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TravelSafe Partnership

The Partnership includes Merseytravel, Merseyside Police, British Transport Police, Transport Operators, Wirral newsbeat and other relevant stakeholders. It  exists to ensure that the public transport network is attractive and safe for everyone to use at any time.

Whilst the public transport network in Merseyside enjoys a very low crime rate, the TravelSafe Partnership is committed to continually improving the way we report, detect and prevent crime and anti-social behaviour. 

The Partnership is intelligence-led and works to reassure the travelling public and to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour on the network. To achieve this, information is continually gathered from a variety of sources and monitored to identify areas of the network that may be vulnerable to crime, anti-social behaviour and nuisance behaviour.   To deal with any issues a number of activities regularly take place including reassurance and enforcement patrols. There is a team of Police Community Support Officers dedicated to the public transport network providing, a highly visible presence on the network   We work closely with schools, colleges and community groups. Merseytravel’s Community Partnerships team engages with young people in schools providing citizenship-based education on how to travel safely and behave responsibly on the network.  Although the public transport network is extremely safe , there are certain things you can do to further improve your personal security.   Safety and Security Tips:  
  • Plan your journey in advance as much as this is possible. Make sure you know your route and stops, and check the times of the last bus or train.
  • Always try to wait for your bus or train in a well-lit place.
  • Have your ticket, pass or change ready in your hand so your purse or wallet is out of sight and keep valuables like mobile phones, cash and jewellery out of sight too.
  • Keep bags closed and close to you.
  • If you feel concerned about your safety on the bus, sit close to the driver or where you can see him/her. If you are on the train, move to a carriage where there are other people.
  • Pickpockets love crowds, so keep bags to the front, closed with the fastening towards the body, be particularly careful with rucksacks.
 

Hate Crime on Public Transport 

We are aware that Hate Crime of all kinds is particularly offensive and we want to do all we can to identify any Hate Crime incidents so that effective measures can be put in place to address them. 

Hate Crimes happen because of hostility, prejudice or hatred of:  
  • disability
  • gender identity
  • race, ethnicity or nationality
  • religion or belief
  • sexual orientation.
They include things like name calling and verbal abuse, bullying and harassment, spitting and physical attacks, damage to property, graffiti and written notes, emails and text messages. 

The TravelSafe partnership works together with Stop Hate UK as part of an initiative to combat Hate Crime on public transport. Stop Hate UK provide a confidential and independent third party reporting system for people who experience or witness a Hate Crime while using public transport in the region.   Victims and witnesses can contact Stop Hate UK to report Hate Crimes, access support and get information by phone on 0800 138 1625, by SMS on 07717 989 025 or online at Stop Hate UK Reporting Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour  If you experience or witness an incident of crime and anti-social behaviour whilst travelling on public transport you can report it in the following ways:

  • In an emergency always dial 999

If you need to report a crime, please phone:

  • 101 (bus)
  • 0800 40 50 40 (rail)                                 
To report crime anonymously please contact Crimestoppers:
To report hate crime please contact Stop Hate UK:




 

 
 
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Armed police officers were called to Laird Street in Birkenhead this afternoon and arrested a man who was "behaving erratically" and smashing windows in a flat.

Laird Street was closed both ways to traffic.


A statement by Merseyside Police said "Just before 3pm emergency services were called following reports from the public concerned about the safety of a man, believed to be in his 40s, acting erratically and damaging the windows of the property.

"As a precautionary measure officers placed an armed containment on the property and the building was evacuated.

"Officers spoke with the man who then left the property just after 4pm and was detained by the police.

"No one else was inside the property and no one was injured during the incident."

The man was arrested for affray and on suspicion of criminal damage.


 
 
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WNB – Why have you thought it necessary to introduce a charge for emptying the brown bin?

