Agenda item



The Chair referred to the pre-raised questions that had been received by the Committee and invited those present to address the Committee in respect of the questions raised.


Question 2 Patrick Dowling


Mr Dowling requested a report from Mr Field in respect of averting the closure of the Woodside Ferry.  He also queried whether there had been a separate ceremony for Armed Forces Day other than the one held in Hamilton Square.


Mr Dowling had received a response advising that Frank Field would be meeting with Liam Robinson (Chair of Merseytravel) and Councillor Paul Doughty to discuss the options for securing the long term future of the Ferry Terminal.


Councillor Foulkes expanded upon this at the meeting and advised that a meeting had been held at Merseytravel earlier that day and that Frank Field had engaged with Merseytravel to discuss the development of the Birkenhead Plan.  Councillor Foulkes also advised that a sum of money would be spent on the landing stage and that Councillor Doughty had also taken part in the discussions.


A written response was also provided stating that the Armed Forces Day had been organised by a third party.  While the Council had given permission for the event to take place on Council land the third sector group had taken responsibility for the organising and running of it.


Members of the Committee also advised that Councillors had been present at different locations where events had been held in respect of the Armed Forces Day.


Question 3 Alan Dollery


Mr Dollery raised the following query:


The Prenton Tenants and Residents Association has been running for over 15 years and over those years we have had the normal amount of complaints over street parking, we have approached the Wirral Council over this matter 2 years ago, and we were told of the complexity of preventing pavement parking due to various situations in and around the areas involved.  We have also informed the police because they are the only ones that can prosecute the offender/s again nothing has been done.


Recently we the PTRA went around the estate due to having quite a few complaints coming in to our shop from residents. We found no fewer than 22 cars fully parked on the pavements, this surely is against the law.  I need to inform the residents effected by this alarming increase to pavement parking in our area what action if any can be done.


I therefore would like to ask the meeting if they can they look at our situation again, and although money is tight, I feel that more lay-byes could be introduced to alleviate some of the problem areas we have. The areas most effected are Prenton Dell Road, Garrick Road, Boswell Road.  Prenton Dell Road being the route taken by Mums with prams going to the local Doctors surgery have to walk on the roads to get past a car parked on the pavement. Please advise on what action can be applied legally.


Mr Dollery received a response from the Department for Regeneration and Environment advising that pavement parking where it causes obstruction to pedestrians can also increase potential danger for them if they have to walk in busy roads. In comparatively quiet residential roads (and indeed in many new housing estate areas where roads are designed with no footways) it can be less of a problem in practice. The provision of parking laybys is normally comparatively expensive to undertake with rough costs approximating to £24,000 for a 50m length of layby. This indicative cost is also potentially subject to additional costs for relocating underground services such as gas, water, telecoms etc.


Generally when providing laybys we need to ensure that in addition to accommodating the width of a vehicle, we also need to have sufficient footway remaining to cater for pedestrians. Reviewing the roads highlighted in this request there are a number of additional factors to be taken into account including the cost of relocating street lighting columns along with a requirement to accommodate many driveways.


Pavement parking is a particularly complex issue, and unless there is a specific traffic regulation order (either a yellow line in operation or a separate verge/pavement parking TRO), the Council doesn’t have any specific powers to take action against drivers.


The current initiative on pavement parking aims to make drivers more aware of the problems that it can cause, particularly relating to obstructive pavement parking. In these instances we may issue a warning notice to the vehicle and keep details of the registration number, time, location etc. Where we find repeated problems we may pass this information to the police to see if they wish to undertake enforcement (prosecutions).


In dealing with such issues, it is important that we operate correctly and within the law. The legislations available to take action are somewhat complex but in essence relate to:


  Wirral Council can take action where we have a traffic regulation order relating to waiting or specifically around footway & verge parking.

  Wirral Council could take action where we can identify and prove (to a legal standard) that a specific driver (not vehicle) has caused damage to our property.

  Merseyside Police can take action where they can prove unnecessary obstruction.

  Merseyside Police can take action where they can prove driving on the footway.


Officers have visited this area and whilst some parking on footways was observed this was not obstructive and pedestrians would still be able to pass. It is suggested that residents raise any concerns over obstructive parking with the police who have powers to prosecute if needed.


The Chair advised that this would be referred to the Highways Department for consideration.  Councillor Foulkes advised that the Committee would liaise with the other Constituency Committees in respect of this.


Question 10 Sue Hughes


A trustee of Shaftesbury Youth Club addressed the Committee and advised that discussions had been ongoing for over 5 years about the possible Asset Transfer of Council owned football pitches to Shaftesbury Youth club (Registered Charity).  The pitches are adjacent to the club. A Transfer would ensure an improved use of this facility and provide a better maintenance regime than currently exists.


He asked whether the Area Constituency Committee were aware of these discussions and whether it supported such a proposal, as Shaftesbury are very keen to take on this project.

Also, since April 2016 Shaftesbury’s annual grant from Wirral Council had been reduced by £10K, therefore the income from these fields would help towards much needed revenue for the club.


