Sunday Snippets, 10 December 2023

Welcome to “Sunday Snippets” a weekly feature from Birkenhead News. It is a round-up of the important local news stories you may have missed over the last seven days. Click or tap on each story to read the full article.

Passengers slam plans to cut bus service

A former bus driver has slammed “horrendous” plans to cut “a vital service” that will leave people living on a Merseyside housing estate “trapped”.

Bus company Arriva is considering cutting two bus routes in Wirral including the 418 circular route that serves Prenton, New Ferry, Upton, Birkenhead, and the Beechwood estate. Passing by Arrowe Park Hospital, the route is used by people going for appointments and work at the hospital. Arriva is also planning to cut the 420 route between West Kirby and Liverpool.

The move has been opposed by more than 700 people who have signed a petition as well as politicians from Wirral’s Labour and Green parties. People who spoke to the LDRS said they would be cut off in the evening and at weekends if it goes and struggle to get off the Beechwood Estate as it is.

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Christmas bin collection dates and changes 2023

Over the festive period, there will be some changes to grey, green, and brown bin collections.

For households who usually have their green and grey bins collected on Mondays and Tuesdays, the collection day changes will be as follows:

  • Monday 25 December – collection now on Saturday 23 December
  • Tuesday 26 December – collection now on Sunday 24 December
  • Monday 1 January – collection now on Saturday 30 December

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Wirral Schools’ ensembles bring Christmas cheer to Gordale

Get into the swing of Christmas at Gordale Garden Centre and snap up your decs and gifts to the accompaniment of carols from the Wirral Schools’ ensembles.

On Wednesday, 13 December, Edsential Musical Routes (pictured above at a recent concert at the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral) will be entertaining Gordale customers with their Choir, Orchestras and Concert Band to provide a feast of festive music for late-night Christmas shoppers.

“The past few years have been difficult for musicians as the pandemic greatly affected making music,” says Helen Chetwood of Edsential.

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Council leader says investors still have confidence in regeneration plans

Wirral’s council leader said there is still confidence in the local authority’s regeneration plans for Birkenhead amid controversial changes to the town’s market vision.

Cllr Paul Stuart said he didn’t think investors have concerns or change in perception about the local authority’s ability to deliver its ambitious regeneration plans for urban areas in eastern Wirral. His comments come following a 6 December regeneration committee meeting where councillors dropped the local authority’s original plans to move Birkenhead Market look at three other options.

The council’s controversial U-turn over delivering a brand new Birkenhead Market on the old House of Fraser site on Grange Road has led to criticisms and suggestions that the council appears to be stepping back from its wider regeneration of Birkenhead. At the same time, the council is rethinking plans for a museum and how it will fund a maritime research centre while another project has stalled.

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Planned freeze to bus fares and tunnels tolls for local residents

T-FLOW Tunnel tolls and bus fares are to be frozen for Liverpool City Region residents, under proposals to be considered at a Combined Authority meeting, next Friday, 15 December.

The price freeze is part of a bid by the Mayor to help keep travel affordable for local people during the cost-of-living crisis.

The plans recommend freezing the price of a car journey through the tunnel for city region residents with a T-FLOW account at £1.40 – a 70p saving on the cash toll.

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Paul O’Grady named as PETA Person of the Year

The late actor, television host, and former drag queen Paul O’Grady has been named PETA’s 2023 Person of the Year.

Paul O’Grady’s husband, Andre Portasio, will be presented with the award in his place.

O’Grady’s passion for animal rights spanned decades, from joining PETA to expose the horrors of animal testing in the 1990s and urging the Lord Mayor of London to stop herding sheep across London Bridge in 2014 to calling for a ban on “torture in a tin”– foie gras – earlier this year.

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Wirral Council moves forward with parking strategy

Wirral Council has moved forward with plans which will shape how and where people can park in the future.

The local authority has been developing its parking strategy over the last year following an initial consultation and brought forward a number of ideas in June. The parking strategy will shape how car parks are used, street parking, introduce new schemes such as e-bike and e-scooter hire, and how the council will look to tackle pavement parking.

2,171 responses were received by the council in a public feedback exercise over the summer with many comments highlighting controversial proposals to close two car parks in Heswall. These proposals were removed from the strategy being voted on by councillors.

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Big Heritage aims to double size of Wirral Transport Museum

Big Heritage has revealed its plans to raise £6m to double the size of Wirral Transport Museum.

