Fire Authorities to be Abolished?

It has been reported in today’s Times Newspaper that Fire Services are to be put under the control of Police and Crime Commissioners resulting in Fire Authorities being abolished.

Well after our recent dealings with the Merseyside Fire Authority and their entrenched demands to build on our Green Belt, I for one would not be disappointed if these dictatorial body’s disappear.

What do you think?

Millhouse Appeal – Planning Inspectorate say NO to a Public Hearing!

I was disappointed to receive an email today from the Planning Inspectorate informing me that the Inspectorate would not hold a public hearing into this appeal, and, instead would determine the outcome by an exchange of correspondence (see email at the bottom of this post)

I believe in the interests of openness and transparency this matter should have been the subject of a public hearing, where local residents would have been able to put their objections to this development forward and tell the inspector face to face why this appeal should be dismissed.   Instead this matter will now be determined by a faceless beaurocrat based in Bristol.    I sincerely hope the Inspector takes into account the massive opposition to this proposal

It’s worth repeating that we are not opposed to this ‘eyesore’ being redeveloped, however with a development that is more in keeping with the existing streetscene.

Email starts

Dear All,

We have completed a review of the procedure following the receipt of the LPA’s statement and third party representations. We consider that there would be no obvious benefit in holding a hearing as the Inspector should be able to come to an informed conclusion on the basis of the written evidence submitted and a site visit. Thus the written procedure seems to be suitable and the appeal will continue in this way. Please note that the Inspector has the final decision on the procedure and if they considers it necessary they will not hesitate to change the procedure.

Kind regards
Joanna Martin
Case Officer – Planning Team 11
Room 3/04
The Planning Inspectorate
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Temple Quay
Bristol, BS1 6PN
http://www.planning-inspectorate.gov.uk
Email: teamp11@pins.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: 0303 444 5427
(GTN 7 8870) Fax: 0117 372 8443

Email ends

Don’t lose your vote!

Over the last few days you should have received important documents from the Council about voter registration.

Click on this LINK for the notice from the Council: Wirral residents to receive important voter advice

Here in Moreton, Labour has sometimes scraped in by less than 20 votes. Yet, at every election, there are people who find they are not registered to vote but who could have made a difference to the result.

Don’t lose your right to vote!

Parking in Moreton

This week I have written to Jane Kennedy, Merseysides Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) asking her to release the parking spaces designated for the police in Chadwick Street.

The Police Station in Chadwick Street has been closed for months and there simply is no need to starve visitors and shoppers of much needed parking spaces in Moreton.

I did ask the Council to look at this, sadly they came back and said they had spoken to the Police and they had said they they want to keep the spaces ‘in case they need them in the future’.    If the Police need parking at this location they have a drive that will accommodate three vehicles at the side of the station.

I hope that the PCC will do the right thing and release these bays to provide some much needed parking provision in our town centre.

Demise of the Councils Streetscene Service – What next?

Recently all elected members received an email from Joe Blott, Strategic Director at Wirral Council informing us that the Councils Streetscene Department would cease and be replaced by an online reporting system for Members of the public, Councillors and MPs.  That email is reproduced below.

Its fair to say I have never been a fan of Streetscene for many reasons, not least of all the lack of a dedicated officer who can be held to account.  Consequently I remain to be convinced that this new system is any better.

This new system also disadvantages those people who do not have Internet access or are not internet savvy and I believe is an underhand way of dissuading people from reporting issues.   I believe the Streetscene telephone number will still be available with limited operators who will be able to ‘key in’ any issues that are reported by the public.   However the chances are you will be waiting a long time for your call to be answered, time will tell..

If you have any questions on this please contact Mr Blott on 691 8001.   Alternatively please contact me, Steve or Bruce and we will do our very best to help

Dear Councillor

This is a reminder that from 31st July 2015, the Streetscene@wirral.gov.uk email address will close.

All Councillors should report or request Streetscene issues through Councillor.Net, the dedicated site for all Wirral members.

If an email is received into the Streetscene@wirral.gov.uk email account on or after the 31st July the following will happen:

o From a Councillor
o An automatic email acknowledgment will be sent in reply informing the Councillor to submit a Streetscene request through Councillor.Net
o From an MP or MP’s staff
o An automatic email acknowledgment will be sent in reply informing the MP to submit a Streetscene request via a dedicated web link
o Customer
o An automatic email acknowledgment will be sent in reply informing the customer to go to Wirral.gov.uk

Submitting Streetscene requests via an online form on a web link automates the process, freeing up advisors to help those customers who can’t self- serve, either because their enquiry is too complex or because they are not able to get online.

Anyone without internet access can use a self-serve desk at any library or one stop shop for easy and quick access to online service. Our libraries also have free wifi so they can use their own phone, tablet or laptop if they prefer. Staff in our one stop shops and libraries can help people to get online, so in future they will be able to access more services on their own.

These changes in our customer services are nothing new and are not unique to Wirral. Councils around the country are encouraging residents to interact with more services online and, like Wirral, have been for a number of years.

As a Councillor, you can play a role in encouraging your constituents to use online services by becoming familiar with them yourself. As well as the public facing online services, as members you can use Councillor.Net to report issues or request services and track progress for services other than Streetscene. Councillor.Net is freely available to all members and can be accessed through the council website.

The changes in our approach will not only encourage more customers to go online, where it costs the council less to deal with their enquiry, but will also help us meet our ongoing financial challenges. The cost of a face to face transaction is over 20 times that of an online transaction

Regards
Joe Blott
Strategic Director – Transformation and Resources
Wirral Council
Telephone Number : 0151 691 8001
Email : joeblott@wirral.gov.uk