GREENS TO BLOCK RUSH TO SCRAP BUS LANES

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Greens To Block Rush To Scrap Liverpool Bus Lanes

Save The Bus Lanes

Liverpool’s Green Councillors today joined cyclists, bus and taxi operators to react to the shock announcement that Liverpool’s Mayor wants to scrap bus lanes.

The Mayor is said to want a 9 month switch-off of enforcement cameras starting next month. But the Green Party is ready to use the “call-in” procedure so that the idea would have to go to the transport scrutiny meeting first. That meeting takes place on November 13th.

We hope that would not be just a delay to this very strange idea, but an opportunity to take a proper look at it and see if there is any better way of solving the problem the Mayor thinks he has found.

The rationale for bus lane enforcement is on the council’s own web site. It’s “part of a programme of measures to reduce congestion and pollution, and to improve the reliability and punctuality of public transport.”
We agree with that.

Cllr John Coyne
Leader, Liverpool Green Party
0151 727 7779

Link to story on Liverpool Echo website: Mayor Joe Anderson in city bus lane row

Liverpool Echo is running an online poll which may be of interest.

St Michaels Ward Blog: stmichaelsgreens.wordpress.com

John Coyne Councillor Profile: councillors.liverpool.gov.uk

If you will be affected by losing your bus lanes you can find your councillors here: Your Councillors

From this page you can find your MP: MPs

Cllr Coyne On Liverpool City Region Consultation

RESPONSE BY LIVERPOOL GREEN PARTY TO THE CONSULTATION ON PROPOSED ARRANGEMENTS FOR A LIVERPOOL CITY REGION COMBINED AUTHORITY

John Coyne 2012We recognise the case for some kind of Combined Authority (CA) for Liverpool City Region, but we have disagreements with the current prospectus for such an authority.

We recognise that the effects of the government’s austerity programme have hit our subregion particularly hard, combining with pre-existing problems of deprivation and relatively high levels of unemployment. Therefore if it is true that the existence of a CA will unlock new streams of government funding then, in the current crisis, it would be understandable to accept the creation even of a flawed body, with the hope of redeeming and reforming it in the future.

We have a fundamental disagreement with the stated overriding aim of the City Region to promote perpetual economic growth. We think that placing the adjective “sustainable” in front of the term “growth” cannot remove the paradox of aiming for perpetual growth within a finite planet with finite resources. Sooner or later there needs to be a transition to the aim of a steady state economy.

However, given the current desperate state of the local economy, we recognise that a period of catch-up growth is needed now. We disagree with any built-in growth-dependency – having a subregional plan for the future that only works when the economy grows.

The prospectus focusses, too, on externally generated economic activity and says little about fostering economic resilience. Ambitions to shorten supply chains and to produce and provide locally are omitted. There is no mention of the prospect of a local currency for the subregion, even though this would be a highly practical extension on the platform of Merseytravel’s “Walrus” card.

Further, the prospectus is weak on any non-economic issues such as health and the local environment. In particular, poor air quality, high rates of pedestrian and cycle casualties and low levels of cycle use could be seen as opportunities for subregional transport interventions, but are not.

Turning now to the issues of democracy, we see some serious weaknesses in what is proposed. We accept the principle that whatever emerges as a governance structure for the subregion should cost no more than the existing arrangements. Citizens will not accept any expansion in bureaucracy, especially at a time of austerity.

However, the proposals for cabinet and scrutiny are weak. Each constituent district would nominate two cabinet members and two members of a scrutiny committee. In practice, the domination of one political party within each district is likely to lead to most or all of those appointments being made from one political party, with the odd opposition politician included.

Yet the responsibility to scrutinise and to make creative pre-decision policy proposals across a subregion is a huge commitment. It would be a severe test of a part-time opposition party ward councillor with many other competing demands.

If we are taking subregional governance seriously, there is a strong case for a directly elected assembly which would call the cabinet to account. The Greater London Assembly provides a model. Proportional representation, as exists for the GLA, would ensure that the composition of a strong scrutiny body contained a diversity of political perspectives, rather than a sycophantic echo chamber.

If necessary, and it probably would be necessary, there should be reduction in the number of councillors in each of the district authorities to pay for the introduction of the subregional assembly.

Finally, it should be recorded that the timing of this consultation, coinciding with the school holiday period and lasting a short time, has not created the best opportunity for analysis and discussion of the issues of this important constitutional step. That is regretted. And this response to the consultation should therefore be seen as provisional, provided within the deadline for the purposes of this consultation, but not a definitive statement of the position of Liverpool Green Party.

Cllr John Coyne

Leader, Liverpool Green Party
Councillor for St Michaels ward, Liverpool
0151 727 7779

St Michaels Ward Blog: stmichaelsgreens.wordpress.com

John Coyne Councillor Profile: councillors.liverpool.gov.uk

Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett Gives Her Support To Meadows Campaign

Natalie Bennett on Sefton Park Meadows 7th May 2013

Natalie Bennett on Sefton Park Meadows 7th May 2013

On Tuesday, Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett gave her full support to campaigners who are aiming to save Sefton Park Meadows from being sold for the building of luxury housing.

