Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 1 - Wallasey Town Hall

No. Item


Minute's Silence


Councillor Phil Davies referred to the tragic events in Nice on 14 July and the Cabinet stood for a minute’s silence in tribute to the memory of those who had lost their lives.


Members' Code of Conduct - Declarations of Interest

Members of the Cabinet are asked to consider whether they have any disclosable pecuniary and/or any other relevant interest, in connection with any item(s) on this agenda and, if so, to declare them and state the nature of the interest.


Members of the Cabinet were asked to consider whether they had any disposable pecuniary and/or any other relevant interest, in connection with any item(s) on the agenda and, if so, to declare them and state the nature of the interest.


Councillor Stuart Whittingham declared a personal and prejudicial interest in Items 9 and 10, ‘Wirral Plan: A 2020 Vision – Underpinning Strategies: Housing Strategy’ and ‘Core Strategy Local Plan: Strategic Housing Market Assessment Update', respectively by virtue of his position as a Board Member of Magenta Living. He indicated that he would leave the meeting whilst these items of business were under consideration.



The minutes of the last meeting have been printed and published.  Any matters called in will be reported at the meeting.


RECOMMENDATION:  That the minutes be approved and adopted.




That the Minutes of the last meeting of the Cabinet, held on 27 June, be confirmed as a true record.


Leader's Update


Councillor Phil Davies reported to the Cabinet that discussions were ongoing at local authority and City Region level with the Government regarding European Union funding. No absolute guarantees had been received regarding Regional Development Funding and European Structural and Investment Fund programmes. The message received so far was that where a legal agreement had been signed the funding was secure though where this was not the case the situation was uncertain. Further reports would be brought to Cabinet and officers were seeking clarity; the situation was worrying and needed to be monitored closely.


Financial Monitoring Out-Turn Reports for 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 113 KB

Additional documents:


Robust financial management throughout the year has ensured the Council has delivered an overall under-spend of £1.3 million in 2015/16 against the revised budget. Pro-active treasury management has enabled us to invest to meet the rising demand for social care, and we have continued to improve our income collection.


‘Good performance in supporting businesses to succeed – and encouraging businesses to relocate to Wirral – has resulted in further increases in the Business Rates we collect.


‘Continuing this performance – increasing the number of businesses based in Wirral and the number of people living here – will be vital in the future, as our finances will be entirely dependent on the income we can generate locally. By 2020 the Government will have removed the Local Government Settlement entirely and the Council will retain all Business Rates it collects with no additional support


  Councillor Phil Davies




Councillor Phil Davies introduced the report of the Acting Section 151 Officer, detailing the Out-turn for 2015/16 against the revised budget, concluding the reporting to Cabinet for the 2015/16 financial year. There were separate Appendices for Revenue (including details of the reserves), Capital (including resources used to fund the Programme) and the Collection Summary (including Council Tax, Business Rates and Sundry Debts).


Councillor McLachlan commented upon the good position the Council’s finances were in because of prudential financial management by officers and the administration. However, financial challenges still lay ahead with a further £126m of savings to be achieved in forthcoming years and no sign that the new Conservative Government were going to relax the austerity agenda.


Councillor Tony Smith thanked officers for all their work in obtaining government grants for school improvement works, including major works at four schools.


Councillor Whittingham highlighted the major schemes benefitting from the Council’s investment in the road network as proof of the Council’s commitment to investment in infrastructure.


Reason for decision:


Local authorities have to produce an Annual Statement of Accounts which demonstrates the financial performance of the Council for the year and the financial position at the end of the period. The full Statement was approved by Audit and Risk Management Committee on behalf of the Council.


The Collection Summary provided details on income collection performance and any sums which were deemed irrecoverable needed to be written off in accordance with the authorisation processes set out in the Council Constitution.




