Agenda and minutes
Venue: St Chads Church Hall, Roslin Road, Irby, Wirral CH61 3UH
Contact: Bryn Griffiths 0151 691 8117
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.
Members were asked to consider whether they had 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.
The following declarations were made:
Councillor Wendy Clements: Interest in Item 3 as she is a Trustee of Greasby Community Association
Councillor Tom Anderson: Interest in Item 3 as he is a Trustee of Greasby Community Association
Community Representative Jackie Hall: Interest in Item 3 as she is a Trustee of Greasby Community Association
Councillor Jeff Green: Personal interest as Chairman of Wirral Golf Club Ltd
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from councillors Phillip Brightmore, Andrew Gardner, Tony Smith, Mike Sullivan and Geoffrey Watt
Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting held on 4 October 2018 be approved.
Caroline Laing, Neighbourhoods Constituency Manager introduced a report which set out details of applications made to Wirral West Community Fund for decision by Wirral West Constituency Committee.
The Chair noted that he was concerned that funding for a defibrillator for Bertram Tennis Court could be deemed ineligible. The chair noted that the cost for this defibrillator was listed in the report and asked if the committee was willing to allow funding to be used for this request. Members agreed to allow this funding.
Councillor Stuart Whittingham put on record his thanks to everyone that had been involved with the Wirral West Community Fund.
Caroline Laing stated that the number of people that voted on the funding requests was 2294 in answer to a question from the Chair. The Chair stated that putting these funding requests to the public vote was an innovation that made the process more transparent.
The Chair put on record the committee’s thanks to all the groups that have applied for funding and to the residents that have participated by voting.
(1) the Wirral West Community Fund requests be noted and approved.
(2) The request for funding of a defibrillator for Bertram Tennis Court be approved.
Urgent Care Consultation - Jacqui Evans (Assistant Director - Unplanned Care and Community Care Market Commissioning)
Jacqui Evans, Assistant Director, Unplanned Care and Community Care Market Commissioning, gave an update on plans for urgent care access. It was noted that the consultation was in place to improve access to urgent care for resident of the Wirral as there was a variance across the Wirral in terms of the offer of urgent care such as differing opening hours. The committee was informed that no definitive position had yet been reached and that while the consultation had concluded on 12th December 2018, the information received was being analysed by an independent analysis company and that a report was due back from them by the 3rd week of April 2019. There have also been a number of alternative suggestions from other providers including some primary care federations and those proposals are being considered in detail.
An urgent care stakeholder group had been established since December 2018 that has been meeting monthly to review progress. It was noted that this is considered to be national best practice.
Jacqui Evans noted that the biggest change to the current offer would be an urgent treatment centre being set-up at Arrowe Park hospital. This would be run by GPs and nurses and would help to free up the emergency department.
The Chair stated that currently the Wirral has walk-in centres in Wallasey, Birkenhead and Eastham and they are quite large, this could create a blockage if they are shut.
Jacqui Evans stated that of all the visitors to Arrowe Park Urgent Treatment Centre, 47% could have been treated by a nurse. There have been delays in ambulances being released. She stated that patients would have access to a GP in their local area if they need urgent care that day. The CCG want a consistent offer to all patients.
Councillor Burgess-Joyce asked why the Wirral failed to get funding from NHS England and whether pharmacies are charging the NHS £28 each time they give patients medical advice.
Jacqui Evans explained that NHS England had indicated that Wirral’s funding bid was good but that it was mis-timed and funding had been reduced nationally. She stated that she was not sure of the figure of £28 being charged by pharmacies and would look into it.
Cllr Cox highlighted that communication was a key issue and asked how patients would be informed of where to go for the correct treatment.
Jacqui Evans acknowledged that communication needed to be improved. She stated that the consultation is not about moving all the urgent care to Arrowe Park. They will come back with the best recommendations based on the feedback received. She stated that they had not got communications right in the past and they would be working with councillors and residents on how to best communicate to patients how to best access the correct services.
Cllr Whittingham highlighted that some bus services have been cancelled and asked how this has been taken into account by the review.
Jacqui Evans that there was a regular access ... view the full minutes text for item 41.
Hoylake Golf Resort
David Ball, assistant director Major Growth Projects, gave a brief update on the Hoylake Golf Resort plans. He stated that at the Extraordinary Council Meeting on 25 February 2019, the outcome was to take funding and phasing plans to scrutiny committee, who would then make recommendations to Cabinet. There was currently no timescale and was aware that there would be a new leader after the local elections in May. A referral will be made to cabinet in July.
Cllr Burgess-Joyce stated that some councillors had tried to vote against the project at the last Council meeting but were defeated. He asked where does the decision go after Cabinet?
David Ball clarified that the decision stops at Cabinet as an executive decision.
The Chair highlighted that a budget of £26m had been supported by the Cabinet and asked how much money has been spent on this project so far.
David Ball explained that he did not have an exact figure to hand but that it was in the last Cabinet report. Money had been put aside for consultancy support but it had not yet been spent.
The Chair opened questions up to the public.
