Keep Birkenhead Clean Budget
In response to the Chair, the Constituency Manager indicated that 20k had been allocated from the Committee’s Budget for ‘Improving the Environment’ or ‘Grotspot1’ projects this was to develop a service to improve sites in Birkenhead that had been left open, poorly maintained and disused, therefore looking unsightly in the area, often attracting litter and fly tipping.
Lairdside Communities Together (LCT) won the contract for one year, which ends in December 2015, to clean up a number of ‘grotspot’ areas around the Birkenhead constituency. Locations for clean ups had been identified by Local Councillors and had been prioritised by LCT following a site visit. LCT was undertaking clearance and would be engaging with nearby residents to complete satisfaction surveys.
Representatives of LCT were present at the meeting and provided an update report (also attached as Appendix 3 to the Constituency Managers report). They highlighted the clearances that had been completed so far and indicated that they had worked with site owners to put in place preventative measures to avoid problems recurring in the future.
In relation to the clearing of privately owned properties, it was reported that locating and identifying the responsible landlords had proved problematic and explained that landlords reserved the right not to engage with their officers. In relation to the billing of sites cleared, officers were working to try and engage landowners to resolve this issue and collect payment.
In response to the Chair, the Legal Advisor to the Committee indicated that it was difficult for officers to identify unregistered landowners, however, for those that were identified the Council can serve notice on land that is considered to be detrimental to the amenity of the area. If notice is not complied with the Council can enter the land and undertake works in default and a charge can then be entered on the local land charges register against that property. The Council also has the right to prosecute those who failed to comply with the notice. A Member, in response, asked what percentage of the Biffa contract was given to prosecute landowners for their failure to act.
In relation to Bonfire night, the Chair asked the Constituency Manager to contact Magenta regarding possible issues on the Noctorum estate linking with the Lairdside Community Trust contract.
Councillor D Roberts and the Constituency Manager agreed to liaise with the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority to clear skips prior to Bonfire Night and on any potential joint activities utilising the skip funding.
In relation to the ‘In Bloom ‘ project, the Environmental Task and Finish Group be requested to develop the project and evaluate the Lairdside Community Trust contract.
The Chair requested Ward Councillors to meet and identify their worst ‘grot spots’ and urged them to utilise the skip project.
Members in response, to a letter sent to the Chair from the Chief Executive requested that the Constituency Manager contact the Council’s Environmental Team to ask them again to provide data breaking down spend for the constituency area regarding the Biffa contract. The Chair asked that this letter be shared with the Environmental Task and Finish Group.
(1) the progress made by the LCT ‘grotspot’ project as reported in the Constituency Managers report be noted;
(2) the Constituency Manager be requested to:
· along with Councillor D Roberts, liaise with Merseyside Fire Authority on clearing of skips before Bonfire Night and on any possible joint activities using skip funding
· contact the Council’s Environmental Team requesting data breaking down spend for constituency area for the Biffa contract
· contact Magenta regarding possible issues on Noctorum estate for Bonfire Night and link with the Lairdside Community Trust contract
(3) the Environmental Task and Finish Group be requested at its next meeting develop the ‘In Bloom’ project and evaluate the Lairdside Community Trust contract.