Sunday Snippets, 28 January 2024

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.

Council to decide future of Floral Pavilion

Wirral Council will decide the future use of the Floral Pavilion in March as it looks to save £1.3m.

The local authority first revealed it was reviewing the Floral Pavilion theatre in July 2023 though few details have been released so far about future plans for how the New Brighton theatre will be run. The local authority is looking for an “alternative operator” to take the venue over and “secure this facility for the long term.”

According to a report published on 17 January, this is expected to save the council £1.3m in next year’s budget for council services between April 2024 to March 2025. The theatre is currently subsidised by the local authority to the tune of £1.8m.

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Birkenhead firm raises £15k for Claire House through scrap metal donations

Murphy Scrap Metals in Birkenhead has donated a massive £15,000 to Claire House Children’s Hospice.

The donation means that Murphy Scrap Metal has raised a total of nearly £42,500 for the hospice.

The firm raised the money by taking donations of scrap metal from members of the public and then presenting the cash value of the scrap to Claire House. Not only are they helping the environment but also the donation will make a massive difference to sick children across Merseyside.

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Wirral launches 2024 Borough of Culture

A major music festival, a huge globe display, art projects and community events have been revealed as part of plans to “highlight the very best of the Wirral” over the next year.

The events are part of an £800,000 investment in arts and culture by Wirral Council, UK Government, and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, as it hosts the Borough of Culture for the second time. The last time the council hosted the title was in 2019.

The Borough of Culture rotates between the different boroughs that make up the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority with an aim to celebrate areas outside of Liverpool.

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Hopes Merseyrail Class 507 train could be preserved

The past year has finally seen a gradual rollout of Merseyrail’s brand new state-of-the-art trains following seven years of anticipation since the bid for a contract was held.

Inevitably, however, this means that the fate of the old class 507 trains has been sealed; a one-way ticket to retirement and scrapping.

First brought into service in 1978, the class 507 trains have served Merseyside for 45 years. They kept the city moving when the Giants took over town , they have shipped Santas across Merseyside for their annual Liverpool dash, they were there to keep the ball rolling for the Royal Liverpool Golf Open, but most important of all, who hasn’t taken a trip on one at least once?

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Council investigating fly tipping in Bromborough and Eastham

Wirral Council is investigating two “disgusting” fly tipping incidents after carpets, black bags and ceiling materials were left dumped on the road.

One incident took place on Dock Road North near the Port Sunlight River Park in Bromborough while another took place near Eastham Country Park.

Both incidents are believed to have happened in the early hours between January 25 and 26 and are being investigated separately by Wirral Council.

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Starship to lead on development of multi-million-pound waterside village at Wirral Waters

The development of Egerton Village, a £4m retail, leisure and events space at Wirral Waters, has taken a massive leap forward, with construction now set to begin. 

Wirral Waters developer and master planner, Peel Waters, has announced that partners Starship Group will lead on the development and construction of the waterside village, which will bring much-needed local amenities and facilities to the growing community at Wirral Waters. 

In 2022, Starship relocated its head office to Hythe, the new Grade A office building at Wirral Waters. The low-carbon developer and modular housing manufacturer also moved its entire manufacturing arm to the Mea Park neighbourhood of Wirral Waters. 

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Councillor suggests male loneliness higher because women ‘gossip’

A Conservative councillor has apologised after he made comments suggesting rates of male loneliness are higher because women “gossip”.

Cllr Colin Baldwin, who represents Moreton West and Saughall Massie on Wirral Council, made the comments during an adult health and social care meeting on 23 January during a discussion of the local authority’s community connector service. This service aims to connect people to support, especially amongst those who might be isolated.

At the meeting, Cllr Baldwin praised the work carried out by the team having seen people door-knocking in the community pointing people towards help. He said, “I’m very much aware that people are getting very isolated at the moment and a lot of it is actually in the male population because women, they’ll talk, they’ll chat, they’ll gossip and all the rest of it but the men…”

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Wallasey care home slammed again in CQC report

Regulators are moving people out of a care home after a fifth damning report found it was not safe, not well managed, grimy, and dirty.

A Care Quality Commission (CQC) report published on 17 January detailed its findings at the Sandrock Nursing Home in Wallasey, following three inspection visits in October and November 2023.

The care home has been rated inadquate since April 2021 following five critical reports by the CQC and Wirral Council has suspended its services there since July 2021.

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Birkenhead set to see ‘complete and utter change’ as plans approved

Birkenhead could see “a complete and utter change” after four major projects were given approval.

The developments will see a revamp of Birkenhead’s main high street; Grange Road, part of Grange Road West reduced to one lane, new cycle lanes and walking routes on Conway Street and Europa Boulevard, as well as major changes around Woodside, Argyle Street, and Hamilton Square. Trees, planters and new green spaces are included in the plans.

Funding for this comes to nearly £35m but some funding has to be spent by March 2024 and Wirral Council will need to approve a contractor before then.

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Wirral students question researchers on RRS Sir David Attenborough live from Antarctica

It was a very special, memorable afternoon for around 80 students from seven Wirral secondary schools last Friday as they had the chance to question researchers aboard the polar research vessel, the RRS Sir David Attenborough, live from Antarctica.

The students, who are all part of the Eco Schools programme in their respective schools, posed a range of questions to the three researchers – Sophie Fielding, Emily Newton and Flo Atherden – who are part of the British Antarctic Survey team currently deployed in the Antarctic.

The event, hosted at the Eureka! museum in Seacombe, started with young people being given a ‘virtual tour’ of the ship from one of the people responsible for its design and construction, John Drummond from Wirral shipbuilders, Cammell Laird.

