Who wants to leave Wirral Council (at a cost of £146,666)?

Who wants to leave Wirral Council (at a cost of £146,666)?

Who wants to leave Wirral Council (at a cost of £146,666)?

                                    

Fiona Johnstone (Acting Director for Strategy and Partnerships) (Wirral Council) Health and Wellbeing Board 14th March 2018
Fiona Johnstone (Acting Director for Strategy and Partnerships) (Wirral Council) Health and Wellbeing Board 14th March 2018

This is a follow up article to What is Wirral Council trying to cover up now? which also ties in to this Freedom of Information request (first refused on s.43 (commercial interests) grounds, then at internal review on s.22 grounds (information intended for future publication).
Continue reading “Who wants to leave Wirral Council (at a cost of £146,666)?”

What are the details of the recommendation to Wirral councillors about a senior management restructure at Wirral Council (1 redundancy, 5 promotions, 4 posts created and 4 vacant posts deleted)?

What are the details of the recommendation to Wirral councillors about a senior management restructure at Wirral Council (1 redundancy, 5 promotions, 4 posts created and 4 vacant posts deleted)?

What are the details of the recommendation to Wirral councillors about a senior management restructure at Wirral Council (1 redundancy, 5 promotions, 4 posts created and 4 vacant posts deleted)?

Surjit Tour (Monitoring Officer (Wirral Council)) at the Coordinating Committee held on 15th June 2016
Surjit Tour (Monitoring Officer (Wirral Council)) at the Coordinating Committee held on 15th June 2016 (who is one of the employees recommended for an increase in pay)

Councillors on Wirral Council’s Employment and Appointments Committee will decide on changes to Wirral Council’s senior management next week on Monday 25th July 2016. If approved by councillors the restructure will take effect from November 2016.

This senior management restructure had been put on hold until Eric Robinson’s appointment by councillors as Chief Executive of Wirral Council in February 2015.

However these are the changes recommended to councillors and you can read the full details on Wirral Council’s website.

Redundancy (1)

There is a recommendation that one senior manager (the Head of Housing and Community Safety Ian Platt) be made redundant, offered early retirement and his post is deleted. However the recommendation from officers is that his name and the financial details of how much this will cost are kept out of the public domain before the public meeting and that councillors decide on whether to release the information about Ian Platt after the meeting has been held.

For comparison the early retirement of Kevin Adderley last year cost ~£49k in redundancy plus ~£207k in pension costs for early retirement but as Ian Platt is on a lower salary grade I estimate the costs to Wirral Council are roughly ~£30k in redundancy and ~£127k in pension costs total £157k.

Promotions (5)

The following senior managers are recommended to receive a promotion:

Tom Sault (who has been acting up to the s.151 officer role will be permanently appointed to it)

Surjit Tour (who has been Monitoring Officer since shortly after Bill Norman was suspended in 2012 will now receive extra pay for being Monitoring Officer too in addition to his other job)

Mark Smith (promoted from Head of Environment and Regulation to Strategic Commissioner for Environment)

Alan Evans (promoted from Investment and Business Manager to Strategic Commissioner for Growth)

Sue Talbot (promoted from Schools Commissioning Manager to Lead Commissioner for Schools)

Vacant posts deleted (4)

Strategic Director for Regeneration and Environment (formerly Kevin Adderley)

Director of Resources (formerly Vivienne Quayle)

Head of Neighbourhoods and Engagement (formerly Emma Degg)

Head of Business Processes (formerly Malcolm Flanagan)

Posts deleted because postholder being promoted (3)

Investment and Business Manager (current postholder Alan Evans)
Schools Commissioner Manager (current postholder Sue Talbot)
Senior Manager (current postholder unknown)

Posts created (if approved by councillors) 4

Transformation Director (grade HS2 (£68,011 to £75,567))
Assistant Director: Commissioning Support (grade HS2 (£68,011 to £75,567))
Assistant Director: Community Services* (grade HS2 (£68,011 to £75,567))
Assistant Director: Adult and Disability Services* (grade HS2 (£68,011 to £75,567))

*Note new posts marked with * are recommended to be recruited internally from existing Wirral Council employees.