A response had been provided from the Department for Parks and Countryside who advised that the information had been forwarded to the relevant department who would provide the answer to Shaftsbury Youth Club via the Constituency Team when it had been completed.


The Constituency Manager advised that she would follow this up with the Asset Team and provide feedback at the next meeting of the Committee.


Question 13 John Brace


Mr Brace asked what was happening to combat fly tipping in Hoblyn Road, Collin Road, Naylor Road and Flaybrick Cemetery.


A response had been provided from the Department for Regeneration and Environment who advised that Hoblyn Road, Collin Road and Naylor Road were subject to street cleansing on a 4 weekly schedule and that over the past months several deposits of fly tipping had emerged at the very top of these areas.  The Council’s Enforcement Team and Kingdom had been investigating the fly tipping and had had positive feedback.


Work had also been undertaken with Magenta Living regarding the development of the existing houses with additional street cleansing. This work would continue when the new development was completed, working with housing officers tackling waste and recycling, street cleansing and fly tipping.


Councillor McLachlan advised that extra resources had been provided as the area had been treated as a Grotspot due to the number of empty properties.


Question 14 Leonora Brace


  Councillor S Foulkes declared a prejudicial interest in this matter and left the room during its consideration (minute 3 refers).


Mr Brace addressed the Committee and asked what was happening to all the houses in and around Hoblyn Road, Collin Road, Naylor Road and some in Hoylake Road as a lot of people have to live rough and these houses are vacant.


A response had been provided from Magenta who reported that the Crossways Estate in North Birkenhead comprises of 200 three bed houses including Hoblyn, Collin and Naylor Road along with 13 properties on Hoylake Road. Mr Brace was advised that very limited demand began to be experienced and Magenta Living took the decision not to allocate any of the properties on Crossways until a longer term, sustainable solution could be found.


Magenta Living had carried out survey work and been working with residents to identify improvement options. One of the principle issues raised by residents was the unpopular ‘gilbury’ units, ground floor extensions that house the bathroom facilities. Two demonstration properties were made available to residents to view in May 2016, one had the bathroom relocated upstairs and made into a 2 bed house, the other was retained as a 3 bed again with the bathroom upstairs.


Feedback from residents was largely very positive and work has subsequently commenced, on a phased basis in order to ensure demand still existed, improving the empty properties in Hoblyn Road, including the demolition the gilbury units, before the occupied properties are then improved.


Other works identified included:


  Demolition of some properties towards Flaybrick Memorial Gardens

  Improved physical security measures

  Improving the external appearance of properties

  Exploring the option of a low cost home ownership scheme


The Chair advised that during the public meetings that had taken place the residents had favoured the properties being made into 2 bedroom properties where bedroom tax would not be applied.



Question 15 Alan Dollery


Mr Dollery had raised the following query:


The PTRA team have been in touch with the Wirral Council Environmental team with concerns over the amount of weeds that are growing in the gutters in and around the shopping area in Prenton Hall Road. The main reason we have named Prenton Hall Road in particular is because it runs through the shopping area in which people do their shopping, people pass by on buses or drive past in their cars far more times than the other roads within the area which also have similar problems.


However, our concern is the presentation of our area to those who pass us by on a daily basis, not to mention our community who have to look at the problem day night.


After talks with Lisa Blackwell from the Council the PTRA proposed we try weed picking ourselves, thus after being successful with the Litter picking around the same area. After the collection of over 5 bags of weeds from the area in question we found that the reason the weeds are growing so regular is that the road does not fit.


What I mean by the road does not fit is because it does not reach the kerbs should this be the case? Build a road and if it's not big enough fill the two inch gap that's left with soil?


I'm sure this is not right because we will never get rid of the weeds ever, they will just grow, and grow, and grow, and grow.  Spraying the weeds does not work, our problem proves this, as all our weeds in and around the estate were sprayed a few months ago but the weeds they are still growing.


I have taken photographs of before and after and hopefully I will present them on the night of the meeting.


I must add that not all roads affected in the Prenton Dell area are 2" short either side, but the ones in Prenton Hall Road are, and they need addressing. not just with weed killer these gaps must be filled in with concrete, otherwise we are going to be overgrown with weeds constantly, and we as the PTRA will not be weeding again in this area because of the regularity of the weeds over - growing.


We the PTRA need to ask the meeting if they would look at our situation with urgency and rectify the problem as soon as possible. We also feel that the situation is not a natural / nature problem, we believe it's a bad workmanship problem and one that needs urgent attention


A response had been provided by the Department for Regeneration and Environment who advised that the carriageway in question had been constructed decades ago with the gap being installed intentionally as part of the construction process to allow for sideways expansion of the concrete slab. Without this gap the kerbs would be pushed out of place or the surface of the slab would break up when there was no room for expansion in the warmer weather.


The Council’s Ground Maintenance Team would visit the shopping area around Prenton Hall Road to provide additional weed spraying to try and address the issue raised.


The Chair suggested that this be raised at the Environmental Task and Finish Group.


The Chair thanked all those who attended the meeting.