The community interest company took over the museum in November from Wirral Council and will now run the museum going forward. This agreement was put in place to help secure the museum’s future and will reportedly create 10 new full-time jobs.

Big Heritage also hopes to finalise an agreement with the volunteer group, Mersey Tramway Preservation Society, who previously ran the museum to continue looking after their trams.  The society agreed to do this though the transfer has not been without controversy after volunteers were shut out for months due to serious health and safety issues.

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More options put forward as Argos market plans progress

Wirral Council has moved forward with its controversial £6m plans to move Birkenhead Market into Argos along with two more options.

These two options could see the new market built on St John’s Pavements or refurbish the current market in the Grange Precinct. These options had been put forward by traders who felt they were being “shoehorned into a repurposed site on the outskirts of town.”

Alongside Argos, the other two options will now be assessed for their feasibility with the vote at a 6 December regeneration committee meeting being unanimous. A proposal by the Liberal Democrats and the Greens to still consider previous plans to build the market on the old House of Fraser on Grange Road was voted down.

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Council moves ahead with phase 2 of new 20mph limits

Wirral Council is moving ahead with new 20mph limits on nearly 1,000 roads.

The new speed limits were given approval by a significant majority of councillors at a local authority environment and transport committee meeting on 5 December. The rollout is part of a wider strategy aimed to get the number of people killed and seriously injured on Wirral’s roads down to zero.

Despite large numbers of protestors turning up at the town hall opposing the roll-out of the new limits at previous meetings, there were only a total of 15 people in attendance at the meeting which included some in favour.

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Hoylake beach Village Green application out for public consultation

An application from a number of Hoylake residents to have part of the town’s beach registered as a Town or Village Green (TVG) is under consideration by Wirral Council.

As part of the application process, a consultation with residents and landowners is required which has been launched today, running for just over six weeks.

Registration as a TVG applies a number of protections to land, including preventing it being developed and any interference with the soil. Any works carried out on the land would have to be for the enhancement of the TVG as recreational space, or it would be an offence.

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Upton Lidl plans back on the table

Plans for a new Lidl have come back to life as Wirral Council prepares to sell the land to the supermarket chain.

The local authority is planning to sell land at the roundabout between the Woodchurch Estate and Upton near the Sainsbury’s on the Upton by-pass for £840,000 plus VAT at a policy and resources committee meeting next week. The council could also expect to see £160,000 or more coming in from business rates if the new store opens.

If the sale goes ahead, Lidl will then submit a planning application for the site and cover the costs moving footpaths crossing the site. Committee documents show Lidl will not need to appeal against any possible refusal.

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Concerns Bromborough homes plans have too much parking

A Wirral councillor is worried plans for 115 new houses provide too much parking.

The 115 houses would be built off Dock Road North next to the Port Sunlight River Park in Bromborough if an application by Asteer Planning LLP is approved. 42 of the houses will be affordable with a mix of two- and three-bedroom houses.

The development would be built on the banks of the Dibbinsdale Brook and is considered to be previously developed brownfield land. This would mean that if approved, it would contribute to Wirral’s housing supply for the next two decades as Wirral Council looks to focus on brownfield development.

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Wirral girl wins British judo title

A 13-year-old Wirral girl has added the British judo title to the English title she won in London and the Welsh title she won in Cardiff earlier this year.

Amber Donaghy started judo aged just five, having first tasted the sport as part of her PE lessons at Thingwall Primary School, a fact that Headteacher Mrs Evans takes great delight in reminding her dad whenever she wins a competition.

The British Championships is the flagship domestic competition on the judo calendar, with previous winners going on to represent GB at European, World, Commonwealth and Olympic level. It is the most fiercely contested event which attracts the cream of British judo talent.

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Tranmere clinch victory over Newport with late Connor Jennings goal

Tranmere Rovers extended their unbeaten run to five games, securing a home victory against Newport with Connor Jennings scoring a late goal.

In the fifth minute, Jennings had the first opportunity, receiving a cross from Rob Apter, but his header went wide.

Rovers came close again three minutes later, as Kieron Morris delivered a cross that nearly found the heads of diving Tranmere players, keeping the pressure on Newport.

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Wirral Police weekly news round-up

This is the Birkenhead News weekly round-up of police activity in and around Wirral during the last seven days.

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What’s On? Guide

Visit our “What’s On?” guide for Wirral and the surrounding areas in the coming weeks.

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