Saturday, 30 October 2010

Questions on winter preparations

We've got the Regeneration Select Committee later this week. I am one of the three Lib Dem members. There's a question time for committee members and members of the public to ask questions of the Cabinet Member and Council officers. I have sent three in. Thie (below) is the one on getting ready for winter.

"Recent media coverage has hightlighted the problems faced by councils across the country in preparing for winter.
It is reported that there is not enough salt supply in the UK to satisfy the potential demands and that some authorities are already looking at sourcing salt from overseas.

Can the Cabinet member please tell me

What preparations for advance purchase of salt have been made by LCC?

What capacity do we have, if any, for storage of salt locally?

Does he anticipate any difficulty, similar to that being predicted by other local authorities, in getting enough supplies for Liverpool's needs?

Has there been any increase in the budget line identified to pay for gritting since May 2010?

Beechwood clean up

Local residents, staff from LMH and volunteers from the Princes Trust were among those helping with a clean up on parts of the Beechwood Estate last week. My colleage Richard Oglethorpe joined LMH staff to help survey residents about the improvements they'd like to see. The helpers, including members of the Merseyside Fire Service, shifted huge amounts of rubbish. For those who know what parts of the communal gardens looked like before, the change is dramatic.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Jack Allen Campaign - a bit of good news

Last night I got a letter from the Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority. This thankfully restated the fact that they are not going to send any waste to Jack Allen Holdings for its planned waste plant.

We are still fighting to prevent this plant going ahead, and we know that if JA can't get contracts to deal with waste, it won't be built.

The letter was in response to something I had sent but big thanks to other people who also lobbied MWDA.

Environment Committee next week

Next week I'm at the Environment and Climate Change Committee. We've got someone coming from Enterprise Liverpool to talk about those annoying blue bags so perhaps all the shouting has paid off. (I hope so because we are talking about four years of intermitent shouting)

Anyway, I have also sent in a couple of questions which I have posted below.

Shopping Trolleys

Given that abandoned shopping trolleys can cause an environmental nuisance and that trolley dumping still occurs in parts of the City, are there any plans to use the powers in schedule 4 of the Environmental Protection Act?

If so, what is the schedule for holding the consultation as specified in section 99 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005?

If there are no plans at present, would the Cabinet member agree to consult elected members as to the extent of the problem in their particular ward?

Leaf Fall

What is the current level of complaints about leaf fall collection as logged on Confirm?

Are there any particular areas or streets which are identifying themselves as problems needing extra attention – and if so where are they?

Information about this Select Committee and others is at

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Protecting your property

I've just had a message from Merseyside Police about a free service which helps people register their property and which means police find it easier to trace stolen items. It's also meant to act as a bit of a deterrent I understand.

The service is called Immobilise and there is a link to its website here.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Why not lobby?

One of the ways we can all try to prevent Jack Allen building the waste plant in Garston is to make sure they don't get any public sector contracts for waste. It's clear to me that the company won't take the risk of building if they cannot get contracts to deal with enough waste.

Now there's not a lot we can do about private contracts. We don't after all know who the likely customers are.

But we do know that in this area the people dealing with domestic waste are the Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority.

Their job, among other things, is to get rid of the stuff from our purple bins.

When Jack Allen originally tried to persuade people in Garston to accept a waste plant, their literature implied that this waste would be domestic waste and so they would be helping meet recycling targets.

We challenged this as we knew no contract existed, amd MWDA wrote quite a stiff letter to say they had no involvement in the Jack Allen plans.

My worry now though is that Jack Allen will attempt to persuade MWDA to go with them and therefore create the conditions they need to build.

I've written to Carl Beer, who's in charge at MWDA as have other local residents. It would be great if others could send a short e mail to him to see if he will stand by MWDA's earlier statement. If you want to send an e mail to MWDA the address is

Their website is here

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Spending review

There'll be loads of spin about today's Comprehensive Spending Review. Here is a link to some of the factual information.

