Sunday Snippets 2 May 2021

Welcome to “Sunday Snippets” a weekly feature from birkenhead.news. It is a round-up of our most popular good news stories from the last seven days. Click on each story to read the full article.

‘Save Our Slipway’, Rock Ferry historic maritime restoration project

Rock Ferry Slipway, a Grade 2 listed structure on the banks of the River Mersey at Birkenhead, is of special interest because it is considered to be the oldest surviving structure to be built into the Mersey in 1820 by Thomas Morecroft, a ferry owner and operator.

It was developed to improve facilities on the Rock Ferry to Liverpool ferry service and in later times, it was used by cadets to board HMS Conway which was moored at Rock Ferry and to enable wealthy residents living in the Rock Park estate to live in Wirral and work in Liverpool.

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Five million vaccine doses given in the North West

More than five million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been given in the North West in less than five months, latest figures show.

The region reached the latest significant milestone last weekend, with figures published on Monday, 26 April showing a total of 5,049,333 first and second doses of the vaccine have been given since the NHS vaccination programme launched on 8 December, 2020.

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As thousands respond to Birkenhead 2040 consultation, there is still time to have your say

Thousands of people are getting involved in the discussion about the future of Birkenhead.

Last month Wirral Council released the detailed consultation documents outlining the vision for ensuring the town has a thriving, sustainable future.

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New High Sheriff of Merseyside champions “You Matter” message for young people

The new High Sheriff of Merseyside has been officially installed with a message for young people that “You Matter”.

Just hours after being sworn in, Nigel Lanceley carried out his first engagement, attending an awards ceremony for the Prince’s Trust and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

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Brownfield only building policy: Wirral’s Local Plan to save treasured greenbelt

Wirral’s Labour-led council has developed a masterplan to stop development on precious greenbelt sites. The blueprint will see all development focused on brownfield sites, investing in areas such as Birkenhead, rather than prized green spaces. 

The brownfield sites will be transformed to provide much-needed housing, leisure, employment, education and transport facilities. By concentrating development on these sites, it will mean there will be no need for building on greenbelt land. 

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New Brighton RNLI lifeboat crew swap alarm bells for wedding bells

The volunteer crew started out with their usual training exercise, however, things took a slightly different twist with the lifeboat being launched and taking a route back towards the shore.

It was at this point that New Brighton RNLI volunteer Tom McGinn decided to pop the question and proposed whilst aboard the lifeboat to his now fiancé Emily Craven.

Emily of course said yes and the event was made extra special with family members looking on from the shore to witness the wonderful event.

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Calday Grange Grammar boy scoops prize in cyber awards

Gethin Brown, a student from Calday Grange Grammar School, West Kirby.

The country’s brightest young cyber minds have been crowned winners of Matrix Challenge 2020, a competition pitting the most talented 11-17-year-olds against a series of digital tasks aimed at promoting positive pathways into cyber security careers.

Beginning in January 2020, the competition saw 65,000 participants from around the United Kingdom use their digital skills to tackle coding, code breaking and knowledge-based challenges, with winners crowned in two age categories.

The North West region generated the largest amount of UK competition entries, with 14,000 young people taking part. 38 North West candidates made it through to the national final in January 2021.

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Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner elections: Who will you vote for this May?

Left: Kris Brown Liberal Democrats – Councillor for Woolton, Liverpool City Council
Middle: Emily Spurrell Labour – Councillor for Mossley Hill, Liverpool City Council
Right: Bob Teesdale Conservative – Association Secretary for Southport Conservatives

Merseyside will elect a new Police and Crime Commissioner on 6 May 2021. Jane Kennedy, who is the current PCC for Merseyside announced in 2019 that she would not be standing for re-election.

Police and crime commissioners (PCCs) are elected representatives with responsibility for policing in each police area in England and Wales. Each police area (with the exception of Greater London and Greater Manchester, where the directly elected mayor is the policing authority instead) elects a commissioner every four years.

The elections for PCCs was due to take place in 2020, but were postponed until 6 May 2021, due to COVID-19. In the 2016 PCC election, Merseyside had a turnout of 302,253, representing 30.2% of the voting population. Jane Kennedy was reelected taking 186,661 votes, representing 61.8% of those who voted.

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Autism Awareness Month: MFRS become Autism Champions

Paul Baker from Bromborough based Autism Together.

As part of Autism Awareness Month, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) has attached a wraparound livery to one of its fire engines to highlight autism awareness and acceptance.

It is also a celebration of the fire service on Merseyside being Autism Champions. The training was delivered by Bromborough based Autism Together, in conjunction with Autism Adventures Training CIC and saw fantastic engagement and commitment from all who attended.

Paul Baker, Publicity Officer at Autism Together, said, “This fantastic wraparound design is a celebration of the fire service on Merseyside being Autism Champions.

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Pen Pal letters hidden for 60 years rediscovered at Rock Ferry house

When Danielle Areola bought her new house in Rock Ferry in March, she decided to do some renovations and redecorating before moving in. Little did she know what she would find when she was clearing out a brick void in one of the walls.

