Communication Breakdown

Thanks for all of you who kindly suggested that a member of the Wirral Leaks team should apply for the following post with Wirral Council . Hopefully an application from Leaky Towers will be winging its way over before today’s deadline :

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As one wag wrote to us “Good job for the Wirral leaks team. Get paid for your Wirral Leaks job maybe not as much as the consultants but over £500 a week lol…” 

Looking at the job advert we have to say we’d have our work cut out to match this BS:

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Perhaps we can discuss the issues that we have with some of the paragraphs at the interview :

Paragraph 1 : You had us at the opening lines:  “Big changes. No excuses…”  You also had us rolling in the aisles.Very gung-ho,very fridge magnet,very amusing.

Paragraph 2: No sorry,you lost us here and yet somehow think it’s appropriate to use the phrase : “Coherent narrative

Paragraph 3 : You want employees to have a ‘voice’ within the organisation? Yeah right that’s why they have to come to us time and time again to be heard.  You don’t really want employees to have a voice do you? Compromise Agreements/Non-Disclosure Agreements and Gagging Clauses suggest otherwise. You only want employees to have a ‘voice’ as long as it’s a reassuring and non-challenging whisper

Paragraph 4 : It’s laudable that you are determined to improve the way that you communicate with employees. Can we offer the suggestion that their sentient human beings and not a payroll number?

Paragraph 5:  Can we please issue the team with a t-shirt emblazoned with the words : NO HOLDING BACK. NO EXCUSES. JUST CHANGE WIRRAL. BRING IT ON.

Actually on second thoughts we’ll have to withdraw our application as we can’t hope to compete with such inspirational communications and what’s more we’re not buying into any of it…

 

The Usual Crap from Wirral Council

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Still one of our favourite pics sent to us by one of our devoted readers…

We’ve been asked for our thoughts on a couple of local news stories. The first concerns the pressing issue of dog crap. Now we have to declare an interest here or more accurately a lack of interest – we hate the thought that notorious bullying former Wirral Council CEO Steve Maddox is right when he once publicly claimed in a meeting held outside Wirral that the people who paid his wages (and ‘additional pension costs’) were only interested in ‘dog crap’.

So as you can see from previous posts such as this we’ve long applauded and supported responsible pet owners and campaigners such as ‘Wirral Good Dogs’ who don’t want to subsidise Wirral Council waste via the waste that comes out of their pet’s backsides but it is still particularly dispiriting to witness this week’s packed Council meeting about the proposed introduction of Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) to combat Wirral’s dog crap problem.

If only pet owners (and indeed non-pet owners) on Wirral were equally motivated to turn out to Council meetings and express their concern about what is done (or not done) in their name perhaps the punitive measure wouldn’t have been proposed in the first place!

But hey! as long as people are exercising their democratic right to challenge the powers that be that’s OK with us. However our interest in the matter lies elsewhere and is more concerned with the potential engagement of Kingdom Security to impose PSPOs and the political/financial motivations of Wirral Council’s ruling administration.

What can we say about Kingdom Security?  Lots actually since 2015 and none of it good. But the thought of their operatives loitering around playing fields and parks in pursuit of filthy lucre (pun intended) is surely the stuff of nightmares.

Our other point of interest is the sense of deja vu that accompanied this week’s Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday where it was decided to ditch the proposal by a single vote. The committee’s decision will now come before Wirral Council Cabinet and specifically the environment spokesperson Cllr Anita Leech, who will make a final decision on PSPOs. Could this be the same Cllr Leech who voted against the fire station development in Saughall Massie before changing her mind and allowing it to go ahead?

We’re left wondering whether ,with elections coming up in May, the ruling administration are playing the game of ‘listening to the people’  when it comes to dog crap or will financial necessity override political expediency?

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Sign the petition HERE

 

EXCLUSIVE : Hoylake Golf Resort /Celtic Manor Resort – Extraordinary Wirral Council meeting

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For those of you who peruse the Wirral Council calendar of meetings and who might be wondering what the Extraordinary Meeting called for 25 February 2019 was all about we can exclusively reveal, courtesy of the above leaked email, that it’s all about the Hoylake Golf Resort (aka Celtic Manor Resort).

As you can see the letter requisitioning the meeting emanates from the Wirral Council Conservative Group :

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Now where do you think the ever opportunistic Conservative Group might have read about ‘the opposition voiced recently by the Local Campaign Forum of The Labour Party’ ?