1.  Revenue


a)  That the Revenue Out-turn for 2015/16 which showed an underspend of £1.3 million against the revised budget, be noted.

b)  That the transfer of the underspend to General Fund Balances be confirmed.

c)  That the General Fund Balances at 31 March 2016 of £22.2 million, with £9.7 million agreed to be used in the Budget 2016/17, be noted.

d)  That the Earmarked Reserves totalling £73.9 million as detailed in the Annex be confirmed.


2.  Capital


a)  That the additional re-profiling of £8.8 million from 2015/16 to 2016/17 be noted.

b)  That the financing of the Programme for 2015/16 be noted.

c)  That  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.


Treasury Management Annual Report pdf icon PDF 367 KB


The effective management of resources is vital to the success of the Council. Our proactive Treasury Management generated £4 million of savings during 2015/16. This is real cash which helps to finance services. This comes from sensible decisions regarding borrowing and the returns made on our cash flows from diversified investments in a range of safe institutions including banks, money market funds and local authorities.


    Councillor Phil Davies




Councillor Phil Davies introduced the report of the Principal Accountant, which stated that the Authority’s treasury management activity was underpinned by CIPFA’s Code of Practice on Treasury Management, which required the production of annual Prudential Indicators and a Treasury Management Strategy Statement on likely financing and investment activity. The Code also recommended that Members were informed of treasury management activities at least twice a year. 


The report fulfilled the Authority’s legal obligation under the Local Government Act 2003 to have regard to both the CIPFA Code and the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) Investment Guidance. 


Proactive Treasury Management activity resulted in savings of £4 million being made in 2015/16 and he thanked the Treasury Management Team for their work and the fact that there was a reduction in external borrowing.


Reason for decision:


Wirral had adopted the CIPFA Code of Practice on Treasury Management (“the Code”), which included regular update reports to Members of treasury activity. This report was the year-end review for 2015/16.


Under the Council’s financial regulations any surplus resources were returned to balances and so used to support the delivery of other Council services.




(1)  That the Treasury Management Annual Report for 2015/16 be agreed.


(2)  That the transfer of the saving of £4.0 million from capital financing activities in 2015/16 to the General Fund balance be noted.


Revenue Monitoring 2016/17 Quarter 1 (To June 2016) pdf icon PDF 175 KB


Ensuring robust, transparent and effective management of our finances remains of the utmost importance. As national austerity policies continue, the responsibility falls on local government to ensure the services which residents rely on every day remain viable.


“Wirral Council once again has set a balanced and sustainable budget, and is committed to working hard throughout the year to ensure it is delivered. We are reporting a small variance and projected overspend this year – less than 0.5% of our revenue budget – and we remain confident we have the necessary plans and systems in place to quickly rectify this situation and once again deliver a balanced budget at the end of the financial year.


  Councillor Phil Davies




Councillor Phil Davies introduced a report of the Senior Manager (Finance), which set out the projected revenue position for 2016/17 as at the close of quarter 1 (30 June 2016). 


The latest position forecasted an overspend of £1.1 million for 2016/17, which was less than 0.5% of the revised budget. Council had agreed a Revenue Budget Contingency of £12 million in anticipation of increasing pressures and the delayed delivery of previously agreed savings. The most challenging areas where in the adult social care and children and young people’s services.


Following a review of the financial position and having regard to the 2015/16 out-turn it was recommended that £11.1 million of the revenue budget contingency be allocated, £3.9m within Adult Social Services, £5m in Children’s Services, £0.5m for Transformation and Resources and £1.7m in respect of corporate budgets. After use to mitigate pressures and additional care fee costs, £0.9m of the revenue budget contingency would remain. The allocation of General Fund balances would increase the 2016/17 net cost of services budget by £1.6m.


Reason for decision:


The Council, having set a Budget at the start of the financial year, needs to ensure that the delivery of this Budget is achieved. Consequently there is a requirement to regularly monitor progress so that corrective action can be taken when required which is enhanced with the regular reporting of the financial position.






(1)  The £11.1 million distribution of the Revenue Budget Contingency be approved.


