Planning in Action – Planning Committee 17th April

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Apologies if we’re a bit late to the planning party but events have rather overtaken us this week . However we have been asked for your support against a planning application  concerning Ashton Court ,West Kirby  that comes before tonight’s Planning committee.

Planning Committee 17.04.19 agenda

It will be interesting to observe the actions of Planning Committee Chair (!) Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes on this particular agenda item particularly considering the conflicts of interest involved with him being a board member of Magenta Living. But then this is Wirral Council where all kinds of conflicts go undeclared and unchallenged.

Here are the details of one of the objections to the plans:

ASHTON COURT……Planning Committee – Wednesday 17 April 2019.

1.      My name is Alan Rundle and I live at XXX, West Kirby.

2.     This Planning Committee has already rejected two identical planning applications for development at Ashton Court. The Planning Inspectorate has dismissed two appeals.

3.      ‘Magenta Living’ has created three companies to privatise its housing stock. They are ‘Starfish Commercial’, ‘Bamboo Lettings’ and ‘Hilbre Homes’.

4.      The previous two identical applications were submitted by Starfish Commercial.

5.       This application has been submitted by ‘Hilbre Homes’.

6.         Since this application is identical to the previous two, the concerns and objections to the previous applications apply equally to this application.

7.      Six petitions have now been submitted to the Council, objecting to this scheme.

8.     A large number of West Kirby residents want to see the Ashton Court flats refurbished, modernised and occupied, once more, by elderly people.

9.     The Lead Local Flood Authority (the LLFA) objects to this application and recommends refusal of planning permission contrary to what is printed in the Ashton Court Agenda, under the heading ‘CONSULTATIONS’.

10.             I quote from an email sent by the Lead Local Flood Authority to Neil A.Williams, with the subject given as ‘Application APP/18/01625 (Ashton Court) consultation response, dated 10th January 2019. It states:

“……the Lead Local Flood Authority object to this application and recommend refusal of planning permission….” adding “….the proposed scale of development may present risks of flooding on-site and/or elsewhere if surface water run-off is not effectively managed”.

The LLFA also states that “….there is no information whether the system will be in private ownership or offered for adoption, who will be responsible for maintenance and how maintenance of unadopted communal components…….will be secured and funded in perpetuity”.

The LLFA further adds: “In the absence of this information, the surface water flood risk resulting from the proposed development is unknown and this is therefore sufficient reason in itself for a refusal of planning permission”.

11.             The Council’s website shows that there were seven bodies consulted concerning this application. The LLFA one has been seen to recommend refusal of planning permission. I have given some of the LLFA’s reasons. The Wirral Society was consulted. In a communication to Mr. N. Williams, dated 9 January 2019, the Wirral Society writes: “The Wirral Society objects to this repeat, repeat application….”.

Reasons are given including one that states: “Surely, a refurbishment is possible and less costly, and would maintain the green space that is under threat from this application at the centre of Banks Road”.

Why is there no mention of the Wirral Society objection in the Ashton Court Agenda document under the heading ‘CONSULTATIONS’?

Why is the Agenda item ‘CONSULTATIONS’ so misleading and incomplete?

12.             This application breaches several NPPF and Council policies:

  1. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) definition of Previously Developed Land (aka Brownfield Sites) specifically excludes the inclusion of “….land in built-up areas such as private residential gardens….”. Therefore, Ashton Court does not qualify as a Brownfield Site and should be removed from the Council’s Register of Brownfield Sites.
    Ashton Court is not actually given ‘confirmed’ status on the Council’s Brownfield Site Register and, as a consequence, this application does not qualify for the subsidy of a Vacant Building Credit of £9,291 to be paid by the Council to the applicant.

    The Lead Local Flood Authority has previously stated that the site cannot be classed as ‘previously developed’ or ‘brownfield’ for the purposes of the water drainage system.

    (ii) GRE1 – The title of the Council’s Urban Greenspace Strategic Policy is a big clue as to what it is intended to do: GRE1 The Protection of Urban Greenspace. This planning application proposes to cover urban greenspace with concrete, tarmac and bricks and mortar.

