- Meeting of Economy Regeneration & Housing Committee, Monday, 22nd November 2021 6.00 p.m. (Item 52a)
Notice of question to be given in writing or by email by 12 noon, Wednesday 17th November to the Council’s Monitoring Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org) and to be dealt with in accordance with Standing Order 10.
Member of the Birkenhead Market Tenants Association submitted several questions.
- William Featherstone on behalf of the Birkenhead Market Tenants Association.
On 22 October Birkenhead Market Tenants Association wrote to The Director ofRegeneration and Place with our community’s urgent proposal for a low funding reorganisation of the current market. Our aim is to create a void in the centre of the Market, rearrange stalls towards the perimeter and give the impression of a fuller market, improving the markets look and function. We have received no email response to this urgent proposal from any Council Officer, either positive or negative.
Our proposal involves lots of meaningful consultations with members of our community with a view to helping some members relocate. To keep costs to an absolute minimum we propose recycling existing wall panels, boarding and security shutters to block off the voided area within the market. These blocked areas will be camouflaged by stall holders displays.
We have consulted widely with our community and they have expressed a great deal of interest in this project.
To help progress our proposal we need to offer the impacted retailers the maximum choice of new locations.
We requested rental prices for vacant stalls within the market from the Market Manager.
He initially refused to divulge this public realm information stating it was confidential information and data protected.
We raised a petition and eventually the Market Manager released inflated rental prices for the vacant stalls.
Why is the Market Manager issuing suddenly inflated rental prices on vacant stalls to existing tenants?
The pricing released is consistent with the average tenancy in the market and the open market value for the stalls. It is therefore not considered to be an inflated price
A supplemental question was asked querying the Council’s rental proposals for G28 and G29 and the Chair indicated that he would provide a written response.
- William Featherstone on behalf of Birkenhead Market Tenants Association.
Market Budget & Expenditure
As a community of responsible businesswomen and men, the Birkenhead Market Tenants Association (BMTA) are very aware of the financial pressures placed on Wirral Borough Council. Recent examples of market spending that many in our community have question include …
Assistance for the Market Manager £35,000.00
At the recent Policy and Resources Committee reference was made to extra support being secured to assist the Market Manager.
Our community question the need for yet another assistant for the market manager.
There are more market staff than ever and yet there are less cleaners and security, even the security cameras aren’t monitored.
We consider that Wirral Borough Council should start an immediate review of market staffing, job functions and salaries.
Advertising £40,000.00 ?
The BMTA have had little consultation concerning the advertising budget, we are informed after money is spent, not before.
Advertising includes radio station advertising on a station that none of our customers appear to listen to.
Many members of our community feel this advertising is badly targeted and they would’ve preferred the money was spent after the urgent reorganisation of stalls.
Forty gazebos purchased for the Mini Market proposal. The gazebos were ordered even though the Mini Market was never approved by this Committee. They sit in storage within the market untouched.
CBRE Consultation £12,000.00
A redundant consultation once it was decided that the market would stay where it is.
Grand Total £127,000.00
We accept £127,000 may be a small amount to WBC when committees talk about millions. But it is important to our community that £127,000 is spent wisely and we wish to assist WBC by offering to jointly monitor the market budget with management. Our aim being to avoid any unnecessary spending in our community’s name.
Will Wirral Borough Council allow our community representatives to participate in market budget decisions before monies are spent with a view to reducing unnecessary expenditure?
Thank you for your question, which I will answer in two parts.
In answer to your question as to whether BMTA representatives could participate in market budget decisions, it is not always possible to share budget information due its sensitive nature, also where grant funding has been received this will come with specific requirements as to what it can be used for.
In regard to your second question, the Christmas Marketing Campaign (market) is funded by the Welcome Back Fund for COVID Safety with a spend deadline of March 2021 and with clear eligibility criteria.
However, officers are committed to discussing ideas and plans with the BMTA and welcome input into these.
William Featherstone queried if a further question could be sent via email. The Chair confirmed he would be happy to receive and respond to any questions
- William Featherstone
Any member of the public can ask for the rental price of a vacant stall in Birkenhead Market. The Birkenhead Market Tenants Association had to raise a petition to get the market manager to release rental information. Is the Market Manager under instruction to obstruct the Birkenhead Market Tenants Association.
The Council has provided the detail requested and is committed to the market and ensuring it remains a focus of the town centre of Birkenhead in all aspects of the current and future plans. The decision to release the information was not based on the petition received (of which you had 26 signatures) but with a view to collaborating with the association for mutual benefit.
A supplemental question was asked querying the Council’s rental proposals for G28 and G29 and a response will be provided in due course.