We’ll give you one guess : Hoylake Golf Resort : ‘Wirral Local Campaign Forum reflects the views of the members which may at times differ from the Labour Group’

Whilst a credit would have been nice we are more than compensated by the thought that the Extraordinary Meeting will be a test of Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies’ ‘leadership’ (no laughing at the back) . After all Pip has bewilderingly pushed for this misbegotten development against all known reason, logic and finance and after the sinking of Wirral Waters courtesy of his naive faith in Stella Shiu this was presumably to be his ‘lasting legacy’ on Wirral (we can  make some suggestions as to what his lasting legacy really should be but we’ll leave that for a later date )

Not only will Pip face opposition from the Conservative Group and presumably the might of the Green Party ( yes,that’s you Cllr Pat Cleary) but opposition within his own ranks of newly elected or up and coming councillors who will no longer do as their told or bend to the will of a power crazed elite. But will they stick by their new found principles and back the Local Campaign Forum of The Labour Party AND the Conservative Group ?  Now there’s a political dilemma !

Pass the popcorn…

 

 

Fieldwatch 5 : ‘Today Birkenhead, Tomorrow the World’ / Meet Mr Whitley

Bunker

The barbarians are at the door but at least Frank Field has plenty of other interests to keep him occupied…

Another big news week for the Birkenhead MP .

Firstly comes the news that a struggling Ellesmere Port secondary school has now transferred to The Frank Field Education Trust after crisis-ridden University of Chester Academies Trust (UCAT) abolished itself. But as Cheshire Live reports there are concerns about the move. Ray McHale of West Cheshire Trades Union Council commented :

“We only recently heard that Frank Field was establishing a free school – and his trust is now in charge of its first primary school in Wilmslow. That school is rated outstanding by Ofsted. However, to hand a struggling secondary school to a trust with no experience seems to be courting further problems rather than finding a solution.”

But what’s as long as Frankenfield gets his name on another building eh?

 

Of course the right Royal coup of this week’s Prince Harry/Meghan visit to Birkenhead which served primarily as a distraction from the local political upheaval that Frankenfield faces. However even the fawning local press couldn’t compete with The Daily Telegraph (aka Torygraph) titled Duchess of Sussex reveals she is six months pregnant with the baby due in April or May when it came to squirming sycophancy.  We defy you to read an extract from this report without a) throwing up  and b) wanting to refer Field for a psychiatric assessment :

The couple visited Number 7, a cafe and supermarket which offers discounted foods to help those on lower incomes live within their means…

Before departing, the Duke and Duchess were asked to to jointly unveil a plaque officially declaring Number 7 open, as Mr Field said his short speech had been inspired by Meghan’s own words to him.

“Ma’am as you said, it’s a great example to the country and to the world,” he told her. “Yes it is,” she replied, nodding…

Of the supermarket, he added: ”We want it to be better than Waitrose.”

Whilst ‘Megalomania’ and ‘Delusional’ were the first two words that came to mind we’d be grateful if someone could remind us which century are we living in again? Back to Foodbank Frank’s beloved Victorian era where poor people knew their place, were ever so humble and bowed and scraped to their ‘betters (i.e people with more money and power than them). Meanwhile a couple of days later Prince Harry and Meghan rock up at the Royal Albert Hall for a Cirque Du Soleil gig with the latter all dolled up in a £3,400 Roland Mouret frock  – see here. Wonder whether she picked up the sparkly number at Number 7? After all we know that Frank has aspirations for the enterprise -‘Today Birkenhead, Tomorrow the World!”- which are all well and good , but better than Waitrose?  That’ll be the day you can buy a Roland Mouret frock in  T J Hughes!

From the Daily Telegraph it’s a natural progression to the Morning Star as we bring you news of a pretender to Frankenfield’s crown.  As you can read in the Morning Star’s story Fight to replace Frank field kicks off in Birkenhead

THE fight to replace Frank Field as MP for Birkenhead kicked off today as veteran trade unionist Mick Whitley announced his candidacy.

Mr Whitley, formerly a long-standing convener at the Vauxhall car plant in nearby Ellesmere Port, was born in the area and is the former north-west regional secretary of the Unite union.

He has gained the support of Momentum, which holds a powerful presence in north-west England, while left-wing MPs such as John McDonnell, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Dan Carden have voiced their support.

The local branches of Unite, FBU, RMT, BFAWU and Aslef have also formally endorsed Mr Whitley’s candidacy.

Sources in the Labour Party have told the Star that right-wing former MEP Theresa Griffin is likely to also contest the seat.

Mr Field, first elected to Parliament in 1979, has been unpopular among local Labour members since the 1980s.

He lost a vote of no confidence in August last year, before resigning the Labour whip — and thus automatically leaving the party — a month later.

