Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Anna Perrett, Principal Democratic Services Officer  tel: 0151 691 8564 email:

Note: PLEASE NOTE: public seating is extremely limited, therefore members of the public wishing to attend are asked to register their attendance by emailing 


No. Item



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The Chair welcomed attendees and viewers to the meeting and reminded everyone that the meeting was webcast and retained on the Council’s website for two years.



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Councillor Anne Ainsworth sent apologies. Councillor Angie Davies was in attendance as substitute.



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.

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Members were asked to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests and any other relevant interest and to state the nature of the interest. There were no declarations of interests.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 466 KB

To approve the accuracy of the minutes of the meeting held on 19 June 2023.

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Cllr Naomi Graham asked that the climate emergency action plan be updated to include protecting vulnerable residents from heatwaves and flooding. The Chair asked that the public question relating to Fender Way be amended to ‘had not reported any problems’ and reference to Director of Regeneration and Place be changed to Director of Neighbourhood services. Reference to ‘it was noted that these issues are reserved should be changed to ‘resolved’. The chair also asked that the statement that ‘the council had no intention of taxing people to the point of poverty’ include that the council has ‘no intention of introducing roadblocks, cameras or other restrictions’.


Resolved – that the minutes of the meeting held on 19 June 2023 be approved as a correct record with the above amendments.





Please telephone the Committee Services Officer if you have not received an acknowledgement of your question/statement by the deadline for submission.

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Public Questions

Notice of question to be given in writing or by email by 12 noon, 19 July 2023 to the Council’s Monitoring Officer via this link: Public Question Form and to be dealt with in accordance with Standing Order 10.


For more information on how your personal information will be used, please see this link: Document Data Protection Protocol for Public Speakers at Committees | Wirral Council


Please telephone the Committee Services Officer if you have not received an acknowledgement of your question by the deadline for submission.


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The Chair advised that 17 public questions had been received.


Catherine Evans asked a question relating to Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, stating that she had submitted a Freedom of Information request regarding the trial LTN for Grange Road West and suggested that the response was not comprehensive. Ms Evans requested that the Council scrap LTN.


The Chair responded to say that the Grange Road Scheme was due to be implemented using an experimental Traffic Order which would be in place for 18 months. Feedback would be welcomed from businesses. During the development of the scheme to date the Council engaged with businesses, and prior to the public consultation also undertook a separate consultation for local businesses. There is significant evidence to demonstrate that increasing pedestrian and cycling activity can boost a second consultation has just ended on the 19th July and therefore until the feedback from this has been reviewed it would be inappropriate to pre-determine the outcome and recommendations regarding the scheme.


A question was read on behalf of Keith Randals, who asked if an Equality Impact Assessment had been conducted in respect of the cessation of maintenance on Hoylake Beach.


The Chair responded to say that an Equality Impact Assessment was carried out before the Cabinet Member Decision to pause spraying and raking was taken, and an EIA will definitely be part of the process of deciding a final beach management plan for Hoylake Beach.


A question was received from Linda Ferrie who asked what proposals will the Council have for enforcing the 20mph speed restrictions, who was going to enforce these restrictions and by what means.


The Chair responded to say that the Police are the only people who can enforce speed restrictions and the Council work closely with Merseyside Police, noting that Merseyside Police support Road Safety work the Council are undertaking.


Anthony Pritchard asked a question regarding 20 mph zones, asking if the committee considered that consultation regarding the 20mph scheme, carried out October / November 2022, was fair and inclusive of all Wirral residents.


The Chair responded to say that consultations on 20mph are carefully done in line with legal requirements and are promoted via multiple channels including the local press, social media, emails to residents and the Council website.


Catherine Kelly asked a question relating to 20 mph zones, stating that this could have an impact on carers, district nurses, and emergency services. Ms Kelly asked the chair to confirm what risk assessments had the Council carried out pertaining to people waiting in their homes for carers as well as confirming whether any consultations had taken place with Home Care Agencies.


The Chair responded to confirm that an equality impact assessment was carried out before the recommended 20mph policy was agreed by the committee and subsequently by Full Council.


Charlotte Smith asked a question relating to the removal benches along the prom at Hoylake refurbishment and to accommodate buses/coaches during the Open.  Has the council ever considered an Equality Impact Assessment in making  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23a


Statements and petitions

Notice of representations to be given in writing or by email by 12 noon, Wednesday, 19 July 2023 to the Council’s Monitoring Officer ( and to be dealt with in accordance with Standing Order 11.1.


Petitions may be presented to the Committee if provided to Democratic and Member Services no later than 10 working days before the meeting, at the discretion of the Chair. The person presenting the petition will be allowed to address the meeting briefly (not exceeding three minute) to outline the aims of the petition. The Chair will refer the matter to another appropriate body of the Council within whose terms of reference it falls without discussion, unless a relevant item appears elsewhere on the Agenda. If a petition contains more than 5,000 signatures, it will be debated at a subsequent meeting of Council for up to 15 minutes, at the discretion of the Mayor.


