In a shock move, Monday’s vote on the future of Girtrell Court has been thrown into doubt after the Town Hall’s ‘Head of Legal Services’, Surjit Tour, invoked a clause in the Council’s Constitution to close down debate.

A formal ‘Notice of Motion’ had been submitted within the established legal timescales by Councillors Chris Blakeley and Bruce Berry (reproduced below).

Calling for a rethink on the closure plan, both councillors also requested that the future of Wirral Council’s last remaining respite centre to be decided in public.

Having been listed in the agenda for Monday’s council meeting as ‘to be debated’ (see this link:, the Head of Legal Services has now mounted a last-ditch attempt to prevent the debate.

Councillor Blakeley said: “This attempt to stop debate in public wouldn’t be out of place in some tin pot dictatorship.

“In spite of the promises to be ‘open and transparent’, we are once again seeing how the closure of Girtrell Court is now so toxic for the Town Hall they don’t even want it debated.

“Ten days ago, the Head of Legal Services accepted our notice for debate as legal, accurate and within agreed timescales, under the Constitution.

“Yet, here we are, on the eve of a vote, and suddenly we are told that it can’t be debated.”

In an email on Friday to Councillor Blakeley, Mr Tour said he had ‘received a query’ as to whether the debate should go ahead.

Councillor Blakeley added: “Who is the unnamed mystery person who has queried this debate and who appears to have so much influence that the debate can be stopped? We must be told.

“Instead of scratching around the bowels of the Council for a way out of this mess, the Town Hall should accept they have got it wrong, misjudged public opinion and stop the closure. That would be fair to the families and would be supported by councillors, the staff and trade unions.

“On Monday at Council I will be calling for Standing Order 17 to be waived to force a vote on this very important matter.”


  1. GIRTRELL COURT (to be debated)

Proposed by Cllr Chris Blakeley

Seconded by Cllr Bruce Berry  

Council notes that the Leader of the Council has previously stated that he wants his Administration to be open, transparent and fair with the people of Wirral. Council welcomes this approach.  

Council therefore believes that the future of Girtrell Court must be decided in public and not under delegation to the portfolio holder, in conjunction with the Director of Adult Social Services.

Council further believes that the families of those using Girtrell Court, the staff, trade unions and residents and users must be given every opportunity to influence the future of Girtrell Court through a clear and transparent decision making process.

Girtrell Court – Respite extended until end of June

At last night’s Wirral West Constituency Committee, carers spoke from the heart and with passion about the impact the closure of Girtrell Court would have on them and their loved ones.   They also spoke about the unknown during the consultation process and the fact that people could not book respite after March because Girtrell Court were not accepting bookings beyond that date.

We were delighted that the constituency committee agreed to send a resolution to the Cabinet that closure of Girtrell Court should not go ahead and that respite at Girtrell Court be reinstated while the consultation takes place.   Sadly the six Labour Councillors, two of which are Cabinet Members did not support the resolution and abstained.

That said clearly a message about the lack of respite did get through to Graham Hodkinson the Director of Adult Social Services who attended the meeting and tried to answer the difficult questions put to him without much success, however we have learned that he has agreed to reopen bookings for respite at Girtrell Court until the end of June.   If you click on this LINK you can read the letter he will be sending to carers and users of Girtrell Court.  We are delighted to have been able to play our part in helping secure this concession.

This is a small but substantial victory, however the fight to make sure Girtrell Court stays open continues right up until the Cabinet makes its decision at its meeting on the 22nd February at Wallasey Town Hall, the meeting is open to the public and starts at 10am.

We are aware that Unison are arranging a protest lobby at the Town Hall starting at 9am prior to the Cabinet meeting and would welcome as much support as possible so that a very strong message is sent to the Cabinet.

No Decision in Public, Closure in Private!


Campaigners fighting to save the Council’s only respite care facility have revealed that the Authority has now banned families from making any bookings at Girtrell Court after March. At the same time, staff have been issued with redundancy notices, stating their jobs are ‘to be deleted’.

At two meetings of Constituency Committees (Wallasey and West Wirral), members of the Cabinet and the Director of Adult Social Services assured families that ‘no decision’ has been taken and that the closure plan is ‘out for consultation’ ahead of the Council’s budget meeting next month.

Councillor Chris Blakeley said: “This week, we have learned that these public assurances are meaningless. Families are now in a state of limbo as they cannot make bookings for respite care after March while staff have been told to leave. Yet, even at this late stage, the Town Hall has failed to find acceptable, alternative provision.”



Thank you to all the people who have signed up to ‘Save Girtrell Court’ either by email, letter or telephone.   The very many responses we have received show just how valued this facility is.

