Fire Station in Saughall Massie – The fight goes on

Following Wirral’s planning committee refusing the application for a fire station on Saughall Massie Road, the Fire Authority met yesterday to decide what to do next.   Along with my colleague Cllr Bruce Berry and Les Spencer, Chair of the Saughall Massie Village Conservation Area I attended the meeting.

One of the Labour members on the Authority called local residents ‘Snobs’ for opposing the first application and suggested that Saughall Massie residents are only interested in their house values and the Chair of the Authority said the way Wirral Council behaved was despicable, and he suggested that all those Councillors who spoke against this application and voted against should hang their heads in shame.   After they had finished insulting residents, Councillors and the Council, the Authority resolved to submit an amended planning application in the next few weeks, as well as considering an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, and consider requesting that the Council pays the costs.

Clearly we need to continue to oppose this attack on our green belt and the amenity of local residents, particularly those who are elderly and infirm who live in the nearby sheltered housing in Woodpecker Close and on Saughall Massie Road and to that end we have set up an online petition which can be accessed HERE   You can also help by clicking HERE and printing off a hard copy petition, collect as many signatures as you can and return it to me, Bruce or Steve at our home addresses. Alternatively you may want to return petitions to me, Steve and Bruce between 11am and 11:30am on Sunday 19th February when we will be outside the Willows Pub on Saughall Massie Road.

As soon as the planning application is submitted we will let people know.  In the meantime please sign the petition and ask your friends to do so to.  Sadly we have to fight this all over again.

 

Millhouse Pub Site – UPDATE

I reported earlier this week about the sale of the Millhouse Pub Site from Galliford Try to the Symphony Housing Group.

I have today received an email response from the Group Chief Executive setting out their plans for the redevelopment of this site.  I have reproduced that email below.   LHT regers to Liverpool Housing Trust, part of the Symphony Group

As you will read they are going to ditch the plans for 38 apartments and submit a planning application for 28 x 2 bedroom 3 person flats for rent or buying, this seems to me to be a more acceptable proposal.

Email starts

Dear Cllr Blakeley,

Many thanks for your e mail raising your concerns about the Millhouse site.

LHT purchased the site from Galliford Try in Mid November 2016 with planning as mentioned in your email.  In our view the scheme with planning was too dense and we had indicative plans drawn up to enable a firm bid to be submitted to the HCA for 28 x two bedroom 3 person flats for rent to buy (general needs).  I am pleased to tell you that this was successful and that we now have a grant allocation for the site.

As you observed, we have tidied and fenced the site and understand that there are no current concerns from neighbours about anti-social behaviour.  We are about to tender for demolition works to clear the site.  We are working with the Local Authority, have started all the site investigations and have a meeting in place this week with the architect to move the site forward.  Our aim is to have a 2017/18 start on site subject to the revised planning.

We would be delighted to meet with you,  maybe on site, to discuss our plans and to that end, I have copied in my colleague Lin Powell who is leading our work and asked her to get in touch with you directly.

I trust that this is of assistance.

With kind regards

Bronwen Rapley, Group Chief Executive

Symphony Housing Group, 12 Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 4AA

Millhouse Pub Site, Millhouse Lane

I have heard that the site has now been sold by Galliford Try to the Symphony Housing Group

Symphony Housing Group describe themselves as the largest registered social landlord based solely in the North West. With over 41,000 properties, we operate across 30 local authorities and we are committed to supporting the regeneration and sustainability of the North West.

I have sent Bronwen Rapley, Group Chief Executive an email asking what plans Symphony has for this site. I have reproduced that email below.   As soon as i get a response I will of course ensure local residents and the wider community are informed.

Email Starts

Dear Ms Rapley

I understand that the Symphony Housing Group has purchased from Galliford Try, the former Millhouse pub site, Millhouse Lane, Moreton CH46 6HJ

As you will be aware a planning application, APP/14/00706 for the Demolition of The Millhouse public house and erection of 38 residential apartments for older people (over 55s) and other associated development including hard and soft landscaping, boundary treatment, car parking, and alterations to access from Millhouse Lane.( amended proposals, reducing number of units, increasing car parking and alterations to elevations) was refused unanimously by Wirral’s Planning Committee on the 22nd October, 2014, however the application was subsequently allowed at appeal.

Since the appeal was allowed by the planning inspectorate in 2015 the site has been left to deteriorate and has become an eyesore to local residents, a real blot on the landscape, and indeed, until it was tidied and fenced off was a magnet for fly tipping and anti-social behaviour.