Penna will be advising Wirral Council’s Employment and Appointments Committee &Wirral Council officers on appointments to these four posts at a cost of £thousands per each post. If the creation of the new posts is agreed by councillors, councillors will also decide who the successful applicants are.

The councillors on Wirral Council’s Employment and Appointments Committee (although the councillors below can send a deputy in their place if they can’t make a particular meeting) are:

Cllr Adrian Jones (Chair) (Labour)
Cllr Phil Davies (Vice-Chair) (Labour)
Cllr George Davies (Labour)
Cllr Ann McLachlan (Labour)
Cllr Moira McLaughlin (Labour)
Cllr Jeff Green (Conservative)
Cllr Lesley Rennie (Conservative)
Cllr Phil Gilchrist (Liberal Democrat)

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FOI request reveals Wirral Council issued 168 Fixed Penalty Notices (mainly for alleyway dumping)

FOI request reveals Wirral Council issued 168 Fixed Penalty Notices (mainly for alleyway dumping)

FOI request reveals Wirral Council issued 168 Fixed Penalty Notices (mainly for alleyway dumping)

                                                           

Wirral Council Environmental Streetscene Services Contract page 122 Schedule 2 - Nominees to the Partnering Agreements

Yesterday, Wirral Council responded to a Freedom of Information Act request I made last month for minutes of the meetings of the Partnering Board (which comprises of Wirral Council and Biffa Waste Services Limited) for the last year.

The minutes of the Partnering Board meetings of the 10th March 2015, 18th December 2014, 21st October 2014 and 14th July 2014 contain some interesting information.

Below are extracts from the minutes that hopefully will be of wider public/political interest starting with the meeting held on the 14th July 2014. I have submitted an internal review request to Wirral Council for the minutes without the names of Wirral Council employees redacted. RE stands for Roger Edwards, FPN stands for fixed penalty notices, MS stands for Mark Smith, Cllr BM for Councillor Bernie Mooney and VO stands for variation order.

2. ANNUAL REVIEW
….
Noted garden waste has now exceeded last year’s figure and hope to get to 40,000 properties. RE queried about incentives for signing up however XX noted we have to be very careful as the £5 reduction online has raised objections by some residents and opposition members and that XX is exploring alternative cost effective payment mechanisms. However, XX advised we can market to people who signed up last year who have not signed up this year and there are around 3,000 who have not re-signed.

Street Cleansing
….
The Entry Investigation Team has been introduced and 28 FPNs have been issued as a result of this.

7. AOB

Possible Industrial Action Update
RE updated that Biffa offered pay settlement to the workforce of 1.8% in line with RPI – the request from the workforce was 6%. RE advised the workforce have decided to ballot for industrial action before any decision made. RE is working hard to resolve this situation. The industrial action is planned for Fri 18 July.

There are parts of the minutes of the meeting held on the 21st October 2014 that will be of wider interest too:

Managing Down Demand – Missed Collections

XX have been looking at all the missed bin calls we had in for 2010-14 and the breakdown of unjustified (which was about half) to give an idea of the proportion of calls coming in. The 3 main reasons for unjustified bins are: bin not out, entry work and access issues. Disputes occur where resident is told the PDA said bin not out and they disagree. XX wants to look at the dispute figures and drill down i.e. is it the resident at fault, is it the crew not using the PDA properly etc. When a resident does not agree with PDA data this causes a lot of work in the back office. There could be an education issue here reminding residents that 7am is the time rounds start and the crews can come to roads at different times each week.

If we do some re-training around contamination to show the importance of the PDA and show the impact of not using the PDA correctly that should be beneficial. RE noted if we do not have confidence in the PDA data then everything else becomes difficult.”