 

CLLR PD - It originates from the significant cuts that the government have made to Wirral Council’s budget.  Over the next 3 years the council will make £109 million pounds worth of savings in their budget.  This equates to a one third of total net revenue budget.  The total budget for Wirral Borough Council is £300 million.  £109 million is a huge proportion of that.  Some difficult decisions have had to be made so far. The budget for the council was set in March.  This year already we have made £42 million worth of savings.  In terms of this challenge to bridge the gap of the £109 million, we have unfortunately had to make cuts in services.  For example closing the day centres for people with learning disabilities.  Another way to bridge the gap is by raising more income.  Car park charges have been raised in the areas outside of Birkenhead, another way to bring income in is to charge for green waste.  This is a decision the I did not want to make.  This service will operate as a subscription service. It will cost £35 to subscribe starting in June.    If you apply online it will cost £30.  Residents have been contacting Cllr Phil Davies about this and he has suggested one of the ways to help with the charge is for neighbours to share a brown bin and pay for one subscription.  Another idea raised from this is for people to try home composting.  This is a big industry and help is available from Wirral Borough Council.  Composting bins are available from the council.  This charge isn’t ideal but unfortunately it is something they have had to do.

 

WNB - What happens to people who refuse to pay the charge, and the rubbish mounts up.  Also what happens to people who don’t pay the fee?

 

CLLR PD - As a last resort it is possible to put green waste in the green bin.  The advice is to not fill it completely with your garden waste.  They will accept a certain amount of green waste in the green bin.  This can be done if you can’t pay for the subscription.  The bin company (Biffa) who provide the service has a list of people who subscribe, and their brown bin will be collected.  Biffa will only empty the bins for people who have subscribed to the service.  If you don’t have a sticker or pay the subscription then it won’t get collected.  The council are hopeful that with this advice it should help people with the waste problem.  The subscription works out as £1.50 per collection.  The council encourage people to behave responsibly and look at the suggestions that have been provided.

·         Sharing the cost of a brown bin with a neighbour.

·         Putting some of your green waste into your green bin.

The Council stresses this very clearly that there is no charge for emptying the green or the grey bins.  If streets don’t use the service that often, then this is a perfect opportunity to share the cost of a brown bin.  This has been designed to get more income and it will be closely monitored.

 

WNB – Now that people are paying a yearly charge for the emptying of the bin will the collections carry on all year round?  As in the past it has stopped towards winter months and started again in the spring.

 

CLLR PD - There will be no change to the pattern of the collection.

 

WNB – Will there be a charge for the green and grey bins in the future?

 

CLLR PD – There will be no charge for these bins to be emptied.  The contract with Biffa states the core service is the green and grey bins.  That is part of the core council tax payments.  The council is looking for a new contract within the next two years.

 

WNB – What are your future plans for Birkenhead town centre?  As you are aware there are a lot of shops closed down at the moment, there are more discount shops, betting shops and charity shops opening also.  Large retailers have left the area over the last few months and it seems that shops are closing every day.  What are your plans for the future of our town?

 

CLLR PD - There is a real interest in the town centre.  It’s the main commercial area in Wirral and the area that I represent in the council.  We need to raise the offer within Birkenhead.  Unfortunately over the last few years it’s struggled to keep up with the likes of Liverpool 1 and Cheshire oaks.  We need a solution to provide a niche for Birkenhead, which means that people would come shopping here.  A couple of things to mention briefly, first of all there is a new owner of the pyramids and the precinct (Mars Pension Fund).  They have got quite exciting plans to bring high street names into the town centre.

 

The council was pleased about the £30 million investment from Asda about 18 months ago.  One of the other things that the Cllr wants to do is work with the new owners of the precinct and look at reconfiguring the units.  One of the problems with the units is that they aren’t big enough to attract these big names.  By reconfiguring they will then hopefully attract the big names.  They are also hoping to work with the market and relaunch it.  The market is the jewel in the crown of the town centre.  The Cllr is really keen to restore the market to the asset it once was for the town.  The council are working with potential developers who have an interest in the market to address the issue and make the market as it was.  The area around Hamilton Square is hopefully going to be looked at again with the people who own Woodside.  There are many owners which need to be brought together and envisage what this area could look like. 