    (iii) SPD2…..Separation Distances.
    In the Agenda, section 3.8.13 it states that “Almost all separation distances are complied with“.This is not acceptable. Does the Council’s SPD2 policy apply to some residents but not to others, or does the SPD2 policy apply to all residents? This application breaches the Council’s SPD2 policy.

    (iv) SPD4…..Car Parking provision for newly-built properties – 27 car parking spaces should have been provided for the proposed 14 houses. This application breaches the Council’s SPD4 policy. and

      (v) the NPPF definition of ‘Affordable Housing’ states that

     “Social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing, provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the market. Eligibility is determined with regard to local incomes and local house prices. Affordable housing should include provisions to remain at an affordable price for future eligible households or for the subsidy to be recycled for alternative housing provision”. “Intermediate housing” is homes for sale and rent provided at a cost above social rent, but below market levels.

    It is not clear that the applicant has made any commitment to guarantee that future eligible households will receive any subsidy.

13.             Some West Kirby residents have suggested that the Council compulsorily purchase the Ashton Court retirement flats.

14.             Some West Kirby residents have expressed their desire to see the Ashton Court flats awarded listed status…….as an example of 1960s council housing.

15.            This application includes no Social Rented Housing…….no Intermediate Housing……. and……no Key Worker Housing.

16.            I ask Wirral Council’s Planning Committee to reject this planning application.

 

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 :
ashton park 10
ashton park 9
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.

The Twelve Days of Christmas : Day Five -More for Torus , Less for All of Us

Eastham Housing

There’s an interesting post on the Save Our Social Housing Facebook page which reads :

Torus Housing Association ( Magenta Living’s bedfellows in Bamboo) have lodged an application to build 28 homes on the Lyndale School site in Eastham. They will be a mixture of 2,3 and 4 bedroom homes to be sold under a shared ownership scheme with four being let at affordable/social rents. This is not good enough. Wirral Council must require more homes for genuine affordable rents as per Labour Party policy. They should follow the Islington Council example who won their case against a developer forcing them to build more social housing. The Lyndale site is/ was Council property, I say at least 14 of those homes should be genuinely affordable rents.

Talking of bedfellows Wirral Leaks readers will know of the Torus /Bamboo connection because the Torus Chair is none other than Graham Burgess  who was formerly the CEO of Wirral Council when the decision was made to close Lyndale School . But for those who are unfamiliar with the story you can catch up here  and also find out the links to Magenta Living ( Board members Cllr Steve Foulkes and Cllr Jeff Green). The full sorry story of the closure of Lyndale School and the role of Cllr Steve Foulkes can be read here
And so what was once public property now becomes part of the portfolio of a private company  headed up by a former self serving public servant who did very well for himself at Wirral Council and did absolutely nothing for the people of Wirral.
Isn’t it just wonderful how the plans seem to work out for people such as Burgess, Foulkes and their ilk ? We’re left wondering whether future plans were hatched as far back as October 2012 at ‘The Mayor’s Ball’ were you can see from this story on our old website there were some familiar names involved in the closure of Lyndale School and a very interesting seating arrangement :

Table 2 (9)

Mr & Mrs G Burgess

Mr & Mrs G Hodkinson

Ms Julia Hassall

Mr David Armstrong

Ms Fiona Johnstone

Mr Kevin Adderley

Mrs Emma Degg

Burgess-Cake-.jpg

Let them have shared ownership and be grateful…

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #19

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HAVE YOUR SAY ON PROPOSED PARKING CHARGES BEFORE JUNE 22

Derby Pool car park users have their say now its up to the rest of you to let Wirral Council know that drivers aren’t cash cows to fund fat cats.

ARTIST’S IMPRESSION OF THE WEEK

WW AI Latest 

Here’s the latest artist’s impression for Wirral Waters (are they still calling it that?)

Apparently so :

As well as creating a hub for marine ‘entrepreneurship, enterprise, skills and culture’, the complex will revamp the 1860s central hydraulic tower and engine house designed by Jesse Hartley as a copy of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. The Grade II-listed building was bombed during the Second World War and has remained largely derelict ever since.

