Happy New Year

Thank you to everyone who has supported me, Bruce and Steve throughout 2016, without your help and support we would not have been able to achieve what we did.

We wish everyone, wherever you are in the world a peaceful and prosperous 2017.

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A Look Back at 2016

Locally in Moreton and Saughall Massie this year has been dominated by two major issues, the Labour Councils closure of Girtrell Court and the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service plans to close Upton and West Kirby Fire Stations and build a new one on green belt land in Saughall Massie.   And nationally we had the vote to leave the European Union in June (Brexit), and of course against every prediction, Donald Trump was elected to become President of the United States of America.

So back in January we discovered that to save £155,000 the Labour led Council wanted to close Girtrell Court.   This resulted in a fight that ran right up until a special Council meeting in November when the battle to save this much loved facility was lost.    You can read more on that year long fight by clicking HERE

The proposal to build a Fire Station on Green Belt land in Saughall Massie started on December 9th, 2014, that was the date that the Leader of the Council withdrew the land in Greasby and offered up the green belt in Saughall Massie.  You can read more about the battle that took place by clicking HERE.

The battle really heated up in July this year when they submitted their planning application.   Sadly Planning Officers recommended approval of the application, this despite almost 4,000 people objecting, however on Thursday December 15th Wirral’s Planning Committee members voted 7 to 6 to refuse the application.   You can read more on that HERE.  A great victory for people-power.    Now we need to wait to see if the fire service submits an appeal to the planning inspectorate

There were also many other issues during the year, I will report on one for each month below, but remember this is but a snapshot of a packed year and all the articles can be found at www.chrisblakeley.com

In January I asked the Leader of The Council whatever happened to the much vaunted International Trade Centre which was destined for Wirral Waters.    We discovered that the proposal had been moved to the business park in Bromborough, then on December 19th the Leader of the Council said it would not be going ahead at all.   Another pipe dream bites the dust.

In February it was reported that despite pleading poverty the Council spent £66,000 on new furniture.   More on that here

In March we read about Wirral Council asking for lifetime leisure passes to be handed back from those Council employees with 25 or more years’ service. Read more here

In April I joined up with colleagues and the Saughall Massie Village Area Conservation Society to do a ‘Spring Clean’ in the community   More on that here

In May the local elections took place and I was delighted to be re-elected to serve for a fifth term in Moreton and Saughall Massie.  More on that here

In June we urged the Council to fly the flag of St George for the European football Championships.  More on that here     Following this I moved that the flag of St George  be flown every day and the Council finally agreed in October this year.

In July we reported just how out of touch the Council was. You can read that here

In August we called on Wirral Council to have all Councillors DBS checked  more here

In September we reported on the tremendous employment figures across the UK.  Read more on that here

In October we reported on the next attack on our green belt at Diamond Farm in Saughall Massie   You can read more about that here

In November we report on the Council becoming the first in Merseyside to adopt the Motor Neurone disease Charter.  More here

In December as well as having the planning application for the fire station refused, we also set up a petition to help protect the amenity of the people who live in the sheltered accommodation at Woodpecker Close.   More on that here

So that’s just a small snippet of the year.    Here’s to a peaceful and prosperous 2017

Sign this Petition to Help Protect the Elderly and Infirm!

SIGN OUR PETITION BY CLICKING HERE

On December 15th, 2016 Wirral Council refused planning permission for a fire station on green belt land on Saughall Massie Road, adjacent to sheltered accommodation at Woodpecker Close.

The application was refused for various reasons, one of which was to protect the amenity of those residents who live nearby in the sheltered accommodation in Woodpecker Close, one of whom is a D Day veteran who, I am told has also been awarded France’s highest military honour, The Legion de Honor.

In 2014 the Leader of the Council withdraw a brownfield site in Greasby to protect a much loved green space and the amenity of local residents.

I think it is only right that the Leader of the Council treats the residents of Saughall Massie fairly and equitably and withdraw this green belt land from any future development.    Withdrawing this land will also remove the stress, anxiety and worry from the elderly, and in some case infirm residents of Woodpecker Close.

Sadly the Leader of the Council has in an email response to me refused to withdraw the land, so please add you signature to our PETITION try to force him to change his mind.

Action on Knife Sales in Wirral

Starts

More retailers across Wirral and Merseyside have today signed up to an agreement with the Government that prevents the sale of knives to the underage.

The move has been welcomed by Councillor Chris Blakeley (Conservative, Moreton West & Saughall Massie).

It means that local branches of Boots, the Co-op, B&Q and Aldi will, from now on, verify the ages of youngsters buying knives, as well as staff training and ensuring knives are packaged and displayed securely.

Councillor Chris Blakeley said: “Together with more police action on knives, this commitment by more retailers means fewer knives will be on our streets. Too often, however, the knife has come from the home and so we also need parents to vigilant. There is no reason why any young person should be carrying a knife while out and about in the community.”

Earlier signatories to the agreement in March include Tesco, Lidl UK, Wilko, Argos, Morrisons, Asda, Poundland, Sainsbury’s, John Lewis, Amazon UK and Ebay UK.

Andrew Pope, Head of Risk, the Co-op, said: “We are committed to supporting efforts to tackle knife crime and would urge all retailers to implement restrictions to prevent the sale of knives to children. These measures, such as proof of age at point of purchase and the safe and secure packaging of such products, can all help to make local communities safer.”