(2)  The use of £1.6 million of General Fund balances be RECOMMENDED to Council for approval.


(3)  The receipt of £0.17 million of New Homes Bonus Returned Funding Grant which would be added to General Fund balances be noted.


(4)  The underspend of £1.3 million identified during the closure of the 2015/16 accounts being added to General Fund balances be noted.


(5)  Officers identify actions and take measures to reduce the projected overspend of £1.1 million and replenish General Fund balances.


Capital Monitoring 2016/17 Quarter 1 (To June 2016) pdf icon PDF 142 KB


It is important that we are robust and transparent in how we manage all Council expenditure. This report demonstrates the major investment we are making against our priorities and that we are taking sensible and pragmatic steps to make best use of resources to develop our assets to support our services to the public.


  Councillor Phil Davies




Councillor Phil Davies introduced a report of the Principal Accountant, which provided an update on the progress in delivering the Capital programme 2016/17 at the end of June 2016. The report recommended that Cabinet agreed the 2016/17 Capital Programme of £58.97 million which now took into account re-profiling identified during both the 2015/16 final accounts process and the current year together with any additional grant funding notified to the Council. Expenditure to date was £2.7 million.


Reason for decision:


Regular monitoring and reporting of the Capital Programme enables decisions to be taken faster which may produce revenue benefits and will improve financial control of the Programme.






(1)  Cabinet notes the spend to date at Month 3 of £2.7 million, with 25% of the financial year having elapsed, a period when a number of payments relate to the 2015/16 accounts.


(2)  Cabinet agrees and RECOMMENDS to Council, for approval, the revised Capital Programme of £58.97 million, as referred to in Table 1 of the report.


Wirral Plan: A 2020 Vision - Underpinning Strategies: Digital Strategy pdf icon PDF 110 KB

Additional documents:


This Digital Wirral Strategy – a first of its kind in our borough – sets out an ambitious Vision for a truly connected Wirral, where people, businesses and the entire community are helped to do business, access services and interact with public services and each other digitally and easily. Our Vision is that, by 2020, Wirral is a place where;

• EVERY resident will have the ability, and the skills, to connect to people, services and the world online. 

• EVERY business will be connected to Global markets through high-speed, reliable broadband.

• EVERY service will be available online; in as simple, accessible and seamless format as they are in person.


I encourage you to read this Strategy and to get involved in helping us to create a connected, digital Wirral for everyone.


  Councillor Matthew Patrick




Councillor Matthew Patrick introduced a report of the Policy and Strategy Manager, as part of the Wirral Plan: A 2020 Vision which set out a shared partnership vision to improve outcomes for Wirral residents. Delivery of the priorities and outcomes described in the Plan were underpinned by the development and implementation of a set of key strategies. 


The report provided Cabinet with the Wirral Digital Strategy. It set out a collective ambition where:


Wirral becomes a truly digital borough, where businesses and residents are connected to each other, services and the world. Digital technology is harnessed to create efficient and seamless services for residents, to support businesses to succeed and compete in Global markets and to drive a step-change in community engagement, connectivity and participation”.


Councillor Patrick referred to the estimate that across the country Councils could save £14.7 billion every year if they made better use of digital technologies. He thanked officers, the Wirral Partnership and Councillor Whittingham for all their help with the strategy.


Councillor Whittingham welcomed the strategy and referred to the fact that Wirral was well on its way to meeting the pledge that 98% of Wirral residents would have access to high speed broadband.


Councillor Phil Davies welcomed the report and the need to ensure the digitally excluded were incorporated into planning for the future and had access to the same opportunities. He also suggested the idea of developing a digital hub in Wirral giving employment opportunities to those with digital skills.


Reason for decision:


The Wirral Plan commits to ensuring ‘Technology and Infrastructure’ in Wirral is modern, fit for purpose and allows for our economy to compete in a digital economy. This Strategy is designed to deliver part of this Pledge, and also to ensure that the borough’s digital infrastructure is of the highest possible quality in order to support all other Pledges and Strategies in place to deliver our vision for Wirral in 2020.