 

So the key things are:

·         Working with the owners of the precinct and pyramids to bring big names to the area.

·         Relaunching Birkenhead Market and helping it to become the focal point it once was.

·         Looking at the area of Hamilton Square and working with the owners to see what the area could become.  Hopefully lift the area and have attractions, shops, restaurants etc.  We want more people to come into Birkenhead.

 

Next year 2014 is a big year for Wirral.  The open gold comes back to Hoylake.  Then international business festival takes place in July also.  The council wants to showcase Wirral during these two events.  It’s important to have a new vision for the whole area.  There are things locally that the council have done that show how the area can be lifted.  New Brighton has had a lot of life breathed into it and it looks fantastic.  This is an example of how the council have regenerated an area in a recession.

 

WNB – We are aware that free parking during the week after 3pm has now stopped.  Is it not possible to offer car parking between a certain amount of hours on a Saturday?  Just one day a week?  This did help bring shoppers into the area and now they might stay away again.

 

CLLR PD – The administration before me introduced the free after 3 scheme.  What they didn’t do was any evaluation of the impact of free after 3.  So we don’t know what this effect had on shoppers.  Yes the council would have loved to of kept the free parking, but unfortunately due to the points made today about the cuts and increasing the income it isn’t possible.  If we can have Birkenhead as real place of value for people to go, that includes top attractions, top shops, then people might not worry about paying for charges if Birkenhead was this great place.  If I kept the free after 3 and didn’t raise the income then I would have to make more cuts and that could be closing a library or a children’s centre for etc.  The challenge as leader of the council is that the decisions that have to made are almost impossible between priorities.

 

WNB – What is the latest with the Wirral Waters project?

 

CLLR PD - Wirral Waters is the most exciting regeneration opportunity that Wirral has had for a generation.  The first key project will be the international trade centre.  This facility will enable companies to exhibit their products and services.  It won’t be a retail centre for the public.  It will be for people in that trade or industry to come and look at the products and services and hopefully sign contracts to purchase those products and services.  There are negotiations with companies that will take up space in the centre.  Most of these are Chinese companies.  The international trade centre is in partnership between Peel Holdings and a Chinese investor called San Wah.  This will have 2000 jobs available for local people.  The council is hopeful that work will start on the construction of the centre in autumn this year.  As part of the Peel vision they aim to create an environmentally attractive corridor into the development.  They have secured over £1 million from the forestry commission to plant trees in the key approaches to the Wirral Waters scheme.  This was launched about a month ago and is about improving the appearance of the landscape that will hopefully attract investors.  The big advantage of the trade centre is it could be the catalyst for other things as well.  The Trade centre should be up and running by the end of 2014.  The other project that the council are looking at which would be next to the trade centre, is a supplier park for an automotive industry to attract a major automotive company to develop as a supplier park.  They have been talking to a range of car companies to see if they would find it attractive to have a supplier park.  The council are confident that even though no contract has been signed, one of the big car companies will invest in the site.  This would be a big job generator for Wirral also.  Wirral Waters will be the big catalyst for creating job opportunities.  The area is surrounded by some of the deprived areas in Wirral.  Peel wants to make sure that the jobs will go to local people.  They will be the ones that benefit from this.

 

WNB – What is going to happen currently with the site near the Park & Ride for the Birkenhead North train station?  The site where the stand alone house is?

 

CLLR PD – There is nothing concrete agreed yet, but it is a site that could be potentially developed for Wirral Waters.  Hopefully once the trade centre and supplier park is up and running, that then could act as a magnet for other development around the area.  We’ve been talking to Peel in conjunction with Merseytravel to see if we can extend the Tram (street car) around the Wirral Waters scheme.  It would be mainly a way of people getting to and from there place of business or residential areas.  It could also be a tourist attraction.   It is a very exciting project.  Wirral Waters is an Enterprise Zone.  It was one of the Enterprise Zones that the government agreed to set up. 

