Agenda and minutes
Venue: Committee Room 1 - Wallasey Town Hall. View directions
Contact: Andrew Mossop
Apologies for Absence
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and explained the procedure for the meeting.
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.
Councillors Tom Anderson, John Hale, Gerry Ellis and Steve Williams declared that although they had voted at the Extraordinary Council meeting on 6 March, when the issue of parking charges had been debated, they were at this meeting with an open mind and willing to listen to all the arguments put forward. Councillor Lesley Rennie declared that although she had seconded the motion proposed at the Extraordinary Council meeting she also had come to the meeting with an open mind and was willing to listen to all the arguments put forward.
Councillor Dave Mitchell raised the matter of an email from Councillor Bernie Mooney which had been issued at 1.39pm that afternoon offering Wirral residents the chance to become a member of the Country Parks and receive free parking. The Chair commented that he had not seen the email. Members queried whether the Committee should have sight of it.
The Assistant Director: Law and Governance stated that the document in question was a media release which did not amount to any evidence of any Member being whipped.
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.
Members confirmed that they were not subject to a party whip.
Attached to the agenda are:
· Call-in procedure (Page 1)
· Call-in form (Pages 3 - 4)
· Executive Member Decision Form (Pages 5 – 7)
· Car Parking Charges Budget Savings Options
Report (Pages 9 - 14)
The Chair referred to the decision of the Leader of the Council taken on 20 February in respect of Car Parking Charges Budget Savings Options – Traffic Regulation Orders.
The decision had been called-in by Councillors Jeff Green, Tom Anderson, Bruce Berry, Chris Blakeley, Eddie Boult, David Burgess-Joyce, Wendy Clements, David Elderton, Gerry Ellis, John Hale, Paul Hayes, Andrew Hodson, Kathy Hodson, Ian Lewis, Tracey Pilgrim, Cherry Povall, Lesley Rennie, Les Rowlands, Adam Sykes, Geoffrey Watt and Steve Williams, on the following grounds:
“The signatories wish to call-in the following recommendations from the decision:
(2) That car parking tariffs at all council operated car parks, where charges already apply, be increased by 20p.
(3) That car parking charges be introduced in country parks with charges of 50p for 1 hour, £1 for 2 hours and £2 all day in Arrowe Country Park, Royden Country Park, Eastham Country Park and Thurstaston Country Park.
Reasons for Call-in:
We believe that ANY increase in car parking tariffs will have a damaging effect for Wirral’s shopping centres and the introduction of car parking charges in our parks will do untold damage to the grassroots football clubs, golfing societies, mental health charities and small businesses associated with them.
We are also concerned that the introduction of car parking charges at Wirral’s parks is incompatible with the Council’s Public Health responsibilities.
Accordingly, we consider it appropriate that the executive decision be reviewed as insufficient weight has been attached to the specific and broader concerns raised by the public, businesses and other bodies in relation to changes to existing car parking tariffs and the introduction of new car parking charges.”
The Chair then invited the lead signatory to the call-in to address the Committee for up to five minutes.
Explanation of Call-in by the Lead Signatory – Councillor Jeff Green
Councillor Green referred to the number of witnesses that the Committee would hear from on the devastating impact these proposed charges would have on their businesses. Normally a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) would have been reviewed by an all-party Highways Panel, a change in the process meant that this decision was flawed and should be referred back to the decision maker.
In December, Cabinet had received the Medium Term Financial Strategy report, including budget options to raise £1.5m from car parking charges, just enough to cover the cost of interim appointments and consultants. The Leader of the Council had had to perform an embarrassing partial u-turn faced with unprecedented opposition to the proposals. Of the £150,000 it was anticipated these charges would generate, £80,000 would have to be spent on the equipment and its installation, and a net income of £48,000 would be received, just £12,000 per park. Friends of Royden Park raised money for voluntary work and as well as the Barking Mad café at Royden Park, there were a number of other parks with cafes and a number of employees whose jobs would be under threat. What value did the Committee place on these jobs ... view the full minutes text for item 60.