Alleyway Dumping

XX advised had over 600 referrals for the Waste Investigate Unit (WIU) and issued 168 FPNs to mainly the Seacombe/Birkenhead areas. XX noted we need to do some work around where issuing the FPNs. 5 court cases regarding litter have gone well with the offenders being fined and this information is on the Council website. XX hoping to do full leaflet drop to relevant properties to say what we are doing and what success we have had. Currently drafting up a second leaflet to get out before Christmas to all terraced properties to highlight the good work we have been doing.

XX noted some new anti-social behaviour laws which are coming out and she is looking if we can go down this route with landlords. XX going to be looking at the licensing scheme and if we can make that work for us by adding in further conditions (Selective Licensing scheme). MS noted when speak to Senior Members of the Council enforcement is now an issue they are behind it. Noted 260 good neighbourhood packs have gone out to a variety of areas.”

From the meeting held on the 18th December 2014:

Alleyway Dumping

XX advised the Waste Investigation Unit are doing a fantastic job. XX noted an incident where a disgruntled member of the public, because of his threatening behavior, was issued with an ASBO. Main issue is the Courts are only letting us take 5 cases a week. Legal services need to approach the courts to get more time to hear more cases. XX plans to do another leaflet drop after Christmas to highlight to the public the financial costs of failing to manage their waste responsibly, or through ignoring fixed penalty charges. XX next steps are to meet the selective licensing team. Birkenhead and Seacombe have been identified as a selective licensing areas which means we can prescribe to landlords what they must do re bins and as Birkenhead and Seacombe are where the most is, it is hoped this will have a significant impact over time.”

Transparency Code

The code is about being more transparent about what we publish for the public to see and waste collection is one of the things requiring more details including publishing a version of the contract. XX are going to look at refreshing the contract, redacting certain bits and then send to Biffa to consider. Agreed a good idea would be a half day session with both parties to look at updating and modernizing the contract.”

Finally from the meeting held on the 10th March 2015.

Action Log

50 Street Cleansing Transitional Money

MS advised there is £116,000 available. XX is currently working on a briefing note recommending how that money could be used. MS has the authority to spend this money however he would get endorsement from Cllr BM first.

64 Benchmarking Data

XX advised some of the information required is deemed as commercially sensitive and there is a strong reluctance to share this information at the moment. MS felt we do need to be getting to a stage where we have the mechanism in place to demonstrate value for money from this contract. XX also safeguard the financial position of Biffa. XX to send through further details to XX & SC showing exactly what it is we are looking for.

67. Contract under the Transparency Code

XX has started this piece of work. By the end of April we have to publish the contract on Council website. XX noted his intention to incorporate the VOs and XX send to Biffa to redact the finance. XX commented that there are inaccuracies in the contract in relation to execution on the ground but nothing of serious concern. MS noted as we are signing off a significant VO if there are any anomalies we need to resolve them before we publish.

CONTRACT PERFORMANCE OVERVIEW

SC queried whether there had been any thought about the garden waste service passing to Biffa? MS advised if Biffa want to put an offer to the Council formally they were welcome to.

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The many reasons I’m objecting to the proposed traffic regulation order for Birkenhead Market Service Road

The many reasons I’m objecting to the proposed traffic regulation order for Birkenhead Market Service Road

The many reasons I’m objecting to the proposed traffic regulation order for Birkenhead Market Service Road

                                                   

Proposed traffic regulation order public notice (Birkenhead Market Service Road) 9th July 2014
Public notice of proposed traffic regulation order (9th July 2014) Wirral Globe Birkenhead Market Service Road

I’d better point out than along with Leonora we are both objectors to this proposed Traffic Regulation Order (TRO). This is about item three (OBJECTION: PROPOSED WAITING & LOADING RESTRICTIONS – BIRKENHEAD MARKET SERVICE ROAD, BIRKENHEAD). The report and map is already on Wirral Council’s website.

