Here is an important Green Party letter acknowledging the vital work of the Brook Advisory Service on Whetstone Lane:
It is good news that teenage pregnancy rates in Wirral are coming down--by 7% in 2007. Sadly Britain still leads the rest of Europe in this league table. The Health Service in Schools initiative will be a positive step to reducing rates further in Wirral especially if it is combined with sex and relationship education, taught early enough by people who are enthusiastic and well equipped to deliver it. One aspect not referred to in your article, however, is the important role played by specialist clinic services for young people provided by Brook Advisory Service in Whetstone Lane, Birkenhead. This service, which opened in 1992 has sessions 6 days a week and sees more than 16,000 young men and women every year. They are offered free, confidential sexual health information, cotraception and pregnancy testing, advice and counselling etc. I am sure this service has made a significant contribution to the reduction of teenage pregnancies in Wirral and will continue to do so in the future.
I continue to liaise with Maritime Housing on behalf of residents concerned about the repair service. One piece of, hopefully, good news is that Maritime has appointed new heating contractors ("Warmer Heating"). Let's hope that results in a better service to residents who have had to deal with inadequate heating over the past winter.
Welcome to my activity report for the month of March. My latest ward newsletter is currently doing the rounds. If you haven’t received one yet you can download it here.
I recently visited Well Lane police station and spent several hours there. My residents’ survey has highlighted numerous cases of anti-social behaviour and I spent a considerable amount of time going through these in detail. I also made representations on behalf of residents who had raised specific concerns with me.
One matter of great concern is that of public drinking and the resulting litter that often goes with it. A no-drinking zone has been set up in Birkenhead town centre and there is a huge stash of confiscated booze at Well Lane which has been seized within this zone.
However, outside of this zone, police powers to act are greatly reduced. This has resulted in public drinking in places just outside the zone. Quarrybank by the YMCA and also behind the casino are two areas affected by this. This can result in significant disruption in nearby streets. Residents are encouraged to report such instances to the police even if this means frequent phone calls. For non-emergency calls ring 709 6010.
Longer term, the police are looking at the possibility of a small tolerance zone for public drinking which does not impact on local residents.
If you suffer from persistent anti-social behaviour it is well worth getting to know your local Community Support Officer (CSO). These are a bridge between the community and the regular police force. Visit the local police website to find out more.
One thing I was shocked to learn is that CSOs in Wirral do not have the powers to issue spot fines for basic offences including littering, speeding and dog fouling. This seems to fly in the face of common sense and is something I intend to report on in more detail in my next ward newsletter.
Another area of widespread concern is housing renewal. There is now a patchwork of sites where housing has been torn down but, with the slump in the property market, we have been left with vacant sites which can rapidly become eyesores and even dangers to the public. One such case is the area between Fountain Street and Whitford Road.
My view is that housing should be maintained and upgraded wherever possible. Demolition should be a last resort. Moreover, demolition should only take place where there are guaranteed plans for redevelopment that meet the needs of the local community following appropriate consultation.
Flytipping is a running sore in many areas and I continue to report incidents as when I become aware of them. Just this week I have been on to Council enforcement officers regarding the regular flytipping on Laurel Road and am awaiting their response.
I also recently managed to catch up with most of the residents who had raised concerns regarding the repair service from Maritime Housing. I got a mixed response and am in further contact with Maritime about this.
Finally, thanks to those residents in the Frodsham Street area who completed our survey on Wednesday evening. We will be following up on some of the issues raised in the coming weeks.