PETITIONS......Does the Council act in an OPEN, TRANSPARENT and FAIR manner?

Alan Rundle made this Freedom of Information request to Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

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Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council ("the Council"),

A petition, with 500+ signatures, objecting to the APP/16/00823 planning application for the demolition of TWENTY TWO retirement flats (£110 per month in 2011) and their replacement with 14 houses (ANTICIPATED RENTS £950 - 20% - 'AFFORDABLE RENT' REDUCTION - 2016), was presented to the Council SEVEN days ago. The petition also called on the Council to support the modernisation and refurbishment of the existing retirement homes.

The Council's planning applications website continues to show no record of this petition.

Many local people remember the 2012 skullduggery of the Council when FOUR SENIOR OFFICERS of the Council were suspended from office (together with a middle-ranking officer). A Wirral MP at that time spoke of calling in Commissioners to run the Council.

West Kirby residents suspect that the Council may be attempting to SUPPRESS the number of people who signed the petition....by eliminating signatories for a number of totally unacceptable reasons, including:

(i) the signatories do not live in West Kirby;
(ii) the signatories are not on the electoral register and
(iii) the signatories did not provide their postcodes.

If the Council is attempting to tamper with the petition in order to reduce the number of signatories, that would be a matter of grave concern.

It should be noted that visitors to West Kirby, from other parts of the borough and from outside the borough, have every right to sign a petition objecting to proposed environmental damage in West Kirby.

Local residents, who do not wish to be included on the Electoral Register, have a right to sign petitions.

It should also be noted that the Wirral West Member of Parliament does not live in the Wirral Metropolitan Borough. Does the Council propose that the Wirral West MP has no right to have her opinions taken into consideration, on matters affecting environmental/planning matters in the borough?

The Leader of the Council does not reside in the ward that he represents. Does the Council propose that, since he lives in West Kirby, that he cannot have any say over what happens in the Birkenhead and Tranmere ward that he represents?

Could the Council please provide details concerning its policy for processing petitions that it receives?

The Council will be aware that members of the public have a legal DUTY to protect and improve the environment for the benefit of present and future generations. What actions is the Council taking to assist members of the public to do this?

What steps is the Council proposing to take in order to act in an OPEN, TRANSPARENT and FAIR manner when dealing with petitions from members of the public?

Could the Council please provide details concerning the time limit for presenting petition details on its planning application website?

I note that, following years of underachievement and outside monitoring, that the Council has received a small degree of credit for "improvements". Specifically, what improvements has the Council made in protecting low-cost retirement homes (and their surrounding gardens) for elderly residents, within the borough?

Yours faithfully,

Alan Rundle

Derick Barnes left an annotation ()

There continues to be serious problems with Wirral Council Planning application website. Often all comments /objections to planning applications are omitted very oddly. I have put official complaint in to Chief Planning Officer Mr Ball about this.

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Rundle

 

In response to your recent request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000, please see the Council’s response below.

 

“It should also be noted that the Wirral West Member of Parliament does
not live in the Wirral Metropolitan Borough. Does the Council propose that
the Wirral West MP has no right to have her opinions taken into
consideration, on matters affecting environmental/planning matters in the
borough?”

This is not a valid request for recorded information.

 

“The Leader of the Council does not reside in the ward that he represents.
Does the Council propose that, since he lives in West Kirby, that he
cannot have any say over what happens in the Birkenhead and Tranmere ward
that he represents?”

This is not a valid request for recorded information.

 

“Could the Council please provide details concerning its policy for
processing petitions that it receives?”

The Council’s petitions procedure can be found at this link:
[1]https://www.wirral.gov.uk/about-council/...

 

“The Council will be aware that members of the public have a legal DUTY to
protect and improve the environment for the benefit of present and future
generations. What actions is the Council taking to assist members of the
public to do this?”

The duty to “preserve and enhance” in planning terms refers to
Conservation Areas.  This site does not sit within a Conservation Area. 
The development proposed will be assessed having regards to the planning
merits of the scheme and with reference to the National Planning Policy
Framework and specific policies in the Wirral Unitary Development Plan,
most notably Policy HS4 which deals with new residential development. 

 

“What steps is the Council proposing to take in order to act in an OPEN,
TRANSPARENT and FAIR manner when dealing with petitions from members of
the public?”

The Council will consider all material planning considerations set out in
representations that it receives, either individually or by means of a
petition.  The Council’s approach to petitions is set out for you in the
link provided above.

 

“Could the Council please provide details concerning the time limit for
presenting petition details on its planning application website?”

Please see
[2]https://www.wirral.gov.uk/planning-and-b...

 

Please also see online  the ‘important dates’ tab on the specific planning
application.  Although members of the public are advised to make their
representations having regard to those dates set out in the Important
Dates tab, the Council will receive a petition up to and including MIDDAY
on the Monday before the Committee date.   

 

“I note that, following years of underachievement and outside monitoring,
that the Council has received a small degree of credit for "improvements".
Specifically, what improvements has the Council made in protecting
low-cost retirement homes (and their surrounding gardens) for elderly
residents, within the borough?”

Please clarify this part of your request in relation to “improvements”. 
Once clarification is received we can correctly allocate your enquiry to
the relevant Council department for a response.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Lynette Paterson

Senior Information Management Officer

Records and Information Management

Legal Services

Transformation and Resources

Wallasey Town Hall

Brighton Street
Wallasey
Wirral
CH44 8ED 

[3]Tel: 0151 691 8201

[4][Wirral Borough Council request email]

 

 

[5]LGC Awards15_Winner_MIP

 

 

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