Councillor Sue McGuire argues “Council Parking policy needs to be reviewed”

Cllr Sue McGuire inspects one of the new parking machines

Cllr Sue McGuire inspects one of the new parking machines

Residents and visitors to Southport are being penalised for an outdated parking policy which takes no account of the new modern technology now available at parking meters.

The Council have invested in new parking machines which now allow motorists to pay for parking using their bank card but Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Councillor Sue McGuire has raised concerns that the policy regarding parking tickets needs to be reviewed and updated.

Councillor McGuire said

“I understand the current Council policy that it is the motorists’ responsibility to ensure that a valid parking ticket is displayed at all times whilst the vehicle is parked. But what concerns me, is when a motorist appeals a parking fine for non-display and is able to provide evidence that a parking ticket was purchased by card, Sefton Council still insist on payment of the fine.  This is grossly unfair – surely if you can show a receipt for payment, that should be enough for the fine to be withdrawn”.

Councillor McGuire added,

“The law says that, ‘An authority has a discretionary power to cancel a PCN at any point and that authorities have a duty to act fairly and proportionately’. In the situation outlined, the law seems pretty clear, proof of purchase has been provided and I don’t understand how it can be deemed ‘fair’ to penalise a person who paid to park”

Councillor Mike Booth has also raised similar concerns about fines being issued when parking tickets are not displayed.

Councillor Booth explained,

“Most places in the UK now provide tickets which have an adhesive strip that allows them to be fixed to the windscreen.  Why, when the Council were investing so much in new machines, was this option not considered?”

Councillor Booth added

“I have asked Sefton Council to explain their decision and have been given a range of reasons including hot weather and condensation – but if most other places can manage, why can’t Sefton?  It would save a huge amount of stress for motorists who are sometimes being penalised for a draft of wind.”

 

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Additional information:

Advice of the DfT and the Secretary of State.

Paragraph 85 from the Secretary of State’s Statutory Guidance to Local Authorities advises;

85. An authority has a discretionary power to cancel a PCN at any point throughout the CPE process. It can do this even when an undoubted
contravention has occurred if the authority deems it to be appropriate in the circumstances of the case. Under general principles of public law, authorities
have a duty to act fairly and proportionately and are encouraged to exercise discretion sensibly and reasonably and with due regard to the public interest

This statutory guidance is given legal authority by section 87 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 whereby statute instructs that the council must have regard to this guidance. Any failure to have regard to this guidance is a procedural impropriety as defined by regulation 4(5) of the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) Representations and Appeals Regulations 2007;

4(5) In these Regulations “procedural impropriety” means a failure by the enforcement authority to observe any requirement imposed on it by the 2004 Act, by the General Regulations or by these Regulations in relation to the imposition or recovery of a penalty charge or other sum and includes in particular

Rubbish Friends out whatever the weather!!

Rubbish Friends were out again on Saturday 3rd September despite the weather. The team of intrepid volunteers donned waterproofs to clean up the Sand Dunes around the west side of the Marine Lake.

Councillor Sue McGuire, co-founder of Rubbish Friends said

“Rubbish Friends try to time their clean ups to coincide with social events happening in Southport to put an extra sparkle in our town for visitors and residents alike. This time we are tackling the sand dunes and area around the West Lancs Yacht Club in time for both the Air Show and the 24 hour Yacht Race.”

Southport resident and long standing Rubbish Friend Doug Southern said

“I’m really proud of our team of litter pickers who have been turning out every six weeks since 2012 to clean up grot spots across Southport. They are a great group of people who voluntarily give their time and effort and do a great job for Southport.

Doug Southern added

“I would encourage more people to get involved. There is a real sense of pride and community spirit when we see the amount of litter we collect and the positive impact we make on the areas we tackle. Everyone is very welcome to come along. The more volunteers, the more litter collected, the tidier we can all make Southport.

Councillor Sue McGuire slams fall in international student numbers

Councillor Sue McGuire has slammed the fall in non-EU students studying at British universities.

Councillor McGuire, who works in Liverpool next to the University of Liverpool campus said

“There is a large number of foreign students currently studying in Liverpool particularly students from China. A big fall in numbers will impact on the finances of the Universities. “

Alistair Carmichael, the party’s Home Affairs spokesperson, lambasted the fall which he said showed the government’s fixation with their immigration target was undermining Britain’s economy and the university sector.

Long-term immigration to the UK for all immigrants for study has dropped to the lowest level since 2007.

Figures from the ONS quarterly migration statistics show international student numbers fell by 28,000 in the year ending in March 2016 to 164,000. Last year 192,000 international students came to the UK.

The fall in numbers hit applications to universities and further education colleges.