Previous articles on this matter can be read at:

Objection to Traffic Regulation Order (KO) for Birkenhead Market Service Road (25/9/14).

https://johnbrace.com/2014/09/17/a-meeting-with-2-wirral-council-officers-about-parking-behind-birkenhead-market-and-disability-issues/ (17/9/14)

The shocking tale of Wirral Council trying to scapegoat the disabled and forcing them to pay more £s for parking (8/8/14)

Below is my submission (in the interests of openness and transparency) to the Highways and Traffic Representation Panel that meets on the 21st November 2014 starting at 9.30am.

CC:
Cllr Michael Sullivan
Cllr Steve Williams
Cllr Dave Mitchell
Mark Smith
Ken Abraham
Vicky Rainsford

Subject: Agenda item 3 (OBJECTION: PROPOSED WAITING & LOADING RESTRICTIONS – BIRKENHEAD MARKET SERVICE ROAD, BIRKENHEAD) Highways and Traffic Representation Panel Friday 21st November 2014

Dear all,

As one of two objectors to the proposed TRO for Birkenhead Market Service Road, I am announcing my intention to speak at this meeting.

I have received a letter through the post detailing the date and time of the meeting. I’m also (although you may have guessed this) going to film agenda items 1, 2 and 3.

Leonora (the other objector) may wish to speak too. However as I have had time to read the report, published yesterday there were some points I wish to raise in advance of the meeting in order that officers (and councillors) are given appropriate advance notice of the points I will raise.

I refer to the original numbering of the report.

3.4 “objector’s” should read “objectors'” as there are two of us.

3.5 Although access to Birkenhead Market Service Road can travel through Birkenhead Bus Station, as you can see from the map this is one of two ways vehicles can access the Birkenhead Market Service Road. Therefore it’s misleading to imply that people in the Birkenhead Market Service Road must have come through the Birkenhead Bus Station.

It would be useful if officers could clarify which designated bays they are referring to and what specific longer observation periods they are referring to.

3.6 Both The Grange and The Pyramids (except on a Sunday) charge for parking.

Here is the detail of blue badge spaces at the other car parks referred to (total number of spaces in brackets):

Europa Square 14 blue badge (150)
Oliver Street 6 blue badge (16)
Conway Street (on street) ~6 (6)
Burlington Street unknown

Policy SPD4 (which I’m sure councillors who are currently or have been previously on Planning Committee are familiar with) state minimum numbers of spaces for vehicles carrying disabled people as follows:

1 in the first 10 spaces should be allocated for disabled people. Thereafter 1 in every 20 spaces or 6% of the total (whichever is greater).

Applied to the Europa Square car park of 150 spaces using Class A1 – Retail this is:

first ten spaces: one space
other 140 spaces: seven spaces
Total: eight

However 6% is the greater. Depending on how you calculate the 6% (whether 6% of 150 or (6% of 140)+1) it either comes out as either 9 spaces or 9.4 spaces (rounded up to 10).

However the number of blue badges issued to the Wirral population (visitors can also use their blue badges) is higher than 6% putting pressure on existing spaces in Europa Park. On the day of the site visit with officers, there were no free Blue Badge spaces available in the Europa Park car park (out of 14) and this is pretty typical of how it is during the times the shops are open.

I quote:

“Officers consider there are sufficient parking spaces within existing Council and privately owned car parks in close proximity to the Market Hall to accommodate any overspill of blue badge holder parking from Birkenhead Market Service Road.”

In order to know that you’d have to do a traffic survey of how many spaces are free in car parks in close proximity to the Market Hall, how many of those spaces are blue badge spaces and actually know how many park in the Birkenhead Market Service Road currently with a blue badge. As far as I know (although I may be wrong) this is merely based on an opinion of officers without doing a survey. Many of the “sufficient parking spaces” are unsuitable for those with disability as disabled people if they parked in the regular spaces would not have enough room around their vehicle (especially if parked adjacent to a car) to safely get in and out of their vehicle.

