West Kirby 'Town Centre Action Plan'. NO EFFECTIVE PUBLIC PARTICIPATION.

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

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Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

Two recent meetings have been held at Westbourne Hall in West Kirby, 4 December 2014 and 5 February 2015. They were called by Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council.
Neither was a public meeting, since no effort had been made by Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council to advertise the meeting in public places.West Kirby Public Library's notice boards had no posters advertising the meetings.

The only notice of the 4 December 2014 meeting appears to have been a letter sent to shopkeepers/traders in West Kirby.

Both meetings were poorly organised and have failed to provide EFFECTIVE public participation, as required by the 'Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters' (the Aarhus Convention).

Council staff from the Planning Department,the Regeneration Department and the Environment Department appear to have been involved in these meetings.

Much of the discussion has focused on improving car parking provision on the roads and on reducing the car parking charges in the Dee Lane Public Car Park.

Whilst I understand that the United Kingdom has a dualistic legal system, in terms of environmental law, but the Domestic (UK) environmental laws have to meet the standards of International Law (the Aarhus Convention).

Please provide information that future meetings concerning preparations for a West Kirby Town Centre Action Plan will involve the legally required PUBLIC PARTICIPATION, when all options are open and take place when public participation can be effective. The local authority also has an obligation, under the Aarhus Convention , to show that PUBLIC PARTICIPATION has been EFFECTIVE.

Can you explain why some people who did attend the 4 February 2015 meeting have been emailed minutes of the meeting whilst others have not (including myself)?

Is it the case that the Council is going to attempt to use this meeting to justify plans for a multi-storey car park, in West Kirby, in the near future?

Not one person, at either of the two meetings, has expressed any opinion, let alone support, for a multi-storey car park proposal or for an 'INNOVATIVE CAR PARKING SCHEME' (as the Council has previously referred to its proposals for a multi-storey car park, for 460 cars, in West Kirby)

The 4 February 2015 meeting was held in a side room of Westbourne Hall. Can you explain why no signs were put on display to assist people to access the meeting?

A number of people attempted to attend the meeting but were unable to do so because the main hall had a keepfit/martial arts activity in progress, and people were unaware that the meeting was in a side room.

Can you provide me with information to explain why Council officers have been unable to provide information concerning what feedback they may or may not be providing to more senior staff at the Town Hall? Who are they reporting to?

Does the Council have any to conduct a PUBLIC PARTICIPATION exercise, in relation to a West Kirby Town Action Plan, which conforms to the requirements of the AARHUS CONVENTION?

Yours faithfully,

Alan Rundle

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Afternoon

 

Thank you for your email.

 

The Council do not consider this to be a valid request for recorded
information under the Freedom of Information Act, but rather an issue
concerning how these meetings have been organised and conducted.

 

I understand that you have been present at both of these meetings and are
aware of the work that is being undertaken. The officers responsible for
this work will be happy to meet with you to give further explanations to
those already given at the meeting. If you wish to do this then please
contact either David Ball (0151 691 8395) or Neil Mitchell (0151 691 8423)

 

Kind regards,

 

Sent on behalf of

 

Tracy O'Hare

Information Management

Transformation and Resources

Wirral Council

 

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