RESOLVED: That Cabinet approves the Wirral Digital Strategy, as appended to the report.


Wirral Plan: A 2020 Vision - Underpinning Strategies: Housing Strategy pdf icon PDF 139 KB

Additional documents:


The importance of high quality, affordable homes cannot be underestimated. The impact a good home has on a family is almost immeasurable in terms of health, wellbeing, social mobility and general quality of life.


This Housing Strategy is a key part of delivering our 2020 Vision, setting out our strategic direction to ensure one of our most important pledges to make sure that living in Wirral means living in a good home, is achieved. This is a vital legacy that this generation must pass on to the next. Clearly, building thousands of new homes is a key challenge for us, however it is important to recognise that increasing the numbers of homes built can help kick start our economy, encourage more people to live and work in our borough and transform the lives of our current residents.


  Councillor George Davies




Councillor George Davies introduced a report of the Strategic Housing and Investment Manager as part of the Wirral Plan: A 2020 Vision which set out a shared partnership vision to improve outcomes for Wirral residents. Delivery of the priorities and outcomes described in the Plan were underpinned through the development and implementation of a set of key strategies and a Delivery Plan.


The report provided Cabinet with Wirral’s Housing Strategy 2016 – 2020; a key strategic document which articulated the ambition related to the Wirral Plan Environment Priority:


Wirral has an attractive and sustainable environment, where good health and an excellent quality of life is enjoyed by everyone who lives here”.


The report recognised the fact that a safe and secure home was vital to all Wirral residents. To respond to this, the Housing Strategy aimed to build more homes, improve the quality of Wirral’s housing offer and also meet the housing and support needs of the Council’s most vulnerable people to enable them to live independently.


Councillor Phil Davies welcomed the strategy and the ambition to build 3,500 new homes by 2020 as well as bring empty homes back into use. It was important to extend selective licensing schemes which currently operated in four areas and which he would like to see operating in more areas over the next five years. He would also like to see high quality apprenticeships involved in the programme of house building.


Reason for decision:


The Housing Strategy 2016 - 2020 details how the ambitions and outcomes set out within the Environment priority of the Wirral Plan: A 2020 Vision will be driven forward and achieved.


The strategy has been informed and developed as a result of key research, analysis and ongoing consultation and discussion with key partners and stakeholders to ‘reality check’ our priorities and the approach we need to take to move forward. It provides the clear framework for focusing our direction of travel ensuring collectively with our partners, we have the flexibility to respond to new and emerging issues as they arise, which impact directly on the borough as a whole.


RESOLVED: That the Housing Strategy 2016 –  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.


Core Strategy Local Plan - Strategic Housing Market Assessment Update pdf icon PDF 145 KB

Additional documents:


Wirral – like every other area in the UK – is required to submit its Core Strategy Local Plan to Government next year. This Plan must include a detailed assessment of the Borough, including its housing market.


“This report provides Cabinet with the outcome of an initial assessment. It sets out the findings of an independent study into the demographic and economic changes expected in Wirral and how that impacts the Borough’s housing needs. It also summarises the requirements of national policy.


  Councillor Phil Davies




Councillor Phil Davies introduced a report of the Forward Planning Manager, which stated that Wirral’s Housing Strategy, (see minute 30), set out the vision for housing in the future and the report began a consultation based on the objectively assessed housing need (OAN) as to how this could be delivered.


The report set out the findings of a study into the need for new housing in Wirral and its implications for the future land supply to be identified in the Council’s emerging Core Strategy Local Plan. It summarised the requirements of national policy and set out the alternative options that were available to the Council.


The report recommended that the Council accepted the assessment of objectively assessed need (OAN) identified in the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) and consulted on the need to make further changes to the Proposed Submission Draft Core Strategy Local Plan, to accommodate the need for additional housing. 


