Monday, 30 November 2009

Garston waste plans - BAD NEWS UPDATE

Today I heard the awful news that Jack Allen Holdings (the people who wanted to put the waste plant at Garston Dock right next to the Cressington Heath development and other housing), are launching an appeal.

The City Council planning committee said no to their planning application earlier this year. The law however means that applicants can launch an appeal against a decision, and it looks like they are doing just that. Appeals are not heard by the Council but are considered by the Planning Inspectorate. In fact the City Council will now need to spend time and money defending its case (the case that this scheme does not belong where the developers want to put it)

Details are very sketchy at the moment and I will blog again when I have more.

Suffice it to say that this organisation (JA) clearly cares nothing about Garston or the views of local people.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Friends of Garston Park - next steps

Last night was a regular monthly meeting of Friends of Garston Park. Our next one is 18th December. We usually use meet at Long Lane Church although we're checking whether we can for this one. We have a website where I'll post meeting details when I have them.

Next steps for the group include the very boring but necessary and the very creative.

On the boring side we are sorting out our constitution and our bank account. This will put us on the sort of footing that means we can apply for grants.

On the more creative side plans for next year include a session drawing up a wish list, some fundraising, some more planting and a theatre production.

We're also going to look better from now on as one of the students at Edge Hill has kindly designed a logo and letterhead for us.

If you're interested in going on our mailing list please either post your details on this blog or drop me an e mail at my Council e mail address which is

Friday, 20 November 2009

Smoking in films decision nearer

I have blogged before about the PCT proposal that new films being shown in Liverpool Cinemas that show smoking should be given an 18 certificate.

Well the consultation on the proposal is over now and the Licensing Committee meets next week to discuss it. The Committee's recommendation has to go to Full Council, the next one of which is 9th December.

Here is the link to the committee paperwork (there is rather a lot of it)

It is of course possible that someone will come up with the argument to persuade me that this proposal is a good idea. But at the moment it still seems to me to be ill conceived, illiberal and not at all practical.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Brown resignation - David Bartlett's "prediction"

David Bartlett on his Dale Street Blues blog is hypothesising that Gordon Brown could use his health as a reason to resign.

He further argues that in news management terms, the best time would be between Christmas and New Year - 29th December to be exact.

Now that's my birthday!

I am not sure if a GB resignation would be a birthday treat or not!!!!

Burns Unit Campaign update

I am pasting below a letter one of my colleagues has received from a man whose daughter was helped by one of the Burns Units. It was sent a few days ago but I delayed posting it until now because I wanted to check that it could be published.

The context (although I suspect most people have at least seen some coverage by now) is that there was a threat to intensive care beds at two Burns Units - Whiston Hospital and Alder Hey. The suggestion was that these be moved to Manchester. A huge campaign started up including a petition drive, street stalls etc. The Lib Dems in Liverpool were very involved in collecting signatures (in fact I have never seen a petition collect names so quickly). Last week there was a ministerial announcement that the move was off the agenda, at least for now.
Anyway, here's the letter.


Dear Colin (Eldridge - one of my Lib Dem colleagues on the City Council and PPC for Liverpool Wavertree)

Thank you so much for letting me know the news about the Burns Service at Alder Hey. After corresponding via email for so many long months with Andy Burnham and Mike Farrar; it would have been nice to have been included in the circulation of the press release.

I feel real sense of victory and elation at the statement made, however this is tempered with caution because we have had these commitments before back in 2007 when they first tried to remove the service to Manchester. I hope with all my heart that this is not a stalling exercise to coincide with the General Election. I also know that without our efforts this inept process would have succeeded, only in June of this year was a press release issued by the Regional Burns review body announcing Manchester as the proffered option and not until we raised informed questions about the process did the SHA and latterly Andy Burnham appear to take a forced interest in the matter.

Many people outside the Health system have been involved in supporting our campaign but I firmly believe that without the involvement of yourself and the Leadership within Liverpool City Council we would not have had today’s announcement. We tried to engage politicians across the political spectrum but the first one to come out publicly in Liverpool; with a passion and energy to engage with the campaign was you.

I would like to thank you on behalf of my daughter Hollie and my family your support forced others to act and as a result we have a victory; I would ask that you please maintain your support and vigilance so that any future attempt can be rebutted in the same way. I also ask that the leadership of our city, seek assurance from the PCT that no other attempts are made to take our Health system up the motorway to finance Manchester’s.

With thanks and appreciation

Paul Fitzsimmons (Father of a Burns victim)

Monday, 9 November 2009

Station Traffic

A group of Councillors (not just from my ward but from neighbouring ones also) are to meet with Merseytravel and the Council's highways officers either at the end of this month or the very beginning of next month to look at the sticky problem of parking around Liverpool South Parkway Station. It's great that the station is successful, but despite the extra spaces created at the back, residents still report problems with blocked drives etc because of spill over commuter parking. I suspect this is not something that can be solved overnight but is rather a longer term issue that needs more than the odd extra space. I'll update once the meeting has taken place.

What surprises me about the Jane Kennedy announcement today.

Wavertree's Labour MP, Jane Kennedy, gave an exclusive to David Bartlett today. She announced she would not be standing again at the General Election.

I found out, as I imagine did quite a few others, from the front page of the Liverpool Echo.

I wouldn't say I am entirely surprised at her decision. But what does surprise me is the way it has come out.

Standing down is quite a big deal if you are a high profile former Minister and its not that long ago that colleagues were asking her to stand for a position within the PLP. Over the years she must have worked with quite a few Labour politicians and been involved in quite a few internal party things. So extricating herself was always going to be quite complicated.

The textbook way to announce in these circumstances would have been to brief key supporters in advance (albeit sworn to secrecy) and make sure letters would arrive on the day of the announcement for others. That way you don't upset people who have put themselves out for you - or you don't upset them as much. You also prepare the ground for useful comment when the news breaks. After all you probably want the party to be able to deal with the news rather than being hit by it.

I would have expected the Labour blogs and websites I look at to have been ready with a JK resignation re action ( they could have automatically embargoed it for goodness sake) to appear immediately after the exlusive. Instead there is silence from the sources I would normally expect to comment.

This makes me wonder if her announcement took her Labour colleagues in Liverpool by surprise also. If so that's not a great way to treat people. It's also politically rather misguided.

Friends of Garston Park update

Our next Friends of Garston Park meeting is on Friday 20th November at 6 30 at the Long Lane Church. Do come along if you are interested.