Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Validation done!

Yesterday was our "validation event" for our PR degree at Edge Hill University. Any academics reading this will realise how important this is. We had been working on plans for improvements to the degree, but obviously everything has to be checked out and go through quality screening, and that includes bringing in external experts to challenge the plans.

It was a long and tiring day but I am glad to say we got approval for the new and improved version and will be rolling it out from September this year. It'll give students at Edge Hill who are studying PR an even better deal so I'm really pleased.
(Of course this does mean I now have to do some detailed writing for the new modules although one of them is in my specialist area of the voluntary sector)

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Friends of Garston Park - update

We had a meeting last night of the Friends of Garston Park Committee. We decided last month to have a trustees committee meeting every other month and a general meeting every other month. A good discussion last night - we talked about activities for the near future, including some wildflower planting and the creation of some planters for near the entrances. We also discussed doing some litter picks, perhaps the weekend after our general meetings. Alan (the Chair) and some of the others had a useful meeting with Dave Thomas from the City Council earlier in the week and reported back on that.

One of the small projects we want to pursue is to draw up a list of the types of birds regularly in the park as we think there are probably more species than expected. We'll be publicising this and asking people to let us know the types of bird they've seen. I'll be adding more details to our website - www.fogp.blogspot.com but in the meanwhile if there is anything you want to pass on please post it here or e mail me at paula.keaveney@liverpool.gov.uk and I'll make sure the message gets to Alan.

Our next general meeting is the third Friday of March (19th) at 6 30 at Long Lane Church

Stamfordham Drive - digging holes

If you see anyone digging holes in Stamfordham Drive over the next few weeks, don't worry

Its not the pavement being dug up.

Some time ago we were contacted by residents asking if some trees could be planted here. The road certainly can look a bit bleak and a bit of greenery may make a difference.

There's some doubt about whether the ground is right for planting though so a council officer is going to be doing a few "tree pits" to have a look and see if planting would work.

If we get the all clear I'll report back about any planting plans that follow.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Ward walkabout update

Thanks to the people who e mailed with suggestions for locations for our ward walkabout with the neighbourhood manager later this week. The list includes:

* looking at litter and dumping issues around the junction with Greenhill Road and Booker Avenue
* litter and cleansing issues around Clarendon/Hartington Road
* litter and cleansing issues on parts of Aigburth Road
* resurfacing on Aigburth Hall Road
* state of vacant land on Beechwood Estate

If you have a location you want me to add on, please drop me an e mail at paula.keaveney@liverpool.gov by tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon.

Tories need a maths lesson

So the Conservatives are in trouble after getting their sums wrong!

Amazingly, in a report about inequality in Britain they made the startling claim that in the most deprived areas 54% of girls were likely to get pregnant before they turned 18. That's right - 54%.

Now it turns out that the figure is actually 5.4 and the decimal point was omitted.

And sure, it is easy to make proof-reading errors like that.

But seriously, what does this say about a party in which when their policy people and editorial people were putting the document to bed no one thought that the figure was so high it needed to be checked?

Put it this way. If this were true, in any deprived area when you come across two girls of 18, one of them would have to be pregnant or pushing a pram. And we all know(or rather those of us that venture beyond Notting Hill know) that that isn't the case.

Last year the Tories rather tactlessly tried to compare Speke in South Liverpool with what goes on on The Wire. Speke, they said, was an example of Broken Britain.
Now apart from being hugely insulting to people in Speke, this is simply yet another example of how the Tories don't get it. Given that they think pregnancy rates among teenagers are 54 percent in most deprived wards they must believe this to be the case in Speke. And yet anyone who has been in the ward for five minutes would realise this isn't so.

The problem here is that the Tories have no problem with demonising large sections of the population. And if you actually want to help people you don't start off by painting them in such an unflattering light.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Why don't they give change?

I'm in the middle of a complaint letter to Arriva. I have seen repeated incidents now of drivers saying they don't have change when people get on and try to buy bus tickets. Sometimes we are talking about change from £2 for a 1 70 ticket. At other times we are talking about £5-00 being used to pay for a £3 30 ticket. Either way these are small amounts which should present no problem if there is a float.

What happens is if a driver can't give change people either end up having to pay over the odds or they get chucked off.

Surely it can't be beyond Arriva to give a proper working float to its drivers at the start of the day (it is always mornings when I see this happen). It happened to me this morning and it is so annoying when the solution is simple. After all if I had a shop I wouldn't open up without a float and by selling tickets Arriva are also operating in retail.

I wonder if anyone else has had this experience. I asked a question about it at a recent Full Council meeting but its not really Merseytravel's fault - it's down to the operators.

Garston waste site - UPDATE

We now have the date for the Public Enquiry. It will start on 15th June. It is likely to last for four days. The venue isn't confirmed yet but venues in Liverpool are being looked at.

The documents for this appeal so far are huge and some people have been having trouble getting access on line. Here is another link.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Garston waste site plans - Update- need to fight on!

We now have more information about the appeal over the plans by private company Jack Allen for the waste site down on Garston docks (and right by the Cressington heath housing development and other properties)

The planning application was turned down by the City Council last year. This followed a huge protest by local people who wrote objections in their thousands. There were several reasons but key among these was the effect that putting something like this plant here in Garston would have on regeneration. It is I believe no exaggeration to say it would stop it in its tracks.

