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.