Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 1 - Wallasey Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Andrew Mossop 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and noted that no further apologies had been received other than for Councillor John Hale who had a deputy standing in for him.


Members' Code of Conduct - Declarations of Interest / Party Whip

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 are reminded that they should also declare whether they are subject to a party whip in connection with any item(s) to be considered and, if so, to declare it and state the nature of the whipping arrangement.


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.


Members were reminded that they should also declare whether they were subject to a party whip in connection with any item(s) to be considered and, if so, to declare it and state the nature of the whipping arrangement.


Councillor Blakeley declared that he had attended the workshop meeting earlier that month at which he and other Members had made their opposition known to proposals for parking charges.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To approve the accuracy of the minutes of the meetings held on 29 November and 7 December, 2016.

Additional documents:


Members were requested to receive the minutes of the Business Overview and Scrutiny Committee meetings held on 29 November and 7 December, 2016.


Resolved – That the minutes of the meetings of 29 November and 7 December, 2016, be approved.


Update on Liverpool City Region Developments pdf icon PDF 83 KB


The Chair agreed to vary the order of business and to take this item next.


Rose Boylan, Policy and Strategy Manager, introduced a report and gave a presentation setting out a brief overview of latest developments at the Liverpool City Region (LCR), including the outcome of the recent Governance review and activity underway to implement the City Region devolution deal.


A review of the LCR CA constitution was underway, and a revised constitution would be circulated imminently to fully reflect the powers and functions contained within the LCR Order and other generic Orders applicable to the CA, together with how they would be implemented. Details and timescales for the Mayoral Elections were currently being finalised and would be circulated to Members shortly. The report also gave examples of an extensive range of activity on delivering projects, including: Business Rates Pilot; Single Investment Fund; Skills and Transport.


Responding to comments from Members Rose Boylan stated that ongoing discussions were being held with the Government on the Business Rates Pilot so no further details were available yet.


Resolved – That the report be noted.


Budget Proposals Workshop pdf icon PDF 85 KB

In connection with this item a presentation from officers will be made to the Committee on proposals regarding car parking.

Additional documents:


In view of the presence of a large number of public, the Chair agreed to vary the order of business and take this item next.


A report from the Chair presented the work of Business Overview & Scrutiny Committee in relation to scrutinising the 2017/18 budget proposals. A workshop had been held on 9 January for Members to explore in more detail the various budget proposals being put forward that fell under the remit of this committee. A report on the workshop was included as an appendix to the report. The Committee was requested to acknowledge this report as its response to the 2017/18 budget proposals to be referred on to Cabinet as part of its considerations in developing any budget recommendation to Council.


The Chair reiterated for the benefit of the public present that this Committee would only be discussing these proposals put forward by officers and no decisions were being taken.


Rob Clifford, Senior Manager – Commissioning, gave a presentation to the Committee on the details of the budget savings proposals for car parking charges. This included the proposals:


·  To increase parking charges by 50p on all existing tariffs.

·  To introduce a flat rate daily tariff of £4 for parking at Country Parks – Arrowe Country Park, Eastham Country Park, Royden Country Park, Wirral Country Park with charges at Birkenhead Park being introduced in 2018/19.

·  To introduce charging at locations where parking was currently free including some locations in New Brighton, West Kirby, Hoylake, Heswall, Liscard, Bromborough, Bebington, Irby, Upton and Moreton.


The total savings generated by these proposals would amount to £1.3m over 2017/18 and 2018/19.


The Chair then opened the matter up for debate by the Committee.


Councillor Blakeley expressed his disappointment that Members didn’t have the details on the proposals until last Wednesday, whereas it was made available to the press on the Friday before that. He suggested that officers had been secretive with the information. He remarked that the presentation had referred to the factoring in of drops in usage of car parks but had any assessment been made of the impact on side streets if parking charges were introduced in shopping areas and commented that it would do nothing to enhance the shopping experience.


The Chair stated that what was happening now was pre-decision scrutiny and it was ludicrous to suggest any secretiveness on the part of officers. No decisions had been made whatsoever and the proposals were out for public consultation.


The Assistant Chief Executive informed the meeting that the proposals formed part of a £33m package of measures put forward to go towards savings of £42m which were needed for 2017/18. He elaborated on the issue of information appearing in the press and stated that two entirely separate processes had been followed, one in which at the closed workshop Members had asked for a presentation to this Committee and secondly an enquiry made to the press office which the press officer was able to answer using information from the Statutory Notice which  ...  view the full minutes text for item 50.