Mr Field meet Mr Whitley :

Greasby Green Belt Public Meeting and Defend Greasby’s Green Spaces Action Group

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We’re pleased to note that the Green Belt campaigns are spreading across the peninsula and happy to publicise the latest developments emanating from Greasby :

Press Release

 

On Saturday 12th January 2019, residents attended a standing room only public meeting at Greasby Community Centre about the threat to the Green Belt. Dozens more residents were turned away at the door.

 

Residents heard from a number of speakers about the proposals to build hundreds of houses on the last remaining green fields around Greasby and the negative impacts that the proposals will have on the local community and the environment. Speakers included a renowned local ecologist and representatives from the Wirral Society and the CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England).

 

The very informative presentations covered topics which included the impacts of climate change and  threat of increased flood risk, threats to wildlife, pressure on local NHS services and increased traffic and air pollution. We heard about threats to ancient heritage sites near Greasby Copse, dating from 8500BC one of the oldest dated settlement sites in the country. We also heard from a local tenant farmer whose family farm and livelihood is under threat.

 

The Defend Greasby’s Green Spaces Action Group are overwhelmed from by the unanimous support which they received on Saturday night and would like to thank all the residents who attended  – and apologise to those who were unable to get in. It highlighted the great community spirit that we have in Greasby and showed that the Green Belt is highly valued by residents. The local community are determined to do everything they can to save it. Further public meetings are being planned for the next few months.

 

Everyone at the meeting agreed that Wirral Borough Council should not be releasing precious Green Belt land for development, when there are enough Brownfield sites and empty properties on the Wirral which should be brought back in to use. Wirral requires affordable homes and social housing in the right places not executive homes on precious green spaces!

 

The Defend Greasby’s Green Spaces Action Group are always looking for additional volunteers to help with the campaign. We need people to help with printing, leafleting, fundraising etc. We are also looking for people who may be able to offer particular skills such as legal knowledge, planning knowledge, research skills, media contacts and I.T. skills. However people with no particular skills are also very much needed – all that is required is enthusiasm and time.

 

Anyone who would like to get involved with the campaign, please contact Phil Simpson on 07988 677270

 

Defend Greasby’s Green Spaces Action Group – January 2019

 

The De-greening of West Kirby : A Further Reminder

As a follow up to our The De-greening of West Kirby story we have some further updates for your information including details on how to object to the proposed Ashton Court development and some interesting information on how Magenta Living and their officers are (once again) planning to make a killing on what was once public property. We also provide further photographic evidence of the destruction being done in the name conservation in Ashton Park.

ASHTON COURT  :

PLEASE OBJECT TO THE APP/18/01625 Planning Application for ASHTON COURT.
The last date for objections is Tuesday 5 February 2019.
1.Use Google (Duck Duck Go or another search engine);
2. Enter: Wirral.planning applications……..in the search box;
3. Click on: View local planning applications – Wirral Council;
4. On the page titled ‘Search for applications’, click on ‘Simple’;
5. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and enter: APP/18/01625;
6. Click on the green ‘Search’ pad;
7. Click on the Make a comment pad;
8. Scroll down the page to enter your personal details (title, name, address);
9. Enter your objection to planning application APP/18/01625 in the ‘Your comment’ box;
10. When you have finished making your objection, scroll down and click ‘submit’.
THANK YOU.
PLEASE object to the dreadful APP/18/01625 planning application for the demolition of 22 empty and neglected retirement flats at Ashton Court, Banks Road, West Kirby (NW England). The application proposes the privatisation of the site with the construction of 13 three-storey houses and 1 two-storey house…..to be sold on the open market. PLEASE object on Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council’s website. Google: Wirral.planning applications. Follow the simple search process. Enter: Ashton Court.APP/18/01625 and click on COMMENT. Make your objection.
The 22 flats should be refurbished and modernised for elderly people!!!! The Housing Association ‘Magenta Living’ has 192 unoccupied (empty) homes. This is a disgrace. Magenta Living has an annual income, from rents, in excess of £50 million. The CEO is paid £130,000 per annum. THANK YOU for your help!!!
ASHTON PARK :

Photos documenting Ashton Park fellings last week….The Council will not respect a call for a moratorium and our ecology is being decimated at the expense of us all.

Please continue to defend our trees write in to MP’s/ Councillors/ Andrew Elkington (of the Council) and keep the pressure on for this to STOP
For Trees Wirral
ashton park 17
ashton park 22
ashton park 21

Brexit – For or Against?