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Work to begin on major resurfacing project at Wirral Country Park

Work will shortly start on a project to resurface and improve approximately 8,500 meters of Wirral Way’s pedestrian, cycle and horse-riding paths.

Around 3,500 meters of the pedestrian/cycle path will be resurfaced, with the inclusion of a camber (slight curvature in the surface) to improve drainage.

The route has seen a large increase in visitor numbers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic which has resulted in heavy erosion.

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£60,000 community group boost to help tackle organised crime affecting Woodchurch

Thousands of pounds are being given to community groups across Wirral in an effort to tackle organised crime.

Over £60,000 is being given out as part of the EVOLVE project, an initiative by Wirral Council, Merseyside Police, and part-funded by the Home Office which will see multiple community groups awarded funding of up to £2,000 to help improve their areas.

Three events are being held in different communities affected by crime in Wirral as part of police efforts following the murder of Elle Edwards in December 2022.

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Weekend works advance lighting upgrade in Queensway Tunnel

The latest stage of the Queensway (Birkenhead) Tunnel’s ongoing £11m lighting system upgrade took place at the weekend – and it was all hands on the road deck inside the 89-year-old structure.

Alongside the lighting replacement project, a wide variety of additional tasks were carried out across the weekend, including:

  • Replacement of road deck access covers
  • Installation of cable ducting to support new Variable Message Signs
  • Replacement of lighting in the refuge areas
  • Cleaning the pumping station’s sumps
  • Various deep cleaning and maintenance tasks

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Birkenhead primary school receives grant to fund Fitness for Fun scheme

Health-conscious pupils at Our Lady and St Edward’s Catholic Primary School are celebrating after receiving £1,500 towards their Fitness for Fun Scheme, as voted for by Birkenhead Tesco customers.

Fitness for Fun is a community-based programme developed to help people choose a healthier lifestyle through education and structured exercise routines.

The scheme is normally funded by the school, however, extra funds were needed to ensure pupils learn how to cycle safely and are educated on the rules of the road for cyclists. The scheme also provides children who do not yet own one with a bicycle, thanks to the school’s bike swap scheme with bike shop partner Energise.

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Wirral Waters seven years behind promise to build 1,100 homes

The developer behind the largest regeneration development in the UK is set to come in seven years behind its promise to build 1,100 homes by 2025, according to a council report.

Peel Waters, formerly known as Peel L&P, who manage the Wirral Waters developments on the Birkenhead docks, previously said it would deliver 1,100 homes by 2025 on the north bank in Seacombe.

However, an updated 2023 housing trajectory published by Wirral Council shows only 613 dwellings are expected to be built by March 2026.

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The Hive joins Children at the Table campaign 

With a general election on the way, Wirral’s Youth Zone has joined young people’s organisations around the country and the UK’s five largest children’s charities to make sure the next government has a plan to put ‘Children at the Table’. 

The Hive Youth Zone, which exists to make sure every young person on the Wirral has somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to, has teamed up with 130 young people’s charities along with Action for Children, Barnardo’s, The Children’s Society, the National Children’s Bureau and NSPCC to ask the next government to:  

  1. Work together to improve the lives of babies, children and young people
  2. Put the needs and voices of children and young people at the heart of decision making
  3. Spend more of the nation’s wealth on babies, children and young people    

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No fines for flytipping despite thousands of incidents

Wirral Council has issued no fines for fly tipping across Wirral despite more than 3,600 incidents.

According to statistics published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), there were 3,635 incidents of fly tipping across Wirral between April 2022 and March 2023 with most of these being either on the road or down back alleyways.

Despite investigating 2,488 incidents, the local authority issued only three warning letters in the same time period and no fixed penalty notices over the same period. The council said it “will always seek to prosecute anyone who we can prove has fly-tipped”.

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Quality-of-care concerns at Wallasey care home where residents ‘idolise’ staff

Wirral Council has suspended new placements to a residential care home “due to quality-of-care concerns”.

Seabank House in Wallasey is a residential care home for up to nine people with learning disabilities.  A notice from Wirral Council said that new placements have been suspended by the local authority at the facility since December to “enable the provider the time to focus on improving the experience for its current customers with the support of Wirral Councils Contracts, Commissioning and Quality Teams.”

This move comes after the home was rated as ‘good’ following a CQC inspection in 2022.

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Work starts on Caldy project to improve water quality in the Dee Estuary

United Utilities has started work on a project in Caldy that will improve the water quality in the Dee Estuary. 

The North West’s water company is spending £1.3m to reduce the number of times the storm overflow has to operate in the area during periods of heavy rain.

The project will see more capacity created in the sewer network to cope with periods of heavy rainfall. 

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Schoolchildren representing Tranmere Rovers progress to next round of EFL competition

Tranmere Rovers in the Community took a team from Wirral Grammar School for Girls to the Area Finals of the EFL Utilita Girls Cup in Wigan this week.

The girls emerged victorious after winning every game.

The Utilita Girls Cup is for U13 girls that culminates in a grand final prior to the EFL Trophy Final at Wembley Stadium in April.

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Tranmere triumph away at Grimsby

Tranmere Rovers secured a 2-1 victory away at Grimsby Town on Saturday afternoon.

Rovers quickly took control, with Brad Walker delivering a precise pass to Apter in the opening moments. However, the winger’s shot from the edge of the box narrowly missed the target.

Despite a subdued start, the hosts gained momentum, registering their first shot on target in the 11th minute. Danny Rose’s header from Abou Eisa’s cross aimed for goal, but Luke McGee made a crucial save.

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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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