“I found an old school jumper stuffed in the void and under that, I saw the pile of letters.”, Daniella said. “Some are too far gone but some are in a nice condition and readable.”

Danielle had a quick look through her exciting find and discovered that the letters were from pen pals of a previous occupant of the house. “The earliest date from a quick scan seems to be 8th of March 1961 and the 2 envelopes are dated 1st and 6th of May 1961.

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Liverpool City Region Mayoral election: Who will you vote for this May?

Gary Cargill  Green Party
Jade Marsden  Conservatives
David Newman  Liberal Democrats
Steve Rotheram  Labour

Wirral residents will vote for their choice for Liverpool City Region Mayor on 6 May 2021. On the same day as the Metro Mayor election, Wirral residents will vote for a new Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner, as well as local councillors in each of Wirral’s 22 wards.

The Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region is a combined authority mayor or ‘metro mayor’, who chairs the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. The first, and current, office holder is Steve Rotheram, who was elected to the post in May 2017.

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New grass cutting programme begins in Wirral to encourage wildlife

Lowfield Avenue, Eastham.

A reduced grass cutting programme is in place across Wirral after proposals were agreed to reduce the maintenance budget – with a positive knock-on effect of being able to encourage wildflowers and attract bees and butterflies.

The new programme means that some green spaces will be maintained less often, or not at all, until April 2022. In all general areas of parks and public open spaces, grass cutting will be reduced from 13 to 10 cuts per year.

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Independent Wirral Market launched

This weekend saw the launch of the highly anticipated Independent Wirral Market @ Woodside. The market, at Birkenhead, which is dedicated to showcasing independent traders from across Wirral, has been a big hit with local businesses and the launch weekend ‘sold out’ in a matter of days.

Doors opened on Saturday, 1 May at 11am and the market will run across the Bank holiday weekend from 11am – 7pm daily and then weekly every Thursday to Sunday. During key school holiday dates the market will then move to seven days a week, with a focus on fun for the whole family.

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Birkenhead transformation ready for launch as planning approved

The team behind Wirral Growth Company is celebrating as its ambitious 1.4m sq ft masterplan to bring forward the transformation of Birkenhead town centre has been approved by Wirral Council’s planning department.

The new masterplan for the town centre, which was developed following an extensive period of consultation with the Wirral community, will deliver a highly-accessible central business district with new energy-efficient Grade A office buildings set within extensive public realm and green space. Wirral Council will occupy part of the new office space as part of its commitment to improving its carbon footprint and reducing occupancy of costly and inefficient buildings within its estate.

Further phases will see a new replacement market that will blend a vibrant food and beverage hall with a thriving traditional market. This will drive a new daytime and evening economy not seen before in the town, while helping to kick-start the wider regeneration of the Leftbank urban development area with new family homes and apartments.

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Rob Bremner: Photographs of 1980s New Brighton

“Sometimes the weather can fool you – ‘Oh we’ll go for a day out’ – and then a really heavy thunderstorm comes out of nowhere in the space of 15 minutes, but that’s just Bank Holidays in England, isn’t it!”, Rob Bremner recalls of his time spent photographing people in New Brighton with fellow photographers Tom Wood and Martin Parr.

Rob Bremner is a British social and documentary photographer born in Wick, a small village in the North of Scotland and in the 1980s He studied photography at Central Park College of Art in Wallasey.

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School children raise awareness of Stop the Block for a flood-free Wirral

Ten-year-old Lucy O’Keeffe won the Wirral Working Together poster competition (Left) and twelve-year-old Charlotte Bithell won united Utilities’ secondary school writing competition (right.)

A campaign to reduce sewer blockages across the Wirral has been a huge success, with a 94% reduction in unflushables and dozens of school children doing their bit to help Stop the Block.

United Utilities launched the Wirral Working Together campaign to encourage residents in Moreton and Greasby to Stop the Block and think twice about what they are flushing down their toilets and pouring down their sinks.

As a result, there has been a 94% reduction in unflushables found in the sewers of Moreton and Greasby since the campaign began in February, massively reducing the risk of blockages and future flooding.

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Local Council Elections: Who will you vote for this May?

The local party leaders in random order – Top left: Janette Williamson, Labour Liscard, Top right: Phil Gilchrist,  Liberal Democrats Eastham, Bottom left: Pat Cleary,  Green Party Birkenhead and Tranmere, Bottom Right: Jeff Green,  Conservative West Kirby and Thurstaston.

Local elections in the United Kingdom are due to be held on 6 May 2021 for 145 English local councils, including Wirral. On the same day as the council elections, Wirral residents will vote for a new Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner, as well as the Liverpool City Region Mayor.

In March 2020 the government announced that the elections scheduled for 7 May 2020 would be delayed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

birkenhead.news contacted the four main parties – Conservative, Green Party, Labour and the Liberal Democrats – and asked them to provide a 200-word Wirral-wide manifesto. In the article, in alphabetical order by party name, are each of the party’s responses.

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