Sunday Snippets, 3 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.

Big Heritage talk about big plans for Woodside U-boat museum

People are now able to stand on top of a U-boat for the first time, nearly 80 years after it sank.

The German U-534 submarine sank towards the end of the Second World War after four years at sea when it was hit by a Royal Air Force Liberator bomber north-east of the Danish island of Anholt. 49 of the 52 onboard survived.

After 48 years under water, it was raised from the seabed in 1993 and between 1996 and 2006 formed part of the Warship Preservation Trust’s collection at Birkenhead Docks. The U-boat was acquired by Merseytravel in 2007.

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Leverhulme takes greenbelt development plans to High Court

Wirral’s largest landowner, Leverhulme Estates, is taking its plans to the High Court in an effort to get proposals for nearly 800 green belt homes through.

Leverhulme’s plans for 788 homes across seven sites were rejected by Wirral Council last year due to their potential impact on regenerating Birkenhead, harm to the green belt, and how that might undermine its draft Local Plan, a major housing policy that promises to build at least 14,000 homes over the next two decades. These would be provided through no building on the green belt.

The plans by Leverhulme have been hugely controversial – with campaign groups turning people out in their hundreds and thousands signing petitions. They’ve faced universal opposition within the council, with every local political party against them.

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Midwife Chris Reid Davies retires after 47 Years of service

After an illustrious career spanning an impressive 47 years in the NHS, Midwife Chris Reid Davies bid farewell to Wirral University Teaching Hospital (WUTH). 

Chris embarked on her journey in healthcare at Clatterbridge on 4 February 1976, qualifying as a registered nurse in 1979. Her dedication saw her contributing to the Children’s Ward until October 1979, after which she embarked on a transformative path by transitioning into Midwifery Training.  

Chris noted that working in the NHS felt like a natural career path, following in the footsteps of family members. She said, “I followed in the footsteps of most of the women in the family. My mother, sister and auntie were all nurses in the NHS so that’s how it all started for me. I wanted to do something practical and caring so nursing and midwifery ticked the boxes for me.” 

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Be ‘More Than Kind’ this Christmas and help those struggling to buy food and pay bills

The St Vincent de Paul Society (England and Wales) have launched their annual Christmas Appeal, More Than Kind, to raise vital funds for those who are struggling with the rising cost of living.

Following the success of last year’s appeal, which raised more than £140,000 for the charity’s Cost of Living Support Fund, the SVP are once again raising vital funds for those who cannot afford to pay bills, buy food and other everyday essentials, or pay housing costs.

In the past year, the SVP has seen a sharp increase in the number of people reaching out for the charity for help with an alarming 150% increase in calls for help in comparison to 2022.

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Explosion at house in Tranmere

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) was in attendance at an incident on Holt Road, Tranmere on Saturday morning.

MFRS crews were alerted at 07.42 on Saturday, 2 December. A fire engine from Birkenhead was first on the scene at 07.47. At the height of the incident, there were four fire engines and the aerial appliance was in attendance.

The property is a Victorian two-storey brick-built mid-terrace property involved in an explosion. Neighbours stated to MFRS personnel that all persons were out of the property before the arrival of MFRS crews.

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Councillors to consider next steps for Birkenhead Market

Councillors are due to discuss the future of Birkenhead Market when they meet at the Economy, Regeneration and Housing Committee on 6 December.

The committee will be presented with a report outlining the current options for the Market to secure its long-term future.

The report indicates the existing proposals for a new Market at the House of Fraser site have been increasing substantially in cost, rising 25% from initial estimates in 2021.

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Family thank Arrowe Park Hospital following death of Brookside actor Dean Sullivan

Actor Dean Sullivan, famous for portraying Jimmy Corkhill in Brookside, has died aged 68.

In a statement, Sullivan’s family with “deep sadness” said that the actor “passed away peacefully following a short illness”.

“Dean is best remembered as the longest-serving cast member of Channel 4’s groundbreaking Brookside playing the role of Jimmy Corkhill, making Dean a British soap icon.”

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Public bravery in New Brighton celebrated at awards ceremony

Outstanding acts of bravery by the public in Merseyside were celebrated at the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s (NPCC) annual Police Public Bravery Awards on Thursday, 30 November.

The prestigious awards were hosted at The Cutlers’ Hall in Sheffield by Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, Lauren Poultney.

The ceremony was held to honour the brave members of the public who have placed themselves in dangerous situations, carrying out courageous and selfless acts to help protect others, defend their communities, prevent and detect crime and actively assist the police.

