To receive updates from the Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor.
Metro Mayor S Rotheram provided Members with an update on his activities and key developments since the last meeting of the LCR Combined Authority.
Metro Mayor S Rotheram paid tribute to the emergency services who had responded to a high number of incidents over the Halloween period. Which had sadly also included a 12 year old girl being knocked down by a car whilst she was out trick or treating. On behalf of the LCR Combined Authority, the Metro Mayor wished her a full recovery.
Metro Mayor S Rotheram reported that in relation to the Merseyrail dispute positive talks with the RMT had continued and there would be no further industrial action over the Christmas period. Furthermore, over the coming weeks all parties would be looking to reach a deal ahead of the arrival of the new trains in 2020. The Metro Mayor referred to the industrial dispute on Northern Rail and stated that he had always supported the RMT in this dispute as there was a clear need for a Guard on intercity rail services, as there was often long distances between stations, many of which were not staffed. He also reported that he had met with Northern Rail Executives to discuss the deteriorating rail service. During which he had emphasised how customers were fed-up with the on-going cancellations and delays to the service and that this poor performance demonstrated that Northern Rail should have their franchise removed.
Metro Mayor S Rotheram explained how as part of the announcement of a 600km walking and cycling network across the City Region and to encourage people to consider cycling as a healthy and environmentally friendly means of travel, Councillor Robinson and himself had cycled across parts of the City Region. To encourage cycling across the City Region, the Metro Mayor had appointed Simon O’Brien as the City Region’s Cycling Commissioner. He reported that Simon was passionate about cycling and he wished him well in his endeavours.
Metro Mayor S Rotheram reported that the LCR Combined Authority had announced the establishment of a £5m Social Innovation Fund, in association with ‘Power to Change’. The Fund would support the growth of a socially responsible business sector in the City Region and an example of this was Homebaked in Anfield. The Metro Mayor had also attended MIPIM in London and along with Councillor Polhill had attended the Smarter Tomorrow event.
Metro Mayor S Rotheram informed the LCR Combined Authority of his recent meeting with Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, at which he had pressed for the withdrawal of Northern Rail’s franchise. He had also meet with Simon Clarke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, were he had encouraged the Treasury for a fair funding settlement for the Liverpool City Region.
Metro Mayor S Rotheram provided an update on the following community engagement activity he had undertaken:-
· A visit to Runcorn Station Quarter with Councillor Polhill to view the proposals for the area and then met with Unlock Runcorn to learn about their project;
· Visited social enterprises Make Hamilton Square and Byrne Avenue Trust. The Trust wanted to reopen Byrne Avenue Baths and operate it with and for the local community.
· Visited the proposed site for the new Headbolt Lane Station in Kirkby.
· Met with Asylum Link, the Williamson Tunnels Group and Nutricia.
Metro Mayor S Rotheram referred to the LCR Housing Statement and Delivery Plan 2019-2024 which was included on the agenda for this meeting. He referred to recent press articles in which the LCR Combined Authority was asking Central Government to allocate £200m to the region to carry out brownfield remediation works. The Metro Mayor explained how this funding could unlock the potential for the development of 42,000 homes across all six of the local authority areas and deliver on the City Region’s Brownfield First aspirations.
In conclusion, the Metro Mayor advised the LCR Combined Authority that he was supporting the GMB Union and ASDA employees in their ongoing industrial dispute with ASDA.