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
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.
Public question time
PRESENTATION ON CANNABIS CULTIVATION
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.
3. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
MERSEYSIDE FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE
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.
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.