Garston waste plant campaign progress?

We've been meeting with some of the campaigners against the waste plant in Garston to see if , even at this late stage, we can stop Jack Allen building this in our community.

Last week, Richard, Peter and I wrote to the Council leader to ask the administration for two particular bits of help.

The story about this letter is in today's Liverpool Echo here.

There's actually a rather encouraging editorial on page 10 of the same newspaper (I can't find an electronic version of it but if I can I will post it here).

The text of the letter we sent is pasted below.

We believe it is not too late to get this scheme stopped. We may have fewer avenues open to us now but it would be wrong of us not to follow up every possible idea.

Text of letter starts here

Friday 15th October – BY HAND

Dear Councillor Anderson

You may be aware of the decision by the independent Planning Inspector over plans for a waste plant in Garston. The decision, which follows a Public Inquiry in June, is that Jack Allen Holdings WILL be allowed to build a plant on land at Garston Dock.

We believe however that there are still things that can be done to prevent this happening and to therefore support the views of the local community. The site is in Speke Garston ward and affects thousands of people there. It also, because of its situation, affects thousands of people in Cressington ward and potentially some residents in other parts of South Liverpool.

Following discussions with members of the local community, we have been asked to contact the administration to request two things.

Firstly, that a sum of money is found to ensure proper legal research into the published decision and, if there are legal grounds, to pursue High Court Action. Planning officers have told us they have no money to do this but clearly it is impossible to plan departmental budgets to anticipate these sorts of appeals. The administration could, however, choose to prioritise this action and we feel sure there would be cross party support for this.

Secondly, that negotiations take place with either Jack Allen or with Jack Allen’s representatives (Jon Egan and colleagues) to see if, at this late stage, there is a piece of land which would be more suitable and which the Council can suggest. We are aware of several plots of land which could prove suitable for a facility like this and which are some distance from housing. For whatever reason, Jack Allen has not investigated all of these. We believe however that discussions are still worth having to see if persuasion is possible. We understand you and your colleagues are working on exploring the use of various bits of unused land across the City and this could be an opportunity. One of us would of course be willing to join you and/or your colleagues at any meeting.

You may wonder why we are writing directly to you. We would, under other circumstances, approach Councillor Moore because of his Cabinet role in respect of waste collection etc. He however lives very near the proposed site and we don’t want to put him in a compromising position.

We look forward to your, hopefully positive, reply

Cllr Paula Keaveney Cllr Peter Millea Cllr Richard Oglethorpe

On behalf of residents in Garston.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Friends of Garston Park - from strength to strength

Saturday morning saw a small group from Friends of Garston Park out on a litter pick on the Park (thanks for arranging the good weather Alan!)

Earlier the same week another group met to look at sites for some new benches we have fund raised for.

And we still have the new noticeboard to put up and the wildflower meadow to sort out.

All in all quite a bit's been achieved for the Park.

I would add in some photos at this point, although my camera was either lost or stolen on Friday so I am visually challenged right now.

But I want to give a huge plug to the Friends. Do get involved if you live near the park or use the park. We have details of our meetings at

Pupil Premium

Today's the deadline for comments on how the Pupil Premium should work.

The Pupil Premium is a scheme which means extra money will go to schools with pupils who are from deprived backgrounds. The money will come from outside the schools budget so it is effectivly extra cash to help address some of the inequalities in the education system.

I'm really pleased this is going ahead. It was one of the four main themes in the General Election Manifesto. One of the interesting points is that the money follows the Pupil rather than it being assumed that everyone in a school is in the same situation.

I have written a short piece about this for the Liverpool Party Central blog which is at

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Tuition fees

I've written an article on this for the Liverpool Party Central website which is at this address

Enterprise meeting

I've got a meeting, along with my colleagues Peter Millea and Richard Oglethorpe, with some reps from Enterprise Liverpool later this week.

The people were seeing are basically responsible for litter clearance, street lighting and highways maintenance.