3.7 Of course the Birkenhead Market Hall isn’t going to object to a traffic regulation order it’s actually funding half of the cost of. Individual traders were told by officers at the site visit that the proposals wouldn’t affect their customers unloading and loading, just parking. The traders haven’t been individually consulted and unless they read the notice on the lamppost, or found out by other means they just won’t be aware of this proposed TRO. Even if they did object, they might not know how to go about it. Bear in mind the proposals weren’t available to view in the Conway Street One Stop Shop just across the road, but were a considerable distance away at Wallasey Town Hall, Seacombe.

3.8 There are various points in the Birkenhead Market Service Road (as you can see on the plan) that are much narrower than others. Cars (or other vehicles) parked there or near there (unlawfully) can be causing an obstruction to the free flow of traffic. Although Wirral’s CEOs do not have powers to remove vehicles, the police do. Wirral’s CEOs can issue tickets (which hopefully act as a deterrent).

3.9 This is an acknowledgement by officers that the draft TRO (as consulted on) cannot be decided by the Highways and Traffic Representation Panel.

It is unclear from what is put in the report exactly what modifications officers are proposing to the proposed TRO. However what is clear is that only the original TRO has been consulted on (twice) and not the modified TRO.

The requirements in regulation 9 cause a public inquiry held by an inspector to be held if the requirements in regulations 9(3) to 9(5) are met.

To summarise these are (subject to paragraphs 4 and 5) for orders if:

(3) Subject to paragraphs (4) and (5), this paragraph applies to an order if—

(a) its effect is to prohibit the loading or unloading of vehicles or vehicles of any class in a road on any day of the week–

(i) at all times;
(ii) before 07.00 hours;
(iii) between 10.00 and 16.00 hours; or
(iv) after 19.00 hours,

and an objection has been made to the order (other than one which the order making authority is satisfied is frivolous or irrelevant) and not withdrawn; or

(b) its effect is to prohibit or restrict the passage of public service vehicles along a road and an objection has been made to the order in accordance with regulation 8–
(i) in the case of a road outside Greater London, by the operator of a local service the route of which includes that road; or
(ii) in the case of a road in Greater London, by the operator of a London bus service the route of which includes that road or by London Regional Transport.

(4) For the purposes of paragraph 3(a), an order shall not be taken to have the effect of prohibiting loading at any time to the extent that it—
(a) authorises the use of part of a road as a parking place, or designates a parking place on a road, for the use of a disabled person’s vehicle as defined by section 142(1) of the 1984 Act;
(b) relates to a length of the side of a road extending 15 metres in either direction from the point where one road joins the side of another road,

unless the effect of the order taken with prohibitions already imposed is to prohibit loading and unloading by vehicles of any class at the time in question for a total distance of more than 30 metres out of 50 metres on one side of any length of road.

(5) Paragraph (3) does not apply to an order —

(a) if it is an experimental order;
(b) made under section 84 of the 1984 Act (speed limits on roads other than restricted roads); or
(c) to the extent that it relates to a road which forms part of a priority route designated by the Secretary of State pursuant to section 50 of the Road Traffic Act 1991 (designation of priority routes in London).

(6) In this regulation “public service vehicle” has the meaning given by section 1 of the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981.

As you can see from the above, even if the loading bays in the proposed TRO are modified to apply to all vehicles and not just goods vehicles, it’s the stretches it restricts of >30m in 50m stretches around the Birkenhead Market Services Road that are the problem. Without these being also taken out of the proposed TRO the requirement for a public inquiry by an inspector still applies.

Neither the TRO consulted on, nor the changed TRO can be decided by the Highways and Traffic Representation Panel because of Regulation 9.

3.10
The exceptions referred to in officer comments in relation to vehicles driven other than by the blue badge holder for the purposes of picking up the blue badge holder don’t as far as I can see form part of the consulted on TRO.

4.1
Even if in theory a TRO was granted, without enforcement it wouldn’t result in any change. There are plenty of loading bays and plenty of time deliveries will happen and there will be a goods vehicle already in the space they wish to load or unload. Whereas it can be inconvenient for drivers of large lorries to try and drive down the Birkenhead Market Service Road, the vast majority of vehicles there are connected to the market stalls or the Pyramids/Grange. Going one way to the Birkenhead Market Service Road, the Birkenhead Bus Station provides greater challenges to the drivers of goods vehicles than the Birkenhead Market Service Road itself in my opinion.