Read more here : Wirral Waters Marine Complex

It wouldn’t surprise us that the next thing you know Wirral Council leader  Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies and the usual crew from the Wirral Chamber of Commerce will be jetting off to Italy to twin Birkenhead with Florence!

However it seems to us that Wirral Waters continues to progress with its opportunistic, ad hoc  developments. A dementia care village here, a marine complex there etc; etc ; – backed by a never ending portfolio of artist’s impressions . All very eyecatching – but not as eyecatching as the big red bridge in Tower Road that is still resolutely refusing to be put back in its place.

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Pic courtesy of Wirral Globe

BAMBOO HULLABALOO

From “Save Our Social Housing” Facebook group :

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Might we suggest that Labour Party members approach Wirral Councillors who sit on Magenta Living’s Board and particularly their Labour representatives Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes and Cllr Stuart ‘Witless’ Whittingham (or even Tory councillor  Jeff Green – after all he is Foulkesy’s ‘kindred’). Or perhaps not……

Magenta Living Board

AND FINALLY ……THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING

Details of  latest Wirral councillors ‘Gifts and Hospitality’ register has been published . Needless to say we were particularly drawn to Council leader  Power Boy Pip’s entries. which are as follows :

Birkenhead and Tranmere leader of the council Cllr Phil Davies

March 11, 2018: Visit to New York for the City Leadership initiative – March 11 to 15, 2018, offered by Bloomberg Foundation.

Accepted.  

Value: unknown.

November 28, 2017: Meal and concert ticket at the Echo Arena, Liverpool offered by The Contact Company.

Accepted.

Value: unknown.

As our eyewitness source told us last November the latter was not just a meal and concert ticket- Pip  was in a private box….

 

….council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies , seen bopping away in a PRIVATE box in the Liverpool Echo Arena at last night’s Queen & Adam Lambert concert, paid for the dubious privilege or at least made an appropriate conflict of interest declaration. Just sayin’ …… Full story here : A Repulsive Exclusive

We thought at the time that Pip could have been enjoying the hospitality of the Liverpool Echo itself  but it now transpires that he was the beneficiary of Asif Hamid’s largesse (!) via The Contact Company . As far as we’re concerned this is considerably worse in terms of conflict of interest , especially when you consider that Hamid is the Chair of Wirral Chamber of Commerce who have been the beneficiaries of Wirral Council generosity when it comes to giving the Chamber  grace and favour properties – sometimes at peppercorn rent. We would’ve thought that it would have been prudent of Pip to think twice before accepting such a gift.

But then we suppose this is nothing new for Pip. After all he is used to dancing to an old Queen’s tune isn’t he?…….

Wirral Leaks Election Section 2018 – 4 weeks to go

With just under a month to go until the local council elections the electioneering seems to be in full swing . Leaflets, meetings , canvassing , campaigning, photo opportunities and doorstepping galore.

Therefore we’d appreciate your thoughts and observations on the people who appear out of nowhere every couple of years promising you the earth – and who usually end up delivering the third world!

We’ve already had a few contributions from people telling us they’ve had encounters with spectacularly naive or deeply manipulative  prospective candidates who when challenged about their respective parties (both locally and nationally) claim that they’re different and they’re the one who will challenge the local hegemony and change the world. To which the only sensible answer is : “Yeah, whatevs!”

One such correspondent writes:

I was talking to a group of people today in Upton who had set a table up with the Stop Hoylake Golf Resort petition, I was just about to say signed it etc…when one of the guys started telling me all about the campaign etc……I said that I thought it was being pushed through and many local people don’t want it….the chap went on to tell me they were all Labour Party members and they didn’t want it and he said that this was all down to Phil Davies and ‘his core buddies’ .This chap then produced a planning application and said ‘read the highlighted last paragraph of this! It said ‘ Upon planning permission being granted the developer will give Wirral Council £300k’ I was flabbergasted never seen the document before or heard anything about a ‘sweetener’
Talk about a conflict of interest…..just thought you may find this of interest.