This means that companies that locate there can get tax discounts they can get discounts on business rates.  They don’t have to comply with red tape around planning and they also get access to broadband facilities.  The fact that this is an Enterprise Zone is another advantage going for us.  The offices here at the council have been talking to businesses who are interested in moving to that area.

 

WNB - Colleges are the hub of our community they bring a lot of people together and it’s where the next generation are learning.  They don’t seem to be very accommodating.  The areas are quite spread out.  Would it not be beneficial to have the colleges all in one area and make it more accommodating for the students?

 

CLLR PD - It’s probably best to speak to Sue Higginson who is the principal of Wirral Met College.  We know that they have sold the Carlett Park campus now which will close.  They will concentrate the bulk of the activities more on the Twelve Quays and Conway Park sites. We that they think they are trying to focus it more on a smaller geographical area as this is where the bulk of the students come from.  This is a place in my view for the satellite centres, as for some of the communities it’s not always easy to get into the town centre.  The colleges plan is to focus the bulk of their activities more on the two main sites in Birkenhead but still offer the satellite centres in the areas to help those that can’t always get into the town centre.  Satellite centres are in Liscard, Beechwood and the Millennium Centre in Leasowe.

 

WNB – Going back to the cuts you’ve had to make, you have said that you’re in the business of having to make unpopular decisions.  For the future in your role, what do you have to say to people of the borough about the way you’re planning on leading the council through the future?

 

CLLR PD - As leader of the council my aspiration is for Wirral to become a council that delivers high performing services for the people of Wirral.  That’s what we should aspire too.  It’s difficult to do that against the backcloth where the government is cutting our budget by such a huge amount.  As we are reliant on 80% of our funding by central government we don’t have a choice we have to cut our cloth accordingly.  I am constantly lobbying the government to rethink their strategy for how they fund local government.  I’ve been to see the minister for local government; and I lobby our MP’s on a regular basis.  One of the things that I think is so unfair is the way councils in the north of England are hit harder than those in the south.  When you think that Wirral’s budget has been cut by the equivalent of £151 per head of population whereas West Dorset has been cut by only £3 per head of population.  That doesn’t seem fair to me.  So I think we’ve got a job to do to try to persuade the government to try and rethink things. 

The way to sum it up is, I don’t think it’s been done in a fair way really.  I’ve spoken to leaders of the councils in Liverpool and other districts, we all seem to be in the same boat.  It doesn’t seem fair to me that areas with high levels of deprivation should get the biggest cuts.  However, what I’ve got to do because we have to manage the council’s finances is to try and make sure that we can get “more bang for your buck” if you like.  That we can get in spite of the big cuts we’ve had to make, we can still make sure we maintain a good level of basic services.  I was very keen in the budget to say for me that it’s important to keep children’s centres to stay open, libraries to stay open and one stop shops to stay open because these are frontline key services. 

 