The recommendations would support the delivery of Wirral Plan 2020 pledges relating to the promotion of economic growth and good quality housing that met the needs of residents and supported the delivery of the Wirral Partnership Housing Strategy. 


Reason for decision:


To approve the use of the objectively assessed housing need identified in the Strategic Housing Market Assessment Update prepared by Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners in determining the future requirement for housing in Wirral to 2032.


To comply with the legal and procedural requirements necessary to complete the preparation and adoption of an up-to-date Core Strategy Local Plan for Wirral, in line with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).






(1)  The objectively assessed need (OAN) identified in the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) prepared by Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners (NLP) and the assessment of the Borough’s land supply set out in the Council’s Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) April 2016 are approved as part of the evidence base for the emerging Core Strategy Local Plan, subject to any further revisions that may be required in response to the emerging Devolution Deal Liverpool City Region Strategic Housing and Employment Land Market Assessment (SHELMA).


(2)  The Council publishes the SHMA and SHLAA on the Council’s website and in public libraries for public consultation.


(3)  The results of consultation are reported to Cabinet before the Draft Core Strategy Local Plan is submitted for the approval of Council for submission to the Secretary of State. 


(4)  A further separate report is prepared on the more detailed findings of the SHMA, including the provision  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.


Core Strategy Local Plan - Wirral Retail & Leisure Study Update pdf icon PDF 231 KB


Thriving small businesses is one of our 20 Pledges, and is a fundamental part of creating the vibrant and successful economy we all want to see in Wirral. We are making great progress already – the plans for the regeneration of Birkenhead are incredibly exciting, and the developments at New Brighton show us what can be achieved when we aim high.


We also know where our challenges are: we are determined to work with local people, businesses and employers over the coming year to make sure Wirral’s high-streets are prosperous, healthy and thriving.


  Councillor Phil Davies




The Leader of the Council introduced a report of the Principal Forward Planning Officer. It stated that in 2015 Wirral Council asked its retained retail consultants - Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners (NLP) to prepare a Borough-wide Retail and Leisure Study Update (‘the NLP Retail Study’). The NLP Retail Study updated the evidence base, replacing the existing Strategy for Town Centres, Retail and Commercial Leisure prepared by Roger Tym & Partners and the Wirral Retail Study Update prepared by GVA Grimley.


The Council would use the findings of the report to shape their approach to supporting small businesses and high-streets to succeed. It provided a helpful evidence base on which the Council could design plans and interventions, enabling them to target their activity and support on those areas which would make the biggest impact.


The retail study highlighted the strength of the New Brighton redevelopment which, along with the Croft Retail Park, was now Wirral’s main commercial leisure destination. The study also highlighted retail areas in Wirral with space for expansion, including Birkenhead.


Reason for decision:


To approve an up to date retail evidence base to inform the preparation of the Council’s Core Strategy Local Plan and assist with the consideration of planning applications.


To comply with the legal and procedural requirements for the preparation and adoption of an up-to-date Core Strategy Local Plan for Wirral, in line with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).






(1)  Cabinet RECOMMENDS to Council that the findings of the NLP Retail Study Update be used to inform the content of the Council’s emerging Core Strategy Local Plan and subsequent site-specific Local Plan.


(2)  Cabinet RECOMMENDS to Council that the NLP Retail Study be approved as a material consideration for use by Planning Committee in the determination of planning applications.


Wirral Local Flood Risk Management Strategy pdf icon PDF 129 KB

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Flooding has the capacity to impact on everyone in Wirral. It is important that we put in place a local strategy for the management of flood risk for the benefit of all Wirral residents.


‘We witnessed the very difficult circumstances experienced by some of our residents in Wirral in 2015, and this strategy will support our work to continue to improve our management of the risks of flooding so that – in as much as we are able – we manage the risk of similar incidents again.


‘Full consultation has been carried out, and the strategy proposed for Wirral has been endorsed by key stakeholders, including the Environment Agency


  Councillor Bernie Mooney




Mark Camborne, Head of Corporate and Community Safety, introduced the report on behalf of the Cabinet Member, who had given her apologies.


