Agenda item

Public Questions

Notice of question to be given in writing or by email by 12 noon, 22 March 2024 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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David Byrne was not in attendance and the Lead Principal Lawyer read his question on his behalf, He asked for details of the number of traders and the footfall of customers at Birkenhead Market.


The Chair responded that at the time of the meeting, there were 34 traders operating in the market, with a further 2 traders joining the market shortly. He also noted that there had been approximately 250,000 footfall events in the market for 2024 up to the meeting on 27 March 2024. There had been a total of 1.1 million footfall events for 2023.


Mr Joe Orr asked a question relating to the current area rented by stallholders at Birkenhead Market of 17,006 square feet and the proposed site at Princes Pavement having a much smaller retail space of 2163 square feet. He wished to know how there would be space to hold the current traders in the new site.


The Chair responded that the report on Birkenhead Market noted that the Princes Pavement option had a total of 11,528 square feet at the front of house, with 2163 allocated specifically to retail. He noted that it was suggested that smaller stalls would be used within the new site and that further consultation work was to be carried out with the public and market traders before a final design was settled on.


Mr Orr had a supplementary question, asking whether a final decision should be made before any consultation was made with traders.


The Chair responded Mr Orr would receive a written response within 10 working days.


Mr Terry O’Reilly asked whether the Chair felt it was fair or reasonable to expect traders to read a 144-page report, such as the Birkenhead Market Options report, within 2 days in order to be able to submit their questions to the committee.


The Chair responded that the level of detail within the report was necessary and that traders were aware of when the report would be brought to committee that a significant amount of work had been undertaken. Overall, it was preferable to present the committee with as much information as possible.


Mr O’Reilly had a supplementary question, he stated that a report on Birkenhead Market from October 2023 had been withheld from Councillors and asked why.


The Chair noted that this was not related to Mr O’Reilly’s original question, and was not therefore a supplementary question, however he stated that a written response would be provided for Mr O’Reilly within 10 working days.


Mr Mike Eccles stated that the Birkenhead Market Options report did not identify how the Council intended to work with its key stake holders going forward and asked the Chair to outline how market traders could trust council officers to communicate with them in future.


The Chair responded that the Birkenhead Market Options report was being brought to committee due to engagement between the Council and the Birkenhead Market Tenants Association (BMTA)and that their views were listened to. He noted that the Council had met with the BMTA on a regular basis and had provided updates on progress.


Mr Eccles asked a supplementary question, he stated that the Assistant Director had previously stated that there would be clear and transparent communication with the Birkenhead Market traders, he felt that this had not been the case and asked who would be accountable for the delivery of the appraisal within the Birkenhead Market Options report.


The Chair indicated that Mr Eccles would receive a written response within 10 working days.


Mr Greg McTigue asked whether the Chair was worried that due to a lack of consultation with traders and a rushed report on the Birkenhead Market Options, that significant items may have been missed or wrong conclusions made.


The Chair responded that due to engagement with the BMTA, three options had been considered at the December 2023 meeting of the committee. There followed an intensive period of work, where a range of technical disciplines delivered the outcome within the Birkenhead Market Options report.