I was keen that we kept the pensioner discount for Council Tax.  So every pensioner gets a discount on the council tax equivalent to about 7%, because pensioners are on a fixed income and I thought it was important to keep that going.  We put in about £100,000 to help to enhance our advice services for people suffering benefit cuts.  The bedroom tax for example is a huge issue for residents in Wirral so we’ve put extra money in to help people who are on the receiving end of that.  So within all of those difficult decisions I’ve tried to say, that for me, ‘it’s important we continue to provide good quality frontline services', we’ve done as much as we can to cut back office administration.  We’ve got rid of eight chief officers.  That’s saved about £1 million pounds.  The other thing I’m doing is I’ve asked the offices to do a complete review of all the services we provide to look at new models that are in local government now for delivering services.  So for example could we save money by converting some of our services to become cooperatives or mutuals or trusts?  We are also talking to neighbouring local authorities about sharing services like information technology procurement.  I’m looking at all avenues where we can save money but still provide a good level of basic services.  Obviously at the end of the day I have to balance the books.  A number of people have said to me “you should just stand up and say no, we’re not prepared to make any cuts”.  I’m not prepared to do that.  Because If I said we won’t make any cuts, the government would just send in commissioners and do it for us.  Would they have the same priorities as we do in terms of those front line services?  Possibly not.  So it’s a question of trying to prioritise those key front line services and being as creative and innovative as possible about delivering services going forward in a new way that still provides good quality services and saves money.  It’s going to be difficult because the budget the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced recently means the austerity policy looks like it might go on for a number of years yet and it’s not going to get any easier.  We are really going to have be very creative about the way we manage our budget.  We are having to make difficult choices all the time.  I think the other thing finally to say is that it’s really important that in making these decisions we constantly refer back to local residents.  We did a big piece of consultation around the budget last year called ‘What really matters?’ where we did a questionnaire about what priorities people think are important.  We went out to supermarkets and cinemas.  We went out to residents groups to talk to local people about what they think is important for them and we tried as far as we can to reflect the feedback from that exercise in the decisions we made around the budget.  It’s important that we continue to make sure we have that engagement with local people so we know what their views are.  Unfortunately we can’t please everybody.  If you’re in a job like mine you can’t do that.  What I think is important is that people understand the decisions we are making and the choices we have.

 
 
 
 
 
 
From Mike 'Grave Digger' Lloyd

Here is the group for "The Big Grow" me and my wife have set up. Join us to help and inspire communities to grow organic fruit and veg and to trade with each other with no money or greed. We hope to inspire and educate young children to be healthy and understand what the term "healthy food" really means. Its our job as a community to grow organic clean food and to teach each other and our children, the next generation.The Big Grow
  • Promoting home grown organic fruit and veg and community trading. We are inviting you to join us in The Big Grow. After all the recent media coverage of Monsanto, and a lot of research into GM (genet...
 
 
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A NEW pub is opening next week in Wirral, costing £2 million to redevelop and creating over 70 jobs.

JD Wetherspoon is opening the doors to The Master Mariner in New Brighton on Tuesday.

They have spent £1.7 million to renovate the building where the former nightclubs RJ’s and Darcy’s Bar used to be in Marine Parade.

An extra 26 jobs was created on top of the proposed 50 positions.

The pub, has a maritime theme, and has two floors with a bar on each level.

Photographs, local history and information boards relating to the past decorate the pub, along with artwork, historical and local commissioned pieces as well.

The Master Mariner will specialise in real ales, serving a wide range of beers, including those from local and regional brewers.

Its opening hours will be from 8am until 12midnight on Monday to Wednesday, and 8am until 1am Thursday to Sunday.

Food will be available until 10pm every day with children allowed until 9pm during the week.

The pub has wheelchair access and toilet facilities for the disabled.

There is also designated smoking areas outside.




 
 
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Gale force winds caused severe damage across Wirral last night.  fallen trees blocked roads in Brimstage, Wallasey and Birkenhead while roof tiles and fences were blown off roofs in many areas.

Firefighters were in action across the county last night and this morning.

A fallen tree that was blocking Brimstage Road has been cleared;

workmen also had to remove trees from Mount Road in Prenton and Penkett Road, Wallasey.

Birkenhead fire crews were called to Ben Nevis Road Tranmere, when roof  tiles were blown off and  fall into the street. The area was taped  and cleared of debris from the pavement and the road.

The Met Office says strong winds are expected across Irish Sea coastal areas of northwest England  where gusts of 60 to 65mph are likely.



 
 
From Springboard Performing Arts JUNIOR DRAMA is coming!!!
A fun, exciting introduction to performing for age 4-7. Classes are on Wednesdays starting May 1 from 4:30-5:30 and cost £4 per session.
Spaces are limited, so get in touch either through facebook or email us at info@springboardperformingarts.co.uk
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