How did councillors think Wirral Council should spend £75,000 in Wallasey on road safety, cycling and walking?

How did councillors think Wirral Council should spend £75,000 in Wallasey on road safety, cycling and walking?

How did councillors think Wirral Council should spend £75,000 in Wallasey on road safety, cycling and walking?


Following on from yesterday’s story about a legal change meaning Wirral Council can’t prevent filming at its public meetings any more, the first meeting affected by this was a Working Group of the Wallasey Constituency Committee.

You can watch this entire meeting from beginning to end if you wish, but let’s start at the beginning.

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First here’s a list of who from the Working Group was present:

Conservative councillors
Councillor Bruce Berry
Councillor Chris Blakeley
Councillor Paul Hayes
Councillor Leah Fraser

Community representatives
Ken Harrison
Tony Jones
Brian Higgins

Labour councillors
Councillor Rob Gregson
Councillor Chris Jones
Councillor Adrian Jones
Councillor Matt Daniel
Councillor Anita Leech
Councillor Bernie Mooney
Councillor Janette Williamson

The first item was appointing a Chair (just for this meeting). Unusually nobody from Wirral Council’s legal services was present to advise the Committee, so the committee services officer Andrew Mossop asked for nominations for Chair.

Cllr Janette Williamson proposed Cllr Rob Gregson. Cllr Williamson’s proposal was seconded by Cllr Chris Jones.

Six out of seven Labour councillors voted for Cllr Rob Gregson as Chair.
Four out of four Conservative councillors voted against Cllr Rob Gregson being Chair.

So Cllr Rob Gregson was elected Chair by a vote of 6:4. Who was the Labour “rebel” who didn’t vote for Cllr Rob Gregson as Chair? Well the answer to that was he didn’t vote for himself.

Cllr Rob Gregson said “thank you very much” and wandered over to where the Chair sits and continued his list of thanks which was thankfully shorter than most Oscar acceptance speeches.

He thanked people for attending, he thanked myself and my wife, the councillors & community representatives. Having thanked literally everyone in the room, he then went on to apologies.

Andrew Mossop read out a list of apologies. It was a long list of councillors that couldn’t make it Cllr Pat Hackett (Labour), Cllr Treena Johnson (Labour), Cllr Lesley Rennie (Conservative) and Cllr Steve Williams (Conservative).

Councillor Anita Leech apologised for the absence of Cllr Ron Abbey (Labour). Another Labour councillor apologised for the absence of Cllr Chris Spriggs (Labour). The Council’s website also lists apologies from Keith Raybould (one of the community representatives).

The Chair got his glasses out of his shirt pocket to read what was the next item on the agenda. He asked for declarations of interest? Nobody made any declarations of interest.

The first main agenda item was Integrated Transport Block Capital Programme Funding (2014/15). In case that agenda item title means absolutely nothing to you, it was about how the committee would decide to spend £38,875 on “improving road safety” and £38,875 on promoting active travel & health. The jargon “active travel” if you’re unfamiliar with the term it refers to walking and cycling.

The Chair asked Wirral Council’s road safety manager David Rees to introduce his report. He explained that his report and how officers decided on road safety schemes based on casualty figures. Mr Rees referred to what the money could be spent on, such as vehicle activated signs which had previously been funded by the Area Forums. Another way the money could be spent was on dropped crossings which assisted pedestrians with mobility issues, blind people, those in wheelchairs and mums with prams. The list of schemes already approved by Cabinet under central funding was referred to. He asked for areas that the Committee wished officers to look into and they would find out how much it was likely to cost.

Councillor Leah Fraser spoke first and asked a question and asked what on the list had been dealt with already which was replied to by David Rees. The next councillor to be heard was the mellifluous tones of Councillor Adrian Jones. After a short answer to his question Cllr Adrian Jones explained that he was in a position to understand his own ward (which is Seacombe) but that they had to decide what was best for Wallasey. He explained that each councillor would make a bundle of requests for their own ward which would go to officers, who’d then make recommendations. He said he assumed that David Rees must be frustrated by the process.

David Rees in his answer referred to Department for Transport regulations. Mr Rees said that even with suggestions where there weren’t recorded accidents, there may be broader benefits that officers could see for particular schemes.

Councillor Chris Jones asked about potholes and asked whether some could be done using the extra pothole funding that Wirral Council had received? David Rees explained that he had limited knowledge of the highway maintenance side and that they were keen to sort out the potholes while the weather was good. He said he could ask Caroline Laing to circulate a list to the Committee as to which ones they were looking at sorting out.

Councillor Chris Blakeley said, “OK thanks Chairman, .. I’m aware we’re being filmed tonight” and glanced in the direction of the camera. He said “we all know our own wards” and “at the risk of sounding like a stuck needle” that in the days of the Area Forums, where there were two wards involved that they used to split the money down the middle. He suggested that the money should be split six ways (as there are six wards in Wallasey), so that each ward would get just under £13,000.

The Chair replied to Councillor Chris Blakeley and admitted he was a little confused, but he said the danger was that the more articulate councillors being able to able to describe a minor dint in the road as apocalyptic which would mean such things would be favoured over areas that needed to be looked at.

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Area Forum – 8/6/2011 Bidston & Claughton, 8/6/2011 Library, University Academy Birkenhead (formerly Park High) Part 5

Cllr George Davies had had a long discussion with the traffic management team, about the triangle from Brassey Street all the way up to Bidston Avenue and the best way to do it. 20mph zones had been added with Sumner Road being the only road not having a 20mph zone in the middle. He didn’t know the logic, but supported the residents 100%. Leaving one road, just made it into a racetrack, Cllr Davies said he 100% supports them. There were a lot of children that lived there and they can’t just wait for an accident to happen. Thinking about what should be done he said the residents don’t want humps, but something novel, such as their own parking down the side of the road or a 1-way system. On behalf of them he would like to see a program drawn up and evaluated. Angela said she was concerned about bricks through her windows.

