The Town Hall has been forced to u-turn on previous refusals to issue sandbags to homes that are most at risk of flooding following last year’s devastation in Moreton.
Following an independent review into the floods, and the responses of the various authorities, Wirral Council was slammed for acting too late, and not working with others.
Councillor Bruce Berry (pictured at the Arrowe Brook) welcomed the outcome of the review and the u-turn: “We know that many of the residents in Millhouse Lane, Carnoustie Close and Tern Way wanted to take action to protect their properties as the flood waters approached but couldn’t due to a botched response from the authorities whose action was too little, too late.
“The fact that Wirral Council has now agreed to order new-style sandbags, in the form of gel-filled ‘hydrobags’, and issue to them to the most at risk residents will be a big help. Nobody wants to see a repeat of last year’s problems.”
The Town Hall has also agreed to carry out a flood plan for each property at risk, personalised to the household, showing the actions residents can take when a flood warning has been issued. The Arrowe Brook is also currently being cleared of rubbish and undergrowth.
Councillor Berry said: “As well as this work by the Council, we also need to see more residents sign up for the free text alert service for flood warnings. Signing up won’t affect insurance premiums or Council Tax, but those extra couple of hours could make all the difference between losing your possessions or not.”
Residents across Wirral can sign up for the free, text alert service from the Environment Agency by logging on to: www.environment-agency.gov.uk<http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk> or by calling: 0345 988 1188.
Last week my colleague, Cllr Bruce Berry met with representatives from the Environment Agency (EA) and the Council to make them aware of the condition of the Arrowe Brook, which was again clogged up with weeds and reeds. It’s good to see that following his intervention the EA have started to clear the Brook.
This morning I met with Bruce (who is pictured above) at the Arrowe Brook by the bridge on Town Meadow Lane and we walked the Brook to see what progress has been made. It was clear that while good sections had been cleared there were still pockets that would require doing manually as the Flailer could not get to the bank for various reasons.
We also hope this is not cosmetic with the EA only clearing the bits we can see. If the flows are to be maintained then the complete Brook needs doing, as does the River Birkett as the Arrowe Brook discharges into that.
An independent report into the flooding that devastated 100 homes in Moreton and forced others to be evacuated has concluded that authorities were too slow to share information and react to rising water levels.
Commissioned in the wake of the September floods that saw the Arrowe Brook break its banks and pour into homes around the Millhouse Lane, Tern Way and Wastdale Drive areas of the town, the report by AECOM, concludes: ‘Information about the scale and severity of the flooding was slow to surface and reach key decision makers’ and ‘misconceptions about roles and responsibilities of the different agencies impacted on the effectiveness of the flood incident response’
Local Councillor Chris Blakeley (Conservative, Moreton West & Saughall Massie) said: “This report confirms the views of the people most affected – that the response of the authorities was too little, too late and that, had authorities and agencies worked together instead of alone, some of the damage to property and distress to residents could have been avoided.”
The report was triggered by a clause in the Flood and Water Management Act (2010) which requires an authority, in this case Wirral Council, to review whether it has exercised it’s statutory functions effectively.
Councillor Blakeley added: “Before 2010, it is unlikely this kind of report would ever have been commissioned, let alone been published, and I hope that the Council will make the full report available on its website. Thanks to this Act of Parliament, residents can now see how, sadly, they were let down by the various authorities and agencies failing in their duty to work together quickly and effectively
“It is now up to councillors to ensure that the authority implements the improvements required. We’ve seen too many reports like this in Wirral in the past where, instead of ‘lessons learnt’, we have had ‘no further action’.
“For the people at risk of further floods in Moreton and elsewhere in Wirral, doing nothing is no longer an option.”
A few months ago, following complaints from local residents I alerted the Council’s Planning Enforcement Team to a vehicle scrap yard that appeared on the Tarran Way Industrial Estate (Clearly visible from Pasture Road). I have been now been told that a valid retrospective planning application has been submitted, not just for the storage of scrap vehicles but for a change of use to a change of use to vehicle depollution, dismantling and repair facility with sales of car parts’ on the site known as, Johnsons Industrial estate, Tarran Way South, Moreton, Wirral, CH46 4TP Application number 20095666
So what does depollution mean? I have asked for further information, but it appears that all the fluids are removed from the vehicle, tyres etc and any other parts that need to be disposed of in a controlled manner, that just leaves the shell of the vehicle which I assume will be shredded with the resultant metal sold off.
I have asked that the application be taken out of delegated authority which means that the decision to approve or refuse the application will be made by Wirral’s Planning Committee in a public hearing, not an Officer behind closed doors. If you want to object to this application you can do so by sending an email to the planning officer dealing with the application. To do that click here, all objections must be submitted by the 14th December.