Notice of Motion: Inward Investment pdf icon PDF 62 KB

At the meeting of the Council held on 17 October 2016 (minute 67 (3) refers), the attached Notice of Motion, ‘Inward Investment’ proposed by Councillor Phil Davies and seconded by Councillor Ann McLachlan was referred by the Mayor to the Business Overview and Scrutiny Committee for consideration.


The matter was deferred at the November meeting of this Committee (minute 35 refers – 29/11/16) to this meeting.


In accordance with Standing Order 7 (6), Councillor Davies has been invited to attend the meeting in order for him to be given an opportunity to explain the Motion.


Further to minute 35 (29/11/16), the Committee were requested to consider the following Notice of Motion proposed by Councillor Phil Davies and seconded by Councillor Ann McLachlan which had been referred by the Mayor at the Council meeting on 17 October, 2016 (minute 67 (3) refers) to this Committee for consideration –




“This council recognises economic growth is key to realising the Wirral Plan and delivering a better life for Wirral’s residents.


Council also notes, despite the government’s lack of enthusiasm for their former Chancellor’s flagship regeneration policy The Northern Powerhouse, this authority remains committed to working closely with other authorities in the region to drive economic success.


Council acknowledges the success to date of the Liverpool City Region in growing the economy – currently worth nearly £29billion with output increasing by 8.4% in the five years up to 2014 - and recognises Wirral’s economic future is tied to the continued success of the City region.


Council further notes the benefit of having Wirral Council’s Leader serve as the portfolio holder for Economic Development across the City Region and the added profile and opportunity this brings forward for Wirral.


Council is proud of the work being done by Liverpool City Region firms who have secured the 2nd highest incidence of high-growth firms in the UK, and by trade and business networks supported by this authority to attract new investment to the Wirral, including Wirral Chamber of Commerce, Liverpool Local Enterprise Partnership and the Council’s Economic Development and Growth unit.


Council supports any opportunity to continue to develop Wirral and the City Region’s maturing relationship with China and Chinese businesses, especially in the key strategic growth industries of Advanced Manufacturing, Marine and Logistics and Clean Energy and Civil Nuclear Engineering.


Council welcomes the decision to partner with Liverpool Vision, Invest Liverpool, Wirral-based businesses and the local Chambers of Commerce to promote the borough and the wider City Region during a forthcoming joint trade mission to Kunming, Guiyang, Qingdao, Shanghai and Wirral’s twin city, Tianjin.


Council supports every effort to drive economic growth, foster stronger relationships with investors, and promote Wirral and the wider City Region as the most attractive investment partners for Chinese and South East Asian investors.”


In accordance with Standing Order 7 (6), Councillor Davies had been invited to attend the meeting in order for him to be given an opportunity to explain the Motion.


Councillor Davies elaborated on the content of the motion and the work being undertaken to increase inward investment. He had now been a number of times to China, including previously with the Leader of the Conservative Group and former leader of the Liberal Democrat Group. The latest delegation last October, of which he was a part, was the largest yet as it was undertaken as a Liverpool City Region visit, with other Leaders, nine or ten businesses, three from the Wirral, the local Chamber of Commerce and Liverpool Vision.


The delegation had visited six cities in China, Kunming, Guiyang, Qingdao, Shanghai, Beijing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.


The Role of Councillors in Wirral's Asset Strategy pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Additional documents:


Further to minute 38 (29/11/16), Jeanette Royle, Senior Manager, Asset Management, submitted a report with proposals to support the recognition that Members act to ensure that any new developments deliver the greatest benefits for their communities and help to shape major schemes.


The Assets and Capital Group provided the forum for early discussions on any asset proposals and a representative from each Council department was present. This membership allowed a thorough discussion to take place on any issues which could arise out of a proposed disposal, change of use, co-location opportunities and future service needs which had asset implications including housing and extra care needs.


A template was used at these meetings to assess any proposals brought forward and referred to as the Asset Challenge document; this allowed the officers to assess the proposal to achieve the best outcome for the asset. Considerations were based around delivering the Wirral Plan, financial, service requirements, growth etc. It was proposed that this was shared more widely with ward members, portfolio holders and specific member interest groups prior to a Cabinet or delegated report being written. This would provide members with the background information to the assets under consideration.


The report went on to describe the different means of approval for an asset disposal. There were also a number of existing arrangements by which Members were informed of changes to assets within their constituency areas. It was proposed that some additional information sharing stages were introduced which would better inform Members of the suggested changes.


Responding to a comment from a Member, the Assistant Chief Executive stated that the minutes of the Wirral Property Board, Growth and Property Board, Assets Transformation Programme Board and Assets and Capital Group could be made available to Members although sometimes proposals were put forward which, for commercial purposes, needed to remain confidential and these minutes could be made available in a redacted form.