5.1
There are options that have not been considered these are:

A) Consulting on the modified TRO. In fact consultation is a requirement of Regulation 8 (Local Authorities’ Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996). The new proposals would also have to be published in a local newspaper (Regulation 7) and there would have to be a period for objections.

What’s interesting is the modified TRO officers propose hasn’t been consulted on, therefore can’t be decided by the Highways and Traffic Representation Panel.

B) Having a public inquiry chaired by an inspector on the proposed TRO (Regulation 9, 10 & 11). Again this would require a notice in a local newspaper and 21 days notice.

Lastly I would like to request that item 3 (which is this item on the agenda) it taken ahead of item 2 as both Leonora and I planned to attend the meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority starting at 11.00am.

In order to get to that meeting, we will be able to stay at a meeting of the Highways and Traffic Representation Panel no later than 10.15am. Therefore it is important that the Highways and Traffic Representation Panel starts promptly at 9.30am and that is part of the reason why I am submitting this information in advance so that agenda item 3 can be dealt with quickly.

I realise this may inconvenience the objector to agenda item 2, however I cannot see it as being possible to deal with both agenda items in 45 minutes based on previous experience of Highways and Traffic Representation Panel meetings.

Thank you for reading this,

John Brace

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The shocking tale of Wirral Council trying to scapegoat the disabled and forcing them to pay more £s for parking

The shocking tale of Wirral Council trying to scapegoat the disabled and forcing them to pay more £s for parking

The shocking tale of Wirral Council trying to scapegoat the disabled and forcing them to pay more £s for parking

                          

“But Mr Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months.”

“Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn’t exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them, had you? I mean, like actually telling anybody or anything.”

“But the plans were on display …”

“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”

“That’s the display department.”

“With a flashlight.”

“Ah, well the lights had probably gone.”

“So had the stairs.”

“But look, you found the notice didn’t you?”

“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’.”

-The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The above quote is very suitable for another tale of bureaucracy gone wrong involving Wirral Council.

The below exchange shows a tale of Wirral Council that is sadly familiar, blaming the disabled, making them pay more, making sure officer’s plans can get approved by preventing those pesky members of the public objecting! In the “changed” Wirral Council I hope my intervention will lead to change. We shall see. I suppose in this case they just have the bad luck that these proposals affect this blogger’s wife (which in the interests of openness and transparency/ethics I’m declaring at the start of this piece). As Wirral Council seem to use an extremely small font size for their public notices, you can click on the image below for a more high-resolution version.

Proposed traffic regulation order public notice (Birkenhead Market Service Road) 9th July 2014
Public notice of proposed traffic regulation order (9th July 2014) Wirral Globe Birkenhead Market Service Road

CRM 825834 – PROPOSED WAITING & LOADING RESTRICTIONS – BIRKENHEAD MARKET SERVICE ROAD, BIRKENHEAD
John Brace 8 August 2014 10:35
Reply-To: john.brace@gmail.com
To: “Amos, Carl A.”
Cc: “Smith, Mark” , Surjit Tour , “Cllr Stuart Whittingham – Cabinet Member (Highways and Transportation)” , Malcolm Flanagan , Cllr Alan Brighouse , Cllr Mike Sullivan , Cllr Steve Williams , “Cllr Ann McLachlan – Bidston & St. James ward councillor” , David Rees
Dear Carl Amos (Team Leader (Network Management)),

CC: Mark Smith
CC: David Rees
CC: Surjit Tour
CC: Cllr Stuart Whittingham (Cabinet Member for Streetscene and Transport)
CC: Cllr Ann McLachlan (Cabinet Member for
Governance/Commissioning/Improvement) & ward councillor for Bidston &
St. James ward
CC: Malcolm Flanagan
CC: Cllr Alan Brighouse
CC: Cllr Michael Sullivan
CC: Cllr Steve Williams

RE: Proposed Traffic Regulation Order (your reference KO) at Birkenhead Market Service Road/Car Parking Review

Dear Carl Amos (and others),

Thank you for your email of 4th August 2014 (your CRM reference 825834) in reference to a proposed traffic regulation order for Birkenhead Market Service Road, Birkenhead.

