Agenda and minutes
Venue: Bikenhead Town Hall
Contact: Lyndzay Roberts
Appointment of Chair and Vice Chair for the Municipal Year 2016-17
The Legal Advisor to the Committee invited nominations for the appointment of the Chair.
On a motion by Councillor P Davies, seconded by Councillor A Davies, it was –
Resolved – That Councillor George Davies be appointed Chair of the Birkenhead Constituency Committee for the ensuing municipal year.
The Legal Advisor to the Committee then requested nominations for appointment of Vice-Chair.
On a motion by Councillor P Davies and seconded by Councillor J Stapleton, it was –
Resolved – That Councillor Moira McLaughlin be appointed Vice-Chair of the Birkenhead Constituency Committee for the ensuing municipal year.
The Chair thanked Frank Field MP for the work he had done in respect of this Committee and also the work he would continue to do for the constituency.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from:
Councillor P Doughty
Councillor S Kelly
Councillor J McManus
Councillor T Norbury
Mr J Blott, Strategic Director, Transformation and Resources
Members' Code of Conduct - Declarations of Interest
Members are asked to consider whether they have any disclosable pecuniary interests 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.
Councillor Steve Foulkes, declared a prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 4 - Minutes and item 9 – Public Questions and Answers - by virtue of reference being made to Magenta Living, of which he is a Board Member.
Councillor Jean Stapleton declared a personal interest in respect of agenda item 6 – Birkenhead Business Improvement District – by virtue of being a Member of the Steering Group who had submitted a bid.
The Committee be requested to approve the accuracy of minutes of the meeting held on 21 January 2016.
That the minutes of the meeting held on 21 January 2016 be agreed as a correct record subject to the amendment of the attendance list to reflect the presence of Councillor Angela Davies.
Presentation - Wirral Area Commander
To receive a presentation from Chief Superintendent, Ian Hassall.
The Committee considered a presentation by Chief Superintendent Ian Hassall.
He provided an outline of the current position in the Birkenhead constituency, the work being done and changes that would be undertaken.
Chief Superintendent Hassall reported that there had been a downward trend in respect of the number of reported incidents of anti-social behaviour which included a 28% decrease within Wirral and a 30% decrease within the 7 beats area.
He advised that there had been a reduction in crime from April 2015 to March 2016 and that the current figures could be used to identify hotspots where resources could be placed. He further advised that there was a high footfall of social media crime in Birkenhead and Wallasey.
Members were informed that a collaborative approach would be taken as it was recognised that it was effective to use a multi-agency approach to target ASB, volume crime and serious organised crime, particularly through intelligence sharing. A Wirral ASB team was co-located at Wallasey Police Station and a detective constable had been appointed to the Wirral Priority Team to establish and develop partnerships with other agencies. Multi agency days utilised partners including enforcement officers, Licensing, Trading Standards, Social Services, HMRC, RSPCA, DVLA/VOSA, Immigration, WASB Team, Catch 22, Barnardo’s, Utilities and Illegal Money Lending Team.
Chief Superintendent Hassall explained that there were a number of initiatives underway in respect of controlled drinking environments and advised that a lot of work, including the Reducing the Strength campaign, had been undertaken. He referred to the myriad of partnership working on The Beechwood Estate.
It was reported that there had been positive feedback in respect of the Collaborative Events which included the Birkenhead Summer Festival, ASB Play, Litter Picks, Town Centre PSG and Pride in your alley.
In respect of moving forward, it was reported that a number of old buildings had been closed down some of which had been sold and that there would be community Police Stations, to be close to other partners and to provide drop in surgeries. Work would also be undertaken with Birkenhead First and The Hive. During this transition it was also hoped that staffing shifts would be provided to meet demands.
In response to questions from Members, Chief Superintendent Hassall advised that Merseyside had not seen the same replication as other areas in respect of incidents of hate crime and that this seemed to have levelled off nationally. He also reported that there would be more resources in place and there would be an increase in the numbers of staff in the response portfolio for emergency calls. He stressed that sharing information was key in making sure that correct areas were targeted and to enable discussions to take place in respect of what activity each agency could put in place.
The Chair reiterated the importance of a collaborative approach and agreed that this approach would be the way forward.
Resolved – That Chief Superintendent Hassall be thanked for his presentation.
Presentation - Birkenhead Business Improvement District
To receive a presentation from the Chief Executive Officer, Paula Basnett.