Commenting Alistair Carmichael MP said:

“Theresa May spent the last 6 years as Home Secretary pursuing a stupid and undeliverable target to reduce immigration to the tens of thousands. That broken promise has damaged public confidence, but if it was delivered it would damage the economy.

“What we are seeing here is a fall in international students who pay huge sums to study at our universities off the back of the Conservatives’ obsession with trying to chase an arbitrary immigration target. International students, by the Government’s own estimates, contribute billions of pounds to our economy every year and are a vital to local economies up and down the country.

“Cutting the numbers of international students is the definition of shortsighted. Rather than undermining our universities the Prime Minister should abandon her manifesto commitment, back our universities and encourage the best and brightest in the world to study in the UK.”

Rubbish Friends volunteers cleaning up for the Air Show and the 24 hour Yacht Race

“Oh we do like to be beside the sea” well maybe not the seaside but Rubbish Friends litter heroes will be out again this Saturday 3rd September when they will be cleaning up the Sand Dunes around the west side of the Marine Lake

The team of intrepid volunteers will be cleaning up the area around the West Lancs Yacht Club to make Southport sparkle in time for both the Air Show and the 24 hour yacht race.

The Rubbish Friends will be meeting in the car park on Marine Drive by the entrance to West Lancs Yacht Club at 10:30am. We are delighted to confirm that there will be free parking in the West Lancs Yacht Cub car park. Gloves, litter-pickers and bags will be provided.

Everyone is very welcome to come along as the more volunteers the more litter collected!!

Southport has no sails in the sunset

A Southport councillor has questioned why the wind has been taken out of the town’s turbine sails.

Lib Dem Cambridge Ward representative, Councillor Pat Keith, has asked the council for the reasons behind the wind turbine at Southport Eco Centre being out of action for the past three months.

Councillor Keith said

“ I am very concerned about this situation, especially as the council recently stated its opposition to fracking and placed a greater emphasis on green energy, which they strongly favour,”

“ The longer this wind turbine remains inactive the more money and energy is lost so it is a costly double whammy. I have put questions to the council and I would like to see a speedy resolution to the situation and the turbine sails once again turning.

“ I understand that the turbine malfunctioned several months ago but the council believe they don’t have sufficient maintenance revenue to repair it at present. This seems to me to be muddle thinking because as soon as the turbine is working again revenues will flow from it.”

A council source said:

“The wind turbine at Southport Eco Centre was connected to the national grid on commissioning in 2004.  It benefits and reduces council costs in two key ways.

“It reduces the Eco Centre’s consumption of electricity from the national grid therefore reducing the centre’s energy bills. The council receives annual payment from the government Feed-in- Tariff scheme for the unused electricity on site which is exported to the national grid 24 hours a day.”

Councillor Sue McGuire asks “Are you a Rubbish Friend?”

Rubbish Friends tackle Kew Roundabout in 2015

Rubbish Friends volunteers pictured following the clean up at Kew Roundabout in 2015

If so then we would love you to join us at our next litter pick on Saturday 13th August. This time the team of intrepid volunteers will be undertaking a clean up at Kew Roundabout.

This is an annual event which we try to do in time for the Flower Show. Many people attend the event and we think its important that their first view as they approach Southport isn’t a litter strewn roundabout.

We’ll be meeting in the car park of B&Q at 10:30am, a flask of coffee will be on offer!

Litter pickers, bags and gloves will be provided.

Councillor Sue McGuire & Councillor Pat Keith would also like to say a huge thanks to those people who helped in the Rubbish Friends clean up with Southport Hoteliers. Everyone worked really hard cleaning up the Promenade in time for the Britain in Bloom judging.

“Rubbish Friends” litter pickers are delighted as plastic bag usage falls by 85%

Sue & Pat plastic bag adjusted

Cllrs Sue McGuire & Pat Keith tackle discarded plastic bags during a recent Rubbish Friends litter pick.

Plastic bag use has plummeted in England since the introduction of a 5p charge last year, under the previous coalition government.

The number of single-use plastic bags used by shoppers in England has fallen by more than 85%. More than 7bn bags were handed out by seven main supermarkets in the year before the charge but this has been reduced to just over 500m in the first six months after the charge has been introduced.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Sefton Council, Councillor Sue McGuire said:

“Our volunteer litter picking group Rubbish Friends can report from first hand experience that the number of single use plastic bags which are simply discarded has fallen significantly since the charge was introduced. These bags blight Southport and the surrounding countryside, when blown they get caught in trees and hedgerows, they can trap and suffocate wildlife and have a huge impact on our coast and seas so I am delighted that these figures show that this Lib Dem policy is starting to stop that””

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said:

“We always said the test of this policy would be by the amounts of bags that are cut from public consumption and the funds raised for charities – on both these tests this policy has passed.