Previous action to reduce knife crime has seen harsher penalties – the maximum penalty for an adult carrying a knife is four years in prison and an unlimited fine and an automatic prison sentence will be imposed on anyone convicted of carrying a knife more than once – and a ban on the most lethal knives and weapons such as butterfly knives (a blade hidden inside a handle that splits in the middle); flick knives (a blade hidden inside a handle which shoots out when a button is pressed) and ‘zombie’ knives (a knife with a cutting edge, a serrated edge and images or words suggesting it is used for violence).

Across Merseyside, the latest figures show 672 recorded offences involving a knife or sharp instrument.

Nationally, around one in five knife crimes are committed by juveniles, with more 10 to 15 year olds also reporting that they know someone who carries a knife.

Anyone who knows someone is regularly carrying a knife is asked to contact Merseyside Police or, anonymously, Crimestoppers on 0800 555111

Ends.

Background:

· Sale of knives: voluntary agreement by retailers: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sale-of-knives-voluntary-agreement-by-retailers
· The law on selling, buying and carrying knives: https://www.gov.uk/buying-carrying-knives
· ONS Annual Compendium on Violent Crime (appendix 3.17): https://www.ons.gov.uk/file?uri=/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/compendium/focusonviolentcrimeandsexualoffences/yearendingmarch2015/bulletintablesfocusonviolentcrimeandsexualoffencesyearendingmarch2015/02appendixtablesviolentcrimeandsexualoffences201415tcm77432777.xls

Wirral Council is first in Merseyside to adopt charter on Motor Neurone Disease

mnd-pic-28-nov-16-at-wthLast night at its Council meeting, Wirral Council became the first council in Merseyside to adopt the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Charter after campaigners contacted councillors in the summer, asking for action to improve the way in which people with MND are supported.

MND is a fatal, rapidly progressing disease that can leave people locked in a failing body, unable to move, talk and eventually breathe. It kills around a third of people within a year of diagnosis, and more than half within two years. There is no cure.

The move followed a call by the MND Association to ensure councils adopt the MND Charter as a clear commitment of their support to people with MND and their carers.

There is no cure for the disease and so the Motor Neurone Disease Association, representing people with the disease, their families and friends, campaigns for better care, as well as the right to early diagnosis. In some cases, people have waited up to three years for a diagnosis.

Councillor Steve Williams, who, with Cllr. Chris Blakeley, met campaigners and submitted the request for better care, said: “Having met the MND Association’s Wirral group and listened to their stories, I am really pleased that Wirral Council has now agreed to support them by adopting their Charter. I hope we will now be able to speed up diagnosis and improve the standards of care for people with this complex and cruel disease.”

Debbie Williams, speaking on behalf of the Association’s Wirral group, added: “The importance of the MND Charter is undeniable. We want everyone to be clear that access to the right care, in the right place, at the right time, as set out in our Charter, can transform lives.”

Fire Station Proposal in Green Belt, Thrown Out by Wirral’s Planning Committee by One Vote!

Last night Wirral’s Planning Committee threw out the application made by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service for a new Fire Station on green belt land in Saughall Massie on a vote of 7 to 6.

This was the culmination of a campaign that lasted 2 years and 6 days and is a victory for common sense and people power.

While me and my ward colleagues, Cllr Bruce Berry and Cllr Steve Williams led this campaign of opposition, it would have not been successful without the huge support given by local residents, the Saughall Massie Village Conservation Society and the Campaign for Rural England.   Thank you to everyone who helped, this is your victory.

The meeting, attended by around 150 residents heard arguments from all political parties on the merits of approval and refusal and in the end the vote split mainly down party lines with Labour mainly supportive of the application.

The debate took around 90 minutes culminating in two separate recommendations being proposed by West Kirby and Thurstaston Conservative Councillor, David Elderton.    The first recommendation was defeated by 7 votes to 6 with all 7 Labour members voting against the Conservative recommendation.

However the second recommendation was supported by 7 votes to 6, with Labours Chair of the committee having the courage of her convictions to protect residents who lived nearby and voting with the Conservatives, Liberal Democrat and Green Party members and the fire services application was refused

The reason for refusal is reproduced below along with the names of how Councillors voted.

“Having regards to location of the development proposed and the proximity to residential properties and the nature of the activities proposed, particularly with regards to the sudden and/or emergency nature of activities, together with the character of the local highway network, the Council considers that the proposal would result in harm to the visual amenities of the Green Belt, the character of the area and the amenities of neighbouring residents and the wider locality. Therefore, the development would be contrary to Policy GB2 of the Wirral Unitary Development Plan and the principles of the National Planning Policy Framework.”

Voting to REFUSE the fire Station:

David Elderton, Conservative, West Kirby and Thurstaston

Eddie Boult, Conservative, Hoylake and Meols

Kathy Hodson, Conservative, Heswall

Ian Lewis, Conservative, Wallasey

Stuart Kelly, Liberal Democrat, Oxton

Pat Cleary, Green, Birkenhead and Tranmere

Anita Leech, Labour (Chair) Leasowe and Moreton East.

 

Voting to ALLOW the fire station:

Steve Foulkes, Labour, Claughton

Treena Johnson, Labour, Leasowe and Moreton East

Joe Walsh, Labour, Bromborough

Irene Williams, Labour, Bromborough

Denise Realey, Labour, Prenton

Angela Davies, Labour, Prenton