We organised the meeting because between us we had quite a few issues involving places in our ward - Cressington.

If you live in Cressington and want to suggest a location for us to talk to them about or visit can you please let me know. For some reason getting onto the internet on my computer is a bit hit or miss at the moment. But I can pick up e mails on my Blackberry. So rather than post here please e mail me at

I can also raise issues about other parts of South Liverpool but we won't be able to go and have a look as part of this particular meeting.

Parking problems?

We've heard that there are going to be quite a few more people working at or from the Royal Mail sorting office on Whitehedge Road. I imagine this is to do with the imminent closure of Copperas Hill.

Obviously the Royal Mail needs to find places for its staff to work, but we are worried that an extra influx will cause the parking problem in the nearby streets to become unamanageable.

Now there is a car park at the sorting office. And it may be that Royal Mail management have a plan.

So I have written to the sorting office manager to see if we can meet to discuss how they are going to make sure they are good neighbours. We don't have a meeting date yet but I will update with any news.

UPDATE: We now have a date, which is this Wednesday. People living near the sorting office should receive a letter asking for any extra comments.

Monday, 11 October 2010

For goodness sake Enterprise - stop flytipping!

How difficult can it be to remember to pick up the blue bag of litter when one of your own colleagues has put it there for collection? Not difficult you would think yet every week Enterprise Liverpool, the company with responsibility for street cleansing in Liverpool, fail to do this.

So what we have in effect is leglised fly tipping. If I took my domestic rubbish in a bag and left it next to a street light for days and nights on end I feel sure I would soon be in trouble. And yet for some reason this failure to collect is tolerated when the bag is blue.

I am heartily sick of raising this politely and being told action will be taken. It rarely is. Enterprise - for goodness sake get your fingers out!

UPDATE (30 October) The guys from Enterprise are coming to the Environment Committee this week to discuss this further.

Friday, 8 October 2010

South Liverpool Foodbank

I've had a request to help publicise a great local project.

It's the South Liverpool Foodbank which is based at the Bridge Chapel on Heath Road.

The idea behind the scheme is simple. They collect non perishable food and pack it into boxed with enough for roughly three days.

People in sudden need are referred to the project and can collect a box of food. Volunteers also make sure they offer hot drins and a place to chat if wanted.

The scheme's been going for just over a year now and is always in need of donations of food, help with publicity, and general support.

To find out more please go to

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Have your say about waste

Ironically immediately after the bad news about plans for a waste plant in Garston, we hear that Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority is about to start a consultation about plans for waste disposal over the next several years.

Here's a link to the website about the consultation.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Bad news - waste plant in Garston

I have just heard, in the last 20 minutes, that the Planning Inspector has decided that Jack Allen holdings WILL be allowed to build a waste plant at Garston Dock (next to the Cressington Heath housing development).

This is a bad decision for our area.

We had hoped, after the Council's planning committee turned this down, that Jack Allen would look elsewhere. But they fought back with an appeal and expensive legal and PR representation.

Those of us fighting the scheme went to the Public Inquiry and spoke against the scheme.

But sadly the decision has gone against us, and in my view against the people of Garston.

We promised, when we heard the news, to let as many people know as quickly as possible, so that's what my Lib Dem colleagues in Cressington will be doing.

I'll update when I can. At the moment though we are keen that people hear the news.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Clearing up leaves

At the last Environment Committee I asked quite a few questions about plans by the Council for clearing up all the fallen leaves on pavements etc.

Obviously trees losing their leaves in the Autumn is a pretty predictable event but I was worried that in the past the people responsible for clearance didn't seem on top of it.

Time will tell whether this year's clearance programme will be better. The good news is however that we already have a schedule for the work, which is due to start on Monday (4th). The streets on the plan are listed by ward so it can take a while to find your road but you can link to the plan here.

I'm keen however to keep raising this if there are roads that don't get done when they are meant to or anywhere where there is a bad build up. If you want to raise areas with me though, rather than post on here please e mail me at