Five HUGE things missed by the ECHO about this week’s Council meeting

Liverpool City Council will meet on Wednesday and is an opportunity to discussion motions, or topics, that your local councillors feel are important to the city.

The meeting, held four times a year, makes policy, signs off on decisions made by the Mayor and cabinet and agrees the campaigns the council will run on behalf of the people of Liverpool.

Here are five of the biggest subjects to be discussed on Wednesday, which the Echo hasn’t written about in an article in today’s paper.

Police Cuts

I will use my motion to stand up for the ‘stretched to the limit’ Merseyside Police force in the face of the recent spate of shootings in Merseyside. It comes on the back of Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, Andy Cooke’s comments that: “In my professional opinion I have never known a situation where Merseyside Police officers have been pushed to the limit in dealing with everything we need to deal with to keep our communities safe.”Andy Cooke was making the comment in response to Merseyside Police budget being reduced by almost £100m and has seen the loss of over 100 officers since 2010.I will call for a campaign to demand the Government provide a fair deal for Liverpool residents and will specifically include support for the communities affected by rising crime. Council will also call on the Council to demand additional funding for Merseyside Police for fighting serious and organised crime.

Tyred Campaign

Deputy Mayor, Cllr Ann O’Byrne, will put forward a motion in support of the ‘Tyred’ Campaign, launched by Frances Molloy.Many will remember the tragic event in September 2012 when a couch bound for Liverpool carrying 53 people from the Bestival Festival on the Isle of Wight left the road and crashed into a tree instantly killing Michael Molly (18), Kerry Ogden (23) and the coach driver, Colin Daulby (63), as well as leaving others with life changing injuries.The inquest into the crash found that the front nearside tyre which was actually older than the coach itself, at 19 years, was responsible for the crash.In 2014 the City Council unanimously agreed support of Michael’s mother, Frances, in calling for a change in law requiring a ban on tyres older than six years on commercial vehicles.Despite widespread support, no laws have been changed. Now, 3 years later, Frances is launching the Tyred campaign to keep the pressure on Government to change the law to ban the use of tyres older than ten years on commercial tyres.The Tyred campaign has been getting lots of good coverage, but this should help by throwing the support of the council behind it until the law changes.  The motion will call on me to write to the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition to call together a cross party support for a change in the Law.

Liverpool BAMBIS

In a motion put forward by Warbreck Councillor, Cheryl Didsbury, council will recognise the overwhelming evidence that breastfeeding is the healthiest option for both a mother and her baby.The motion will particularly show support to Liverpool BAMBIS (Babies & Mums Breastfeeding Information and Support) who play an important role in offering breastfeeding support and information to pregnant women, breastfeeding mums and their families in Liverpool.The motion will call on the city to implement a Liverpool Quality Mark for organisations and businesses in the City that support and promote breastfeeding in their premises, and look at providing a small grant to enable businesses to implement the charter.

School Cuts

Assistant Mayor, Nick Small, will highlight the significant funding cuts which lie ahead for Liverpool schools.Under the new plans by the conservative Government, the funding gap for Liverpool schools by the end of the current parliament in 2021/22 is projected to be £28.4million, representing a 9% cut on the 2015/16 level of school funding and equating to the loss of 778 teachers across Liverpool.The motion also highlights that 97% to all Liverpool schools will be cut by 2022, and that the average cut per pupil will be £487, although one school will lose £1,478 for each and every pupil.If agreed, the motion will mean that the council will work with trade union partners in teaching and non-teaching unions, parents, governors and communities to build a broad-based campaign against the school cuts in Liverpool.

Grenfell Tower

A motion will be brought forward by Greenback councillors Laura Robertson-Collins and James Roberts, following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower on the 14th June.The motion will express council’s deepest sympathy and condolences to all those affect by the tragedy and will note the extreme courage and dedication of the emergency services and health and hospital staff.The Motion will call upon Government to: 1) Urgently review all building regulations related to the design and implementation of fire safety within shared accommodation regardless of height or scale.2) Ensure that all such work requires approval by the relevant Local Authority Building Control Service. 3) Instruct the Social Housing Regulator to proactively ensure compliance to, all of the social housing Consumer Standards.4) Identify and ring fence significant funds from within the existing social housing grant regime in order to support prioritises stock refurbishment within both social and provide housing sectors.5) Introduce compulsory Private Landlord Licensing for all private rented stock to give local authorities the powers and resources to enforce basic safety and living standards for the benefit of all residents6) Provide local authorities and fire brigades with the necessary resource and funding to carry out the necessary ongoing inspection and regulation to endure safety, deliver good housing standards and protect the health and wellbeing of people in rented and shared accommodation.


Making a success of it

Liverpool is currently overseeing £13bn of regeneration schemes – so, as you’ll appreciate, there is a huge amount to say.

Indeed, we are currently in the midst of an unprecedented rate of regeneration and much of it has been developed whilst a global recession was on!

That should tell you a lot about how much effort my regeneration team, led by Nick Kavanagh, is investing in putting Liverpool back in business or, as our strapline says, “unlocking the city’s capital”.