Cllr Davies said he would take it back to Joey Smith to be looked at and evaluated, but it was a long time to wait for the next Area Forum. Cllr Roberts suggested they leave either other contact numbers.

Cllr Foulkes said there was a mechanism via the Area Forums, a central pot was devolved to the Forum level to be spent wisely. They could put a market down for the money. This years money had been allocated, but it could be added to the program for next year. There was £20,000 to be allocated, he wanted it minuted as an official bid. He also suggested monitoring of traffic coming to Sumner Road through Landsdowne Road.

Reasons to vote Liberal Democrat in Bidston & St. James – Day Three

We have listened to local people and campaigned on their behalf to solve local problems.

As a result of numerous campaigns over years in the Bidston area over road safety a traffic island was put in in Worcester Road. After numerous fatalities on Boundary Road, white lines were painted down the middle between Worcester Road and Upton Road, calming the traffic and making it easier to cross to Tam O’Shanter’s Urban Farm.

On that subject it was a Lib Dem Mayor and councillor that accepted Tam O’Shanter’s annual rent of one pine cone to Wirral Council. On Flaybrick cemetery we made sure the boundary wall was repaired and flytipping was cleared away.

Residents (both the disabled and those who can’t afford private transport) called for more bus stops near Tescos. We consulted with local residents affected and had the original proposed site of the bus stop moved when a resident complained and said it would affect parking outside her house. Many other bus stops have been repaired after we’ve brought the vandalism to the attention of Merseytravel.

Residents in the area of Birkenhead Park station and Christ the King complained about antisocial behaviour and crime. We brought their concerns to the police and the residents in that area now feel safer walking the streets after the community mobile police station was stationed in Keightley Street last year and this year.

In Bidston village, people were concerned that the abandoned pub was frequently set on fire. They wanted it demolished, but were unsure why it was taking so long. We investigated and told them why.

On the Beechwood speeding traffic was a major problem with cars crashing into walls, barriers and causing misery for local residents. We campaigned to get things changed and there is now a 20mph zone at a dangerous bend and many other road safety measures.

We have a record of success in campaigning to improve the lives of local residents. We do this because we are unlike the other candidates in this campaign based locally. It is our community, it is the area we live in and we wish to see it improve. Our campaigns are based on the issues that local people tell us about.

We live and work in Bidston & St. James all year round.

Road Safety & Cllr. Harry Smith – Facts not Labour Fiction

Harry says “The results of the traffic survey have shown that average daily flows of 791 vehicles and average 85%ile speeds of 35.6mph within Boundary Road. Speeding by individual drivers is irresponsible however, not all roads where drivers speed require the introduction of lowered speed limits. Indeed, the very few irresponsible drivers choosing to grossly ignore the current 30mph speed limit by travelling in excess of 40 and 50mph are unlikely to adhere to a 20mph speed limit.”

The automated traffic count can be viewed by anyone reading this article.

Let’s start with the first statistic quoted by Harry, an average 791 daily flows of traffic.

Northbound Southbound Total Daily Flow
Sat 738 630 1368
Sun 659 563 1222
Mon 876 710 1586
Tue 867 788 1655
Wed 905 831 1736
Thu 884 776 1660
Fri 973 874 1847
Average 843 739 1582

Amazingly Harry’s average of 791 is half of what it should be. Harry has taken the real figure 1,582 and amazingly halved it! This means the average traffic flows are double what he stated in front of about 60 councillors and members of the public!

Now we’ve learnt there were double the cars Harry thought there were, let’s move his claims about speed.

Once again Harry tries incorrectly to take an average of two figures (from the Northbound and Southbound counts) to make it sound better.

One figure is for the slowest 5 out of every 6 cars going Northbound. The other figure is for the slowest 5 out of every 6 cars going Southbound.

As shown above in the table an extra 15% of vehicles went in the Northbound direction, so you can’t just average out the two figures by adding them together and dividing by two. 5,902 cars went Northbound, but only 5,174 went Southbound.

However Harry’s next point as he makes a prediction:-

“the very few irresponsible drivers choosing to grossly ignore the current 30mph speed limit by travelling in excess of 40 and 50mph are unlikely to adhere to a 20mph speed limit.”

Yes, Harry there are a few drivers (suprisingly) during this study that travelled between 60 and 70mph in a 30mph area.

However let’s stick to those doing above 30mph. Most of the drivers are exceeding the speed limit going Northbound. When you add together the drivers going in the other direction too exceeding the speed limit it’s nearly 5,000 speeding vehicles/week.

If you’re trying to cross the road and a driver is doing 40mph, 50mph or 60mph if you get hit your chances of survival are pretty slim.

The speeding traffic is comparable to what Harry said was the total traffic flows.

Yes, there are under a hundred vehicles doing over 45mph a week. However how does Harry know what these drivers would do even if they were reminded of the current speed limit? I live in the road this survey was done. There aren’t any signs telling drivers of the current speed limit, so how are drivers to know what it is?

Harry also said “As a concerned Ward Councillor I have asked that the Director make all available efforts to conclude his outstanding investigations as soon as possible and report his findings appropriately.”

We’re still here 14 months later. I appreciate what has been done so far, but it hasn’t addressed the issues in the petition. How fast is ASAP?