Centre had previously been classed as unsuitable, however it had moved on and was now a suitable venue.

In Liscard ward, polling district WD Between2Worlds was an option or the YMCA. There were other alternative options that had been looked into too such as the Masonic Hall or Liscard Primary School.

The Chair said the panel had met on Friday and got feedback from ward councillors regarding the Yew Tree online centre.

Kate said they had received no feedback over the Yew Tree Online Centre, but Cllr Darren Dodd had sent them correspondence about Between2Worlds. Cllr Keeley wished to speak on this issue.

Cllr Steve Williams proposed that they agree the Yew Tree Online Centre as the polling station for polling district TC (Leasowe and Moreton East Ward). This was seconded by Cllr Patricia Glasman. All nine councillors voted in favour.

Cllr Keeley said he wanted to be brief, he was disappointed and felt that the polling station should be in the polling district. They had lost the YMCA which was a “crying shame”. He wanted a location that was good for drivers and on a bus route. As much as possible he wanted the committee to find a polling station as close as possible. He suggested the option of the Masonic Hall as it had a bus stop outside and a large car park.

The Chair thanked him for his comments.

Continues at Licensing, Health and Safety and General Purposes Committee (Wirral Council) 23/1/2012 Part 3.