Please telephone the Committee Services Officer if you have not received an acknowledgement of your statement/petition by the deadline for submission.



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The Chair advised Members that 4 petitions had been received.


Councillor Jason Walsh presented a petition on behalf of residents of Thornton Avenue and the connected Thornton Road slip road, Higher Bebington, who requested that modal filters are positioned within the avenue restrict traffic flow in both roads. They petitioned for this as a more effective solution to traffic conditions than restricting the speed limit to 20mph.


A petition was received from Amanda Parker in relation to sewage dumping in New Brighton, asking Committee that action is taken by the Secretary of State for Environment to stop the sewage dumps by United Utilities into the local river.


A petition was received from Lee Mathie in regards to restrictions at Kings Parade New Brighton which only referred to motor caravans. The petition asked  why such restrictions are not applied to other classes of motor vehicles and requested somewhere designated for motor caravans.


A petition was also received from Mark Skillicorn in relation to the use of weed killer spraying.




Questions by Members

Questions by Members to be dealt with in accordance with Standing Orders 12.3 to 12.8.

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Councillor Graham Davies asked a question regarding Heswall Primary School and traffic calming measures. Cllr Davies stated that a petition had been submitted by a constituent but no response had been received.


The Chair stated that a response should have been prepared for this and that she would ask officers to look into this further.







Answers to supplementary questions

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Answers to supplementary questions


Charlotte Smith

Staying with the theme of the prom at Hoylake Beach, it has came to light that a section of the beach very close to the prom has been closed off with netting. This is the area where it is understood where poisonous hemlock was growing way out of control and impeded onto the prom. Passers by are in danger of being brushed against this poisonous plant. Indeed, a local volunteer with Hoylake Beach community was stung by this hideous dangerous plant when replacing the recently criminally vandalised netting and came out in a rash.

Who authorised the erection of the netting around this dangerous plant? And would the Environmental Chair and Committee now agree with me that in the light of this unfortunate event and other documented cases of dogs and other people being poisoned and stung by dangerous plants on the beach and near the prom, that it is time to stop playing politics with Hoylake beach and that serious consideration be given to the welfare of humans and animals, and the Equality Act 2010, by mechanically raking all of Hoylake amenity beach from King’s Gap slipway to the new lifeboat station, and making it accessible for everyone to use again?

Answer Wirral Council can confirm that it received a report on Monday 10th July from a resident who had been involved in doing some repair/replacement work to the netting on Hoylake Promenade. The volunteer reported suffered a skin reaction which they identified as being caused by brushing against Hemlock Water-Dropwort that was very close to the railings on the Promenade. While the Council would not in any way downplay this, from research it is not entirely certain that this rash was caused by this one particular plant. All the information available to Council Officers suggests that Hemlock Water Dropwort is not a touch-sensitive plant.  Council Officers have spoken to Natural England for their view on how to manage this plant, including possible removal.  Natural England's preferred option was that signage should be put in place and that the plant should not be removed. Given the proximity of this particular plant to the railings, that signage would take time to develop, as well as being conscious that the Open Golf Championship would start imminently (16 July) Officers from the Councils Parks & Countryside Service did take the decision to temporarily put orange netting around this plant. This was to prevent golf visitors and residents from picking the flowers from this plant, as it was in full flower at that time. Now these plants have finished flowering they are naturally starting the dying back process. Having reflected on this, Officers are unlikely to use temporary fencing in subsequent management of the Hemlock Water Dropwort. Moving forward our preferred option is to look at the possible use of signage, with one option being that this would be used seasonally and only in place when the risk was considered to be at its greatest. Hemlock Water Dropwort  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23d



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The Lead Commissioner for Strategic Transport and Technology presented the report of the Director of Regeneration and Place, stating that the report provided an update on the Phase 1 consultation undertaken regarding the town centre movement schemes at Conway Street/Europa Boulevard and Grange Road Charing Cross/Grange Road West and sought approval to delegate authorisation to the Director of Neighbourhoods to consider the outcome of the Phase 2 consultation and make the decision regarding the implementation of the schemes.


The report also sought approval for the acceptance of a further allocation of £1,625,000 of Active Travel Tranche 3 funding to support the delivery of the Conway Street/Europa Boulevard scheme. The Conway Street/Europa Boulevard scheme and the Grange Road/ Charing Cross/Grange Road West projects are part of the council’s Future High Street Fund (FHSF) programme. The Conway Street/Europa Boulevard scheme also has an allocation of Active Travel Tranche 3 Funding.


The projects were both critical components of the regeneration of Birkenhead town centre, aiming to make the town centre more attractive through supporting improved accessibility and increasing active and sustainable travel movements.


Members queried various aspects of the scheme, raising some concerns as to schemes being dislocated and lacking in ambition, and were informed that an Active Travel Vision Document would be coming to Committee later in the year, and that a full detailed infrastructure plan was being developed. Members also noted that applications for grants needed to be in line with government policy ad criteria in order to be feasible. Members also shared frustration that the deadlines for applying for funding were tight, suggesting that there was less time for consultation.


