We’ve always wondered at Leaky Towers where the golf resort notion sprang from. So knowing what we know about the gone but not forgotten senior officers at Wirral Council we imagined that an historical Chief Officers meeting went something along the lines of :
“Hey , we all like golf we’ve got a loads of green belt land – let’s build a golf resort on it!”. They then commissioned a report , all pulled on their Farah slacks and went for a quick round before they concluded their meeting with another round at the 19th hole.
However a commentator on a previous Wirral Leaks post send Verity scurrying off to do some research on what happened from there….
Needless to say it took nearly 10 years and for someone to have to resort to the inevitable Freedom of Information request before the original 2006 Capita Symonds viability consultation report was prised out of Wirral Council’s golf grip.
This report which allegedly cost £275,000 is helpfully summarised by our commentator thus:
‘Nice idea chaps, but the planning issues make it more trouble than it’s worth!” Still, there’s nothing like the “NO, NO, NO I’M NOT LISTENING!” approach to get you through 15 years of self-denial.’
However if you want not listening and self -denial then Council”leader” Power Boy Pip Davies is your,er, man.
It would seem that from the outset the only way a golf resort was viable on the outskirts of Hoylake is for Wirral Council to illegally remove it from the green belt, ignore the agricultural status of the surrounding land and raise money by selling it for luxury housing!. Even the Capita Symonds report states that in order for the golf resort to be successful, it will need to be funded by money raised from housing development.
With Wirral Council’s deluded golf guru Kevin “Addled” Adderley having moved to where the grass is greener we would have thought it would have been an ideal opportunity to knock this idea out of bounds. However last week , at the meeting of West Wirral Constituency Committee it seems Adderley’s successor Dave “Golf” Ball is determined to see this tee off . Although he was well aware that the planning application will have to go before the Secretary Of State, simply because of the green belt issue , he warned this could be years away. So don’t pack your plus-fours just yet!.
No wonder our source comments : “Either way you look at it, they have to try to get away something quite outrageous before they can see the project being funded!”. When “outrageous actions” are Wirral Council leadership’s stock in trade it’s time to wonder what they could be up to and why they seem determined to get from out of the bunker and on to the green (belt).
We can only surmise there’s a trump card to play in the planning process.Indeed there is a school of thought that Power Boy Pip must be pinning all of his hopes on Mayor Joe or whoever ends up with decision making powers in the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority to make use of whatever new devolution powers are available to change green belt planning issues at a local level. It’s unknown territory at the moment, but the current government want to change planning to make it easier to build on the green belt. If the devolution powers put the decision making to the regional heads this will suit Pip and co down to a tee.
This would also enable central government to point out to how devolving powers to a region in the so-called Northern Powerhouse could work to serve the needs of big business.
So currently it is hard to tell in whose hands ultimately the destiny of Hoylake golf resort project lies – central government ? ,regional government ? , local government ? or big business ?. All we do know is that it doesn’t seem to be local people. Well ,so far anyway…….