Western Link HVDC Project – Update.

Last month, along with my colleague, Cllr Bruce Berry I visited the new Western Link Flintshire Bridge Converter Station on the Deeside Industrial Estate.

The Converter Station is the final destination for the HVDC cable that has come down from Scotland, coming ashore by Leasowe Lighthouse and cutting right across Wirral.

The station converts the Direct Current (DC), to Alternating Current (AC) the energy comes from a renewable source, and once converted it can be used to power our homes and businesses.    The station is absolutely amazing and is so state of the art it can send power back up to Scotland if they need it, converting back from AC to DC.

You can read more about the work of National Grid and the community initiatives HERE 

western-link-pics

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Come on Guys, Do the Right Thing!

So for the next six weeks we know there will be no Wirral Line trains using the loop line.   We also know that Merseyrail have laid on train replacement buses and that Merseytravel will be using the Mersey ferries to transport people to and from their workplaces.

However we also know that human nature being what it is, that many commuters will revert to using their cars.    Now while this will cause some disruption and possible delays at the tunnels, it will also generate a huge amount of ‘Extra Income’ for Merseytravel through toll charges, how much will this be?  I could not even guess, however I am sure it will be a substantial sum of money running into the tens of thousands of pounds.    I believe it would be a great idea if Merseytravel calculated that extra income and instead of making even greater surpluses they donated the extra income to charity, and I would happily nominate Claire House as a beneficiary.

Now I know from the time I served on Merseytravel, that until it was stopped because of a legal challenge that Merseytravel used to donate to charity all the extra money it received via the tolls from those people who simply did not have the right money so put in extra coins, locally Foxfield School and Claire House benefited from this.   Sadly now, as I said because a group of people challenged the use of this ‘Extra’ money it had to be stopped.   But these are different circumstances and I am sure that Merseytravel could, if they looked find a way to put this extra unexpected income back into the community.

So here’s a plea to the Chairman of Merseytravel, Cllr Liam Robinson, the Chair of the Combined Authority Cllr Joe Anderson and to the Chief Executive, Director General of Merseytravel, Frank Rogers, hey guys do the right thing!

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