Members discussed each scheme and car parking, asking if a full assessment for car parking spaces will be undertaken. Also considered was the impact of anti-social behaviour on the scheme as well as making the public realm dementia friendly.


A motion was then put by Councillor Max Booth, Seconded by Councillor Vida Wilson that,


In reference to option 2.1 and in light of the committee not seeing the phase two consultation results, the Director of Neighbourhoods is requested to seek an extension of time beyond the 31st of March 2024 funding deadline. This will accommodate for a time whereby the ECET committee can analyse the phase two consultation responses during the ECET committee meeting scheduled to take place on the 20th of September 2023


A vote was had and the motion was lost (4:8)


On a motion by the chair, seconded by Councillor Steve Foulkes. The motion was then voted on and agreed (8:4). It was therefore,


Resolved – that,


1. The outcome of the Phase 1 consultation regarding the Conway Street/Europa Boulevard and the Charing Cross/Grange Road/Grange Road West scheme and associated officer comments which are included with Appendix 1 – 4 of this report be noted;


2. Delegated authority regarding the implementation of the Conway Street/Europa Boulevard scheme and the Grange Road/ Charing Cross/Grange Road West scheme be given to the Director of Neighbourhoods, following consultation with the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.



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The Chair presented the report of the Director of Neighbourhood Services, which contained as an appendix the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority – Five Year Climate Action Plan.


Members were informed that report was approved by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority on 14 July 2023 The report sought Combined Authority approval for the Liverpool City Region Five Year Climate Action Plan, and identified actions for the Combined Authority to lead, enable or champion to 2028. These actions would contribute towards the decarbonisation needed in the Liverpool City Region to reach net zero carbon by 2040 or sooner, as well as delivering multiple co-benefits.


Members discussed various aspects of the plan, including the recycling priority action, food waste and numbers using their cars for short journeys. Use of Hydrogen and innovative technologies for transportation were also debated by the committee.


Members were informed that thought had been put into the language used in the document and how it could be made as easy as possible for residents to get on board. It was noted that the footprint of Liverpool City Region was large and diverse, and queried what could be done as a local authority, noting that more localism and involvement by citizens could be incorporated to deliver the strategy. 


Resolved – that the priority actions be endorsed.








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The Senior Finance Business Partner presented the report of the Director of Neighbourhood Services, which set out the financial monitoring information for the Council as at Quarter 1 (30 June) of 2023/24.


The report provided Members with an overview of budget performance, including progress on the delivery of the 2023/24 saving programme and a summary of reserves and balances, which enabled the Committee to take ownership of the budgets and provide robust challenge and scrutiny to Officers on the performance of those budgets.


At the end of Quarter 1, there was a forecast adverse position of £0.500m on the Committee’s proposed revised net revenue budget, of £65.840m. The revised net revenue budget included an increase of £0.870m in Quarter 1, which is still subject to Council approval. This position was based on activity to date, projected trends in income and expenditure and changes to Council funding.


Members discussed the impact of the upcoming enforcement policy and love Wirral Policies and the adverse variance due to car parking charges being delayed. Also requested was more detail in the revenue table, which goes down to £6m and a request was made to break this down in future reports. Members also queried the variance due to the West Kirby Wall and were advised that the information contained in the report was the most up to date.


Resolved – that,


1.the Directorate forecast adverse position of £0.500m presented at Quarter 1 be noted.

2. the allocation of additional £0.870m funding from the increased council budget of £2.000m, subject to Council approval be noted;

3. the progress on delivery of the 2023/24 savings programme at Quarter 1 be noted

4. the forecast level of reserves and balances at Quarter 1 be noted.

5. the forecast capital position presented at Quarter 1 be noted



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The Director of Neighbourhood Services presented the report which provided a performance report in relation to Environment and Climate Emergency, and Highways and Infrastructure. The report was designed based on discussion with Members through working group activity in 2021. Members requests have been incorporated into the report presented at this committee meeting.


Members discussed missed bin collections and poor recycling rates and noted that public feedback in regard to highways maintenance was poor. It was noted that the date reflected a full week of industrial action and poor weather conditions that went into mid-January and that recycling performance is static.


Members were also informed that surveys do tend to get negative results, but that the network is in reasonably good condition, however there is slippage on residential roads and pavements. Member also discussed cycling and car free days, noting that funding had been requested from the City Region to promote car free days. Members also queried the tree strategy and noted the offer of free trees through the garden waste strategy.


Resolved – that the report be noted








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The Head of Legal Services presented the report of the Director of Law and Governance and advised Committee that they were responsible for proposing and delivering an annual committee work programme. This work programme should align with the corporate priorities of the Council, in particular the delivery of the key decisions which are within the remit of the Committee.


Resolved – that the report be noted.


The Chair informed Committee that this would be the Director of Neighbourhoods final committee meeting and thanked her for her drive and energy, not just in Wirral but across the City Region. The Director of Neighbourhoods thanked Members for their support.