New Ferry,Old Tricks Part 2

Two years after the event here we have Wirral South MP Alison McGovern speaking in the House of Commons at a full adjournment debate and making the case for government funding to help the people of New Ferry following the devastation caused by an explosion.

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This is the response of Tory MP Jake Berry :

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Meanwhile as we can see below it would seem that it’s an ill explosion that blows no good with our old friends North West Construction UK Ltd getting the lion’s share of Wirral Council spend on the aftermath of the New Ferry disaster. Other interesting expenditure includes Bam Nuttall and Siemens Mobility Limited – but we’ll return to that another time.

WBC Spend

Consequently a victim of the New Ferry blast contacts us and with a mix of exasperation and desperation tells us:

Either Jake is misleading the public or Wirral Borough Council are misleading him!

Can you help us at all?  This is a disgrace devastated by the lies to the public making people think we are being helped. Help us. Please help us. This could happen to anyone they say lessons must be learnt from our devastation. Wirral Council are about to shaft us again we have fought for 2 years. 2 years they have treated us like something they have stood in.The money that the council told the government would go directly to the victims is not to be discussed with the victims but now earmarked for community groups. And the new council are not prepared to meet with us until the 200k has been discussed and allocated…

The recovered spend tells a story all of its own. This is money claimed back from victims who all received bills. They were never told this would ever have to be paid for. They helped one particular business but no one else. It’s all very distressing. We all needed help…

And so it would appear that we have the usual Wirral Council story of making a disaster out of a disaster.We can’t help feeling that if perhaps the explosion had been a couple of miles up the road in Birkenhead the response from Wirral Council would  have been very different in terms of expediency and being responsive to the needs of local people.  

5 thoughts on “New Ferry,Old Tricks Part 2

  1. The straw that broke the camel’s back for New Ferry was the council’s grant of planning permission for a new Aldi store in Port Causeway, Bromborough. I represented a local business that was concerned about the effect this would have on his shop and New Ferry generally. Here are some quotes from the letter of objection I wrote to APP/16/00543 on 30 June 2016:

    “Including room for a minimum 100-space car park as a parameter in the sequential test, regardless of the location of alternative sites, makes a nonsense of the ‘town centre first’ policy that underpins the NPPF par. 24 sequential test. A 100-space car park is not needed where there are good public transport links, existing car park provision and proximity to large centres of population, as is the case with most town centre locations. The risk of customers driving away and not returning due to parking congestion, referred to in [the application], is only relevant when such premises ignore the co-locational benefits of being sited within a town centre. Town centres work because of the opportunity for shoppers to make linked trips. They typically park in a central car park and then visit a number of different retail and other outlets before returning to their vehicle. It is the monopolistic nature of Aldi’s business model that is the threat here, not the ‘town centre first’ policy. Accepting the case put forward by the Applicant would contribute to opening the floodgates for similar development by every supermarket company that, quite naturally, would seek to include 100% of the population within the catchment area of one of its stores. Clearly, this is not a sustainable way for the Council to manage retail provision for the population of Wirral.”

    “At the Applicant’s public consultation event held in the Village Hotel, Bromborough on 16 February 2016, the Applicant indicated that a linked trip could include a person who drives to Aldi from home, buys some groceries, gets back into his car, drives to ASDA on the Croft Retail Park, then to Cheshire Oaks or the Trafford Centre and then home again. This is a comically ludicrous
    interpretation of what linked trips are and the Objector considers that most reasonable people would be more inclined to accept the definition formulated by the National Retail Planning Forum – i.e. ‘a secondary trip which follows a primary trip – e.g. when after a visit to an edge of town retail store, a shopper undertakes an associated trip to one or more destinations within the town centre’.”

    What has happened in New Ferry should have been a wake-up call for the council. It should have stopped granting planning permission for out-of-town supermarkets such as Aldi, Lidl and Netto whose business model is quite deliberately to suck trade out of town centres and capture 100% of the trade in their preferred location.

    In that case, Aldi relied upon Tesco v Dundee City Council in arguing that: “it is a matter of fact that commercial considerations relevant to particular retailers or business models is a legitimate matter in applying the sequential test”. However, we now have Aldergate Properties Ltd v Mansfield District Council v Regal Sherwood Oaks Ltd, which deconstructs this argument.

    Paragraph 35 of the Aldergate Properties Ltd v Mansfield District Council v Regal Sherwood Oaks Ltd judgement finds: “In my judgment, “suitable” and “available” generally mean “suitable” and “available” for the broad type of development which is proposed in the application by approximate size, type, and range of goods. This incorporates the requirement for flexibility…and excludes, generally, the identity and personal or corporate attitudes of an individual retailer…Nothing in Tesco v Dundee City Council, properly understood, holds that the application of the sequential test depends on the individual corporate personality of the applicant or intended operator.”

    At the time Aldi submitted its application, “suitable” and “available” premises for the broad type of development which was proposed by approximate size, type, and range of goods existed because there was vacant space in the former Kwik-save building.

    So, if the council had stood its ground and refused permission for an out-of-town Aldi, ttading conditions may not have decined so sharply once the new Aldi opened.

  2. It continues to get even worse. Councillor Janette Williamson, the finance director for WBC has publicly declared that she now intends to use the money that is designated as the Hardship Fund not to help the victims (as promised) but for long-term regeneration instead… meaning they can use it to build houses or roads or anything else other than to fulfil their duty to the victims.

    • NWC under Wirral Council is synonymous to Halliburton under Dick Cheney. With New Ferry featuring as the war-torn landscape of Iraq.

      We can rebuild it. And we can carve out plenty of cash for ourselves while doing it.

      A match made in Hell. Personal and corporate advancement – rather than helping out beleaguered citizens – will be placed to the forefront.

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