Mr K Adderley gave a presentation in respect of Birkenhead First.
He reported that further to consultation taking place, local businesses had voted in favour of introducing a Business Improvement District where a levy of 1.5% would be applied to business rates.
Mr Adderley advised that the Chamber of Commerce had worked together with the Council and that the key priorities were for a safer, more secure, cleaner, more attractive Birkenhead; better marketing and promotion of Birkenhead and better support for businesses. Members were informed that a steering group had been set up and an outline of the area where the BID would be operating was provided. It was believed that it was important to have a voice for the business community and that Birkenhead First would bring businesses together by creating one voice for the business community, which would allow lobbying local authorities on the issues that matter most to the businesses in Birkenhead. Quarterly meetings had been held and town hosts had been introduced which had proven to be a huge asset for Birkenhead. Town hosts would act as ambassadors for Birkenhead providing visitor information and work together with the local authorities and police to discourage anti-social behaviour and provide a uniformed presence in the town. It was reported that the town hosts had already been involved with the anti-social behaviour team and that 31 reports had been made with two people having been banned from the town centre as a result. They also identified a number of issues in respect of the environment and as a result planters had been moved to Woodside and filled with flowers.
A programme of events was underway, the first of which had been held on Tuesday 26 July where over 6,000 people had visited Hamilton Square. This had also demonstrated a positive effect on surrounding businesses.
The business support service would offer practical advice and information to businesses and the programme of events planned for 2016 and into 2017, would raise the profile of Birkenhead within the wider Wirral community and to tourists, generate interest and knowledge of the area, increase footfall for retailers and create a positive image of Birkenhead as a safe and secure child and family-friendly town.
It was reported that over the next five years Birkenhead First would continue to demonstrate commitment to the town and its people and would also continue to listen to, and work for, the benefit of businesses in the BID area.
In response to questions from Members, Mr Adderley advised that the monies spent would be available for the public to access. He also reported that works could not be carried out that were the responsibility of the public sector, however work would be undertaken with the Council in respect of signage and lighting.
Members expressed their support for the Birkenhead Business Improvement District.
Resolved – That Mr Adderley be thanked for his presentation.
Presentation - Health and Worklessness Project
To receive a presentation from Beverley Staniford, Economic Policy Team.
Ms J Webster gave a presentation in respect of the Health and Worklessness Project.
Members were advised that work in this field had been ongoing since 2014 and Ms Webster referred to the fact that Public Health had moved under the responsibility of the Council in 2013. It was reported that being in work was good for mental health and wellbeing. Statistics were provided in relation to percentages of worklessness and it was also reported that 50% of all claims made were mental health related. Members were advised that health, employment and community organisations had been invited to practitioner workshops to share professional insight/experience and a number of questions had been identified.
Ms Webster informed Members that work had been undertaken with local businesses and a workshop hosted by Wirral Chamber had highlighted the fact that physical problems are ‘easier’ to deal with than mental health. She referred to research undertaken by ESRO to understand the demands and challenges to be fit for work and advised that more than twenty stakeholder interviews had taken place and that 150 people had been spoken to who were providers of services eg Job Centre, Arch Initiatives. A bleak picture had been found of people feeling a deep sense of isolation and loneliness. Social networks had got smaller and smaller which had led to mental health issues being exacerbated. A danger of creating dependency and negative views had led to demotivation. A negative feedback loop was demonstrated with many respondents existing in the grey area which contained unrealistic goals, overly basic support and confusing service provision landscape.
It was reported that funding had been identified to commission a network of community connectors to engage and support local people to get them back to where they needed to be.
Resolved – That Ms Webster be thanked for her presentation.
To receive an update in relation to:
Keeping Birkenhead Clean
· Update from the Involve project
· Birkenhead in Bloom 2016
· Clean-up programme for 2016
· Feeding Birkenhead update
Rock Ferry Hub
St James Hub
· Your Wirral Update
Road Safety update
· Birkenhead Road Safety initiatives update and allocation of 2016-17 funds
The Constituency Manager provided an update on progress of projects funded by budgets devolved to the Birkenhead Constituency Committee. A finance summary sheet for the Birkenhead Constituency Committee budget and expenditure was attached to the report as an appendix.
Also attached to the report were appendices which the Constituency Manager presented to the Committee in relation to updates on Clean-ups, the Birkenhead Food hub and the Birkenhead Library Health, Wellbeing and Reading Park.