Of course whilst this is interesting it isn’t news to us. It’s hidden in plain sight here : Hoylake Golf Resort (Cabinet November 2016)  and expertly highlighted in this John Brace blog post : Did Hoylake Golf Resort developer offer £300 ,000 if its planning application is approved . Although it must be said we particularly  liked the reference to Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies and ‘his core buddies’ because as we know he’s all about political power for the few and not the many!

However this is a shining example of what we always say about election time. This is your chance to find out what is actually going on in your name, to ask all those awkward questions and hold local politicians to account. REMEMBER : THEY ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO YOU! Think about local issues that matter to you and vote accordingly. Don’t just put an X in the box because the named candidate wears a particular coloured rosette.  Spoil your ballot paper if you must but please,please,please engage some critical thinking. After all these are critical times!

Meanwhile we at Wirral Leaks are happy to receive contributions for either satirical or political purposes. However we reserve the right to only publish information about issues we support or we can take the piss out of.  It’s how we roll! Accordingly we are more than happy to publish details of a ‘Social Housing Public Meeting’ to be held on Friday 13th April (!) which is chaired by Jo Bird , the Labour candidate for the Eastham ward.

Wirral Leaks readers will know our position on social housing in general and Bamboo Lettings in particular from reading our House of Bamboo and Bamboo- zled – The Future of Social Housing? posts. We recommend for those particularly interested in the future of social housing to attend. All we will say is that the crucial test for us will be whether Jo Bird, if elected, would be prepared to challenge Power Boy Pip’s ‘core buddies’ Cllr Steve Foulkes and Cllr Stuart Whittingham on their apparent stance, as Magenta Living board members ,on the issue of social housing.

Eastham Social Housing Public Meeting - Poster

Bamboo- zled – The Future of Social Housing?

We received a cryptic reply to our House of Bamboo post from someone called ‘Frank’ ( ha! ha! ) who asked :

Are you bored? 

And to which we replied :

More weltschmerz than ennui.

Why do you ask?

We used the word weltschmerz because it is a feeling that emerges from the realisation that things could be and should be better. This feeling is particularly aroused when it comes to  housing ,and specifically social housing on Wirral . For the moment we’ll  resist commenting on Wirral Waters and the Hoylake Golf Resort when it comes to Wirral Council’s approach to affordable housing and return to the worrying story of Bamboo Lettings.

Fortunately we’re not the only ones who regard the annexing of social housing for profit and personal gain to be deeply concerning. What makes it worse for us is that it involves some Wirral Leaks old timers who would no doubt justify their actions when it comes to social responsibility and just like Wirral Council blame ” Tory cuts”. Once again ,if only it were as simple as that…………….

Firstly our thanks go to Chelsea Guy who reveals on her Facebook page :

Bamboo Chelsea

Magenta Living’s attempt to “explain” Bamboo in their Spring 2018 magazine.

“In order to help fund existing services and build new affordable housing we looked at other ways to bring income in to meet the shortfall” – so essentially, denying people suitable housing when they’re in need of it, in order to build new “affordable” housing, to then pass it on to Bamboo and charge twice the rent in comparison to AFFORDABLE SOCIAL HOUSING.“Properties are spread across Wirral”.. but they fail to mention it’s only the more affluent areas, three properties in Eastham alone in the last 4 weeks. Along side the fact they take what should be SOCIAL HOUSING and make it; no housing benefit, working tenants only, and slap on all the fees like admin fees, application fees.Let’s just remember that Magenta own 50% of Bamboo and bring in 50% of all profits, yet fail to tend to issues their own tenants are having such as the mould in my property.Seems like a bit of a coincidence that a fuss was kicked up about Bamboo and now it’s featured in their magazine.

Isn’t it just Chelsea?

For an even more in depth analysis of what’s going on we once again guide you towards Joe Halewood’s peerless SPeye blog . The title of his latest post is  No DSS in council housing and social cleansing approved by Labour councils     where he writes :

In summary Labour councillors in Wirral – which includes the constituencies of Frank Field as the chair of the all party parliamentary working group on DWP matters and the new Labour Shadow DWP Minister in Margaret Greenwood – have voted for a policy of No DSS and a policy of social cleansing to take place by Magenta who have around 70% of all social housing in Wirral.