I appreciate the apology you give in paragraph two. The public notice (which stated was published by Surjit Tour) for this proposed traffic regulation order was published in the Wirral Globe on Wednesday 9th July 2014 and stated “A copy of the Order, map and a statement of the Council’s reasons for proposing to make the Order, may be seen at all reasonable hours at The One Stop Shop, Town Hall, Seacombe, CH44 8ED”.

My wife and I attended the Seacombe One Stop Shop on the afternoon of the 9th July. The staff at the One Stop Shop informed us that they had not been given a copy of the Order, map and statement of the Council’s reasons. Therefore we were unable to view them at this point and make any objections to the proposed TRO. What was the point of publishing the notice in the paper directing people to the One Stop Shop to view this when they did not have it?

Local Authorities’ Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996, SI 1996/2489 states in Regulation 7(3) “The order making authority shall comply with the requirements of Schedule 2 as to the making of deposited documents available for public inspection” and Schedule 2 states in relation to the documents that they are to “be made available for inspection at the principal offices of the authority during normal office hours”.

This clearly didn’t happen. It is of course unknown how many (if any) other people would have made an objection as they couldn’t inspect or view the documents relating to this proposed TRO. I would therefore suggest that if you wish to proceed with the next stages of this TRO that you re advertise it in the press, this time making sure that you supply copies of the documents for public inspection to the One Stop Shop prior to having the notice published! Otherwise, it casts legal uncertainty as to the legality of any TRO that results as the regulations regarding consultation weren’t followed.

My comments on the proposed TRO are below (which it would be useful to feed into councillors doing the car parking review therefore I would appreciate it if someone would forward this to them):

I’ve been asked by my wife to respond on her behalf (but I am also commenting in my own capacity) to the proposed traffic regulation order as she is one of the people that will be affected by it if it goes ahead.

I will deal with the points raised first in your email. Parking is already prohibited for blue badge users along most of the Birkenhead Market Service Road as the majority of it is currently either loading bays or is double yellow lines with kerb blips (where those with blue badges can’t park).

Therefore parking in a way that’s obstructing loading bays is already something that a driver doing so could receive a ticket for. The proposed TRO won’t change the parking restrictions in the area around the loading bays so without greater enforcement any existing problem of obstructive parking is likely to continue even if the TRO is agreed.

In relation to displaced Blue Badge users. You refer to free car parking in the Grange and the Pyramids multi storey car park for blue badge users. However free parking in these car parks is only on a Sunday (for all users). Monday to Saturday there is a charge of £2 to park in either the Grange or Pyramids car parks which applies to all users (irrespective of whether they have a Blue Badge or not). Therefore it is misleading to refer to the Grange and Pyramids as “free disabled parking facilities” without mentioning that these are only free on a Sunday. Any concerns raised by the Pyramids/Grange Shopping Centre have to be viewed in light of a commercial interest in increasing patronage of their car parks by reducing parking for blue badge users on the Birkenhead Market Service Road.

There are 14 blue badge parking spaces in the Europa Square car park and 6 in Oliver Street (according to your website). I have no idea exactly how many disabled parking bays are available on Conway Street, but from memory it is not many.

The issue however is not the number of alternative free spaces (referred to in your email) but the fact that at the times when the shops are open it is often impossible for blue badge users to find one of the alternative parking spaces you refer to as available. My wife requires extra space around the space she parks in in order to safely get in and out of her vehicle. She uses a walking stick and has mobility problems due to a disability she has had from birth.

It is clear looking at the numbers of disabled spaces in the car parks in Birkenhead (compared to the overall numbers) and the numbers of blue badges issued by Wirral Council that there is under provision of spaces for blue badge users. I don’t believe that the proposed TRO will achieve its stated aim of road safety and Wirral Council has to be very careful (from the way your reasons are phrased) as it appears you are trying to make disabled people scapegoats.

