Public question time
The Chair explained that, in his absence, Howard Mortimer has submitted a Position Statement on Hoylake & West Kirby Regeneration He drew attention to the section of the report that referred to The Sail and the hotel, and the resolution of Wirral Council’s Cabinet on 23 April, that -
Officers be instructed to undertake further discussions with Carpenter Investments and the Council’s appointed independent financial consultants with a further report to be submitted to Cabinet in the next 6 months to enable it to take a final view on the future of the project.’
Councillor Hale reported that between the last meeting of this area forum and the Cabinet meeting on 23 April, a new factor had been introduced which was intended to make up for the loss of the car park. The plateau would become the new car parking area, managed by Carpenters. This would mean that people towing trailers and with boats would have to manoeuvre between the car spaces.
A member of the public asked why a new hotel was needed in West Kirby at all, given that the number of hotels that have closed in West Kirby.
The Chair replied that local councillors had been asking the question for three years. The Cabinet members are aware that councillors and the public are totally opposed to the proposal. It will be interesting to see what is decided in six months’ time, and it will be timely to re-open the discussion at the next area forum meeting.
David Green was pleased to report that work on the repairs to the wall is due to finish towards the end of July. Work started in the winter but stopped due to the financial collapse of the original contractor. Another contractor was appointed and this caused a few weeks’ delay. The work, which cost around £1.5 million, has been funded from a grant from the Environmental Agency.
The contractor will be asked to remove the debris and metal objects which have been dumped in the lake over the years, before the lake is refilled and brought back into use.
The Dee Lane project is still on the drawing board and efforts are continuing to secure funding for it to go ahead. The development of Dee Lane is not dependent on the Concourse or the Sail projects.
A member of the public proposed that –
A vote of thanks be passed to David Green for his actions in ensuring that another contractor was appointed without delay following the collapse of the first one, and that this prompt action has meant that minimum delay has been caused in completing the work on the wall.
Following a petition from traders, a decision has been made to postpone plans to pilot test the pedestrianisation of The Crescent for the time being.
John Davies responded to a query concerning access to The Crescent by emergency vehicles. He reassured people that, notwithstanding carelessly parked vehicles, emergency crews are able to access all the properties in the Crescent by approaching from one end or the other.
A member of the public commented on the poof facilities for patients and doctors. Cathy Doran replied that she totally agreed with the sentiments expressed. She has been personally working with the GPs in the West Kirby Health Centre since 1998 to re-provide the Centre. There is nowhere in West Kirby that are available for redevelop-ment, therefore the Trust is committed to working with the redevelopment of the Concourse. The funding has been in place for a long time, but the redevelopment of the Health Centre cannot go ahead until the rest of the Concourse redevelopment is ready.
Cathy Doran dispelled rumours that the Oncology Centre at Clatterbridge Hospital is to close and the facility transferred to other hospitals in the North West.
She explained that the Clatterbridge Centre of Oncology is a separate entity to the NHS Trust for Clatterbridge and Arrowe Park Hospitals. The Clatterbridge Centre is a regional centre for Oncology Services. There are three main types of treatment for cancer – surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The Centre at Clatterbridge offers radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but it does not provide surgery for cancer. The surgery for Cheshire and Merseyside is provided regionally in most big hospitals.
The Trust is trying to ensure that people can access services as near as possible to where they live. People from Wirral, Merseyside, Cheshire and the Isle of Man have to travel to Clatterbridge for radiotherapy. The Trust is currently looking at other sites for people to go to for radiotherapy, which are nearer to where they live.
Another report had been produced which concluded that the Clatterbridge site might not be the best place for the small number of patients who need to be admitted to an inpatient bed, and that beds should be provided more centrally. It will take about 18 months to analyse the report and to consult on any proposal for change.
One in every three people will suffer from cancer in their lifetime. Statistically, for every 1,000 people, there are 80 more deaths from cancer of people who live in Wirral than in the average district in England. In Liverpool there are 350 more deaths. The number of people with cancer is increasing all the time, and this trend is expected to continue over the next ten years. The aim of the Trust s to provide services that are excellent for the people of Cheshire and Merseyside, but are nearer to where people live. The guidelines say that no one should travel for more than 45 minutes to access a service.
Councillor Green added that the Hospital Trust has just been recognised as the joint best large acute trust outside London. As a Governor of the hospital he is aware of the need for as many people to become Public Members.