As one of the three Ward Councillors for the area, along with local residents we are keen to see this site redeveloped and brought back into use as soon as possible.

I would very much appreciate it if you could tell me if it is Symphony’s intention to build in line with the current approved planning permission, or do you have other plans for this site?

I look forward to your response

Regards

Chris Blakeley

Councillor for Moreton West and Saughall Massie Ward

74, Grampian Way, Moreton CH46 0PZ

Tel: 0151 606 9193

Mob: 07803 614418

Fire Station on green belt in Saughall Massie – UPDATE

Following refusal of the planning application for a new fire station in Saughall Massie in December last year, the Chief Fire Officer, Dan Stephens is taking a report to the Fire Authority next Thursday 26th January recommending that the Authority give him permission to submit an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate as well as submitting a further planning application to Wirral Council.   You can read his report by clicking HERE 

It appears that the Chief Fire Officer is prepared to keep squandering public money in order to force this unwanted fire station on a community, who have made it abundantly clear that they don’t want it.   We will of course oppose any further attempts to build at this location.

The Fire Authority meeting starts at 1pm and is being held in the the Liverpool Suite at Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters, Bridle Road, Bootle L30 4YD.   The meeting is is open to the public, so if you want to attend you are very welcome to do so.

Pensioners Lunch Clubs

Starts 

Wirral Council has announced that grants for pensioner lunch clubs in the Borough are to be scrapped from April. 

The move, which has taken place without full consultation, will affect around 200 pensioners, leaving many of them alone at home.  

The Council has said the £72,000 saved will then be reinvested in tackling pensioner isolation. 

Among the lunch clubs affected are Moreton, Leasowe, New Brighton Community Centre and Vale Park.  The clubs, which take place throughout the week are held in local community centres and often run by volunteers. 

The Council’s grants help towards the cost of transport for the pensioners and the costs of the meals. 

Councillor Bruce Berry (Conservative, Moreton West & Saughall Massie) said: “This decision has been sneaked out without virtually any consultation among the groups affected and there is now less than six weeks to find alternative funds or face closure. 

“Not one of the community groups affected by this policy has been asked to serve on the panel that reviewed the spending and the Council has failed to communicate with all the clubs affected.” 

“The effect of this policy will have the opposite result to the one the Town Hall claims – instead of freeing up £72,000 to spend on pensioners, the existing 200 or more isolated, vulnerable and often lonely individuals will be left sitting in their own homes. That’s not tackling isolation – it’s creating it.”

Ends

You can read what the Wirral Globe says HERE

Notes:

In the latest review of Wirral Council’s ‘2020 Pledges’, the Town Has has stated ‘Ensuring the most vulnerable among us are safe, and feel safe, is perhaps our most important responsibility.’

Woodland behind Paulsfield Drive

I discovered yesterday that a developer was showing an interest to build houses on a part of the woodland  (classed as Urban Green Space) that lies behind Paulsfield Drive.

Today I spoke with Wirrals Planning Department to see if any pre-application advice had been sought.   The answer was yes and I was sent a copy of the proposal which showed a proposal for 12 semi detached homes.  you can view that proposal HERE .   I was also sent a copy of the pre-planning advice response from the Planning Department which can be read HERE.

As you will read the planner’s advice is that development on this site is highly unlikely to be granted planning permission.     I will be keeping a watching eye on the planning website an if by chance an application is submitted I will ensure everyone who lives in the area is informed, as well as the wider community.

 

Will car parking charges increase in Wirral and extend to other parks and open spaces?

So here we go again, Wirral’s Labour-led Council, while scrapping parking charges in Birkenhead are looking at options to increase car parking charges across Wirral, and look again at introducing new car parking charges at Fort Perch Rock in New Brighton, Eastham Country Park, Royden Park, Wirral Country Park and Arrowe Country Park.   Why else would the Cabinet Member sign off the procurement notice for pay and display machines in the wards that these parks and open spaces sit in?    That decision notice can be viewed HERE

Now tried this a couple of years ago and it caused uproar and outrage with people coming together, petitions being signed to tell this Labour lot where to get off, and thankfully that people power resulted in the plans being dropped.

Now we need everyone to come together again to oppose this madness.  I am aware that one New Brighton resident, Darren May has already started the ball rolling with an online petition to oppose charges being implemented at Fort Perch Rock.  You can sign that petition by clicking HERE.

Other friends groups may wish to set up their own petitions whether online or hard copy.     One thing is for certain we need to harness people power and send a message to this Council.