The Constituency Manager provided further information to the Committee on the following:
Birkenhead in Bloom
The Constituency Manager reported that this had been a very successful day which had brought £15,000 from different sources and confirmed that it was a really positive way of getting the community together to improve the environment. She advised Members that almost £5,000 had been used to hire 44 skips for clean ups in a number of areas throughout Birkenhead and that an estimated 33,000 tonnes of rubbish had been removed as a result of the clean-up days.
The Constituency Manager advised that the ‘Community Pay Back’ team had done a lot of work involving cleaning, weeding and painting and that this work would continue in the future.
(1) That the successful completion of Birkenhead in Bloom areas; Involve North West contract and community clean ups, work by probation and the related spend on skips be noted.
(2) That an invitation to tender for a further grotspots project be put out on the chest, allocation amount to be agreed, to be overseen by the Environment Task Group.
(3) That £5,000 be allocated to the 2016-17 skip fund.
(4) That £20,000 be allocated for environment works for 2016-17.
The Constituency Manager reported that £15,000 had been invested into three food hubs: Rock Ferry, Beechwood and Bidston and St James.
A representative from the Bidston and St James food hub addressed the meeting and advised that a weekly programme of activities had been run which included after school clubs where children and parents could eat. She advised that 110 meals had been provided during that week and that they were working closely with the Local Authority and Children’s Centres to encourage families to attend. She informed Members that together with Lifelong Learning they were hoping to provide adult cookery classes with an optional qualification in Food Hygiene, Nutrition and Allergy Awareness. She believed that partnership was key and advised that they were working closely with Beechwood and Gautby Road Community Centres.
A representative from the Rock Ferry food hub was also in attendance. She advised that the venue had now changed to Beaconsfield Community House and a lot more support could be offered. She reported that 1637 meals and snacks had been delivered throughout the year of running the programme. Members were informed that Rock Ferry food hub ran a weekly large social supermarket and allowed people to pay what they could in money, skills or time. She reported that 1235 kilos of food had been intercepted and redistributed and ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
PUBLIC QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
The Chair referred to the pre-raised questions that had been received by the Committee and invited those present to address the Committee in respect of the questions raised.
Question 2 Patrick Dowling
Mr Dowling requested a report from Mr Field in respect of averting the closure of the Woodside Ferry. He also queried whether there had been a separate ceremony for Armed Forces Day other than the one held in Hamilton Square.
Mr Dowling had received a response advising that Frank Field would be meeting with Liam Robinson (Chair of Merseytravel) and Councillor Paul Doughty to discuss the options for securing the long term future of the Ferry Terminal.
Councillor Foulkes expanded upon this at the meeting and advised that a meeting had been held at Merseytravel earlier that day and that Frank Field had engaged with Merseytravel to discuss the development of the Birkenhead Plan. Councillor Foulkes also advised that a sum of money would be spent on the landing stage and that Councillor Doughty had also taken part in the discussions.
A written response was also provided stating that the Armed Forces Day had been organised by a third party. While the Council had given permission for the event to take place on Council land the third sector group had taken responsibility for the organising and running of it.
Members of the Committee also advised that Councillors had been present at different locations where events had been held in respect of the Armed Forces Day.
Question 3 Alan Dollery
Mr Dollery raised the following query:
The Prenton Tenants and Residents Association has been running for over 15 years and over those years we have had the normal amount of complaints over street parking, we have approached the Wirral Council over this matter 2 years ago, and we were told of the complexity of preventing pavement parking due to various situations in and around the areas involved. We have also informed the police because they are the only ones that can prosecute the offender/s again nothing has been done.
Recently we the PTRA went around the estate due to having quite a few complaints coming in to our shop from residents. We found no fewer than 22 cars fully parked on the pavements, this surely is against the law. I need to inform the residents effected by this alarming increase to pavement parking in our area what action if any can be done.
I therefore would like to ask the meeting if they can they look at our situation again, and although money is tight, I feel that more lay-byes could be introduced to alleviate some of the problem areas we have. The areas most effected are Prenton Dell Road, Garrick Road, Boswell Road. Prenton Dell Road being the route taken by Mums with prams going to the local Doctors surgery have to walk on the roads to get past a car parked on the pavement. Please advise on what action can be applied legally.
Mr Dollery received ... view the full minutes text for item 9.