What are the Labour Budget proposals for Wirral Council for 2019/20?
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The ancient Hundred of Wirral rests peacefully between the Dee and Mersey estuaries.
Its very crest shows a Oystercatcher upon a red sandstone rock between two sprigs of bog myrtle.
Yet bogged down yet again in local politics is Leader of Wirral Council Phil Davies with opponents bitterly opposed to the legacy he wishes to leave behind.
At a meeting of Wirral Council’s Cabinet held last week, outgoing Leader Cllr Phil Davies outlined his plans.
After the introduction of car parking charges at Arrowe Country Park which attracted opposition, part of the budget proposals include outsourcing the running of Arrowe Park Golf Course to the private sector as well as the Warren Municipal Golf Course.
No mention was made at the Cabinet meeting of the flagship Hoylake Golf Resort project, which is the subject of a joint Lib Dem-Green motion to the next Council meeting asking for the withdrawal of Wirral Council’s offer of a £26 million loan to the developer.
An extra £2 million for early voluntary retirement and voluntary severance was also agreed and despite a planned 2.99% council tax rise from next year, £41.75 million of cuts are planned.
Cabinet recommended that the Constituency Committees be abolished (which is on the agenda of the Council meeting on the 10th). Public meetings of the Constituency Committees are not filmed by Wirral Council, but there was recent vocal opposition at Constituency Committee to the thorny issue of the Local Plan and the future of the greenbelt. Cabinet proposed that the existing budget for Constituency Committees be shared between councillors to make recommendations on how it is spent (with individual councillors in Labour wards allocated more money than in the Conservative wards).
The budget proposals are set to be discussed in behind closed doors meetings this week of the cross-party Overview and Scrutiny Committees. The Conservative opposition believes such discussions should be held in public.
Finally, Cabinet agreed to consult on major changes to Birkenhead Town Centre which include a new Birkenhead Market, new leisure facilities and other changes. The £8.4 million purchase by Wirral Council earlier this year of the Europa Buildings in Birkenhead is part of these plans, which will be consulted on in February-April 2019. The Birkenhead Commercial District Full Business Case and Staff Relocation & Asset Consolidation Full Business Case were not made public by Cabinet on grounds of commercial confidentiality.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism are thanked for their input to this article.
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