Anyway, by law the applicants have the right to appeal. And they did.

There was then a period when a decision had to be made about the type of appeal. Jack Allen wanted it all done on paper - that is the Planning Inspector would look at lots of letters and documents but not actually hear from anyone. The Council, including the Lib Dem Councillors in Cressington, wanted a Public Enquiry believing this would be the best way to get all the issues heard properly. You can't hear passion on paper but you can in person.

The news now is that there will be a Public Enquiry. We don't have a date for it yet as first there has to be a chance for any other objection letters to be sent in. Around 6,000 letters are going out to local people to give them a deadline for any more written material. The deadline is in March.

Given that there has to be a good four weeks notice before the Public Enquiry takes place it could well be the Summer before this happens.

So what do we have to do now? Everyone who opposed the first (withdrawn) and then the second ( rejected) planning applications has to carry on opposing. There is a good website which will keep updating people - www.southliverpoolresidents.org.uk and I'll post updates on here too.

Richard, Peter and I are determined to do what we can to fight this. We are actually appalled that Jack Allen failed to get the message about how unwelcome this plant is. Big business doesn't really care about local people it seems.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Walkabout visits

As well as all the individual bits of work we do in Cressington, Richard Peter and I make sure we organise regular visits to areas where some work might be needed - a flytipping spot for example. We do this with others - say a council officer or someone from Enterprise Liverpool. Anyway, we've got a day coming up when we are going around a list of locations. I already have a list, but I'm posting now to say please let me know if you are a Cressington resident and have a spot that you want us to have a look at.

Annoyingly I'm going to have to switch off comments for a while because of another stream of offensive messages (possibly automated). I have to look at each message when it comes in and going through these took up a load of time the other night.

If there is a location you want us to focus on then, rather than post in comments, please drop me an e mail at paula.keaveney@liverpool.gov.uk.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Brodie Avenue telephone mast

Vodaphone have put in a planning application to effectively add to the site of the phone mast on the central reservation of Brodie Avenue (near the junction with Lanville). Richard, Peter and I have all sent in objections to this for a number of reasons. We think the addition of extra cabinets will look pretty awful. We think the addition of stuff here could also cause road safety problems (already I am told by people living nearby there are problems with sight lines). We are also pretty hacked off at the promises Vodaphone made in the past which quite clearly weren't kept. Residents were annoyed enough when the mast went up but were even more annoyed to see the way the reservation was treated as a car park by the people doing the work.

People living near the site should have had a formal letter as part of the consultation that goes on when these applications come in. (I know some have as I have already seen some comments). However in case anyone has missed the letter, I am pasting it below. The deadline for responding is 22 Feb.

Interestingly, in some of Vodaphone's application material they claim to have met the local councillors on a particular day last year. This is simply not true and we wonder who they actually did meet - or if in fact they met anybody. We are contacting their agents to make sure they are aware of the mistake. We wouldn't want the planning committee to be misled, would we???

Dear Sir/Madam,


Central reservation in Brodie Avenue, south of junction with Lanville Road, Liverpool, L18 4QZ

To erect telecommunications equipment (1 no. replacement mast, 14.8 m high and 2 no. additional cabinets).

I am writing to let you know that I have received the above-mentioned application on behalf of

Vodafone Uk Ltd. The Council wishes to make people aware of the development and receive comments before deciding whether or not to grant permission.

The application may be inspected at the Ground Floor Reception, Millennium House, 60 Victoria Street, Liverpool, L1 6JF during the following hours: Monday – Friday 8.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. (except during Bank and Public holidays). The application, including forms and plans, will also be available on line at www.liverpool.gov.uk/Environment/Planning within one week of the date of this letter.

The Planning Service has produced a leaflet ‘Further Information About the Planning Application Process’ which is available electronically at the above link, Details of the Development Control Service gives additional information on the Codes of Practice for; Neighbour Notification, Publicity, Members and Officers dealing with Planning Matters as well as Planning Committee Procedures and the Council’s Scheme of Delegation. You can also telephone 0151 233 3021 to request copies of these documents.

If you wish to discuss the application with the case officer, you are advised to make an appointment to ensure that they are available. An appointment is not necessary if you only want to look at the application. PLEASE BRING THIS LETTER WITH YOU.

If you have any comments to make on this application, you should write to me as soon as possible so that I receive them not later than 22 February 2010 quoting the above application reference number and unique ID comments can also be made online up to the date stated using the above link. Only comments relating to planning considerations will be taken into account in reaching a decision.

In the event of an appeal against a refusal of planning permission, for a householder application only, which is to be dealt with on the basis of representations in writing, any representations made about this application will be sent to the Secretary of State, and there will be no further opportunity to comment at appeal stage.

Please note that any letters sent can be seen by members of the public, including the applicant.

Motion at Council

Here's the motion I proposed at the Full Council meeting just gone. I proposed it jointly with Flo Clucas and Gary Millar. It was passed unanimously


Communities Day

In view of the major contribution made by Liverpool's International Community to the prosperity, health and well being of the City, Council asks the Chief Executive to report on the creation of an International Day for the City. This would be an occasion to celebrate the involvement in the life of the City by all international groups and to encourage intercultural dialogue within the City, building on the successful experience of the capital of Culture year.