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Wirral households could be missing out on £91m in unclaimed benefits

More than £91m in benefits could be unclaimed by eligible households in Wirral.

Policy in Practice, a social policy data analytics company, said the figure is its best estimate on a local level for how much money people aren’t claiming in benefits from the government, local councils, and water and energy companies. The company has previously worked with London Mayor Sadiq Khan to help older pensioners get unclaimed pension credit.

The company estimates £91,247,287 is unclaimed in Wirral, including 7,000 households not claiming £29.8m in Universal Credit and more than 18,165 households not claiming £18.2m in council tax support.

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Weeklong road safety campaign highlighted dangers of excessive speed

Road safety partners in Wirral focused on one of the main causes of road traffic collisions during this year’s Road Safety Week campaign – excessive or inappropriate speed.

Led by the charity, Brake, Road Safety Week is an annual national campaign that aims to raise awareness of factors that contribute to collisions that cause death or serious injury and persuade the public to take greater care when out and about on our roads.

Road safety officers from the council, supported by Merseyside Police roads policing officers, volunteers from the Safer Roads Watch scheme and local schools and colleges took part in a weeklong programme of activities in support of this year’s campaign, which took place between 19 and 25 November.

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New Brighton RNLI rescue four people stranded in dinghy

On Wednesday 29 November, volunteer crew from New Brighton RNLI were called to locate four casualties stranded on the River Mersey in a motorised dinghy boat.

The pagers sounded for the New Brighton RNLI Lifeboat Station to attend a shout to four casualties stranded on the River Mersey. Jolting into action at 4.25pm, the crew set off to locate the group in New Brighton’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat Charles Dibdin.

With an ebbing tide, there was a risk that the dinghy would be pulled further out and the temperature was dropping, so it was paramount that the casualties were found swiftly and brought ashore.

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New tidal barrage could link Wirral and Liverpool

A proposed tidal barrage for the Mersey could provide a major new link between Wirral and Liverpool, according to a new report.

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority report, seen by the LDRS, outlines various plans for a potential tidal barrage project, which could be built across the Mersey, a long-term vision that is considered crucial to reducing carbon emissions across Merseyside. If it goes ahead, the multi-billion project is expected to power one million homes and create thousands of jobs.

The combined authority hopes to have the project delivered by 2040 to operate for 120 years alongside four new offshore wind developments expected to be up and running by 2030 – although this will require substantial government backing.

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Why Wirral Transport Museum has been closed for months

An inspector found “hazardous substances risks” and “significant contraventions of health and safety law” at Wirral Transport Museum.

The Wirral Transport Museum was closed on 20 April ahead of an inspection by the Office of Road and Rail (ORR) and the council said it expected it to reopen afterwards. While no prohibition notice was issued by the ORR, Big Heritage, who have since taken over the museum said procedures were put in place “to monitor and record a range of health and safety and control of hazardous substances risks”.

The company, which manages the Western Approaches museum in Liverpool, also said a model railway donated to the museum 20 years ago was removed as it posed a serious fire risk and was in a poor state of repair.

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Nimbys criticised over opposition to extra care housing

Wirral councillors have hit out at NIMBYs over opposition to extra care housing in their area.

Extra care housing is supported living accommodation for people with disabilities, special needs or are elderly offering them security and privacy in their own home. Wirral Council is currently considering several sites across the borough but these have not progressed forward.

NIMBY is an acronym for Not IMBack Yard, used to describe “a person who claims to be in favour of a new development or project, but objects if it is too near their home and will disturb them in some way”.

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Liverpool-Wirral night bus service resumes for trial period

Night buses are to return between Liverpool and Wirral as part of a new trial.

Late-night revellers and shift workers will soon be able to travel across the Mersey into the early hours of the morning as part of a new scheme being launched in the Liverpool City Region. The N1, which will be operated by Stagecoach, will enter service on Friday, 8 December just after midnight with buses running every hour until around 5am every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The services are to return having been removed by private operators during the covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns.

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Tranmere extend unbeaten run with draw at Mansfield

Tranmere Rovers extended their unbeaten run to four league matches, securing a 2-2 draw against Mansfield Town.

Tranmere took the lead twice, with Charlie Jolley opening the scoring after a precise pass from Harvey Saunders, resulting in a well-placed finish below Christy Pym.

Mansfield Town equalized when Rhys Oates found the back of the net before halftime. However, Tranmere Rovers regained the lead in the 62nd minute, courtesy of Rob Apter’s composed finish, marking his fifth goal of the campaign.

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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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