Posted by: John Brace | 19 February 2014

Tower Bridge repairs, the future of Williamson Art Gallery and school crossing patrols u-turn

Tower Bridge repairs, the future of Williamson Art Gallery and school crossing patrols u-turn


It’s time to answer some questions from readers. First there’s a topical question.

1. How long is the Tower Bridge road closed for in Birkenhead?

Ah yes, a recurring question that pops up from the Wirral motorist wanting to get from Wallasey to Birkenhead (or vice versa). The bridge closed on Saturday 15th February 2014 and work is predicted to take a week for urgent repairs to the A bridge. Wirral Council say the work is necessary due to a loose steel plate.

Last week I received a phone call from a woman who wanted to know what is happening to the Williamson Art Gallery following last week’s Cabinet meeting on the 12th February to discuss the budget and that she trusted this blog to let her know what was going on.

2. What’s happening to the Williamson Art Gallery?

Well this was also mentioned at the recent Birkenhead Constituency Committee meeting too. I’ve looked through the nine page handout given out during the meeting that details Labour’s proposals to the Council meeting on Tuesday 25th February to decide the budget for 2014/15.

On page six, the Williamson Art Gallery is mentioned and I quote:

Re-phasing the savings from Williamson Art Gallery (£100,000 of saving rephased to 2015/16)
The engagement of local people and ‘Friends’ groups has been welcomed in exploring new models for funding the Williamson Art Gallery in the future. It is acknowledged that more time is required to develop the proposals. Therefore the saving of £400,000 is to be delivered over the next two years, i.e. £150,000 in 2014/15 and £250,000 in 2015/16. Cabinet strongly favours keeping the Williamson open. This will be funded from reserves in 2014/15.”

The Williamson Art Gallery is in Oxton ward. Last time there was an election there it was won by the Liberal Democrats in 2012 by a majority of 263 votes (with Labour in second place). The two major issues raised by Lib Dems in Oxton in the recent past have been the future of the Williamson Art Gallery and whether schools (or Wirral Council) should fund school crossing patrols. Strangely enough school crossing patrols forms the next bit of Labour’s budget resolution which I quote here.

School Crossing Patrols
Cabinet believes the safety of children is paramount. In December Cabinet agreed to ask schools to take over the funding of school crossing patrols. Given the concerns expressed by a minority of schools, officers are instructed to continue discussions with schools with a guarantee that no funding is removed where agreement cannot be reached.”

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  1. The Oxton book shop has relocated in the Williamson and with Best bites cafe,and the exhibits this is the place to go! Just don’t let the Councillors near it!