The report set the context for the requirement for a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy (LFRMS) for Wirral, describing how it fitted within the Council’s statutory duties under the Flood and Water Management Act (FWMA) 2010. It described how the LFRMS had been produced and consulted upon. Governance arrangements for the management of flood risk in Wirral, Merseyside and the North West were set out, as were the roles and responsibilities of key Risk Management Authorities (RMAs).


The LFRMS identified the various types of flood risk and coastal erosion, how these risks were currently managed and strategic principles for managing those flood and erosion risks which would guide the statutory role for Wirral Council as Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) in delivering its duties under the FWMA.


The management of flood and coastal erosion risk fell and impacted directly on the following Environment Pledges in the Wirral Plan 2020 Vision:


·  Wirral’s neighbourhoods are safe: Flooding and coastal erosion can increase the risk to life and property. By managing these risks in a strategic manner then the risks to neighbourhoods can be minimised.


·  Wirral residents live healthier lives: The immediate impact on health following flooding was apparent however for those that live with the risk of flooding or coastal erosion the longer term health effects can be as serious. The LFRMS sets out a strategic approach, including on-going community engagement to allow those at risk to become involved in the management of flood risk.


A Section 19 report was being reported to the Environment Overview and Scrutiny at its meeting that evening on the flooding which occurred in August and September, 2015 and he reported that a number of recommendations within the report were being worked upon. He drew the Cabinet’s attention to the five objectives for managing local flood risks detailed in the report and the fact that there were healthy reserves in place to help with bids for strategic flood prevention. Work was being undertaken with a weather hazard management system and information was now available on line for residents to monitor potential flooding risks. Applications had been submitted to Defra for grant-in-aid funding to investigate flood risk across the Wirral.


Reason  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.


Transport Plan for Growth Programme 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 190 KB

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Our ambitions for Wirral - a thriving, growing economy with high-paying jobs for our residents - are dependent on a transport network which is safe, efficient and attracts employers to our Borough.


I am delighted that we are in a position to recommend investment of £1.375m into improving our highway infrastructure, supporting the priorities set out in our Connecting Wirral Transport Strategy.


This investment will help bring about further growth in our economy, it will help reduce carbon emissions and - crucially - it will further improve our roads to support our residents to travel safely and efficiently.


  Councillor Stuart Whittingham




Councillor Stuart Whittingham introduced a report of the Team Leader (Projects) – Design and Commissioning. It stated that on the 15 April 2016, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority allocated £1,375,000 of Integrated Transport Block funding to Wirral Council, to support the delivery of the Liverpool City Region Transport Plan for Growth during 2016/17. The report sought Cabinet approval to accept the £1,375,000 and allocate it to priorities and projects as outlined in the report.


Wirral Transport Plan for Growth programme supported the Wirral Plan pledge to provide Transport and Technology Infrastructure fit for the future by ensuring that Wirral had safe, affordable, well maintained and efficient transport networks for residents to access community services, leisure facilities and commute to work. Specifically the key priorities within the Connecting Wirral Transport Strategy for keeping traffic moving safely and efficiently and encouraging healthy, active travel were delivered through the proposed programme.


Councillor Phil Davies welcomed the report and the additional £32,500 that was now available to each Constituency Committee.


Reason for decision:


To ensure that the transport capital programme reflects the Wirral Plan and the Transport Plan For Growth short-term implementation priorities, and has the flexibility to ensure delivery of the most effective schemes within the financial year.




That Cabinet:


(1)  Approves the acceptance of £1,375,000 of Integrated Transport Block funding allocated to Wirral Council by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority;


(2)  Approves the proposed programme for this funding as set out in Appendix 1 to the report.


(3)  Delegates authority to the Head of Environment and Regulation, in conjunction with the Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure, to make necessary adjustments to the priorities within the programme should the need arise due to financial or other factors.