Last Tuesday we met with Paddy Cleary and David Jones from Unison to discuss the Councils proposal to close Girtrell Court and to share information so that we can work together on this campaign.   It’s clear that together we are stronger.   However we need your support to stop this Councils attack on vulnerable people.

Unison have arranged a meeting on Wednesday 20th January, commencing at 7:30pm at St Mary’s Church Centre, 127 Saughall Massie Road, Saughall Massie, Upton CH49 4LA (Next to the Premier convenience store) and it’s important that as many people who can, attend this meeting to hear first-hand how by working together we can stop this proposal.

In the meantime there other things you can you do now to help us stop this Councils attack on some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

  • If you have not done so please sign the online petition which can be accessed by going to:
  • Please make your views known on the Council’s online consultation (which closes on the 29thJanuary). As the Council uses these responses to inform Cabinet about peoples’ views it’s important that you register your opposition on this survey.  You can access the Girtrell Court consultation page by going to:

As well as points 1 and 2 which are extremely important to do, you could also email your views and concerns (Please cc me in if you do) to the ten Labour Councillors who make up the Council Cabinet, and who will make the final decision on the future of Girtrell Court.  Their email addresses are listed below:,,,

Councillors to set up the ‘Friends of Girtrell Court’

Girtrell Court Pic


Councillors in Moreton West and Saughall Massie are writing to those affected by the proposal to close Girtrell Court, asking for support to set up a ‘Friends’ group that would fight for the centre to remain open. 

Councillor Chris Blakeley said: “As we have seen with previous campaigns, the danger can be that those who oppose the closure of a facility don’t speak with a single voice and are then subject to ‘divide and rule’ tactics from the Town Hall. 

“By setting up a Friends Group, comprising people who use the centre, their carers and families, as well as staff and trade unions, I believe we can demonstrate to the Town Hall how important this Centre is – not least for the 140 people who depend on it.”  

“While the Town Hall has chosen to hide behind ‘data protection’, they have agreed to circulate a letter from the three councillors to service users and staff. I’m really keen to hear from anyone who receives our letter, either giving their own views on the closure plan or who wish to volunteer and help us set up the Friends.”     The letter to service users and staff can be read by clicking HERE


If you want to become a Friend please complete the form below.   Thank You

Weather conditions in Wirral, Update!

I have just received the following email from the Councils, Health, Safety and Resilience Manager.

“I thought it might be useful to just drop you all a quick intermediate update give this mornings weather.    I am yet to receive the Regional Met Officers forecast for this morning but this light snow we are experiencing was predicted in yesterdays forecast.     Looking later into the week it would appear that temperatures during the day are expected to rise a little and there is no further prediction of any major snow but rain and sleet into the weekend.    I have had updates from CYPD and DASS this morning and there are no major issues with either of the services although can I ask you all to keep using the internet as your point of reference regarding schools. The road network appears to be ok on the primary and secondary routes and they were gritted early hours of the morning to mitigate the effects of this light snow fall.    Non primary and secondary roads and residential roads plus pavements will of course remain or become slippy again and there are crews out undertaking clearance along the same priorities as previous:   Health locations, Transport Hubs, Retail outlets, Day centres and Schools.     You may be aware that United Utilities are reporting quite sever leakage from their network and this indicates there are a number of water pipes ruptured.    Two that have been reported on Wirral have led to road closures at the following locations: Barnston Rd / Fox & Hounds dip Egerton Rd / Manor Hill – outside St Anselms school heritage gates We have had it reported that Heron Rd is now back open again.     Bins, they are continuing with messages from yesterday advising people on primary and secondary routes to put bins out and they will be collected if they can get to them.     I will keep you updated on anything urgent but the general prognosis seems to be that this light snow will be passing through by the afternoon and then hopefully rising temperatures to accelerate the slow thaw.”    


Mark Camborne Health, Safety & Resilience Operations Manager Wirral  Tel: 0151 6062071

Foxfield School Summer Fair!

This was my last event of a very busy Saturday and I attended with my colleague, Cllr Leah Fraser, who is the Prospective MP for Moreton and Wallasey.

Web CB Coconut Foxfield June 2009The Fair was extremely well attended and had loads of stalls, cake stalls, play your cards right, bric-a-brac, books, soak the Headmaster (good sport Andre), tea and coffee, barbecue and of course the traditional coconut shy.  Yep thats me pictured with my catch from the coconut stall.

Leah and I chatted with the Chair of Governors, parents and children and everyone was having a great time.  The School does a great job for the children who have special needs, and is a real asset to the local arera and the wider Wirral community.

It has been a busy Saturday, Spaceport, Harvest Court and Foxfield School.  Feet up tonight with a nice glass of wine……………………