“I want to pay tribute to Kate Parminter who fought tirelessly for this policy and today’s figures are a testament to her. It is down to Liberal Democrats in Government that this policy happened – we announced it at our 2013 conference and we are now seeing what a huge impact it has had.”

Rubbish Friends and Southport Hoteliers Association team up to clean up for Britain in Bloom judging

Rubbish Friend volunteers pictured after their clean up

Rubbish Friend volunteers pictured after their clean up work for Britain in Bloom judging

A big thank you to all the intrepid volunteers worked alongside members of Southport Hoteliers Association to spruce up the area between the Promenade, Bath Street and Neville Street in time for the Britain in Bloom judging on Friday 5th August.

Councillor Sue McGuire, co-founder of the Rubbish Friends group explained

“Nothing stands out more than one piece of litter in a perfectly coiffured flower bed or a weed in a gutter. Rubbish Friends want to do their bit to support the work of the other fantastic volunteer groups; Lord Street in Bloom and the Friends of Rotten Row Gardeners to make Southport bloom.”

Tracy Holgate, Chairperson of Southport Hoteliers Association and one of the event organisers added

“With over 15 volunteers, we were able to undertake an extensive clean up in the area collecting in total 23 bags of rubbish and weeds”.

Cllr Sue McGuire asks residents to “Love Food, Hate Waste” as food waste switches to fortnightly collections

Councillors Sue McGuire & Marianne Welsh investigate food waste collection.

Councillors Sue McGuire & Marianne Welsh investigate food waste collection.

From the 1st August Sefton Council are changing the way that recycling will be collected and processed. This follows the termination of the “Green Bee” contract with the collection of cardboard, paper, tins & plastics returning “in house” via the brown bin collection.

The Lib Dems are delighted at this move and fully support the idea of collecting co-mingled recyclables as a positive step in tackling land fill. Question have been raised however over the proposal to switch to fortnightly food waste collection.

Norwood Ward Councillor Marianne Welsh says

“The Council have said a second food bin can be provided and they will be giving decomposable bags to keep the food.  I do have concerns however about food waste being left in a bin for two weeks between collections so the Lib Dems will be monitoring the situation closely.”

Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Councillor Sue McGuire explained

“There is another approach to dealing with food waste and thats to actually support residents to reduce the amount of food waste presented. The Liberal Democrats are asking the Council to back the national campaign called LOVE FOOD, HATE WATSE which encourages people to think about what food they buy, portion size and how left overs could be used in other meals.”

The Love Food, Hate waste campaign has calculated that the average family could save £700 a year or £60 a month, simply by throwing away less food. We throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink every year from home, costing us £12.5bn a year. There is evidence that food waste can be reduced if people think about the food they buy – people wasted 21% less food in 2012 compared to 2007.

Councillor Sue McGuire added

“Some of the wasted food is stuff we can’t eat like fruit and vegetable peelings, cores and bones, but most of it is, or once was perfectly good food that could have been eaten if we had used or stored it differently. It makes sense to try and reduce the amount of food wasted; it will save people money, save the Council costs and mean there is less food left in food caddies between collections.”

The London Borough of Sutton are currently running a pilot programme asking residents to complete a food diary to record food waste, share recipes for left overs and sign up to the Love Food, Haste Waste campaign.

More information on the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign can be found at www.lovefoodhatewaste.com

Cllr Sue McGuire says “The 48 second Sefton Cabinet meeting was a total farce”

Sefton Council’s most expensive committee has become a total farce, say the Liberal Democrats. The latest meeting of this body held in Bootle Town Hall on the 21st July lasted an amazing 48 seconds and included no discussion about any decision despite both the £2.9 Million Southport Town Centre Heritage Lottery bid, and the Sefton Borough Sports Field Strategy being on the agenda.

Opposition party Members are allowed to attend meetings of the Cabinet Committee as are members of the public however neither can play any part in the Cabinet’s deliberations.

Councillor Nigel Ashton, who attended the meeting said:

“I was absolutely shocked. You blinked and it was over. It was farcical. I had been told that the meetings were becoming shorter and shorter but did not believe it. So I took my stopwatch. This ‘meeting’ lasted all of forty-eight seconds.”

Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Councillor Sue McGuire said:

“When there are such serious pressures on council spending, so much so that important services are being cut, every hour that is spent by senior councillors and officers of the council needs to be productive and worthwhile. This Cabinet Meeting costs the Council Tax payers thousands of pounds per minute – and for what?

Councillor Sue McGuire added

“These Cabinet meetings clearly only rubber-stamps decisions already made elsewhere. Meetings like this are not open or transparent and its clear that any discussion on agenda items are undertaken elsewhere away from public scrutiny.”