QUESTIONS SUBMITTED IN ADVANCE
Q [Brigitta Muller]: Are there plans for a new Youth Hub in West Kirby, and if so, are there any plans for extra policing, given there will be more young people coming to West Kirby?
A [David Green]: Youth provision was looked at the time the Council was setting its budget. The Director of Children’s and Young People’s Services has confirmed that although consideration had been given to closing a number of youth clubs and creating a Hub in West Kirby, the proposal is not being proceeded with.
Q [Margaret Campbell]: Several people have asked me to raise questions about allotments at previous meetings of the area forum, but for various reasons this has not been done. Please ask the following questions next week, even though there may not be enough time to allow an individual response from Councillors.
1, In 2007, Wirral Council received four petitions asking that they fulfil their statutory duty to provide sufficient allotments.
2. Can Councillors please tell me how many people are now awaiting for an allotment in West Kirby, and how many new plots have been created since 2007?
In responding to the question 2, Roger Calvert stated that there are 97 residents on the waiting list in the CH48 postcode area. There are three allotment sites in West Kirby with a total of 62 plots. There are 135 people on the waiting list for an allotment. No new plots have been created in West Kirby or in any other area of Wirral. A number of allotments are neglected and in poor condition, and this aspect will be included in the report that will be going to the Committee in the Autumn.
On the issue of petitions, Councillor Green explained that the role of the Council’s Scrutiny Committee is to challenge the Executive and ask them to account for the decisions they make. The Council has a duty to respond to every petition it receives. The whole idea would be that when a report goes to the Scrutiny Committee that the meeting is publicised so that everyone has the opportunity to go along and challenge the Council on why they are not doing more to respond on a whole range of things. He proposed that Jim Lester takes the issue away, and he would take it away and speak to his party’s spokesperson on that committee. It should not be just a report, it should be an opportunity for people involved in campaigns to have their say and bring anomalies to the attention of the right people, and to hold them to account for resolving them.
David Green raised the issue of allotment holders taking waste to the Waste Reception Centre in West Kirby. The site is run by the Waste Disposal Authority, not Wirral Council, and is a facility that is provided for use exclusively by residents to dispose of household waste; not by businesses and individuals to dump commercial waste. Chris Pearce, who uses his trailer to collect waste for other allotment holders, has been banned from using the site.
David Green undertook to speak to the Waste Disposal Authority and try to persuade them to relax the rules and allow Chris to continue to use the facility.
Q [John Hutchinson} Since having to take to the roads in my electric mobility scooter, I have noticed the bumpy nature of West Kirby’s pavements. Since my condition is especially sensitive to vibration, I am asking if greater attention can be given to the smoothness of the West Kirby pavements? Also, as there are not enough dropped kerbs for safe and secure navigation by wheelchair users, can more be done?
A [Mark Traynor]: Wirral has a duty to maintain its road and footways in a safe condition. Whenever we reconstruct a road, we keep disabled persons and wheelchair users in mind and we now use bituminous materials, which give a smoother ride quality.
If Mr Hutchinson has any specific locations he would like to bring to my attention, I will happily meet with him on site to discuss the issues.
A dropped kerb user programme has been developed and undertaken in consultation with Wirral Information Resources for Equality and Disability [WIRED]. Locations identified for treatment are those with high pedestrian movement, links between residential areas and services such as shopping centres, health centres, libraries etc. The opportunity is also taken to introduce dropped kerbs within the footway reconstruction programme and the planning application process.
Q [Rosemary Chandler, Secretary, Hoylake Allotments Association]: In its allotment strategy, Wirral Council claims that it is committed to increase the allotment provision in Wirral. If this is the case, why is the unused land in Sandringham Avenue not being used for allotments?
Roger Calvert explained that the issue of allotment sites has been considered by the Council on a number of occasions. A report will be presented later this year looking at the issue and whether there is a possibility of additional land etc. He is currently working with Rosemary Chandler, who has made a request for a self-managed site. He is working to try and assist Rose with that, but it is not straightforward. The area of land is part of a playing field, which as a publicly owned space requires planning permission and permission for change of use. There are a few things to progress, but he is working to see if approval can be given. Funding will still be an issue. One of the Development Officers will be discussing the issue with Rose.
Due to the lateness of the hour, the Chair suggested that the discussion is continued outside the meeting.