It’s been a particularly dramatic week for local politics in Wirral. We have had a stunning U-turn on the mass closure of libraries. You can read the local press report here. It seems the yet-to-be-published government report on the closures contains some pretty damning conclusions on how our Labour-led Council handled the whole affair. As a result, Councillors have been forced to eat humble pie. This means the whole affair has been a complete waste of time and public money. Really you couldn’t make it up. However, our Council finances are still in big trouble and the need to deal with this hasn’t gone away.
On that very theme this week has also seen plans to privatise Wirral’s parks and other outdoor facilities including allotments. I am completely opposed to this. All the evidence suggests that privatisation is actually more expensive, less accountable, damaging to the public service ethos as well as being implicated in political and corporate corruption.
I am especially angry that the relevant Councillor is seeking to present this as a plan "to improve maintenance standards, gain a closer working relationship with park users and community groups and provide improved facilities". This is shameless spin on what is clearly an attempt to reduce costs and cut services.
Where cost savings do need to be made they need to involve all relevant employees and stakeholders putting public service ahead of private profit. You can read a good example of how one area has approached this in a responsible way here.
Regular readers will know that I’ve been banging on about Wirral’s poor record on road safety for some time. In response to requests for specific safety measures on Derby Road I’ve been fobbed off with the usual excuse that areas with few reported deaths and injuries do not qualify for safety measures. Until there is a major culture change with respect to road safety we will continue to see higher rates of collisions locally than elsewhere in the country. In the meantime, I would encourage everyone to report any incidents to the police, the Council and to me.
Were you one of the many people who took part in our Big Green Clean day on September 13. If you were, thanks very much for taking part. Pictures of the day are on my blog site.
Finally, despite all the goings-on this week I haven’t forgotten the bread and butter issues that matter so much to people. Here is a round-up:
We have had major success with the alleyway running between Chesnut Grove and Victoria Road. Graffiti and fly-tipped rubbish has been cleared and the broken light repaired. Separately, another broken light on Chesnut Grove has also been fixed as have the lights in the car park off Hinson Street.
The alleyway behind Woodville Road was given a special clean following my complaint. I also complained about the delay in restoring the road markings on Derby Road. Thankfully these have now been done.
Our residents’ survey on September 27th produced the usual raft of issues. I have today reported broken lights on Sidney Road and Holt Road and sent pictures of the alleyway running between Seymour Street and Acuba Grove (pictured). The relevant Council officer has promised an early inspection.
Also I am still awaiting developments regarding the alleyway problems reported on Rodney Street and Hinderton Road.