Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Sports Personality of the Year tickets on sale now

I got this press release yesterday - am posting below as I bet there will be loads of people interested in these tickets


BBC Sports Personality of the Year is coming to the Echo Arena on Sunday 14 December and it has been announced today that tickets will be going on sale at 9am on Wednesday 29 October.

For only the third time in its 55 year history, the awards will take place from outside of London and this is the first time the event will be held at the Echo Arena, Liverpool (the European City of Culture), with the show being live on air from 7-9pm on BBC One and Radio 5 Live . The show will be presented by Sue Barker and Gary Lineker. Once the ten nominees are announced, the public will then be asked to vote for who they think should be Sports Personality on the night (14 December). People will be able to phone in to vote. Voting details will be announced soon.

This year's show will be the biggest ever with around 8,000 people in attendance. Tickets will be £30 each (plus a booking fee).

The awards, which honour the biggest names from across the world of sport, will also be attended by professional sportsmen and women. 2008 has been an extraordinary sporting year: golds galore at the Olympic and Paralympic Games; Lewis Hamilton once again competing for the F1 Drivers' World Championship; another Welsh Grand Slam in the Six Nations; a fantastic European Championships despite the lack of a home nations team; a break through year for Andy Murray; and Manchester United completed the prestigious Premiership and Champions League double . The event will be attended by almost all of this year's Olympic and Paralympic heroes, former winners of the main award and many of biggest names from the world of sport.

Tim Banfield, Echo Arena General Manager commented "We are thrilled to be welcoming the BBC to Liverpool for Sports Personality of the Year. Liverpool has an amazing sporting history and it seems fitting to be hosting the awards here. We have had a fantastic Capital of Culture Year and to have what is undoubtedly one of the highest profile events in the sporting calendar in the city is just the icing on the cake. There is no doubt that this is going to be a hot ticket!"

Roger Mosey, Director, BBC Sport said: "This is the first time Sports Personality Of The Year has been held in the north of England and we're hoping that people from all over the north and beyond will take the chance to attend the show live. It's a tremendous cast list and a great experience for the audience in the venue, and we hope this year will be a classic."

Tickets for BBC Sports Personality of the Year go on sale on Wednesday 29 October at 9am.

To book tickets log on to www.accliverpool or call the Echo Arena Box Office on 0844 561 7672


Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Garston waste site information

I am not sure that everyone is aware of this so this post is really to remind people that the deadline for sending in comments/objections re this planning application is 17th November.

I will keep on posting on this subject. Previous posts will either be further down this page or in the earlier pages on this site. The three Lib Dem Councillors for Cressington ward are all actively opposing the application.

And a reminder that the website set up by a local resident to help people campaign against the plans can be found here.

Local Democracy Week event

Last night I went along to help with an event organised by and for young people as part of Local Democracy Week. Using rooms in the Town Hall, there were "table debates " on subjects ranging from bullying through to fundraising. I was one of the councillors (along with Labour's Richard McLinden) on the table debating disability awareness and disability issues.

It was a good opportunity to get a lot of views from the young people, some of whom were wheelchair users or who had other disabilities.

We talked about hidden disabilities and the reasons why disabled people appeared behind other groups in terms of realising their rights.

The young people also had some issues. Chief among these were transport problems, and in particular taxis and taxi drivers. It seems some taxi drivers either don't deal properly with wheelchair users or are just plain rude. I have to say this bears out my experience during the few months I was using a wheelchair - but I would have hoped things had moved on a bit since then.

In the case of one incident I asked the people involved to e mail me with the details so that I could pass them on to the Council's licensing staff.

Not sure what that noise is....

.. I joined a choir at work yesterday. I haven't read music properly for years but luckily I hadn't entirely forgotten what all those dots and lines stand for. Someone told me that singing is a particularly good way of avoiding stress. I don't know about that but it was certainly good fun.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Garston Hospital

Over the Summer the Liverpool PCT ran a consultation about changes to the health service in Garston. There were two main strands to this. One was about the organisation of GP surgeries with a move towards grouping them so that there would be fewer locations but more on offer at the locations that remained or were created. The second strand was about Garston hospital becoming more of a centre with more services on offer.

You can see straight away that everyone would be in favour of more health services in Garston village all in the same place at the hospital which is near the station and bus routes and shops.

The problem here is that what is now at risk is a local landmark.

Colleagues and I had a briefing with a representative from the PCT very recently and the feedback from the consultation was that there was virtually no opposition shown to the potential loss of the building. Given the way the questions were worded, I am not surprised. They were, for the most part, about services rather than buildings. But I am pretty sure there will be major resistance to the loss of a landmark like this - particularly because it is on a hill. The PCT is saying that using the existing building will not work and there will need to be a new "landmark building" created. But I wonder if in fact it would be possible to keep some of the exterior despite making internal changes and extending.

