Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Cycling in Speke

Here's some information that's come through about a series of chances to get involved in cycling if you live in or near Speke

The 1st Sunday of every month will be a Cycling Sunday in Speke! You can
have some fun, meet other people who enjoy cycling, get some exercise and
see parts of Speke and Liverpool you haven't seen before. The rides will
leave Lifestyles Austin Rawlinson at Parklands, Speke at 2pm, and will
last 2-4 hours.

Upcoming Cycling Sundays:

1st November 2009 6th December 2009

3rd January 2010 7th February 2010

November 1 National Wildflower Centre. Come along on the first Cycling
Sunday in Speke for a ride to the National Wildflower Centre. The ride
leaves Lifestyles Austin Rawlinson at Parklands at 2pm. At a leisurely
pace it heads to the National Wildflower Centre. Following an old railway
line, we cycle along the Liverpool Loop Line. It's then back to Austin
Rawlinson Lifestyles where the ride finishes. All abilities welcome and
the ride is led by qualified cycle instructors. There is no need to book.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Garston waste site update

A few people have asked me if Jack Allen holdings are entitled to appeal against the planning decision last month. The answer is yes, and they have to do so by 15th March. Clearly if they take account of both the strength of feeling and the fact that the City Council has flagged up alternative sites, they will not. However predicting reactions from a distant company like this is not an easy task.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Black History Month awards night

I had a great time last night at the Black History Month Groups achievement awards at the Crowne Plaza. This was the fifth year of the awards which were organised to recognise all sorts of achievements by people in, or working with, Black communities.

Liverpool City Council was one of the two main sponsors of the event so I joined staff from the equal opps team and other Councillors last night.

It was wonderful to see so many people and organisations recognised, and the presentation did the job in that it told you something... but left you wanting to find out more.

It was particularly good to see the Greenhouse project winning an award and to see Debbie and others up on stage.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Garston Park Planting

The planting session at Garston Park went well this morning. We (that is the Friends of Garston Park plus some extra local residents) planted the rest of the crocus bulbs. Yesterday a group of children from Garston C of E School helped with the first session. Our next meeting of the Friends Group is 20th November at 6 30 at Long Lane Church. Details of all our activities will also be on www.fogp.blogspot.com.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Exhibition at the Bluecoat

I've just been to a preview ( very much a preview given that things were still being put in place) of a great exhibition and series of events at the Bluecoat from today until 29th. It's on themes of health and wellbeing and looking at the programme there are loads of opportunities for people to join in and have their say. You can get the programme e mailed to you if you e mail ideasbank@liverpoolpct.nhs.uk

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Veterans accuse the BNP

A good story on David Bartlett's Dale Street Blues Blog about what those who have fought for the country think about the BNP.

Not sure the link is working. Here is the address

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Liverpool airport noise

Liverpool John Lennon airport is running a consultation about its noise action plan. The deadline is tomorrow (21st October). Here is the link to the consultation page on the airport's website.

I have e mailed in my points which relate to sections in the document we are being asked about. I have posted my e mail below.


Thank you for asking for my response to your noise action plan consultation.

As a resident of Garston Under the Bridge and a Councillor for the nearby ward of Cressington, this is of great interest to me.

The points I would like to make are these:

* I am aware, through membership of the noise monitoring sub committee, that complaints are collected and responded to and that a log of these is kept. I am however not at all sure that everyone is aware of how to complain. As a Councillor I have received non specific complaints after the event and have asked the resident whether or not he or she has complained. Often the reply is that they are not sure how to or who to speak to. I would like to suggest a marketing campaign, possibly through existing community media, to make people more aware of how to complain and of what happens to complaints when received. It will be better I believe for the airport if there is confidence that all complaints are being received rather than some of them becoming bad feeling that the airport does not hear about.

* I am not sure that the membership of the noise monitoring sub committee is the right group of people. There is an argument for expanding it to include a few more representatives from various communities. I wonder also if the roles of the members ought to be publicised more widely so that they can act as a conduit for complaints if necessary.

* The existing time restrictions on engine testing are I believe too lax. 7 am is very early for potentially noisy work like this and 11 pm is too late. A better envelope for this work would be 8am to 8pm (similar in fact to restrictions often placed on building work when planning approval is given). On a weekend, and particularly on a Sunday, 7 am seems very unreasonable.

* I am pleased at the improvement to the Sound Insultation Grants Scheme (SIGS) and recognise the work that has gone into this. This is a benefit to residents in Speke and you may remember I lobbied for this some time ago. I do believe however that the area exposed to the noise criteria ought to be reviewed annually rather than every two years. Two years is a long time to put up with an increase in noise, particularly given that such an increase will be accompanied by an uncertainty about whether your property will qualify for a grant under the review. I would also argue for an exceptions policy. There might be cases for which the measurable noise is below the decibel level for qualification, yet the householder has certain medical or mental health conditions which would argue for an exception being made.

Once again, thank you for seeking my views and those of other residents and representatives

Cllr Paula Keaveney
Lib Dem - Cressington ward

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Planting session at Garston Park - 24 Oct

If you live near, or work near, or use Garston Park do come and join the Friends of Garston Park this coming Saturday (24th). We are having a planting session to plant some crocus bulbs. We are meeting at 11 am in the foyer of the Leisure Centre (but if you are a little late you will spot us as we are planning to put up a gazebo near the planting so we can offer some refreshments)

If you have gardening tools it would be great if you could bring them along as our supplies are a little limited. If you want more information please either post here or drop me an e mail at paula.keaveney@liverpool.gov.uk

The Friends also have a website at www.fogp.blogspot.com

The crocus bulbs for this event are paid for by Liverpool City Council.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Last night's Full Council

As a member of the Liverpool Commission I was very keen on the idea of webcasting Council meetings, after all the public should be able to see and hear the debate. After last night's meeting I am not so sure!

