Agenda item

Public Questions

Notice of question to be given in writing or by email by 12 noon, Wednesday 12 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.


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



The Chair indicated that 3 public questions had been received from 2 members of the public.


Catherine Evans asked a question about the risk of flooding to residents of the Wirral and the assurances the Council could offer regarding their protections.


In response the Chair noted that a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment was published as part of the evidence base for the new Local Plan. Level 2 Flood Risk assessments were produced for areas identified as more at risk. These documents were produced in consultation with the Environment Agency and Lead Local Flood Authority. He noted the Environment Agency was the statutory consultee regarding flood risk from rivers and the sea.


Mr Alan Featherstone asked two questions on behalf of the Birkenhead Market Tenants Association (BMTA). The first question noted that market  representatives had met with the Market Manager and they now wished to know if Members would agree to meet with the BMTA to discuss their proposals for a Dutch auction rental proposal.


The Chair noted that the Market Manager met with the BMTA on 12th July 2023 when the proposals were put forward and a number of actions were discussed. He stated that the council must first consider the demand/viability of any proposal of this nature before considering it as a potential policy alongside the future market strategy. He confirmed that officers would review the risks associated with this proposal against the benefits including the financial impactions.


Mr Featherstone asked a supplemental question regarding whether councillors would be interested in meeting to discuss their proposals as he felt the Council were losing money by not implementing them.


The Chair responded that the proposals should be discussed with officers first and that Members would consider meeting with the BMTA after this.


Mr Featherstone’s second question related to a stated 40% increase in vacant market rents in November 2021 and the effect this has had on the number of occupied stalls. He asked if this vacant rent increase could be cancelled immediately.


The Chair responded that the Council had benchmarked the rental values against similar markets in the North West and Birkenhead remained one of the most affordable when comparing rents per square foot. In addition, the Council had taken the difficult decision to maintain its current rental values over recent years with significant increases in inflation therefore giving a real value decrease in traders rents when compared to the increasing costs. The market industry has faced significant and wide-ranging pressures in the last decade which was a factor in its decision in acquiring Birkenhead Market and securing its long-term future. He noted that the Council would continue to support Birkenhead Market wherever practically possible.  

Mr Featherstone asked a supplemental question seeking clarification on the answer received to his 2nd submitted question. He stated he had submitted evidence that there had been a 40% increase in vacant rents in 2021 and requested an enquiry into why this was being denied.


The Chair responded that he could not give a verbal answer and that a written response would be provided within 10 working days.