Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,
My request is for retrieving some information about the public consultation process during 2017 when the council informed the Wirral electorate about their proposal to introduce car parking charges to the 4 Wirral Country Parks.
Due to the angry backlash in the local press and online, I cannot remember exactly how this proposal was communicated to the public. Whatever statement the council made to support their motives seemed to get lost in the public outcry.
I believe a Local Authority must produce a document proposing their ‘Statement of Reasons’ when supporting a Traffic Regulation Order amendment such as the one in question and in the interests of clarity, I would like to see the council’s original ‘Statement of Reasons’ document in its entirety, which I assume was made fully available for the public at the time. If the full ‘Statement of Reasons’ was published in the council’s Wirral View publication then I will not have seen it unless it was in the November 2016 issue which is the only issue I have ever received through my letterbox. If a ‘Statement of Reasons’ press release was sent to other local publications such as the free press, I would like to be able to compare what the council intended to be their published press release against what was actually published by other media publications of which the council would have had no control over. If the local press have chosen to cherry pick from any such press release supplied to them in order to create a more volatile news item, then I believe it is in the interests of the electorate to know this. Reporting on such matters should be balanced and fair, based on what information has been supplied by a public body to their local media outlets.
Dear NJT Lauro
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request regarding off-street pay
and display parking places Order, 2015 - Amendment no. 1 2017. In response
to your enquiry Wirral Council can confirm the following:
The ‘Wirral View’ is not an acceptable form of communication for the
purposes of advertising a Traffic Regulation Order and therefore was not
Wirral Council pay to advertise a Traffic Regulation Order in the local
press (‘Wirral Globe’) therefore it is printed as per the Council’s
instructions. The local press cannot alter the Council’s advert or ‘cherry
pick’ from any such advertisement.
Below are the dates and links to the adverts published in the Wirral
Wirral Globe 18/1/2017 Page 46
Wirral Globe 8/3/2017 Page 40
Wirral Globe 16/8/2017 Page 52
The Statement of Reasons deposited at the one stop shops during the
advertisement period and available to the public is shown below.
Statement of Reasons:
“It has previously been reported that the Council continues to face
unprecedented financial challenges. The Government has announced the
removal of the Revenue Support Grant and that local authorities will
retain 100% of Business Rates. Authorities will effectively be funded from
Business Rates, Council Tax, income generated locally and any Specific
Grants from Government. Against this the Council faces additional costs
from increasing demand for services as a consequence of the demographic
changes associated with an ageing population.
Wirral, along with the vast majority of local authorities, accepted the
Government 4 Year Settlement Offer. Whilst this provides certainty of
funding over the period 2016/17-2019/20 in that the annual reductions in
Grant are clear it also confirm increasing Council Tax by 3.99% per year
(which includes the 2% Adult Social Care Precept) and increasing Council
Tax income through the building of a minimum of 700 homes per year. This
will see Council income at approximately the same level in 2020 as in
Budget proposals to increase car parking tariffs and to introduce car
parking charges at various country park sites and in on-street locations
to increase income from car parking have been put forward to assist the
Council to manage the pressures in a planned way not only to meet the
legal requirements for a balanced Budget for 2017/18 but also contribute
towards addressing the forecast funding gap over the period of the Medium
Term Financial Strategy 2018/19 – 2020/21.”
We trust this answers your enquiry in full.
Senior Information Management Officer
Business Services - Digital
Tel: 0151 691 8201
[Wirral Borough Council request email]
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5. mailto:[Wirral Borough Council request email]
Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,
Thank you for your comprehensive and informative reply from which I have learned the following:
● I was not aware that public notices were displayed in One-Stop offices
● I was not aware of the legal restrictions on the local press to print council statements in their entirety
● I was not aware that the ‘Wirral View’ wasn't an acceptable form of communication for advertising a TRO
On the last point, it may be worth noting the TRO in question was actually published in an edition of 'Wirral View’ I picked out of a large box of editions of the paper, located in GJ's coffee shop in Thurstaston in September last year. I cannot remember anything about the contents of the paper to help identify the issue, but the TRO was definitely printed in it.
That concludes my request, thank you for the time spent collecting the information.