Agenda and minutes
Venue: Westbourne Hall, Westbourne Road, West Kirby, Wirral CH48 4DQ
Contact: Tracey Smith Area Forum Co-ordinator
Welcome, introductions and apologies
The Chair, Councillor Gerry Ellis, opened the meeting and welcomed approximately 70 members of the public to the meeting in West Kirby. He invited members of the forum to introduce themselves.
· Minutes of last meeting and matters arising
The Area Co-ordinator presented her report containing the minutes of the meeting on 16 February 2009, and local updates on Community Safety Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, Equality and Diversity, Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Wirral Primary Care Trust, Wired, Youth, Transport and Wirral’s Older People’s Parliament.
Gary Evans pointed out that during the discussion on the proposed hotel and the Sail, people had made reference to ‘the sailing club’. The minutes should be amended to made it clear that at all times people are referring to the ‘sailing school’.
The Area Co-ordinator gave a brief update on ‘You Decide’. In 2008, people filled in the ‘You Decide’ survey to say on which services they wanted to spend the grant of £20,000 awarded to the area forum for additional services. The people in this area had chosen to spend the funding on additional litter bins and sports facilities for young people. The Area Co-ordinator introduced Joanne Harland, who has been appointed Community sports development worker to develop sporting activities in the community. Four additional litter bins will be placed in West Kirby.
A further £20,000 is available in 2009. Members of the community are invited to take part in the You Decide Survey 2009, by indicating which five of the Council services listed they would most like the £20,000 to be spent on.
In addition, there is an additional sum of £18,200 for each area forum to spend on Council highway and road safety schemes. Members of the community are invited to indicate which three services listed on page 4 of the You Decide survey they would like the allocation to be spent on this year. The You Decide survey is available on line on the Council’s website.
In response to a query, Caroline Laing explained that the Respect Bus referred to on page 2 of the You Decide survey is a resource which is used by the Anti-Social Behaviour team. The bus is taken into the community and used by the Police and youth workers to work with young people. The service offered in You Decide is in relation to Enforcement Officers using the bus in areas of anti-social behaviour.
The closing date for the receipt of completed You Decide surveys is 28 August 2009. Members of the area forum with then meet to assess the responses and draw up a priority list, based on the feedback received.
The questions under About You on pages 5/6 of the survey are to ensure that the questionnaire has reached all sections of Wirral’s communities, that they have the opportunity to become involved in the decision making process and can access council services. Completion of this section is not compulsory, but it does help with quality and diversity and compliance with the Council’s quality mark. The Area Co-ordinator gave an assurance that the information given in this section will be treated in total confidence.
Resolved: That –
i the minutes of the February meeting of the Area Forum be confirmed; ... view the full minutes text for item 2.
Seven Waves Radio
The Chair welcomed John Martin, Community Development Officer for 7 Waves Community Radio.
7 Waves Community Radio is a state of the art media centre housed in a new building opened in July 2008 in Twickenham Drive, Leasowe, on the site of the old community centre.
7 Waves is a registered charity funded by European funding and is a partnership between Arena Housing, Wirral Council and the Leasowe Youth and Community Association. Any profits made are invested in the community. The station has been awarded a 5-year licence by Ofcom and broadcasts live 24 hours a day/7 days a week on 92.1.FM. The target audience is the whole Wirral population. Daytime programming is focused on the 25-55 age groups, and offers a mix of essential local information, local news and music. Specialist evening shows give added value to the offer.
7 Waves non-music features include global, international and local news, traffic and travel, weather, faith interviews, local sports events and interviews, community events, topical debate, health concerns and awareness, business interviews, job and training vacancies, leisure news, school news and events.
The new media-training centre has two radio training suites, two broadcasting suites, a news suite and a live room for use by local bands and artistes.
7 Waves radio runs 12-week radio production courses using industry standard equipment, that enables students to learn all aspects of the radio industry, including editing, writing radio commercials, voice-overs, interviewing, making jingles and presentation skills. Students are given the opportunity to broadcast on air at the end of the course.
Resolved: That John Martin be thanked for a most interesting presentation.
Community halls and libraries update
The Chair invited Jim Lester, Head of Cultural Services, to update the meeting on the Strategy Asset Review.
Jim Lester reported that a public inquiry on the libraries conducted by Sue Charteris at the Floral Pavilion has just been concluded. The report is expected by the end of July when the Council will consider what further action, if any, they will take. The Council had suspended the closures when the public inquiry was announced and the libraries will remain open pending the outcome of the inquiry.
Councillor Hale reported that he had attended the public inquiry on the Tuesday and Wednesday and had given evidence in favour of keeping the libraries open. He had been impressed with every speaker from every community from Wirral who spoke at that inquiry. An amazing case had been put forward to keep the libraries open particularly on the Wednesday morning when people had been questioned most closely. Their responses had been outstanding.
Councillor Green reported that he had also attended the inquiry, and he agreed with Councillor Hale’s comments about the input by a range of people who were in favour of retaining the libraries. Councillor Green had asked whether an Equality and Impact Assessment had been carried out prior to the closure, and what the current status of that is. Sue Charteris had asked the same question, but it appeared that a full Equality and Impact Assessment has not been undertaken for any of the centres.
