Agenda and minutes

Venue: Tranmere Rovers FC, Belmont Suite, Borough Road, Wirral CH42 9PY - This forum has a drop-in session 6.30 - 7.00pm for anyone to attend

Contact: Louise Harland-Davies  Community Engagement Co-ordinator

No. Item


Welcome, Introductions and Apologies


The Chair, Councillor Stuart Kelly, welcomed Area Forum members and 30 members of the public to the meeting in Prenton.


The Chair introduced Andy Brannan, Area Co-ordinator, substitute for Louise Harland-Davies, who was unwell.  On behalf of the Area Forum he expressed best wishes to Louise for an early recovery.



Neighbourhood Plan Update


The Community Engagement Officer, Andy Brannan, referred to the consultation launched last year when local residents were invited to express their views about where they live and the things they would wish to change to enhance their local environment.  The feedback received has been used to inform the priorities for the Neighbourhood Plan for this Area Forum. 

The priorities identified by the community will help each Area Forum determine how it spends the money which is allocated each year by the Council.

The Chair thanked Andy for the presentation and invited questions on the Neighbourhood Plan. 


[Paul Haywood]. I raised the issue of the implementation of byelaws and funding issues, with the area co-ordinator, and was directed to Government Office.  The Government Office advised that the Government will be holding a consultation on how byelaws are implemented and commented on. 

My question is: Can you ask the area co-ordinator to look into this?’


[Andy Brannan]  I will pass the request on to Louise to see if the panel can discuss the issue as a future agenda item.


[Alan Dollery]:  I have a letter from a councillor dated 2006, about a request for 20 mph signs in Prenton Dell Road.  Speeding is a concern with vehicles travelling at 40 mph in early mornings and evenings.  I appreciate that they are not compulsory, but they would be a deterrent.


[Cllr Bridson]:  From discussions with officers I understand consideration may be given to illuminated traffic signs.  I will progress that.


[Cllr Williams]:  I’ve been wanting 20mph signs in the Holmlands, and I agree they are a reminder to act responsibly.  Other authorities are introducing them much more quickly.


[Tranmere Hall Estate Residents’ Association].  We asked a number of questions from David Green, but as you are no longer producing agenda papers, the answers were not given in writing.  A few years ago, the Council allocated funding for 20mph signs in all areas of Wirral.  In February, the Labour group directed the money to speed bumps.  The current controlling group reinstated the funding for compulsory 20 mph signs on all residential streets.  Speed bumps are fine and provide a quick fix to avoid accidents.

Default 20mph signs are only there for a few months and then they are moved on.  They are not a solution.  The solution is compulsory 20mph signs like you have in some areas of the country. We also put forward a number of suggestions for enforcement. 


The outward side of the illuminated sign in Woodchurch Road is illuminated permanently, therefore people are speeding.


[Richard Neale]:  The Neighbourhood Plan is extremely well presented.  We welcome the attempts to clean up Woodchurch Road shopping area, but there are one or two characters who are adding graffiti to the walls, particularly at the side of Aldi, and the restaurant being developed next to Sainsbury’s.  Hopefully something will be done about it.


[Public] The Council have provided  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.


Public question time


  Merseyside Police

Cannabis cultivation is a ‘growing’ trend, and more and more of this type of organised crime is being seen across Wirral.  Individual/gangs rent private properties, knock holes in walls and ceilings, extend the electricity cables, by-passing fuse boxes, and install high-powered electric lamps to provide the correct growing conditions for cannabis plants. 

The signs to look out for are curtains drawn all day, heavy condensation, or the property is boarded up from the inside, there is soil dumped in the garden, and there is a ‘funny’ smell.  The pungent smell is the reason that cannabis is called ‘skunk’.  Another name is ‘weed’ because plants grow like weeds and reach mature plants from cuttings in 10/12 weeks.

The Officer urged anyone who notices anything suspicious in their neighbourhood to contact their local Police or Crimestoppers.

The Chair thanked the Police Officer for the presentation.