Over 4000 people have already signed a petition to ask the council not to sell the prized piece of greenspace, described by Heritage England as “within the setting of Sefton Park”.

Campaigners will be handing the petition to the council at the beginning of June, in an attempt to show the huge level of opposition to the sell-off.

A founder of the campaign, Lawrence Brown commented, “We are extremely pleased that the Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett has given us her full support.
“The campaign has included people of all parties and none but the addition of a national political figure to our supporters is clearly a major step forward.
“Opposition to the sell-off has come from right across Liverpool and the country. We’ve even had messages of support from people abroad who are concerned at what the City Council is trying to do with this land.
“We are hoping that the level of opposition, will persuade the Mayor to abandon this appalling plan.”

Sefton Park Meadows

Sefton Park Meadows

Campaigners take further action today following Council cabinet’s decision to sell green conservation land on edge of Sefton Park

View of Sefton Park Meadows

Campaigners will be leafletting homes around Sefton Park today to make people aware of the Council’s plans to sell green field conservation land next to Sefton Park.

The land, known as Sefton Park Meadows falls within the Sefton Conservation Area, and was designated as Green Space in the Council’s Planning guidelines. It is next to Sefton Park at the where Queens Drive meets Park Avenue and the Iron Bridge. It is well used by local people for recreation and forms an important buffer between existing housing and the Sefton Park nature reserve.

The council’s proposal first appeared on March 15th and was agreed at the cabinet meeting on Friday 22nd March. The decision now goes to the Regeneration Committee for scrutiny on 4th April.

The proposal undermines the council’s own planning policy that protects the city’s green space.

Campaign organiser Martin Dobson says “There are plenty of brown field sites in Liverpool which could be used to build houses. It is really wrong to destroy some centuries old green land to cover a short term financial problem. The mayor himself said recently at a public meeting that the city has the infrastructure to accommodate a million people but that its population was less than half that number.”

The council is saying that the money would be used to make improvements to Sefton Park but has not presented any plans to do this. Councillor Sarah Jennings (St Michael’s Green party) says “The council has not consulted the Sefton Park Forum about either the plan to sell the meadow land, nor the proposal to use the money to develop the park. The whole idea has not had anything like enough thought”.

Councillor John Coyne (St Michael’s Green party) says “Housing on this site would add to traffic congestion on what is currently (wrongly) used as a major commuter thoroughfare. It is the main access point for the Palm House which already has problems with its many public events, and is closely located to a school at which parents park on the roadside to deliver their children.”

Ends

For more information

Martin Dobson 07930760868
Councillor John Coyne 0151 727 7779

Facebook Save-Sefton-Park-Meadows
Twitter saveseftonparkmeadows
web: http://saveseftonparkmeadows.blogspot.co.uk/

Council Tax Referendum Debate

Council Tax Referendum Debate

There follows an email From T Craven on the subject of council finances. Then a response from John Coyne, a Liverpool councillor.

“JOE Anderson did not have a referendum to elect a mayor for Liverpool, he now has an opportunity to have a referendum on whether the electorate would agree to allow him to raise the council tax. Instead of political manoeuvring he should have one.
There is an alternative to austerity. It is to raise taxes. I feel sure that if the people of Liverpool are given an opportunity to choose between people dying as predicted by mayor Anderson and a council tax rise, they will choose to raise council tax. Scousers are made of stronger stuff than greed as Mr Pickles and co seems to think.”
T. Craven, on email
Read more: Liverpool Echo http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/views/echo-letters/2012/12/26/liverpool-echo-letters-december-26-2012-100252-32494279/#ixzz2GD1vHGpT

John Coyne

tax rise could save some literally vital services


“T Craven (Echo letters, 26th December) is right to call on the Mayor to hold that referendum on raising the council tax. Given the choice, people can show that saving lives is a bit more important than keeping a few pounds in the pocket.

“A catch-up tax rise could only fill part of the great hole in council finances, but it could stop some of those cuts to literally vital services being forced on us by government.

“But instead of raising revenue, we see the council actually reducing charges by the give-away on cheap all-day car parking for commuters.

“The Green Party will not be bullied into joining the other political parties in a consensus budget and we are voting against each stage of the cuts.

“To stand up to the likes of Mr Pickles, the Mayor needs to take courage and replace his flawed electoral mandate with a referendum result that demonstrates the solidarity of the people of Liverpool against this cruel coalition government.”

