Minutes for Area Forum (Greasby/Frankby/Irby, Upton, Woodchurch) meeting, Feb 11 2009, 7.00PM official page
Venue: Greasby Methodist Church, Greasby Road, Greasby CH49 2PN
Contact: Andy Brannan Area Forum Co-ordinatorItems No. Item
Welcome, Introductions and Apologies
The Chair, Councillor Jean Quinn, opened the meeting and welcomed forum members and 33 members of the public to the Area Forum meeting in Greasby. Apologies for absence were received from Councillor John George, Councillor Peter Reisdorf, Bert Grunnill and Mark Traynor. The Chair invited Forum members to introduce themselves.
Minutes and Matters Arising from Previous Forum
The minutes of the Area Forum meeting of 11 June 2008 were incorporated into the Area Forum Co-ordinator’s report.
The Area Forum Co-ordinator’s report contained updates under the headings
- Dog fouling in Woodlands Park
- Repainting of double yellow lines outside Overchurch School
- Health information - Irby
- Lights in the MUGA in Woodchurch
- The locations of adventure and nature play areas
- Property targeted by someone with a high powered air rifle
- Pathways Programme
Former St Benedict’s site
David Green advised that demolition work on the former school building began two weeks ago as part of a 16-week programme. The timescale allows for the safe removal of the considerable levels of asbestos found in the building. The owners of the site will be re-charged for the cost of the demolition work.
A member of the public stated that the building has never been sealed for asbestos. He asked what action is being taken about the risk to the public from asbestos that has already been released into the atmosphere.
David Green replied that representations should be made to the Environmental Agency. He offered to continue the discussion with the member of the public at the end of meeting and to include the gist of the conversation in the minutes of this meeting.
Dog Fouling in Ford Road:
The Area Co-ordinator gave a verbal update on complaints about dog fouling in Ford Road, Upton. The areas around the shops in Ford Road are cleaned on a daily basis and as a result, the pavements are relatively clean. Specific incidents of dog fouling should be reported to the Environmental Health Department, who will investigate. People who persistently allow their dogs to foul a public area can be prosecuted.
Minute Decision: A member of the public stated that the building has never been sealed for asbestos. He asked what action is being taken about the risk to the public from asbestos that has already been released into the atmosphere
Minute decision: Resolved: That the minutes of the Area Forum meeting of 13 October 2008 be received.
The Area Co-ordinator’s report contained information on Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, Merseyside Police, Wirral Anti-Social Behaviour Team, Community Safety Update, Wirral University Hospital Trust and Equality and Diversity. A report from the Director of Technical Services on the Allocation of Integrated Transport Funding to Area Forums was included on pages 21/24 of the report.
Minute decision: Resolved: To thank the Area Forum Co-ordinator for his report.
Local Development Framework
Andrew Fraser, Corporate Services Department, gave a presentation on the Local Development Framework. The new style Development Plan is a single document that replaces the Unitary Development Plan for Wirral dated February 2000, and will operate alongside the Regional Spatial Strategy. The framework provides guidance for assessing planning applications and allocating land for new developments for the next 15-20 years.
The consultation on the core strategy has just begun and Wirral Council will be pleased to receive comments on the various parts of the document.
The next stage will be to translate the objectives into spatial polity options and identify the preferred options. The draft core strategy will be compiled and submitted to the Secretary of State for approval. The proposals will be subject to public examination by an independent inspector. The aim is to adopt the Core Strategy in 2011.
Members of the public can become involved in the consultation by asking for a copy of the Plan, by adding their names to the contact database, or by submitting comments by letter, email or fax. The deadline for comments is 5 pm, on 27 March 2009. The contact details are: Strategic Development, Corporate Services, Town Hall, Wallasey. CH44 8ED. Email email@example.com, phone: 691 8225 or fax 691 8188.
A report will be presented to Cabinet that summaries all the comments received and will explain how those comments have been taken into account for the next stage. At the end of the process, the document will go to full Council for final approval and adoption.
-Mr Garrett (Wirral Transport Users’ Association), stated that he had received a copy of the document, but he had been charged for the further copies obtained from the Corporate Services Department.
It was pleasing to see mention of the electrification of Bidston/Wrexham railway line in the document. The association is looking for a couple of new railway stations on the line at Beechwood and Woodchurch Road, and for a park and ride scheme behind Upton railway station. The park and ride sites on Wirral are now reaching the saturation point. This should be looked at as well as the state of the land used for park and ride schemes.
-A member of the public commented that the closing date of 27 March does not allow sufficient time for people to comment on such an important issue.
Andrew Fraser replied that the consultation period is slightly longer than the standard consultation period of six weeks. The main document consists of 40 pages, but it is hoped that it is reasonably straightforward and people can understand it. Every effort will be made to accommodate people if there is a problem.
The Chair thanked Andrew Fraser for the presentation.
Integrated Transport Block
David Green, Director of Technical Services, explained that in the 2007/08 financial year, two of the eleven Area Forums had opted to have a share of the Integrated Transport Block at their disposal to fund local schemes. The improvements for Heswall/Pensby/Thingwall included the construction of a pedestrian refuge, and for Bromborough/Eastham, a contribution to a traffic calming scheme, direction signing and a lowered kerb crossing.
The Council’s Cabinet had received very positive feedback on the success of the scheme in the two areas and is now inviting each area forum to consider whether it wishes to receive de-centralised funding in 2009/10. The money can be used to provide lowered kerb crossings, modest local signposting and road lining schemes. Officer input will be available to all area forums to guide them in the decision-making process. The total budget for the Integrated Transport block is £180,000 which, apportioned across the eleven Area Forums, would equate to around £16,300 per Area Forum. The alternative would be to administer the funding centrally.