The vehicle that goes round clearing the cutters.  I live in a one way street, and it’s very dangerous if someone is going the wrong way down a one way street.  It needs attention.



Bebington Road outside Victoria Park, why have they have lost two car spaces?


[Cllr. Realey]:  I asked them to look at that because it was dangerous on the corner.


[Cllr.Bridson]:  I am discussing the issue with Officers after several residents contacted me unhappy about this. All the people were notified of the work but they didn’t see the difficulties until it after it happened. . People are now objecting and we need to resolve the problem.


The state of the roads in Oxton particularly, and in the Borough generally, I asked the general question, ‘Do we pay for ‘cheap’ jobs on the roads, or pay for first class jobs?’ and the answer was not forthcoming.  Claughton Firs, and Willan Street, and lots of roads in the Borough are full of pot holes.


[Cllr Brighouse]: We have experimented with different types of road surfaces and some have not been a success.  A good example is Shrewsbury Road and in that particular case the contractor has not been paid.  Where jobs are not done to the standards we required, then Colas are not paid for it.  Hopefully we will have a successful outcome.


[Mr Dowling]:  A supplementary question.  The painted line markings.  The approach to Morrison’s in New Brighton, they are not marked and it is dangerous.  There are no indications on the road where you should halt.


[Cllr Doughty]:  There will be a report shortly about the performance of that contractor.  There are issues of great dissatisfaction with the standards of workmanship.


[Chair]:  Specific locations will be looked at and checked.


I’m working with a couple of charities, and firstly would like to make an appeal for donations of old wellies for use as planters in Oxton Village.  Also I have only just heard about plans  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Partner Updates



Proposed use of TA barracks at Chetwynd:  [Andy Groome].  We are building seven new fire stations on Merseyside – the one in Birkenhead will be starting this year.

The original proposal was to operate from a temporary fire station on site.  Instead there was a major publicity exercise and consultation with local residents in Wexford Road and a distance beyond, and with local ward councillors, on a proposal to temporarily relocate the fire station to the TA Barracks in Wexford Road. 

The proposal is to locate the operational appliances and nine staff to Chetwynd House for 13 months whilst the Exmouth Street building is demolished and replaced with a smaller building.

An analysis of response times indicated that all the areas covered can be reached within a response time of five minutes; the only noticeable impact was in parts of the Rock Ferry area.  After extensive consideration, it was decided that the best access point would be to Bidston Road.  The plans are on the website. 

Cllr Doughty stated that he lives in Village Road in Oxton, a short distance away from the TA barracks, and he was not aware of the fire station.  He suggested that a wider consultation would have been more useful; people in Oxton are affected.

Mr Dowling stated that from the presentation and discussion, he wouldn’t be able to say exactly where things are on the matter of the fire station at Chetwynd.  He asked, ‘Has it been decided in principle that it will go ahead, or is it still under discussion?’  He also commented on the volume of traffic on Bidston Road, and if appliances exit from Chetwynd on to Bidston Road, the parking going towards St Saviour’s Church and on both sides of Berisford Road would make access impossible for emergency vehicles.

The Chair replied that the planning application is still in the consultation stage and has not yet been determined.  All the issues were raised at the public meetings and there will be a further meeting.



Public Enquiry Offices at Police Stations:  Following publicity in the local press, only two Police Stations – Birkenhead and Wallasey – are now open to the public.  Birkenhead Police Station is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Wallasey Police Station is open on Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 10 pm.  The public can contact the Police for emergency purposes using the national number – 101.  Although the remaining stations are closed to the public, Police Officers will continue to work out of those stations. 

Cannabis cultivation:  Plant pots and gardening equipment recovered from cannabis cultivation have been donated to Woodchurch High School for use in the school’s garden area.  Donations of unwanted garden equipment would be welcome and can be put to use.

There have been a series of armed robberies in Wirral, mainly at off-licences premises during the evening.  Stills from CCTV  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Future meetings


Date of Next Meeting  

    Wednesday, 20 June 2012 at a venue to be advised.


The Chair thanked everyone for their patience and participation and closed the meeting of the Area Forum at 9.05 pm.