Cllr John Coyne
Deputy leader, Liverpool Green Party
86 Belgrave Road L17 7AH
0151 727 7779

LGP Welcome Hillsborough Report

Liverpool Green Party welcome the release of the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel

Founding Liverpool Green Party member Lawrence Brown, and local Green councillors Sarah Jennings and John Coyne, have welcomed the release of the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel. In a statement on behalf of Liverpool Green Party they said:

“The people of Liverpool have long known there was a cover up, with football fans blamed for the failures of the authorities. Now the truth is there for everyone to see.”

“The families and the support groups deserve the credit for uncovering the truth. No cover up or conspiracy can withstand those willing to fight for justice.”

“Not every question can be answered by this report, but the acceptance by David Cameron of the double injustice handed out the families, friends and survivors of Hillsborough is a welcome start. Now the harder step of holding to account those who misled, covered up and inflicted the additional pain on all affected must begin.”

Further information on Hillsborough Independent Panel can be found at the http://www.hfsg.net/ Hillsborough Family Support Group site, where there is also a link to make donations.

Sefton Park Perimeter: free our park from road danger

UPDATE October 2012 – Council’s Consultation not Fit for Purpose.

We are struggling to understand what has gone so very wrong with the council’s intentions to involve people in shaping the future of Sefton Park and the perimeter roads.  In the final week of September 2012 about 950 homes on the edge of the Park received a questionnaire with diagrams here and here.  But there are more than 10 times that many homes within a 1 kilometre radius – what should be easy walking distance to a local park.

The proposals have the merit of adding two Zebra crossings and upgrading one crossing at Lark Lane to a Zebra, but they are wholly inadequate.  As it stands we will be left with the fast, wide main road which cuts off the Park from many people who want to walk to it in safety.  And until recently we did not know that the £6m budget is planned to bring the roads (the “carriageway”) up to a standard where it can be adopted, but NOT the pavements (the “footway”).  Those pavements will not be repaired by the council and they will continue to break up.

The questionnaire itself contains only closed questions

“…I would be grateful if you could complete and return the attached questionnaire together with any other comments which you wish to make regarding these proposals only…”

 

The council does not want to hear about it if you have any counter proposals!

We hope it is not too late for this Labour council to recognise it can give its Highways officers a clear direction to adopt better practice on consultation and to involve the community in deciding what kind of road it is going to rebuild.  If they can do that, the Green Party will give them due credit.

Please take our online poll to tell us what you think


(PREVIOUS POST)

A major upgrade of Aigburth Drive, is soon to begin, and we are asking for your input.

We welcome the work that the current administration has agreed to progress on Aigburth Drive and the other unadopted roads around Sefton Park; not least because it means the roads can become part of the adopted highway network and repairs will become the council’s responsibility.

City Plans

Highways Engineers’ Proposals For Sefton Park

Proposals from the highways engineers can be downloaded here.These are maps of the entire perimeter and detailed drawings of specific junctions.

Alternative Plans

Alternative Proposals For Perimeter Road

And some new alternatives are shown here.

Sefton Park

We have asked to be involved in the final design of the road to ensure the most is made of this opportunity. This document represents an initial gathering of our ideas for the road, and we would welcome your feedback to help us refine our eventual proposal to highways.

Even in its worn out state, the road carries a significant amount of commuter traffic, as well as being an access route for residences around the park and visitors to the park itself. So we need to make sure that the road once finished doesn’t simply become a fast through route for traffic wishing to avoid the main roads, which would end up further severing the public from the recently-refurbished park.

The design should allow the best solutions for pedestrians and ensure that average speeds don’t increase because of driver confidence in a newly-laid road surface.

We would like to see designed in more natural traffic speed controlling measures that are less hostile to drivers than speed bumps, and which might actually be attractive to look at. For example, changing sight lines using buildouts, pinch points, traffic islands, planting, etc. which would lead most drivers to slow down without hindering progress. We’d also want to make sure crossings go in at points that are most obvious walking routes.

We have been in contact with council officers and will put questions to the administration via committees if we see fit.

You can get involved!

And of course we would welcome local residents’ input into the process too, so feel free to offer your own proposals to:

stmichaels@greenparty.org.uk or 728 2485

Some of our ideas in summary:

  •  20mph speed limit;
  •   pedestrian priority to be asserted at all pedestrian desire lines;
  •  use Zebras rather than Pelicans to give instant priority;
  •   design junctions so that pedestrians have highest priority, then traffic entering the perimeter road and lastly traffic continuing along the perimeter;
  •   aim to reduce traffic volume as well as speed;
  •   (highway-speak) change the position of Aigburth Drive in the road hierarchy so that it ceases to be a distributor and becomes an access road;
  •   in particular aim to discourage and not provide for peak time commuter traffic – it is this traffic, if not reduced, which will compete for road capacity and junction capacity against the needs of pedestrians
  •   less traffic and slower traffic makes the park quieter and cleaner for visitors, including people who run around it;
  •   redesign of carriageway to provide angled or even perpendicular parking helps visitors and fits with the aim of reducing carriageway widths.

Please let you know what you think. We want your help to ensure Aigburth Drive is fit for all users.