A couple of Wirral Leaks readers have been in touch seeking clarification on last night’s Brexit vote after hearing on the BBC local news that ALL North West Labour MPs voted against Theresa May’s Brexit deal. This would appear to be very poor reporting or deliberately misleading information from the BBC – nothing new there then!

The confusion arose after they’d earlier received this message :

frank brexit

Here’s how the Liverpool Echo reported how Merseyside MPs voted :

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We  await with interest how today’s ” No Confidence” vote in the House  of Commons goes. We know at least one North West/Merseyside/Wirral MP who won’t be looking forward to a General Election should Theresa May lose …

 

Wirral Leaks Royal Visit Picture Gallery

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As you know Wirral Leaks likes to take an oblique (some might say obtuse) view of local news stories. So when your pictures of  Harry and Meghan’s visit to Birkenhead started to arrive we thought we’d avoid the obvious and pick out the pics that we thought were particularly pertinent to the points we’d like to make and therefore we make no apologies that there are no actual pictures of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.  For example we particularly liked the above picture as it reminded us that, indeed, the Royal Family are a now merely a branch of the entertainment industry.

Talking of which they say that politics is showbiz for ugly people and it must be said that the Royal visit to Birkenhead was a Frank Field production par excellence inevitably including a visit to his latest pet project the Number 7 Community Cafe. Surely we all knew that this was going to be the ‘secret’ visit that wasn’t included in the itinerary announced last week in the press.  However is it just us who think it slightly obscene that a couple who are having £3 million spent on renovating their first home, which will be covered by the Sovereign Grant funded by the taxpayer, were visiting people who use Number 7  because they struggle to pay the bills and find themselves in food and fuel poverty ?

We were also taken with these couple of pictures involving  a member of Wirral’s Highways Department getting an excellent view of of today’s succession of photo opportunities.  We’re just wondering that after all he’s done for ‘his boys’ in the Highways Department that it’s Frank Field rather than Harry and Meghan that is being paid homage…

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Beasts from the East

As the awards season starts to kick in and as a prelude to our eagerly anticipated annual  ‘Leaky Awards’ we bring you the surprising news that Wirral Council didn’t get a mention in Private Eye’s Rotten Boroughs Awards 2018.

However Wirral ‘s near neighbour Cheshire East Council (CEC) , who we have often featured on our own pages due in no small measure to ex -Wirral Council senior officers who have sought refuge there and most prominently HR horror Paul Bradshaw and law unto himself Bill Norman, did:

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We have covered these stories here and as we have previously commented :

Kudos to the Cheshire Constabulary for actually taking allegations of Council corruption seriously which is more than be said of Merseyside Police who are seemingly too lazy and/or too busy exchanging funny handshakes and going to the confessional box to be bothered investigating legitimate concerns about Wirral Council . We’ll be interested to know whether the mud will stick and there will be a sticky end for Cheshire East councillors and council officers.

Fortunately we have a contact in Cheshire East who keeps us (and Private Eye) informed of local goings on and which, despite the political reversal of ruling administration and opposition, reminds us so much of the poisonous political dynamic that exists on Wirral. It looks to us as though CEC are an early contender for Rotten Boroughs Awards 2019 but will forthcoming revelations on Wirral Leaks ensure Wirral Council join them in the ‘Town Hall of Infamy’ ?

It’s a new year but its the same old story coming out at morally and ethically corrupt Cheshire East Council:
 
28th October 2016
Cheshire East Council leader Rachel Bailey states “I am pleased that we have taken a further step towards becoming a council that is open and fully transparent in the work that we carry out on behalf of our residents.”
10th January 2019
Conservative controlled Cheshire East Council refuse to allow a local reporter named Belinda Ryan to witness an investigative meeting being conducted into Conservative Cllr David Marren, despite Belinda having being invited to attend by Cllr Marren in the interests of openness and transparency. In fact CEC were so desperate to keep the details of the allegation against Cllr Marren secret that they drafted in an external lawyer and even paid for their hotel accommodation. 
Whilst I have no idea what Cllr Marren has been accused of I suspect Conservative Cheshire East Council are not happy about having a Conservative councillor failing to follow the appallingly low standards of conduct set by fellow Conservative councillors at Cheshire East Council. Cllr Marren champions openness and transparency and holds himself to highest standards of ethical conduct.
Cllr Marren is one of three Conservative councillors who, over the past couple of years openly questioned and challenged decisions made at Cheshire East Council. All three have now been removed from the senior posts they had previously held within CEC. Cllr Marren had previously been the vice chair of both audit and governance and the constitution committee but he was removed shortly after he publicly criticised CEC over allegations of the widespread culture of bullying conducted by senior managers within the council and the councils failure to pay the minimum wage to some care workers.
PS – I hope Cllr Marren isn’t expecting any support from CEC Labour councillors because just like the Conservative leadership of CEC they will also want to put their party (Labour) ahead of supporting ethical behaviour. I’ve copied the CEC Labour leader into this email because Cllr Sam Corcoran might like to correct me on my last point.