There are a whole range of legal duties Wirral Council has, such as the public sector equality duty and due to what I’ve written above the impacts that this proposed TRO would have on blue badge users has not been fully thought through. For example those with mobility problems would be forced to park further away from where they’re shopping. This might not be a problem for the able bodied, but for those for whom the extra distance will cause additional pain and suffering is morally (and probably also legally) wrong.

I realise Wirral Council has had a chequered history with regards to how it has treated minorities (including the disabled) in the recent past. I hope the culture however has changed and I will receive a positive response to this letter and assurances that actions will be taken to prevent this happening in the future. Due to the serious corporate governance failings it highlights I am also publishing this letter. Please class it as a complaint/objection to the proposed TRO/to be fed into the car parking review.

Yours sincerely,

John Brace

On 4 August 2014 13:30, Amos, Carl A. wrote:
> Dear Mr Brace,
>
> Thank you for your enquiry dated 30 July 2014 requesting information about
> the proposed waiting and loading restrictions along Birkenhead Market
> Service Road, Birkenhead.
>
> I am sorry to hear of the difficulties you experienced in viewing a copy of
> these proposals. Please find enclosed a copy of the consultation plan
> showing the extents of the scheme.
>
> The reason for this order is to prohibit parking along sections of
> Birkenhead Market Service Road and to allow loading and unloading for
> vehicles within the designated bays following concerns raised by the
> Pyramids Shopping Centre and Birkenhead Market Hall management teams. The
> effect of this order is to improve access for vehicles servicing the Grange
> Precinct and Market Hall and prevent obstructive parking.
>
> Vehicles except buses and for loading purposes are currently prohibited from
> travelling through Birkenhead Bus Station which provides access to
> Birkenhead Market Service Road. The proposed waiting and loading
> restrictions will prohibit blue badge holders from parking within the
> Service Road, however there are alternative free disabled parking facilities
> available in the following car parks; Europa Square, Oliver Street, The
> Grange and The Pyramids multi storey car parks. On street disabled parking
> bays are also available along Conway Street.
>
> Letters have been delivered to those businesses who may be affected by the
> restrictions and the proposals were also advertised within the local press.
>
> Apologies for the difficulties you experienced in viewing the proposed TRO,
> should you wish to register any comments can I please ask that you submit
> them to me by Friday 8 August so we can finalise the evaluation of
> consultation feedback and progress with the next stages.
>
> In the meantime, should you have any further queries please do not hesitate
> to contact me.
>
> Kind regards,
>
> Carl Amos
> Team Leader (Network Management)
> Regeneration & Environment Directorate
> Wirral Council
> Tel No: 0151 606 2370
> carlamos@wirral.gov.uk
> Visit our website: www.wirral.gov.uk
> Please save paper and print out only what is necessary
>
>
>
> —–Original Message—–
> From: Smith, Mark
> Sent: 31 July 2014 07:38
> To: John Brace
> Subject: Re: proposed TRO behind Birkenhead Market
>
> Hello John
>
> Thanks for your email – I’ll ask our Traffic team to get the requested
> information to you as a matter of urgency.
>
> Regards
>
> Mark
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
> On 30 Jul 2014, at 18:51, “John Brace” wrote:
> Hi,
> I’m not sure if your responsibilities still cover traffic matters, but I had
> an enquiry about the proposed TRO published in the local press about
> parking changes behind Birkenhead Market. The notice said the
> proposed TRO could be viewed at the Seacombe One Stop but when Leonora and
> I visited they stated they hadn’t been sent a copy.
> As the date for responses is I think August 1st could you if possible email
> a copy of the TRO to myself so any comments or objections can be made
> before August 1st?
> Thanks,
> John
> John Brace
> Jenmaleo
> 134 Boundary Road
> Bidston
> CH43 7PH
>
>
>
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