28 Mar 2010

Key Priorities

Our latest newsletter is doing the rounds at the moment and includes a list of my key priorities for the forthcoming election:

Housing Renewal

Like many of you, Pat is dismayed at the way housing and “regeneration” issues have been handled locally. Demolition and a lack of renewal have seriously blighted our area. Local officials need to be held to account in a way that simply isn’t happening at present.

Local Environment

Pat has worked tirelessly to improve our local environment. By tackling fly-tipping, graffiti and other eye sores Pat is helping to make Birkenhead and Tranmere a better place to live.

Free Eric!

Fly-tipping has undoubtedly increased since our Labour-led Council introduced a £20 charge for bulky waste collections. This disgraceful “tax on the poor” needs to be scrapped. This would be the simplest and most cost effective way to reduce the scourge of fly-tipping.

Safer Streets

Pat has successfully highlighted the unacceptable risks faced by children and vulnerable road users. Local officers have been forced to admit that much more needs to be done to improve road safety. Pat is committed to making our streets safer for everyone.

Social Housing

Pat has helped many tenants unhappy with the repair service provided by social housing landlords. He is also committed to reducing unacceptably long waiting times for affordable housing.

Youth Facilities

One in four of our young people are not in education, training or employment. We need more emphasis on facilities and training for young people. This will be an investment in the future and will also help to reduce anti-social behaviour.

26 Mar 2010

Council response to tree felling

Below is a reponse from a Council officer to the outrageous felling of trees on Church Road and the subsequent response from a local resident.

There are many issues here but two stand out for me; the obvious bias in favour of the developer and the complete lack of empathy with the resident concerned and the loss suffered by the local community.

There were no outstanding preservation orders on the trees on the site and the granting of planning permission for the new retail development allowed Lovell to remove trees from the site to prepare it for new development.  No guarantees have ever been given to residents that existing trees would remain as part of the new development.  The small bungalow development that will back onto the existing housing at Hampden Grove has only secured outline planning permission at this stage and when Lovell submits their reserved matters, they have advised that this will include the planting of new mature trees and hedges to create a new green boundary.  Admittedly, these trees will not be of the size and scale of those removed but their removal has been necessary to prepare for a £2million new development on the site - a development that is greatly needed in Church Road.  Lovell carried out a full tree survey prior to submitting their planning application.  It turns out that many of the trees were removed because they were unsafe and dangerously overhanging existing homes.  The contractor removing the trees found no evidence of squirrels living on the site. 

25 Mar 2010

Elmswood Road/Harrowby Road

I've been pestering Streetscene for months to do something about conditions in the alleyway between Elmswood Road and Harrowby Road. This should be cleansed monthly but hasn't had a proper see to in ages.

I was therefore delighted to hear this evening that Biffa have finally been round and cleared up.

Church Road Trees - press release

You can read the press release on the destruction of trees off Church Road here.

21 Mar 2010

Today I woke to the sound of no birds

This is how one resident described the outrage described here to her MP. The words speak for themselves.

Today I woke to the sound of no birds, and to someone looking over to my property. This is the first time this has happened in the 3 yrs i have lived here.

Why? Because we no longer have any trees. Our street backs onto a development site the application is APP/09/05518.When I first moved here the trees and wildlife were part of the reason i bought my property, also the feeling of seclusion and privacy. This was important as my son is special needs and as we had come from a rough area of birkenhead, he felt safe and for the first
time in 8 yrs he was able to play out. I knew the land behind my property was up for development but I was assured that the trees would be staying as there were bungalows being built immediately behind us and the trees would give us the added privacy for ourselves and the residents that would move in there. They are also building a shopping development. We raised our concerns
about the service road as it would come immediately alonside the end property. Again they said the trees were staying so they would somewhat sheild the noise. We raised concerns about the generator that is going to be built against the wall of our cul-de-sac. Again they said it was going to be by the trees and they would conceal the noise. Theses trees were over 100 yrs old and had a preservation order. These trees no longer exist. In 4 days they have totally desimated and destroyed birds homes, a family of squirrels home, and upset a whole area. Our view is no longer leafy green trees in summer and bare branches in winter, no longer do we see or hear the birds which ranged from robins right through to blackbirds and crows, a couple of children are very upset as they no longer will see sophie and sally (squirrels they had named after rescuing the baby and watching the mum comeand get her) and they are concernd about where they are now living, no longer will we see the bats flying between the houses to get to the trees. Now we can see into peoples houses over the back so I assume if we can see them they can see us, we can hear people talking on church road, the car lights shine into the backs of our property as they drive up church road. we no longer feel secluded and secure and to compensate for this I am having to get a house alarm and security light for the rear of my property, just so my son and myself feel secure. I have just walked along Church Road and where before we could see trees, now you can see straight into peoples homes.This makes me feel very vulnerable. Instead we will be getting to see the back of shopping developement, the smell of waste bins, the smell of hgv wagons fumes, the sound of generators, cars, people shopping and best of all the sound of hgv wagons doing there deliveries at 6 in the morning. These trees were on the plans. All through the stages we were told the trees were staying. We know the trees had a preservation order. They say they will replant trees, but not in my or my childs lifetime will the trees be as big and strong as they were. There was no reason whatsover for the trees to come down, they would not have been in the way, it is just a developer showing he is the big boy and can run rough shod over us people, the council, i feel, wiped there hands of it and took a step back and buried their heads in the sand with no concern for us at all. Our house prices dropped in 4 days, this time next year our house prices will have dropped further. Our homes no longer feel like the homes we bought and strived for. I have only lived here for 3 yrs, other residents have lived here for over 45yrs.