The next step, and it is the step which will actually demonstrate if there is opposition, will be for the health service to put together a planning application which would go to the Council planning committee. This may be some way off in the future.

As someone who walks past the building on the way to work I must admit I am rather fond of it and wouldn't want to see the exterior go (although anyone who has been inside like I have will know that major changes are needed to bring it up to date).

Friday, 10 October 2008

Operation Black Vote event

Today the mentees from the Operation Black Vote Scheme were together, with organisers, for a day which was a sort of mix of training and sharing experiences.
In the morning I was there to speak a little about the council structure (to be honest I left a lot of that to the officer there) and the nuts and bolts of actually being a councillor. In the afternoon I was back on a panel to explain about how political parties carry out their selections.

What was actually most interesting though, was hearing about the experiences the mentees have had so far, and what conclusions they have drawn as well as their changing thoughts and impressions. Well done to Operation Black Vote for coming up with the scheme.

I am working on plans for another, broader, mentoring scheme for other groups who may be under represented or disenfranchised for one reason or another - and I am going to use the learning from this scheme to help shape that.

My first board recommendation

The City Council's Executive Board ( cabinet in shorthand) meets formally once a fortnight to make key decisions. These are usually based on recommendations which come from one or more of the Executive Members. Today I had my first recommendation - creation of and participation in the "Liverpool Commission". The Commission is being set up as an independent panel to hold an enquiry into various aspects of governance and involvement (like youth engagement, barriers to entry for potential councillors etc). It will spend around six or seven months working on this and then issue a report and recommendations. The recommendations are likely to be in two categories - things the council can do without the need for any legislation, and things the council can lobby for at national level. The Commission is being chaired by Professor Michael Brown. There are three independent members, two members with "parliamentary experience" and two local councillors. I am one of the local councillors - after being elected as the Lib Dem rep by the Council Group.
Over time I am hoping the Commission will be able to involve as many local people and groups as possible - perhaps by turning up to speak or perhaps by sending material in.

Partnership Working Group

Earlier this week I chaired the South Liverpool Partnership Working Group which focuses on crime and environment issues - Safer Stronger Communities is the actual title. Thiw brings together partners from across our district of six local authority wards, plus councillors from those wards. Quite a heavy agenda this time but we are making some good progress. The figures on crime incidents for most of our area are below the Liverpool average although there are still some types of crime (like stealing cars) which are more common in Speke Garston than the Liverpool average. A lot of this is to do with the airport. Because people going away for a short while often decide not to pay car park charges so they leave their cars in the neighbouring residential streets. The vehicles are then sitting ducks for anyone who wants to steal them, or steal from them or, in some cases, torch them. It turns out that a lot of those stolen or damaged have overseas number plates - Polish in particular. We discussed getting signs in polish to attempt to deter people from leaving their cars at risk.

We also looked at some environmental problems and some plans for use of green space The City Council is to put some more exercise equipment into parks across the City with the aim of targeting people highly unlikely to go into a gym but who might try one or two things out while on a walk in a park. We already have exercise equipment in Garston Park, although when I tried it I found many of the exercises beyond me.

Beechwood Week of Action

Here's some information about the Week of Action in Beechwood starting this Monday.

Next week (beginning 13 October) sees a Week of Action in the Beechwood Estate area in Liverpool 19.

The Week has been organised by Liverpool City Council and partners to deal with environmental problems as well as issues like anti social behaviour.

The idea is to provide a focus for work by lots of organisations to help tenants and residents improve their area. The Week was organised following pressure from Lib Dem Councillors for Cressington ward and residents from properties in Beechwood.

Leaflets are being distributed locally to provide more information for local people about the range of activities. Key elements include:

community skips available in Beechwood Gardens on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to help residents get rid of rubbish and have a general clear out.

free home fire safety checks provided by the Merseyside Fire Service

Job Cafe and advice event at Beech Tree Court on Thursday from 1 to 4pm. Advice and information on offer from organisations like the housing associations, the health service and the library service

Jobs, Education and Training Advice event on Friday at Beech Tree Court from 10 to 1pm.

There'll also be ongoing work to deal with flytipping, passageway dumping, street cleanliness and dog fouling.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Advertisement from Liverpool PCT

This is an advertisement recently published by Liverpool PCT. They are keen that as many people as possible are aware of it


£20,587 for 3 - 3.5 days per week

Liverpool PCT is seeking a Chair of their Liverpool Provider Services
Board. Provider Services has a budget of over £84 million p.a. and
employs over 2000 staff. They are looking for a professional who has
experince of leading a large, complex organisation. You need commitment
to the NHS, to live in Liverpool and to be able to demonstrate board room
skills such as leadership, governance and a proven record of achievement
in a challenging, competitive and market driven environmenrt and
establishing strong working relationships with stakeholders.