The Council’s Cabinet wishes to receive feedback on the consultation at its meeting on 19 March.
The 20’s Plenty Initiative is related matter and the views of area forums are being sought on areas for inclusion in next year’s programme. The pilot has operated successful in other areas, and suggestions are invited for roads in this locality that would be suitable for the scheme.
Mark Stevenson, Woodchurch Neighbourhood Board, commented that £16,000 is a very minimal sum and is insufficient to meet the needs of the areas covered by this very large area forum. In addition, the timescale for a reply is too short and does not allow sufficient time for the priorities to be identified.
David Green explained that about £6.5 million is available to Wirral in the structural maintenance programme. Within that there is some local discretion to devolve £180,000 through the Integrated Transport block, and give local people, through area forms, the opportunity to use the money creatively. The purpose of the consultation this evening is to ask the area form if it wishes to receive an equal proportion of the money to use at its discretion to improve the local area, or whether it would prefer the money to be managed centrally and allocated to schemes on a Wirral-wide basis.
Councillor Gardiner added that the money can be used to fund schemes that may not be included in the Council’s list of priorities. Area Forums that opt to receive an allocation have the opportunity to say, ‘These schemes are important for this area, and this is the way in which we wish to spend the money’.
Mark Stevenson persisted in his view that an equal division of the funding was unfair to this area forum, because it covers such a large geographical area. David Green accepted that the argument was a valid point. He gave a commitment that he would convey the comments back to the Cabinet as part of the consultation.
The Chair explained that only ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Public Question Time
Q I live in Sunnybank Close, a small cul-de-sac off Doncaster Drive, and there are many parking issues, particularly at the junction with the main road. I have reported the problems to the Police and to the Technical Services Department. The Police and the Council have sent letters to people and a few people had received parking tickets.
There are problems with parking on pavements and access difficulties for bin lorries. The area needs some parking restrictions so that people can get in and out of the cul-de-sac safely.
Inspector Griffiths outlined the measures taken to date to deal with the problem, and gave an undertaking to reaffirm the message with his staff.
David Green offered to personally visit the area on Friday afternoon to consider what measures can be taken to alleviate the problems.
Mark Stevenson referred to parking problems in New Hey Road and Houghton Road on the Woodchurch Estate. Motorists avoid using the Arrowe Park roundabout, and instead use Houghton Road as a ‘rat-run’ to access the Asda superstore. Cars stream along the road, sometimes at 100 mph. Houghton Road is blocked constantly from early morning until night, and prevents local residents getting their cars out.
David Green stated that it is not possible to tell people which roads to use. The Arrowe Park roundabout has been an impressive success. Accidents have reduced since the traffic lights have been installed, and traffic movement has also improved. Discussion continued on rat-running in general, speeding, and yellow lines.
David Green promised to visit Houghton Road on Friday afternoon to assess the situation.
Q David Hall, Irby, reported on the Council meeting to consider recommendations arising from the Asset Management Review. Mr Hall made certain references to individual Councillors that were not recorded for the purpose of the minutes. David Hall read out a prepared statement.
A The Chair responded to the statement, adding that there were many people in the room who would disagree with some of the views expressed by Mr Hall. No one could fail to recognise the strength of feeling that people in this area have about Irby library, and people in Woodchurch and the Woodchurch Management Board have about the facilities in Woodchurch - everyone is upset about what has happened. Councillors had taken the decisions they had after much soul-searching and many meetings over a long period of time. The library building in Irby can be part of a community asset transfer, and have access to other sources of funding – funding that is not available to the Council -l and to have professional support with that.
The Chair of Woodchurch Residents Forum stated that a more significant point is that elected councillors represent the residents and tenants of the borough. The public owns the particular buildings that are being closed and not once has any member of the public had a say on what is going on. An enormous amount of money has been invested in a library in Ridgeway, and ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
Partner Organisations Update
· Merseyside Police/Community Safety
· Fire Service
· Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
· NHS Wirral
· Older Peoples Parliament
Due to time constraints, the Chair invited partners to give brief updates on their activities.
Jim Thompson reported on Wirral Anti-Social Behaviour Team and Community Safety; Inspector Brian Griffiths drew attention to the monthly Neighbourhood Newsletter;
Maureen Cain described the involvement of local residents in a Mum’s Group and the involvement of young people in the Youth Club;
Mark Stevenson and Joanne Burrell gave an account of the community’s involvement in recent seasonal events and activities;
Martin McKeown referred to the publication of information on how the PCT will govern commissioning services, and explained the pressures currently placed on the A&E Department at Arrowe Park Hospital due to emergencies caused by the bad weather, and winter illnesses;
Pippa Roberts highlighted key aspects of the written report prepared for the Area Forum by the Wirral University Hospital Trust,
Sarah Patterson referred to the continuing success of the Home Fire Safety Checks,
John Smith gave an update on developments in Coronation Park, and the opportunity for groups to advertise their events in the Greasby Messenger.
Minute decision: Resolved: That partners and their representatives be thanked for their written reports and updates.
Date of next meeting
June 2009 (venue to be confirmed)
Minute decision: Resolved: That the next meeting of the Area Forum be held in 8 June 2009 at a venue to be confirmed.
The Chair thanked everyone for their attendance and closed the meeting at 9.20 pm.