The Chair, on behalf of the Committee thanked Jeanette Royle for her thorough report.


Resolved - That the proposed new arrangements for Member engagement when considering proposed asset changes, be agreed and Jeanette Royle be thanked for her thorough report.


Tourism Task and Finish Scrutiny Review pdf icon PDF 122 KB

Additional documents:


The Chair asked Councillor Jerry Williams to introduce the report on the findings and recommendations of the Tourism Scrutiny Review completed in November 2016, which he had chaired. The Review was commissioned as part of the former Regeneration and Environment Policy & Performance Committee’s 2015/16 work programme and had been undertaken by four members of that former Committee, Councillors Chris Spriggs, Jean Stapleton and Adam Sykes.


The review was conducted over a number of question and answer evidence sessions with Council officers and external stakeholders. The Panel had evaluated Wirral’s marketing activity and how it worked with the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership for support in marketing Wirral’s offer and a number of recommendations had been made as a result of the review.


Councillor Spriggs referred to the significant increase in visitor numbers and overnight stays in New Brighton which had also meant a large increase in the visitor economy, now the fastest growing visitor economy in the Liverpool city region. She asked that these statistics and supporting information be included in the Scrutiny Review document. The Chair agreed that the amended Scrutiny Review document be circulated to the Committee prior to its consideration by the Cabinet.


Members also expressed concerns regarding the excellent facility, the Floral Pavilion and the need for it to generate more income. Councillor Jerry Williams commented that one of the recommendations within the Scrutiny Review referred to ‘the importance of Wirral’s cultural offer’ and he fully supported the idea that more promotion was needed for the Floral Pavilion. Members expressed support for the tourism team, which with just a small number of employees and through working closely with the private sector, generated a lot of income for the Wirral.


Resolved –


(1)  That the findings and recommendations of the review, be endorsed with the addition of the wording regarding New Brighton being incorporated into the report.


(2)  That the report and recommendations be referred to Cabinet for its endorsement.


(3)  That the thanks of this Committee be accorded to the Council’s Visitor Economy Team for the fantastic work they did for Wirral.


Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Scrutiny Panel - Verbal Update


The Chair reported that the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Scrutiny Panel was next due to meet the following day (25 January) at which the apprenticeships review would be completed and he would update the Committee on this important piece of work at the next meeting.


Resolved – That the report be noted.


Policy Inform: Business pdf icon PDF 2 MB


The Chair introduced a report on the January Policy Inform Briefing paper which provided an overview of ongoing and recent national legislation, bills presented to Parliament and emerging policies.


Resolved – That the report be noted.


Highways and Traffic Representation Panel Minutes pdf icon PDF 75 KB

The minutes of the Highways and Traffic Representation Panel meeting due to be held on 17 January, 2017 will be circulated in an agenda supplement.


Councillor Steve Williams introduced the minutes of the Highways and Traffic Representation Panel meeting held on 17 January, 2017, and it was –


Resolved –


(1)  That the recommendations of the Highways and Traffic Representation Panel as detailed in the minutes of the meeting held on 17 January, 2017, be endorsed; and


(2)  The Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure be recommended to take appropriate action in respect of a proposal to provide off-road / on-road cycleway facilities and signalised crossing improvements along Duke Street, Birkenhead between Park Road North and Duke Street Bridge as shown on plans DC/0247/100 and DC/0248/100.


Business Overview & Scrutiny Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 124 KB


The Committee considered a report from the Chair which provided an update regarding progress made since the last Committee on 29 November on the scrutiny work programme.


The Chair referred to the Customer Contact update report to the Committee on 13 September 2016 (minute 22 refers), the timescales for the Access Wirral project had been expedited to support the savings required by the Council. The service development proposals for Access Wirral would go to Cabinet for approval on the 27 March 2017.


In line with the pre-decision scrutiny approach agreed by Committee on 12 July, 2016 (minute 6 refers) it was proposed that the Committee convened a bespoke session in early February to review proposals for the Access Wirral Project prior to Cabinet taking a decision on 27 March. The session would be open to all Members of the Committee. With the next scheduled Committee meeting being on 29 March, it was therefore also proposed that Committee gives delegated authority for the Chair and Party Spokespersons to approve and refer any report arising from the session directly to Cabinet.


Resolved -


(1)  That the proposed Committee Work Programme for 2016/17, be approved.


(2)  That the proposal to convene a dedicated session in February to review the service development proposals for Access Wirral be approved and delegated authority be given to the Chair and Party Spokespersons to approve and refer any report arising from this session directly to Cabinet.