Work on Birkenhead North Park and Ride expansion expected to start in 2016

Work on Birkenhead North Park and Ride expansion expected to start in 2016

Work on Birkenhead North Park and Ride expansion expected to start in 2016


Birkenhead North Park and Ride (15th October 2015)
Birkenhead North Park and Ride (15th October 2015)

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Merseytravel’s (part of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority) General Purposes Sub-Committee meeting on the 15th October 2015

I’ll start by declaring an interest as I use the car park at Birkenhead North Railway Station regularly.

At a public meeting today of councillors on the Merseytravel’s General Purposes Sub-Committee officers gave an update on projects including an update on what was happening to expand the Park and Ride at Birkenhead North Railway Station.

A Merseytravel officer had the following to say about this, "Birkenhead North, that’s the extended phase for the Park and Ride. Members [councillors] will remember we had some extensive investment in there over a two-year period, around £5.5 million with what was the Park and Ride interchange and the bridge as part of that scheme.

This is the land that we agreed with Wirral that we would take forward for the expansion of the Park and Ride scheme and that scheme will straddle, will commence early next year and will run through probably for about a five or six month period depending on the contractor’s programme when we receive that back."

There are 266 car parking spaces at the Park and Ride at Birkenhead North Railway Station. The work, expected to start next year to expand the Park and Ride will increase this by a further 366 car parking spaces. An increase in car parking spaces will solve the current problem of over parking.

Merseytravel is expected to ask Wirral Council in the near future for a lease of the land for the Park and Ride expansion at Birkenhead North Railway Station to go ahead.

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Graham Burgess invites Wirral Council councillors to 5 days of the Open Golf Championship

Graham Burgess invites Wirral Council councillors to 5 days of the Open Golf Championship

Graham Burgess invites Wirral Council councillors to 5 days of the Open Golf Championship


The new councillor for Birkenhead and Tranmere, Cllr Pat Cleary mentions on his blog in a post “Par for the course” about Wirral Council councillors being invited to a reception at the Open Golf Championship on the 16th July.

However the invites to councillors go beyond just one reception and are for five days of the Open Golf Championship as the below email sent to councillors shows:

Sent: 12 June 2014 11:49
Subject: Your Invitations to The Open Golf Championship

Dear Councillors,

Your Invitations to the Open Golf Championship

Following your invitation to attend the Member Reception on Wednesday 16th July, we would like to extend your invitations to the following days:

  • Thursday 17th – Key Business Day
  • Friday 18th – Off-shore Wind Business and Guests
  • Saturday 19th – Automotive Industry Business and Guests
  • Sunday 20th – Civic reception

Again, as there will be strict parking and security restrictions in and around the course, an exclusive park-and-ride facility will be provided from Egerton House in Birkenhead, to transfer you to and from the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake.

I would be grateful if you could confirm the day/ days you can attend by emailing as soon as possible.

Yours faithfully,

Graham Burgess signature

Graham Burgess

Chief Executive, Wirral Council

Wirral Host of the Open Championship 2014

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify the system manager.
This footnote also confirms that this email message has been swept by MIMEsweeper for the presence of computer viruses.

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Reason to vote Liberal Democrat on May 5th – Day Five

Many years ago shortly after I was selected as the Lib Dems to be their candidate in the Wirral Council election, a woman living near Birkenhead Park station emailed me in response to one of our leaflets.

She was the foster carer for a teenager in a wheelchair and had great difficulty with the stepped ramp at Birkenhead Park station. This station has (as many who will use it will know) a stepped ramp going down to the platform.

She had no difficulty in as she put it “bumping him down the ramp” but found it impossible to get him back up. As a result she was travelling to Conway Park train station (which has a lift) and wheeling him back a mile through the streets over bumpy pavements (which was very tiring for her).

As a result I wrote to Merseytravel and lobbied them (and Frank Field) my MP to improve access at the train stations. Access for disabled people to stations was also an issue raised at an Area Forum in relation to stations on the Chester/Ellesmere Port route.

The current policy of Merseyrail (and Merseytravel) is to provide taxis for disabled travellers from the nearest accessible station. The Roads v Central Trains Limited [2004] EWCA Civ 1541, (2004) 104 ConLR 62 case (which being a Court of Appeal case) was about exactly this issue and is binding on any case brought by a disabled person in the County Court.

In it a disabled traveller couldn’t use a station because of a footbridge. He was put to inconvenience (compared to his non-disabled travellers) in travelling to a nearby station and getting a taxi. Doing this added an hour to his journey. Like Merseytravel the train company claimed it’d cost £750,000 to adapt the station.

Appeal judges found the claimant had been discriminated against and overturned the ruling of the lower court, awarding £1,000 in damages and special damages of £97.

However there is a problem with the law and Merseyrail (which makes ~£6,000,000 in profit a year). Both Merseyrail and Merseytravel (at least due to what they’ve said in public and correspondence) see access to stations as a National Rail issue.

After British Rail was privatised the different areas were either put out to tender (eg the rail franchises for example Merseyrail, Virgin, Arriva Train Wales etc) or a separate company was set up. National Rail is the successor to Rail Track and is responsible for the track, signalling, infrastructure, stations etc.

Although the money for improving station access goes to Merseytravel, they complain that Network Rail causes them (as they see it) increased costs due to bureaucracy.

I raised with Merseytravel the issue that all stations within Bidston & St. James ward – Bidston, Birkenhead North and Birkenhead Park as well as the nearby station of Upton all had problems with accessibility.

I am pleased to announce that as a result of my lobbying (and others) money in this financial year has been set aside for improvements to Birkenhead North station.

In total approximately £1.6 million will be spent on a Park and Ride scheme (which is why the properties were pulled down) and on making the footbridge accessible.

Once again this shows that where people come to the Liberal Democrat Action Team with their problems, we take action and improve things for local residents.

In the meantime, the paint on the footbridge is peeling (which I doubt will be done before it’s replaced) and when I have more news about when the work will begin I will give an update.

I would like to thank Cllr Dave Mitchell, the Liberal Democrat Merseytravel representative for his help on this issue. The late Tony Garrett of the Wirral Transport Users Association was a passionate advocate for public transport and wanted these improvements made to stations on the Wirral. He even toured each Area Forum asking questions.

Although it may be some time before all stations in Bidston & St. James can be used by those with mobility problems, the news on Birkenhead North train station is a welcome step in the right direction.