Liverpool is a city full of potential. But potential needs realising. How do you unlock that potential?

For me, my number one goal has always been to create new jobs, new homes and new venues for people to work, live and play in this great city of ours.

But the city council cannot do this alone. Partnerships are the smart way forward and that is our greatest asset.

These past few weeks have been a perfect illustration of what I am talking about.

As you will have seen the city has launched its bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

We have put together an unbelievably talented team led by the former head of the FA, Brian Barwick, who have created an inspiring plan to host a truly transformational games.

Our team includes major organisations like Everton and Liverpool Football Club, Peel and Manchester City Council as well as inspiring individuals be it from the sporting world like our very own Beth Tweddle, Steve Parry or Tony Bellew to architects like Kevin Wilson, a Liverpool lad who designed London’s Olympic Park, no less.

This is a team that means business. This a bid that means business. This is city that means business.

If we are chosen to be England’s candidate city in September and then go on to be chosen by the Commonwealth Games Federation in December, it will unlock and accelerate a £1bn worth of regeneration and create 12,000 jobs.

The 50m pool in the docks, Everton’s new stadium in Bramley Moore Dock, Anfield as host of the Opening and Closing ceremonies will help to attract a global audience of more than 1 billion people.

But the bid is not just an opportunity to showcase the city to the world – important as that is.

After the games, that pool will remain as a legacy. The Athletes villages in Nelson and Stanley Dock will bring 1,700 homes on to the market. More than £150m will have been invested in the transport infrastructure in around the stadium which will greatly enhance the appeal of the area to businesses looking for a great connection between the port, the motorway system – and a major city centre.

There will be no cost to council tax payers and there will be income streams from these developments that will offset any investment. In fact not bidding would be more costly as the process has already accelerated schemes that were 30 years away. Nelson and Bramley Moore Dock being prime examples.

The Athletes Village, incidentally, partly falls within the recently launched Ten Streets district – which is a 10 year scheme to develop a major creative hub. A successful 2022 bid will transform that timeline too.

For me personally, this is a vital scheme as Ten Streets sits within the poorest ward in the UK – Kirkdale – and goes to the heart of our goal of rebalancing Liverpool’s economy.

Employment in Liverpool currently stands at 64%. It should be closer to 74%.

To achieve that jump we need to think big and deliver.

The Ten Streets masterplan is a great example as is the Knowledge Quarter, which will soon be home to RCP North and this week welcomed the opening of Sensor City, where the council is working hand in hand with private and public sector partners to develop our cutting edge sectors (be it digital marketing to bio medical research) and create world leading hubs in the city that generate quality jobs.

We have the talent. We just need to foster it and create the right conditions for it to grow. Liverpool’s film Industry is another example where we have huge potential and that’s why the city council with John Moores University will be looking to develop its world class reputation as a city of actors, writers, directors and producers – as well as a stunning location – by bidding to be host for Channel Four.

Of course we have to look at the whole picture and quality office space is critical to attracting blue chip companies into the city. The city has a lack of Grade A+ office space, something the council is seeking to rectify as can be seen in Pall Mall Exchange – where we are partnered with Kier Construction and CTP Limited to provide up to 400,000 sq ft of offices over three new buildings. And I understand the public consultation this week showed there’s huge interest in this scheme.

Another critical piece of the jigsaw is quality housing which is a vital component in making any city an attractive place to work and enjoy.

To this end the Liverpool Housing Partnership is another brilliant example of how we are working with partners – in this case Liverpool Mutual Homes and Redrow – to unlock parcels of land to create new homes. Thanks to an innovative approach we are using the capital receipts from homes sold by Redrow to build affordable housing. The aim is to deliver 1,500 new homes in the next 5 years. We are on target.

In fact, such is the success of the scheme the city council is about to go one step further and create a new development and housing company to build 10,000 new homes in 10 years.

It’s a nice challenge to have. Because it means the city is growing.

As you can tell, I am passionate about making Liverpool a success story. And all successful cities never stop regenerating.

I’m not for one second pretending there are challenges ahead. As you may have also seen in the news this week, our World Heritage status is in the balance with what is being proposed in Liverpool Waters.

But there is a golden opportunity here to showcase how the city sensitively deals with our heritage when it comes to regeneration.

Since 2012 alone £670m has been invested in upgrading historic buildings within the World Heritage site, 37 listed buildings have been refurbished and there’s been a dramatic 75% drop in listed buildings at risk.

Historic England have praised our efforts. Europe has chosen us a Heritage Role Model.

There is so much to celebrate about what Liverpool is doing in this field.

Our track record (be it Stanley Dock, the Aloft Hotel to Central library) fills me with confidence we will continue to celebrate our heritage and deliver regeneration.

Now, fingers and toes crossed the Commonwealth Games judging panel give us one more reason to celebrate.

I look forward to updating you again in the near future on all of the above and more!

This blog post is an edited version of one which first appeared on the Regenerating Liverpool website