A Stephanie Miller asked for an update on the Hoylake Golf Course funding and phasing plan and to know if there was a financial clause in the plan to pay compensation to the Nicklaus Joint Venture Group and Celtic Manor should the council decide to pull out of the scheme.
The Chair asked for reassurance that there are no severance costs associated with the Hoylake golf course contract.
David Ball explained that the council has entered into a development agreement with Celtic Manor and if the council were to break that agreement then they could be open to legal action. He stated that these were standard terms and conditions and covered breaches of condition for both sides. He also stated that he was developing an agreement between the council and the Nicklaus Joint Venture Group.
The Chair stated that answers to these questions should be made available to all.
A Ken Barnes asked 2 questions:
1. In recent media articles and on their website, the Hoylake Golf Resort developers have stated that the Golf Resort Link Road will not be funded from the public purse.
Yet in the report to cabinet of December 2017, it was stated that the Link Road would be funded either by a grant from the Liverpool City Region or by the sale of the publicly owned land for the Resort. Please could you clarify how the Golf Resort Roads will be funded?
2. Please can you provide an update on the proposal to “off load” municipal golf courses to private management companies. How many companies have shown an interest in taking on the courses and when are they likely to be transferred to the “private companies”?
David Ball could not give an answer on the second question as he is not working on the proposals for municipal golf courses.
David Ball stated ... view the full minutes text for item 42.
Caroline Laing, acting constituency manager, read from the report “Getting the Basics Right “Implementing a new Model for Community Engagement” regarding the distribution of funding across wards.
The Chair stated that West Kirby, Thurstaston and Hoylake and Meols wards are looking go back to the old style of ward budget management and felt it would make sense to stay with the same officer to manage this.
Update from Community Representative
Verbal report – 10 minutes will be allocated for this item / discussion.
Jackie Hall, Community Representative, made a suggestion to the audience member that raised the issue of dilapidated table tennis equipment; to look at the under-spends in the community fund and see if your local councillors can find the money to help.
Jackie Hall highlighted that Hoylake and Meols wards have so many community groups that they never have enough funds to get grants from and are always overspent. She stated that the £35k spent on Christmas lights came from the community groups directly and was not paid for by the council. She suggested that if other wards had such strong community groups that the Wirral would be a much better place.
Community Question Time
50 minutes will be allocated for this item / discussion.
A Peter Surridge, a representative of the Friends in Retirement Table Tennis Club at West Kirby Concourse, raised the dilapidated condition of the clubs table tennis tables and that the West Kirby Concourse will receive a share of a £340k fund for Wirral leisure centre improvements but that it will be spent on new consoles. He wished to know how to get funding for 4 new tables, which he estimated would cost no more than £1000 to replace all 4.
The Chair relayed an answer provided in advance to this question: a new Team Leader (Manager) to West Kirby Concourse – Mr Mike Henderson, has recently been appointed, and the Friends in Retirement Table Tennis Club should contact Mike in the first instance and then come to your local councillors from there. He also highlighted that there were going to be changes to budgets that would give councillors individual budgets.
A John Heath raised a number of issues relating to development on the greenbelt and the quoted government figures for houses that need to be built on the Wirral. He stated that there is no need to release any greenbelt for development until at least 2028. He queried what need there was for houses for additional 20k people when population on the Wirral is not rising.
David Ball stated that he would supply John with a written answer and would be happy to meet with him to discuss the figures.
A man in the audience stated that he had attended a meeting with Peel Holdings in Heswall where they stated that they had enough brown belt land to build 14,000 homes. He also stated that there are 4,500 empty homes in the Wirral so why do we need to build on the green belt?
A Roy Baston stated that flooding was a serious concern and that if the relevant company hasn’t had a survey of the land done already then it was criminal, and the plans should not have got this far.
David Ball stated that the Nicklaus Joint Venture Group have done some surveys and that when the development comes through the planning stages there will need to be further surveys done at a greater depth.
A lady in the audience asked about the Wirral’s need for new housing and suggested that the council’s press release on the subject was misleading in stating that central government was forcing the council to stick with the standard method calculating a housing target. She quoted a recent letter from the secretary of state to Council Leader Phil Davies stating that the standard method for assessing housing need does not produce a housing target and that the authority should make a realistic assessment of the number of homes needed. She also stated that the Housing Minister Kit Malthouse had said that the governments targets were not mandatory and that any inspector would accept a variance from that target if properly evidenced. She asked why is the barrister being employed by the council at ... view the full minutes text for item 45.
To consider any other items of business that the Chair accepts as being urgent.
Caroline Laing, acting constituency manager, gave a budget update for the committee. The community fund is currently underspent and any unspent funding would be returned to the council at the end of the financial year unless otherwise committed.
Caroline concluded by mentioning the Transport Plan for Growth Fund with a list of potential schemes from the Road Safety Panel made up of one Member from each ward.
The committee agreed to endorse these schemes.
The Chair stated that they would need to get funding agreed for community schemes as soon as possible to ensure that they do not lose the funding.
Caroline Laing stated that spending requests needed to be made by the following week to ensure they can be processed before the end of the financial year.
The Chair closed the meeting and thanked officers