If you feel you fit this bill, visit,
or call 0870 240 3802. Ref no NW8615. Completed applications must be
received back by 24th October.

New Campaign Website against the Garston waste plan

A constituent has created a handy website for people wanting to campaign against the plans for the waste plant at Stalbridge Dock in Garston.

Here is the link to the front page.

Lots of people have written objection letters already, but hopefully this will help those who haven't time to do lots of their own research, or who feel not quite so confident about creating an objection letter, to produce something.

Jonny, the gentleman who created the site, is keen for as many people as possible to know about it so please do pass on the details to anyone you think would be interested.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Corporate Services Committee

Earlier this week I was at the City Council's Corporate Services Select Committee. I am one of the Exec Members reporting to this committee - but its probably fair to say that most of the work relates more to the other two - Flo Clucas and Steve Hurst.

A long agenda including at least one rather lengthy report. A few things however stood out for me

Firstly - the council is not only meeting its target for recycling, it is exceeding it. Given the number of times I hear people say the target is not being met, this actual statistical fact needs to be highlighted.

Secondly - we discussed a motion on the recent CAB report on bailiffs and the way they appear to be misusing their powers when acting on council tax accounts. If the information in the report is true, and there is enough of it to indicate that some of it must be, then these firms either need to have the riot act read to them or the council needs to stop using them. There is a small group working on this in the City Council. It may be that the firms who have now received this public criticism will actually clean up their acts anyway, but we probably can't rely on that happening without a certain amount of pressure.

Finally - the Merseyside Pension Scheme. Some time ago the City Council called on the scheme to organise a ballot of members so that the actual members could have a say on the issue of ethical investment. We were joined by other Merseyside Councils in the request. I asked for a report back to the select committee and when it came it completely failed to mention any action relating to this. So I have asked again and hope the information we get next time will be better than this.

Liverpool One

I went along to Liverpool One on Friday.Managed to miss the ceremony for the opening of the second phase earlier in the week. After a day of rather too many meetings, it was good to go along to the new Odeon to see a film. The building was so very new it had tha new carpet smell and even workmen's footprints still outside some of the doors. It'll be a great venue though, and the fact that there is a choice of eating places both immediately outside and round the corner means this should be quite a lively part of town. The way Liverpool One has been designed means there are quite a few vantage places,and it does look quite impressive. I am not one for shopping - in fact I can't think of anything worse than spending time meandering round shops - but I am sure I'll be back to the Odeon again.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Debate on Liverpool's future

This event (details posted below) sounds interesting.

Beyond Capital of Culture - what next for the city of Liverpool?
> I am very pleased to invite you to attend a special event, hosted by The
> Chartered Institute of Management - in association with the University
> of Liverpool, on Thursday 16th October 2008, 5.30 - 7.30 p.m.
> Entitled Beyond Capital of Culture - what next for the city of
> Liverpool, the event will be chaired by Roger Phillips, BBC Radio
> Merseyside; four speakers will offer their opinions on the city's
> future, including the challenges and opportunities it faces in order to
> provoke debate from the audience.
> Cllr. Flo Clucas, Deputy Leader, Liverpool City Council;
> Rod Holmes, Chair, The Mersey Partnership;
> Jack Stopforth, Chief Executive, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce;
> Professor Mike Stubbs, Chief Executive, FACT
> Drinks and Canap├ęs will be served on arrival
> The discussion will be staged in the Jack Leggate Theatre, in the
> beautifully restored and recently opened Victoria Gallery and Museum
> housing the University's rich and varied fine art, ceramics, and
> heritage collections. You will have the opportunity to look around
> afterwards.
> Tickets to this event are £10.
> Please respond by Thursday 9 October
> To either Elaine Highton, E:

Bennett Street message

Rather than lose a lot of replies towards the end of a comment thread, I am posting this reply here.

Someone posted concerned that Bennett Street in Garston may have had one side of the road missed off when planning consultation letters were recently sent out.

I have looked into this and the mailout will be checked and if parts of the road have been omitted they will get letters.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Future of Liverpool - consultations

Liverpool First is organising consultation sessions this weekend on three strategies for the City - Sustainable Communities, Culture and Climate Change. They'll be hosting public sessions at Wall Street in the Liverpool One area and in St John's Shopping Centre. These take place on 3, 4 and 5 October from 11 am to 4 30. They are called Your City Your Future.

The documents, and a chance to comment, are also available on line here. There's a deadline of 31 October.

Liverpool First, which is the City's Strategic Partnership which includes the City Council and a wide range of partners, is encouraging local people to take part.