Sunday Snippets, 7 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.

Leverhulme’s planning appeal thrown out of High Court

A landowner’s request for an appeal over plans for nearly 800 greenbelt homes has been criticised by the High Court as “inarguable”.

Wirral’s largest landowner Leverhulme Estates had been asking for the High Court to review a decision by the Planning Inspectorate to uphold Wirral Council’s rejection of plans that would have provided 788 new homes on Wirral’s green belt.

Leverhulme argues their plans would help address a housing shortage but were criticised for “an overly simplistic approach” on how this would affect regeneration plans.

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Wirral Council allocates £125m regeneration spend in 2024/5 financial year

Wirral Council has budgeted for a nearly £125m spend in the next financial year on its regeneration plans.

This is a huge ramp-up of spending compared to previous years as the local authority looks to move forward with a number of projects.

In the next financial year between April 2024 and March 2025, the local authority plans to spend nearly £125m on several key projects out of a total budget of £127.3m with another £30.7m planned spend on regeneration the year after that.

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Botanist and campaign group voice concerns over Dee Estuary habitat

A decision to allow plants to be cleared in a protected area has been criticised as pandering to an “outlandish stupid culture war on Wirral.”

In July 2023, environmental regulator, Natural England, granted Wirral Council permission until 2026 to clear an area of land area in West Kirby, near the town’s marine lake. It previously had permission to clear this land of rubbish but this expired in 2021.

After the old permission expired, Wirral Council carried out an assessment of the beach before going to Natural England for permission to clear it again but by 2022, a walker said “large areas” of the beach were now covered by vegetation.

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Portland Court management say residents safe following wall collapse

According to the building’s management company, residents at a New Brighton apartment block are “safe” after a wall collapsed following a storm.

On the night of 21 December 2023, a large section of the western-facing wall of the apartment building Portland Court on Wellington Road partially collapsed into the car park below.

The day before, Portland Court Management Limited said they had identified damage caused by Storm Pia and closed off the car park but work could not take place due to high winds.

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Wirral West Conservative parliamentary candidate defends conspiracy theory retweets

A Conservative Parliamentary candidate fighting for a key Wirral seat has defended sharing social media posts promoting conspiracy theories.

West Kirby Conservative councillor Jennifer Johnson is standing to be her party’s candidate for the Wirral West seat, which the Conservatives are trying to win back at the next General Election.

Cllr Johnson, who currently serves as the chair of Wirral Council’s audit and risk management committee is also an associate professor in Human Resource Management and Director of Studies for masters in healthcare leadership at the University of Liverpool’s Management School.

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Embrace sustainability in 2024 with the Cool Wirral Climate Challenge

Wirral residents are being encouraged to start 2024 in a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly way by taking the Cool Wirral Climate Challenge 2024.

Throughout the new year, people are being asked to take positive actions to reduce their personal and household carbon footprint.

By completing the challenges, you also have the opportunity to be entered into a prize draw for Wirral Spend Independent cards – these give you access to exclusive offers and discounts at independent restaurants and businesses across Wirral for a whole year.

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Mobility scooter stolen as garages broken into in Upton

Merseyside Police is appealing for information following a report that residential garages were broken into on an Upton estate overnight on Thursday, 4 January.

It was reported that 12 garages doors were broken into at Aughton Court on Church Road and a mobility scooter was reportedly stolen.

Officers are currently at the scene and an investigation is now underway including witness, CCTV and forensic enquiries are being carried out in the local area.

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Magenta Living and Starship collaborate for carbon zero homes in Bromborough

Magenta Living, Wirral’s largest housing association, has partnered with Starship to build six carbon zero homes at Maple Grove, Bromborough. 

The development, which secured planning permission in 2022 will consist of five three-bed houses and one two-bed bungalow. The site housed garages which have been demolished ready for the construction of the new homes to commence in early 2024.

The scheme will mark the second collaboration between Magenta Living and Starship in their commitment to sustainable and energy-efficient housing. 

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Wirral Labour responds to councillor’s Green Party switch

Labour has hit back at a councillor who quit the party to join the Greens, suggesting she may have “extreme views”.

Cllr Gail Jenkinson was elected in the 2023 Wirral Council elections as one of Greasby, Frankby and Irby’s first Labour councillors. On 3 January 2024, she announced she had left the party and joined Wirral’s Green Party.

In response to the surprise defection, a Labour Party spokesperson said, “Under Keir Starmer’s leadership the Labour Party has changed fundamentally. The Labour Party is no longer a party of protest.

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Doctor who set up fake appointment for sex to return to work

A doctor who set up a fake appointment to have a sexual encounter with a patient at his surgery has been deemed fit to return to practice.

Despite knowing the man he met was a patient at his practice in Birkenhead, Dr Marc Paton agreed to set up a bogus encounter to facilitate the pair being able to meet in his surgery to act out a sexual fantasy. A Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service report in June revealed how Dr Paton also checked the practice’s database to find out if the man was a patient at the surgery.

After a blackmail demand by the man – referred to as Patient A – Dr Paton self-referred himself to the General Medical Council (GMC) in March 2022. GMC officials felt his conduct had been sufficiently serious to warrant a six-month suspension, which has now been lifted.

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Wirral catering business flourishes following free business support

A catering business formed in Spring 2020 by best friends from Wallasey is just one of over 1,200 local companies that have benefitted from free support from Wirral Business Support Service.

Graze Upon Us, the brainchild of Kate Satam and Megan Lear-Roach, received support on marketing and funding, as well as networking opportunities that helped them gain new clients.

Following a recommendation Kate and Megan, who met at Weatherhead High School 20 years ago, contacted Wirral Chamber where they discovered the Business Support Service. Funded by Wirral Council and UK Shared Prosperity Fund, it offers up to 12 hours of free support to all Wirral-based businesses.

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Jennings nets two as Tranmere beat high-flying Notts County

Tranmere Rovers kicked off 2024 with an impressive 4-2 victory over high-flying Notts County, securing their fourth consecutive league win.

The home team seized an early lead when Kieron Morris volleyed past Aidan Stone from 15 yards. However, the Magpies equalized with Aaron Nemane at 24 minutes.

Five minutes later, Macauley Langstaff fired past Luke McGee, giving County the lead. Yet, Rovers swiftly responded through Connor Jennings just before the conclusion of the first half.

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Tranmere Rovers suffer tough defeat at Barrow

Tranmere Rovers’ run of good form is over as they suffered a challenging away defeat to Barrow on Saturday afternoon.

Two adjustments to Rovers’ lineup featured Connor Wood and Brad Walker returning for James Norris and Rob Apter, who has recently rejoined Blackpool.

The opening moments were evenly contested, with Rovers exploiting break opportunities, including Kieron Morris’s early shot into the side netting.

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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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