The Lever Causeway Cause

We are increasingly reassured that there are committed and well informed people out there on Wirral who are prepared to say ” NO” to those elected representatives who profess to act in their interest and not in the interest of big business (see below).

When we consider that Wirral Council’s Cabinet member for Housing & Planning  (Cllr George Davies) and the Chair of the Planning Committee ( Cllr Steve Foulkes) are, in our opinion, the two most corrupt politicians at Wirral Council it all suddenly falls into place. Just sayin’ …

Highways etc 010


You may be aware that there is much controversy over our green belt fiasco and Wirral Council not having put in a Wirral plan to protect our green spaces since 2014 and it won’t be in place until 2021. Our green belt is in jeopardy and land owners are trying to sell it off because it’s not protected . A land owner Peter Bowling who has many fields down Lever Causeway is in negotiation with Taylor Wimpey . Residents have put in a request to save the trees in the vicinity of Lever Causeway by applying for tree preservation orders.
Peter Bowling’s  Storeton Hall development was originally refused planning permission by Wirral council he appealed to Bristol .
As you may have heard the appeal happened here on Wirral in October when the planning officer came up and there was a group opposing the planning application that involved local councillors, residents and of course the Wirral council defence .
Apparently sources at this hearing noticed the Wirral defence against the planning application was very weak . The defence apparently muttered no comments on many occasions to Peter Bowling’s and his team that included a QC ‘s arguments to continue with the development . The development has now been given the green light .
It has now been found out the person employed to act on behalf of the Local Authority in the appeal by Storeton Hall Farm was Matt Verlander who is a director of GVA. The owner of Storeton Hall and the owner and Managing Director director of Storeton Hall Farm Ltd is Peter Bowling BSc BVSc MRCVS. He was one of the Appellants in this case.

The letter of objection against the Tree Preservation Order 390 was written by GVA who are acting on behalf of Taylor Wimpey. There is a sale and purchase agreement between the current owners and Taylor Wimpey. The land on which these copses are situated is currently partly owned by Peter Bowling BSc BVSc MRCVS.

So did the council unwittingly employ GVA or is it just incompetence . What a conflict of interest 😡


7 thoughts on “The Lever Causeway Cause

  1. In my time serving on the Royal Town Planning Institute’s Conduct & Discipline (C&D) Panel (as vice-chair and then chair) we dealt with a number of cases like this one. If residents wish to pursue a complaint about the involvement of Matt Verlander in the appeal, then the following factors need to be taken into account:

    1) What professional body does he belong to?
    2) What arrangements does the professional body have for investigating complaints about its members?
    3) Are the protections against conflicts of interest arising within GVA UK adequate?
    4) How does GVA UK deal with complaints about conflicts of interest?

    In similar C&D cases I have dealt with, some large consultancy firms do have robust procedures in place to manage conflicts of interest. This could mean setting up so-called “Chinese walls” within the company, where responsibility for contracts is separated geographically or by sector. In this case, I note from his LinkedIn page that Matt Verlander is responsible for leading the GVA Planning, Development and Regeneration Team in the North East of England. His involvement with this appeal could be as a result of a company policy to manage conflicts of interest by appointing a director from a different geographical area to deal with matters where GVA might have had involvement in a previous stage of a proposal.

    However, other firms do not have robust procedures in place. Making a complaint to Matt Verlander’s professional body may be the only way to determine whether any conflict of interest has been handled appropriately in this case.

  2. This is terrible news. But how is it possible? I thought this was green belt? How can the planning officer demonstrate exceptional circumstances here?

    If the development has been approved it doesn’t sound like being green belt is any sort of protection from these crooks at all.

    How many houses are they proposing. Deeply shocked and saddened by this news.

  3. Excuse me for going a bit (a lot) off topic … but as we approach Christmas I feel it is only right, that at this time of year, we don’t forget to mention the name of Cllr Adrian Jones….

  4. I’ve had a look through the Inspector’s decision with my layman’s eyes (meaning I know sweet FA about anything legal), and as far as I can see, the Inspector has come to his decision in a way which would be hard to challenge. He has studied all the arguments, recognised the Green Belt issues and has come to his decision based on a number of factors.

    Challenging his decision would be a nightmare in judicial review, as the the complainant would have to make a strong case that somehow the Inspector’s decision making process was flawed and not thorough, and for those reasons, he came to his decision. This would be near impossible, especially when he has made provision to make sure ‘very special circumstances’ were met, in conjunction with the other factors surrounding the application.

    As much as I despise the decision, the Inspector is unlikely to be at fault and Philip Barton’s reply is the only realistic line of enquiry, even then without any guarantee of exposing any of the skullduggery usually found around the operations of WBC. I dare say the protocols used in engaging all parties ticked the compliance boxes, making it even harder to make any suspicious mud stick on the wall.

    I really do wish I could be more positive, but my experience with CPRE locally tells me this decision is probably unmovable. >:-(

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