I don't have full verbatim notes so my commentary below is based on only certain parts of the meeting.

On the plus side

the "Statement of Values" was passed unanimously. This is a short document we have been working on for more than a year now and it designed to outline expectations about behaviour and respect. I suggested the Lord Mayor move this rather then me or someone else which I hope gave it the authority it deserved.

I had two questions tabled - one on funding to cover policing of the Labour cabinets meeting (PR stunt) in Liverpool and the other on the need for more carriages on rush hour trains in South Liverpool. I got answers to both and asked a supplementary (extra question) on one of them.

We debated the Multi Area agreement and there were some good points that came out, particularly about the need for scutiny in future.

We heard from the Children in Care Council and signed the "politicians pledge". The pledge is about how we relate to children in care for whom we are all corporate parents.

We heard from two reps from the student union about student finances and tuition fees. They were worried about the cap on fees being raised. They are right to be worried - if it happens it will price some students out altogether. They didn't particularly oppose fees per se though, which surprised me.

We had a debate on duplication of governance - lots of layers of bureacracy and the need to streamline. It was a Lib Dem motion and Labour didn't agree, but to be fair it was a good debate I thought with points on either side. The Lib Dems won the vote and Warren is right to push this - in times of hardship people need to feel assured that the various decision making layers are not an extra burden. They also need to feel that those layers are at least democratic.

On the minus side

A really bad tempered debate in which a lot of personal insults were either thrown or implied. It really is not on, whatever people's political opinions, to bully a staff member by proxy - which is what I felt happened last night.

Then after all the temper - a set of motions, which individuals had taken the trouble to write and sumit, going through without debate. Now it may be that everyone agreed with them but I can't be the only person who is concerned that some members seem happy to spend time on a political row but not on issues that would make a difference to citizens. Don't get me wrong - I realise that some people need the outlet of the row..its just that it would be good if it were followed by the substance.

Also on the minus side - it really is quite difficult to hear (or is that a plus in some cases)

The minutes and agendas for full council are published on the Council's website on www.liverpool.gov.uk.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Smoking and Films consultation

This consultation ... which I've blogged about earlier... finished on Monday this week. I dont' know the results yet and I suspect the Licensing Committee will get them first.
I still feel that it would be wrong for Liverpool to attempt to put 18 certificates on films that show smoking (without some negative message about smoking) and I hope the consultation has shown that people agree with that view. I have done a Freedom of Information Question to the PCT about the cost of the marketing during this consultation. I was pretty appalled to see a full page ad in the Metro and both I and my students have spotted outdoor advertising too. I haven't had an answer yet. Under the law the reply is due by 28th October. I'll post the information here when I get it.

Booker Avenue site

I've had, and my colleagues have had, enquiries from people in the ward about the vacant bit of land opposite the Greenhill pub and by the junction of Booker Avenue and Greenhill Road. We've been pursuing this and have written back to people to update them. I'm aware though that there will be people wondering or worrying but not necessarily getting in touch. So I'll use the blog to update as well.
The current situation is that the Council is pursuing the owners of the land (we know who they are) to get them to clear up and get it fenced off properly. Hopefully legal action won't be needed but the Council has the power to use it if the owners are reluctant for any reason. There is also a Vacant Sites initiative run by the Council and this particular plot is being included in that work. People living near there may know that there was a planning application for a Sainsbury's local some time ago on that spot, but that application failed (and there was quite a bit of local opposition). There aren't any other people applying at the moment - but we'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

New series of Curb .. can't wait

The new series of Curb Your Enthusiasm, which has just started its run in the US, features a reunion of the four main characters from Seinfeld.

Can't wait.

Ward Walkabout

Peter Millea, Richard Oglethorpe and I were on a ward walkabout yesterday. Well I say walkabout but it was more of a drive about as the rain seemed intent on interfering every now and then (luckily we avoided the real downpour later in the day though) Obviously we are out and about most days but in this case we wanted to show the new neighbourhood manager for South Liverpool some of the issues raised with us. I'll be reported back on various of these as they are looked into and (hopefully) sorted.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Home educated children legislation

I'm working on my response to the government's consultation on electively home educated children. This follows a review report earlier in the year. I didn't know an awful lot about this subject before have been finding out more after a very interesting meeting with a constituent. The deadline for consultation responses is later this month. Here is the link to the DCSF page.

There are quite a few things to be worried about here. One is the typical new duty for local authorities without a clear sense of new resources. But the other is the harm these proposals may do to home education, which while a minority activity is often chosen for very good reasons.

Anyway I am in the process of writing and last minute research so if anyone has any views do please post them or e mail me at paula.keaveney@liverpool.gov.uk.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

ID cards - Gordon Brown attempting a con

So, Gordon Brown makes a speech saying no compulsory ID cards which various Labour activists use in campaigning to imply its all been knocked on the head and shouldn't we all be jolly grateful.

That's on Tuesday this week.

Today the City Council gets a call from the implementation team wanting to discuss the plans the government has to roll out the cards in the north west.

You really couldn't make it up.

The fact is that Gordon's announcement means nothing. The Government has intended, for some time now, to work on soft targets to market the cards as some sort of voluntary benefit. Of course once enough people are conned we will find they want to make the scheme "cover everybody".

I've been aware of the pilot in Manchester and the Home Office marketing spend. We now find they are trying the same in Liverpool.

I am glad to report that in Liverpool the City Council leader has come out firmly against this. We Lib Dems oppose ID cards and are particularly annoyed at these under the counter ways of getting them adopted.