The De-greening of West Kirby

A couple of messages from campaign groups in West Kirby (home of Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil Davies and his personal spin doctor Martin Liptrot)  which we think  warrant your attention :

HAPPY NEW YEAR from the For Trees team!

Over the break, tree cutting has continued at Ashton Park has continued.
We URGENTLY need emails of objection (labelled as ‘official complaint…or it can be ignored’) to go out to;
Andrew Elkington, Programme Director- Leisure, Libraries and Cultural Services.
( to whom we are now being deferred, by Mary Worrall.)
asking for a moratorium on all tree cutting on the Wirral. in reference specifically in Ashton Park until AT LEAST an independent non-commercial survey can be done on behalf of petitioning constituents.
Please copy in;
-Margaret Greenwood; margaretgreenwood@wirral.gov.uk, or/and call her office 0151 792-3416 asking for her to  support your request and help save Wirrals trees
-Ourselves, at For Trees Wirral, in order for us to share (with or without your details attached) fortreeswirral@gmail.com
The tree fellers are pushing on before the nesting season starts….We need support NOW
Please Help to share this request 
Many Thanks for your support 
Diane Johnson, For Trees
PHONECALL JUST CAME FROM THE PARK….THEY ARE FELLING NOW!
PICTURES TAKEN 11th JANUARY :
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ashton park 8

              ASHTON COURT – UPDATE.                              11 January 2019.

THE LAST DATE THAT WIRRAL METROPOLITAN BOROUGH COUNCIL’S PLANNING DEPARTMENT WILL ACCEPT OBJECTIONS TO THE APP/18/01625 PLANNING APPLICATION IS TUESDAY 5 FEBRUARY 2019.

To object…..google: Wirral.planning applications. Select ‘simple search’. Enter ‘Ashton Court. APP/18/01625’…….and present your objections.

The twenty two, unoccupied and neglected, retirement flats at Ashton Court, Banks Road, West Kirby, should be refurbished and modernised. They should be kept as social, rented housing.

Planning application – APP/18/01625 proposes the demolition of the existing 22 retirement flats and the privatisation of Ashton Court, with the building of 14 houses, to be sold, privately.

Ashton Court is not a Brown Field Site, since it does not qualify as such under the National Planning Policy Framework (see the N.P.P.F. Glossary, Annex 2 – ‘Previously Developed Land’).

PLEASE object to the APP/18/01625 Planning application.

Write to: David Ball, Assistant Director ‘Major Growth Projects and Housing Delivery, Economic and Housing Growth Directorate’, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council, P.O. Box 290, Brighton Street, Wallasey, Wirral, CH27 9FQ.

 Email: planningapplications@wirral.gov.uk   

Please invite your friends and neighbours to sign petitions objecting to the APP/18/01625 planning application. Thank you.
‘Magenta Living’ has created three companies to privatise some of the 13,000 social homes that it owns. The companies are: ‘Hilbre Homes’, ‘Starfish Commercial’ and ‘Bamboo Lettings’.
‘Magenta Living’ currently has 192 unoccupied properties. ‘Magenta Living’ is responsible for the neglect of the twenty two unoccupied homes at Ashton Court.
Since 2011 most of the twenty two Ashton Court homes have been wholly unoccupied and totally neglected by ‘Magenta Living’. The private gardens, in front of the Ashton Court homes have, for the last fifty years, provided a much appreciated green space, for local residents, half way along Banks Road.
Policy GRE1 of the Local Development Plan calls for Urban Green Spaces, including private gardens, like those at Ashton Court, to be protected. The Ashton Court gardens should be protected from building schemes since they are areas of visual importance to local residents and to visitors to West Kirby.
Many West Kirby residents object to Planning Application APP/18/01625 which seeks the DEMOLITION of twenty two flats at Ashton Court, Banks Road, West Kirby and the building of 14 houses (13 X 3-storey houses and 1 X 2-storey house). They are opposed to the ‘Magenta Living’ plan for the demolition of the existing homes at Ashton Court.

‘Magenta Living’ should refurbish and modernise the existing homes rather than destroy highly-valued urban green space at Ashton Court by building 14 tightly-packed, private houses. West Kirby’s remaining urban green spaces should be protected for the benefit of present and future generations.
                                                                                            

Published by: West Kirby Campaign Group.

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