Even Tories in Wirral voted against this and even Tory voters would be ashamed of this social cleansing that the Labour council voted to allow.

In housing terms we see Magenta, Torus and by extension Liverpool Mutual Homes being the antithesis of the social landlords they repeatedly claim to be and then again we can add Liverpool City Council itself to that list as they are too setting up their own private sector landlord company called Foundations which will rent out at affordable rents and full market rent levels and without irony or shame called this an Ethical housing landlord!

It’s an SPeye opener!

So with so many outstanding questions and with Wirral Council’s representatives on Magenta Housing board  – Cllr Steve Foulkes, Cllr Jeff Green and Cllr Stuart Whittingham –  either unwilling or unable to ask them and with the various bodies below being exempt from the provisions of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) we thought we’d publicly pose the following questions :

a) Three years after Golden Gates Housing and Helena Housing formed the Torus group are senior managers planning on collapsing the group and merging with Liverpool Mutual Homes?
b) Will this see the end of local companies Golden Gates and Helena Housing?
c) Will the customers who own Golden Gates and Helena Housing be asked to vote to see if they agree with these changes ?
c) Will the control of Torus pass to the senior managers in Liverpool Mutual Homes?
d) Will the plan be good news for only a small number of people such as Rob Young CEO of Torus (and former Assistant Director of Housing at Wirral Council) who could retire with an enhanced pension package just as the CEO of Golden Gates did when Torus was formed three years ago?
e) Will the plan also be good news for the CEO of Liverpool Mutual Homes (LMH) and his senior team who will take over a much bigger Torus with a huge pay rise just as Mr Young did when Torus was formed three years ago?
f) Will the current CEO of LMH be appointed not because he is the best candidate for the job after a rigorous selection process but because his company was selected by his old friends Rob Young and Graham Burgess?
g) Will it be good news for Graham Burgess Chair of the Torus Board who having ‘retired’ as CEO from Wirral Council once again becomes a big player in the Liverpool City region?
For everyone else – social housing tenants and staff included – the answers to these questions may not be so good . Meanwhile it’s all very reminiscent of that Carl Sagan quote we’ve used before : “One of the saddest lessons of history is this : If we’ve been bamboozled long enough we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth . The bamboozle has captured us…”

 

