Posted by: John Brace | 20th March 2020

Wirral Council’s Planning Committee suspends meetings and rules due to COVID-19

Wirral Council’s Planning Committee suspends meetings and rules due to COVID-19

                                 

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Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 19th March 2020

Councillor Stuart Kelly (Chair, Planning Committee) (Wirral Council) 19th March 2020

Councillor Stuart Kelly (Chair, Planning Committee) (Wirral Council) 19th March 2020

The mood at Wallasey Town Hall was very different – with the One Stop Shop closed (with a sign that directed people to the one in Birkenhead) and even if this was taken into account there were far fewer people around than usual. Due to the need for social distancing measures, as on Monday evening the public meeting was in the Council Chamber (instead of Committee Room 1), which could have been the reason why the Council webcast didn’t go ahead as planned (which put a bit more pressure on myself – video of the entire meeting is above).

The lift to the public gallery (which is on the second floor above the Council Chamber) still wasn’t working (I was informed it’s out of action for maintenance on the waterproofing) and the guest wifi isn’t working either. Wallasey Town Hall was used in the past as a military hospital – as a Category 1 Responder Wirral Council is now part of the response – most of the public meeting was about how the Planning Committee would continue decision making without any formal meetings.

This will be my last report on a Wirral Council Planning Committee meeting for a while – all public meetings of councillors and others at Wirral Council (as well as wider local government such as combined authority, fire and rescue authority etc) in the near future starting next week (week starting 23rd March 2020) are cancelled. The next public meeting of Wirral Council scheduled to meet (provisionally) is on the 15th April 2020 (the other side of Easter holidays). Local democracy will continue – just in a different way and at the risk of repeating what I’ve previously reported the May 2020 elections have been postponed to May 2021.

Some councillors were vocal about their unease at agreeing to delegate their decision-making on planning applications, planning enforcement and compensation etc to a Wirral Council employee to make. There was mention of the need for meetings to take place virtually – legislation is awaited on points like this.

However the report (at the time of publication not published on Wirral Council’s website) is included below (councillors didn’t agree parts (iv) and (v) of the proposed recommendation). It impacts anyone involved with current as yet undecided planning applications or ones from now onward.

AOB report Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 19th March 2020 page 1

AOB report Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 19th March 2020 page 1

AOB report Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 19th March 2020 page 2

AOB report Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 19th March 2020 page 2

AOB report Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 19th March 2020 page 3

AOB report Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 19th March 2020 page 3

AOB report Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 19th March 2020 page 4

AOB report Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 19th March 2020 page 4

AOB report Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 19th March 2020 page 5

AOB report Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 19th March 2020 page 5

AOB report Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 19th March 2020 page 6

AOB report Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 19th March 2020 page 6

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Responses

  1. Oh for Christ sake!

    • Thanks for your comment – but I think there’ll be more of this as democracy as usual stops.

  2. hi john all your hard work to keep the public up to date with council shinanagans is truly appreciated , I asked the council when we can expect the demolition of Europa pools 50 % paid for by EU funding the rest paid by local taxpayers to build for the benefit of all,and the vue cinema next to it even though it doesn’t belong to them but the tax payer to the tune of 8 million pounds what a waste of tax payers money only in Birkenhead no answer to date,you could,nt make it up john, kind regards . its time to petition to keep our local facilities.c,mon green party.

    • Hi Mr J Davies,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I’m sure had the May 2020 elections gone ahead that the future of Birkenhead Town Centre would have been an issue and as someone who was born in Birkenhead and lives in Birkenhead I have my own views on it.

      There was a Wirral Council Cabinet meeting scheduled for Tuesday afternoon to make decisions on the future of Birkenhead Town Centre (which depends on a successful award of funding by the national government for it to go ahead). The relevant agenda items are 5 and 6 which you can read on Wirral Council’s website.

      Public meetings such as that of the Cabinet I refer to have all been cancelled (although individual Cabinet Members can still make decisions).

      Obviously any change would require planning permission too (although obviously the article above means any planning applications are being dealt with in a different way).

      At the moment – both nationally and locally there is one issue being concentrated on – so unfortunately I can’t state with any certainty what will happen next, but I would guess any proposed timescale will in the current circumstances be subject to change.

      However in relation to the EU grant point, I’m not sure if there comes a point in time when it can’t be clawed back – I vaguely remember though (probably a reader can provide more detail) there was a somewhat similar issue though over EU funding that Wirral Council had received in Greasby and the aborted plans for a new fire station there.

      Hope that helps!

      Oh and by the way the Vue Cinema is owned by Wirral Council.

  3. […] virtually. Indeed a report on that meeting was previously published on this blog under the headline Wirral Council’s Planning Committee suspends meetings and rules due to COVID-19. Since then the Coronavirus Act 2020 has gone through the House of Commons, House of Lords and […]


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