These pictures show the devastation that has been caused by the wholesle destruction of hordes of trees as part of the Church Road development.

Trees that stood for generations have been wiped out in minutes. Local residents have been left devastated and, frankly, who can blame them.

All of the trees have stood for generations and, as well as providing shelter and beauty for local residents, were also a haven for wildlife in an area all too lacking in greenery. Some of the residents I spoke with today were clearly very angry and practically in tears.

Having been left with a derelict eyesore on their doorstep for years, residents have now lost the one thing worth preserving on the site.

A press release is on its way to local media and I hope to post some more pictures soon of the site before the trees were obliterated.

15 Mar 2010

Road safety on Whetstone Lane/Rodney Street

I've had the following message regarding the proposed safety measures at the junction of Rodney Street and Whetstone Lane. This is good news and should make the junction a lot safer.

"The junction of Rodney Street and Whetstone Lane was one of a number of traffic regulation orders that was recently advertised. The process of advertisement seeks to find if there are any objections to the order.

I am please pleased to inform you that I did not receive any objections to the order at the junction of Rodney Street and Whetstone Lane.

The process of introducing a traffic regulation order requires that were no objections have been received or resolved the order should now be advertised to make the traffic regulation order operative. This will again involve advertising a number of traffic regulation orders.

An order will also be sent to our contractor to mark out the yellow lines on site. This work should be carried out some time in the near future."

8 Mar 2010

Activity Report

Another busy update with details below on Council tax increases, road safety, voting rights and the usual, all important, street issues.

Council tax increase confirmed

This week it was confirmed that Council Tax in Wirral will rise by an average of 1.67% from April. The rise has been kept down by an unusually generous settlement from central government but, nevertheless, compares unfavourably with many other authorities including Liverpool where the increase will be just 0.5%.

Major breakthrough on road safety

Our campaign to make roads safer and bring down Wirral’s poor record on casualties saw a major breakthrough this month. Wirral Council has announced that all residential areas will see 20mph limits. While it is disappointing that current plans will take four years to implement, this is very welcome news. You can get more details here.

Don’t lose your right to vote

Elections are fast approaching. Local elections take place on May 6th and there is very likely to be a national general election on the same day. Yesterday it was revealed that 3.5 million people are not registered to vote and this includes over half of all 18 to 24 year olds.

While conducting our residents survey, we have identified many people not on the register and handed out many voter registration forms. We have also helped many people to register for a postal vote. This is especially useful for disabled people or those who through work, study or travel will be away on May 6th.

Please contact me directly if;

  • you think you may not be registered to vote and need to check;
  • you know you are not on the register and need a registration form;
  • you would like a postal voting form.

Streets update

  • The war on fly-tipping continues. Alerted by residents to a major eye-sore behind houses on Borough Road (adjacent to Victoria Fields) I immediately sent photos to the Council. Within days the site was cleared. There was a similar outcome on Chesnut Grove where months of accumulated rubbish by the electricity sub-station was promptly removed. I am now seeking a similar result having been called out about the extensive fly-tipping in the alleyway between Elmswood and Harrowby Road.
  • Alleyway gates behind Briardale Road have been repaired and on the same road a new lantern has been ordered for the day-burning light.
  • The car park linking Egan Court and Athol Street has now been cleared of overgrowing vegetation.
  • The missing yellow line opposite St Catherines Hospital on Derby Road has now been restored. This should help ease congestion.
  • Broken lights on Victoria Road, Carnforth Close, St. Catherines Gardens and Oak Bank have now been repaired.
  • Graffiti on Ridley Street has now been removed and I have reported graffiti on Park Street by Wood Close.

If there are any issues affecting you please don’t hesitate to get in touch.