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.

 

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.

Around and about in Moreton and Saughall Massie

Yestbb-linear-parkerday I met up with my colleague, Cllr Bruce Berry to have a look at a couple of issues that have been brought to our attention.

First up it’s the footpaths around Linear Park which to be quite frank are in a terrible state with the surface breaking up, flooding etc, a real hazard if a young child falls.    We have asked the Council to deal with this before, but they have always said ‘There are no actionable defects’.

We have now asked one of the Managers for Highways to become involved and we hope he will view this area as needing some sort of resurfacing or repair.

 

bb-saughall-roadSecondly we have asked AGAIN for all the excess chippings to be swept from Saughall Road following the resurfacing late last year.

While we we walking the road we noted that in places the new surface is breaking up quite badly. It’s particularly bad near to the junction with Garden Hey Road and we have asked the Council to get the contractor back to remedy all the faults and sweep away the loose chippings.   It’s fair to say that the quality of workmanship at this location is less that satisfactory.

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

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

 

FIRE STATION – TODAY IS DECISION DAY

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Today we have ONE final opportunity to convince the Planning Committee to throw this application out, that opportunity is at 6pm this evening at Wallasey Town Hall when they will give its verdict on the application.

We need one last HUGE turnout of residents to reinforce our message. Please come along and let’s make this a night we can all be proud of, let’s make this the night when we win. Remember, together we are stronger.

Please don’t leave it to others to attend they may be leaving it to you.

Fire Station – Decision Day Tomorrow, Thursday 15th December

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So after two years and 6 days of opposing this attack on our green belt, tomorrow, Thursday 15th December Wirral’s Planning Committee will make a decision to say Yes or No to the fire station.

This piece of land was offered up to the fire service for consideration on the 9th December, 2014 after the Labour Leader of the Council withdrew the land at Greasby.

For the last two years we have fought this at every stage, during consultation, at Council meetings, through letters and leaflets, you name it we have done it.

Yesterday, when the Planning Committee visited the site they were given a very strong and clear message by over 200 people, and that message was ‘Hands off our green belt’

We have ONE final opportunity to convince the Planning Committee to throw this application out, that opportunity is at 6pm this Thursday 15th December at Wallasey Town Hall when they will give its verdict on the application.

We need one last HUGE turnout of residents to reinforce our message. Please come along and let’s make this a night we can all be proud of, let’s make this the night when we win.  Remember, together we are stronger.

Please don’t leave it to others to attend they may be leaving it to you.