House of Bamboo

bamboo lettings 2
It’s made of sticks.
Sticks and bricks,
But you can get your kicks
In the house of bamboo.
If you consider the ‘personalities’ involved and the issues it raises it might strike you as surprising that we’ve only just caught up the curious case of Bamboo Lettings. Furthermore if you ever wanted to know about how things work on Wirral and in the wider world of networking – here it is laid out for you in this deeply worrying story.
We were prompted to pursue this story by a recent correspondent who asked us:
Also can you advise re Magenta Living being a Social non profit org. starting up a subsidiary called Bamboo Lettings which is a joint venture with Torus Group (St Helens – Graham Burgess) which will increase the returns on some formerly social-rented stock by letting them at market rates for a period of five years.
At 31st March 2017, Magenta Living had transferred 5 properties into Bamboo Lettings, with the intention being that a further 95 properties will be transferred into Bamboo by the end of 2017-18. Magenta Annual Report 2016/17
It might be legal but who decides property A is Social – Property B next door is commercial and charges more? 100 now ,how many in future years? Still classed as a Charity? Stinks to high heaven……………..
However it should be noted it was a brave and curious Wirral resident who first raised the issue courtesy of a Freedom of Information request in May 2016 . You might be surprised to know this local housing development wasn’t lauded with a press release featuring fat felines grinning like the proverbial Cheshire cat. Maybe that’s because some deeply troubling questions might have been asked at the time – Bamboo Lettings – FOI request
It was left to Joe Halewood and his excellent welfare rights blog SPeye blog to pick up on the issues with this post in February 2017 where Joe writes :
Bamboo Lettings is owned by Magenta and Torus.  Magenta was the former council housing department of Wirral Borough Council, and Torus is the former council housing departments of Warrington and St Helens.  It has offices in Wirral and even its own Facebook page here and there you can see the strap line Bamboo Lettings is a private lettings company, with properties in Wirral, Warrington and St Helens.  Such contrived and opaque constructs are no longer needed reader!
Then belatedly, but God love him ,  Lib Dem Cllr Stuart Kelly tried to raise the profile of this dodgy development and introduced a Notice of Motion at a Wirral Council meeting in July 2017
LOSS OF SOCIAL HOUSING TO BAMBOO LETTINGS LLP (to be debated)
Proposed by Councillor Stuart Kelly
Seconded by Councillor Chris Carubia
Council notes the establishment of a private lettings company known as Bamboo
Lettings LLP between Magenta Living and a housing organisation called Torus.
Council notes that Magenta are planning to transfer under a lease arrangement up to100 social housing homes to Bamboo Lettings company for them to be let at full market rents.
Council notes that a three bedroom house offered for let by Bamboo in the
Woodchurch area will cost a prospective tenant £137 per week against the social
rent charged by Magenta of circa £97 per week in the same area (and against an
‘affordable’ rent level of £110).
In addition, Council is concerned that Bamboo Lettings also charge private sector
style ‘fees’; an example of these fees for a three bedroom house in the Woodchurch
area is:
 Application fee – £50
 Administration fee – £75
 Guarantor fee – £50
 Check out fee – £60
 Additional deposit for a pet – £100
Council believes that these fees are not linked to the service provided, are
unacceptable and extortionate and requests a justification for this regime.
Council notes the Cabinet Member for Housing has told Magenta that Wirral Council would not want to see larger 4 bedroom accommodation, those for older people and those adapted properties being transferred; and has highlighted to Magenta concerns about a number of disposals occurring in the same popular locations, thus reducing availability of social housing stock.
Council notes that there are currently 9643 people registered on the Choice Based
Lettings System, of which 2348 have a housing priority need.
Council has objections to the use of social housing in this way and requests (through the Council’s Managing Director for Delivery to Magenta Living) that the relationship with Torus/Bamboo be suspended to allow the Council the opportunity to fully investigate the use of social housing stock as de facto private rented houses https://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50042720/Council%20NoMs%20-%2010-7-17.pdf8
Cllr Kelly elaborated further on his concerns about this development in this Wirral Globe article  – Councillor slams ‘unacceptable and extortionate transfer of former council houses’
Needless to say nobody took a blind bit of notice of the ‘Notice of Motion’ and that’s not just because Cllr Kelly is a Lib Dem with – let’s face it – no power or influence over Wirral Council whatsoever.
So let’s join the dots and explain why that might be the case and look at the interested parties who do have that kind of power and influence. First of all can we say that any joint venture between Magenta Living and Torus should have been called Red Bull(shit)- geddit?
First of all here’s the Torus Group Board or more accurately the Torus COMMON PURPOSE Board TORUS COMMON PURPOSE BOARD
We first highlighted the connections here : Where Are They Now? Part 4- Emma Degg
Torus 032
Wirral Leaks readers may recall the candy floss- haired one on the left is former Wirral Council CEO Graham Burgess who’s main claim to fame is that he once shared a hole at the ‘The Open’ with former Wirral Council Super Duper Director Kevin Adderley when it was last held in Hoylake. The man on the right is Rob’ Narcissist’ Young – a former Assistant Director of Wirral Council’s Housing Department.
Although surprisingly for such egomaniacs they’re quite shy about their involvement in this money-making racket masquerading as Tory housing policy : Companies House Officers
See how this works yet ? If you don’t , you need to realise that Magenta Living Board includes such Wirral Council  luminaries as Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes , Cllr Jeff ‘Kindred’ Green and Cllr Stuart ‘Witless’ Whittingham Magenta Living Board
Which raises the question as to why they were appointed in the first place – could it be they are the last people who’d raise questions in the best interests of those who need social housing?  Ever felt you’ve been bamboozled by bureaucrats?