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Wirral Council’s Cabinet met for the first time after the elections and unusually there were many members of the public. The item the public were there to hear was whether Wirral Council would be support the transfer of properties from Beechwood and Ballantyne Community Housing Association to Liverpool Housing Trust.
A petition of 250 residents of the Beechwood and Ballantyne estate opposed to the transfer of houses to Liverpool Housing Trust was given to the Councillor George Davies (Cabinet Member for Housing) half an hour before the meeting started. He said, “I should refer this back to Beechwood and Ballantyne Housing Association to reflect upon and that we defer any decision on this item this evening and bring it back to a future Cabinet, hopefully by the 29th of June.”
Cllr Ann McLachlan (ward councillor for the residents who signed the petition) added, “As late as yesterday and until mid-afternoon today I do know that negotiations and consultation were being undertaken with the community to allay and address fears that they had and my understanding was they had been largely addressed and that there was satisfaction regarding outstanding matters, so it has come as a shock to us to hear there is now this petition.
However Chair, if this further short period of consultation does seek to address those concerns, whatever they may be then I think it will be time well spent. Clearly I will want to address the report when it does come back to Cabinet in three weeks time.”
Cllr Phil Davies explained that a decision would be deferred to “give us more opportunity to try and get to the bottom of the issues that the signatories are concerned about and obviously with a view to try to come to some agreement in time hopefully for the next Cabinet meeting”.
Cabinet agreed to defer a decision to the 29th June (its next meeting).
Agreement was given by Cabinet to demolish the buildings of the former Foxfield School site in Douglas Drive, Moreton. Foxfield School has moved from Douglas Drive to a new site in Woodchurch that opened in March. Wirral Council hope to sell off the former site for Foxfield in Moreton and are applying for government permission to do so.
Cabinet agreed a recommendation to confer Freedom of Entry status on the Wallasey Sea Cadets (TS Astute) and HMS Astute (a nuclear powered submarine). A decision on Cabinet’s recommendation will be made at a future special meeting of Council.
Making it clear that this was “not a proposal to sell of the municipal golf courses” Wirral Council’s Cabinet agreed to look for a “delivery partner” for its golf courses (except Hoylake). Wirral Council subsidises its golf courses by £330,000 a year and Cabinet hopes that in future the subsidy won’t be needed. A report will come back to a future Cabinet before any further decision is made.
A policy on smoking that bans smoking (including e-cigarettes) “anywhere on any Council site by all staff, contractors, visitors and the public” was agreed. The new policy extends the ban on smoking to outside as well as inside Council buildings.
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Present: Corporate Governance Committee
Chair, Cllr Steve Foulkes
Cllr Phil Davies
Cllr Adrian Jones
Cllr Anne McArdle
Cllr Ann McLachlan
Co-optee (no voting rights) Cllr Jeff Green
Co-optee (no voting rights) Cllr Tom Harney
Bill Norman (Borough Solicitor)
Jim Wilkie (Chief Executive)
Ian Coleman (Director of Finance & Deputy Chief Executive)
David Smith (Deputy Director of Finance)
A couple of members of the public/press
A number of other officers
Cllr Foulkes, once the microphones had been put out began the first meeting of the Corporate Governance Committee.
He said he couldn’t start the meeting without him [Cllr Jeff Green]. Some jokes were made about Cllr Jeff Green’s smoking habit and the people present waited for Cllr Jeff Green to return. Once he returned Cllr Foulkes asked for any declarations of interest. No declarations of interest were declared.
Cllr Foulkes said there’d be a slight change to the agenda as Chris Hyams [Head Of Human Resources & Organisational Development] needed to leave early as Cllr Foulkes said she had worked hard. Therefore they would be dealing with item 7 first which was on performance management, along with its six appendices.