Jim Lester continued that the process of looking at transferring the community halls and community centres has started as outlined in the SAR. Discussions have been held with centre management committees locally and a joint meeting has been held with three community centres. The commissioning of structural surveys on the building has begun and the process will continue, on a two-year timescale.
Councillor Hale reported on discussions at the joint meeting about the repairs needed to the buildings, and concerns about whether the surveys will be extensive enough to cover all the problems identified so that the management committees know exactly what they are taking on.
Jim Lester explained that Social Funding is a Community Fund which is topped up annually and has about £2.5 to £3 million this year. An undertaking has been given to try and transfer assets in a good condition. The intention is to do full surveys, to find out any issues within the buildings and put them right. The Council does not want to transfer assets and then see the community fail. To help avoid this, the communities will be helped with business planning etc. It is a complex operation, but there are already three pilots that are quite advanced in other areas. The intention is that all buildings will be put in good order and there is money in the community fund to do that.
A member of the public asked the questions: ‘How much money will the Council save by selling off the halls, and where will that money ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Public question time
The Chair explained that, in his absence, Howard Mortimer has submitted a Position Statement on Hoylake & West Kirby Regeneration He drew attention to the section of the report that referred to The Sail and the hotel, and the resolution of Wirral Council’s Cabinet on 23 April, that -
Officers be instructed to undertake further discussions with Carpenter Investments and the Council’s appointed independent financial consultants with a further report to be submitted to Cabinet in the next 6 months to enable it to take a final view on the future of the project.’
Councillor Hale reported that between the last meeting of this area forum and the Cabinet meeting on 23 April, a new factor had been introduced which was intended to make up for the loss of the car park. The plateau would become the new car parking area, managed by Carpenters. This would mean that people towing trailers and with boats would have to manoeuvre between the car spaces.
A member of the public asked why a new hotel was needed in West Kirby at all, given that the number of hotels that have closed in West Kirby.
The Chair replied that local councillors had been asking the question for three years. The Cabinet members are aware that councillors and the public are totally opposed to the proposal. It will be interesting to see what is decided in six months’ time, and it will be timely to re-open the discussion at the next area forum meeting.
David Green was pleased to report that work on the repairs to the wall is due to finish towards the end of July. Work started in the winter but stopped due to the financial collapse of the original contractor. Another contractor was appointed and this caused a few weeks’ delay. The work, which cost around £1.5 million, has been funded from a grant from the Environmental Agency.
The contractor will be asked to remove the debris and metal objects which have been dumped in the lake over the years, before the lake is refilled and brought back into use.
The Dee Lane project is still on the drawing board and efforts are continuing to secure funding for it to go ahead. The development of Dee Lane is not dependent on the Concourse or the Sail projects.
A member of the public proposed that –
A vote of thanks be passed to David Green for his actions in ensuring that another contractor was appointed without delay following the collapse of the first one, and that this prompt action has meant that minimum delay has been caused in completing the work on the wall.
Following a petition from traders, a decision has been made to postpone plans to pilot test the pedestrianisation of The Crescent for the time being.
John Davies responded to a query concerning access to The Crescent by emergency vehicles. He reassured people that, notwithstanding carelessly parked vehicles, emergency crews are able to access all the properties in the Crescent ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Partner Organisations Update
The Chair drew attention to the written reports included in the Area Co-ordinator’s Report from Streetscene, NHS Wirral, Wirral University NHS Trust, Merseyside Police/Community Safety, the Fire Service, and the Older peoples parliament.
The Older People’s Parliament would like everyone over the age of 50 to become Associates so that as many people as possible are working towards the facilities and services for older people in Wirral. Application forms and further information was available at the meeting.
Lyn Benstead read out a Press Statement regarding Swine Flu issued by the Health Protection Agency. The Health Protection Agency had reported that a spokesman for Arrowe Park Hospital had stated:
‘We can confirm that a man from Wirral with confirmed H1N1v [swine flu] infection was initially given a negative test result in error. This was an administrative mistake for which we apologise. He was given the correct test result the following day, Monday June 15. The decision to allow him to return to work yesterday was made on clinical grounds because he had recovered from the illness and is not infectious. He does not pose a risk to people who work with him and the decision to allow him to return to work was correct.’
David Green advised that, from 1 April 2009, a new partner has delivered many services provided by Streetscene. Roads in Wirral continue to be safe places to drive on and the Council’s performance in reducing accidents on the road has improved.
Waste recycling facilities have been rolled out to most multi-occupancy dwellings. Consideration is being given to facilities for recycling food waste in the future.
Land has been secured for the Thurstaston cross road scheme to go ahead. The contract is out to tender with a start on site in the spring 2010.
Date of future meetings - Wednesday 14th October 2009
The next meeting will be held on 14 OCTOBER 2009 at a venue to be confirmed.
The Chair thanked everyone and closed the meeting.