Defend Our NHS : public meeting, film show and discussion TOMORROW 30th July

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Dear friends of the NHS

Two announcements:

  1. A reminder of next Tuesday’s (30th July) public meeting, film show and discussion in Birkenhead Town Hall. See the flyer below. PLEASE SHARE and make every attempt to be there. The film will start promptly at 7:00pm. A collection will be taken.
  2. Following a shocking decision on our walk-in services last night by a Wirral Council committee we invite you to an emergency gathering in the nearby Stork Hotel immediately after the film show ends. A brief discussion will include agreement on further imminent urgent action.

Best wishes on behalf of Defend Our NHS

 

WALK ON BY – Defend Our NHS: 45,000 people or a committee?

In all of the recent local press coverage about the proposed closure of Wirral’s NHS Walk–In Centres  it seemed to us it was a case of mutual arse-kissing with Frank Field/Abhi Mantegni/Wirral Globe thanking each other for saving us all from the bleeding obvious decision that closing local NHS Walk-In Centres makes no sense whatsoever – economically or politically.

Meanwhile our unrelenting friends at Defend Our NHS were dismissed and unnamed in these reports as ‘campaigners’.

So let’s give these true defenders their due and support their efforts to save us from a fate worse than a total fuck up.

 

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Guess the Ex

And so farewell then to another controversial Wirral Council manager who will be ‘retiring’ . Again we must get round to leaking the full story  before we go but in the mean time a council insider sends us the following message and invites us to do some detective work and guess the ex- Wirral Council manager heading to pastures new (aka the green, green grass of North Wales)
Detective
Well time is moving on and X is also, with a large payout , a nice income and with feet firmly placed on the sofa … or will they ?  X is setting up his own cleaning company allegedly utilising the contractors and contacts within and without he has cuddled up to since taking the reins from sick note Dave ‘the rave’ Armstrong who’s time may also be catching up and running out. So how can a young man in his fifties retire early when others in their sixties are denied their applications? There are strict rules to follow, like the job is being made redundant. If ever the council need this role it’s now. Someone who has all the attributes to stop the waste , get a grip of contractors so real value for money can be achieved with professional procurement and standards .The job should not be lost but enhanced.It’s little more than a fudge , a con and David’s promise coming true. For the few not the many.
X’s job can not and should not be made redundant to justify early retirement and pay offs, it’s a critical role. But an Armstrong promise.Nice buffet at Birkenhead Town Hall and drinks at Hornblowers . Apt name.They are getting around it by upgrading people’s roles and paying them more to continue the same shit and take on X’s duties  The jobs not redundant it’s made to look that way. 
It is with quiet confidence and a little inside knowledge that X as the protector of the contractor with the worst reputation in the history of the council for both pricing and quality will also be moving on. There will be no tears and definitely no one to defend their indefensible corner. Moreover cheers and celebrations will be ringing in every head teachers ears. Let’s hope X retires and spends many hours with his golf club crew, but let us all keep an eye out for any back hand return utilising the old boys golf network and the councils cash cow machine of waste. Dithering no conflict Eric (Robinson) can see the heat you generate is not without merit and substance and there are signs that he is putting people in positions that are not as dithering .Let’s watch this space. Maybe light at the end of the tunnel with contractors that can really repair leaks…

EXCLUSIVE : And the new Parliamentary Labour candidate for Birkenhead is…

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As you will know from this report : EXCLUSIVE : The runners and riders in the race to be the next MP for Birkenhead we’ve been breathless with anticipation to find out who Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party (CLP) would choose to succeed Frank Field as their candidate for the next General Election .

This is the report from our man on the inside holding his head in his hands wondering whether it’s a cock up or a conspiracy…

The Selection Committee election didn’t go ahead tonight, it started off
badly with the Town Hall being locked securely causing meeting to be
transferred to The Welcome Centre on Argyle Street at the last minute. 
Sadly the candidate’s statements were also locked in the Town Hall,
after initially being told the vote was going ahead without any real
knowledge of the candidate’s viewpoints, the meeting chose to take over
and it was agreed that the election will be held at a later date, as
soon as possible.

An offer of allowing each candidate to speak for two minutes was on the
table but not only was it unclear whether all the candidates were
present but also it wasn’t deemed fair that this should be sprung on
them especially with such a small time slot.

It was also suggested that the statements should emailed out, reading 16
candidate’s statements of 250 words each in the meeting (potentially
4000 words) was not considered conducive to finding the five most suitable.

Various other points were raised including one candidate’s application
appearing to be waived through despite it not being correctly received by
the deadline.

The Chairman had a hard job which wasn’t helped by the dictatorial NEC
member that was present who despite being there to ensure due process,
seemed to want to throw the rulebook away and make up his own rules on
the fly (I’m sure he will see it differently). Democracy won the day.

Defend Our NHS: Romance is in the air – 14th February

 

Apologies to all our campaigning friends on Wirral – you haven’t had a look in this week but we hope to rectify the situation this Sunday evening with a trio of posts (yes , you lucky people). Could this be the start of Wirral Leaks ‘Sunday Campaign Bulletin’ ? Probably not! First up we have our faithful friends at Defend Our NHS . Not only are we liking their campaign we’re liking their campaigning style…

Romance2Birkenhead Town Hall
7.00pm
14th February
(dress code optional but wear your heart on your sleeve)

Dear friends of the NHS

We have been undecided on the most appropriate Valentine-themed title for our next public meeting on 14th February.

Given that 32,000 of us, including many local doctors, still await a response to our objections to Wirral CCG’s plans to undermine community health centre services, our early suggestion was walk-in back to (un)happiness

As the plans are only part of the wider political agenda to ‘slash, trash and privatise’ we changed the title to the St Valentine’ Day Massacre (of the NHS in Wirral)

But, on a day for the softy in you, when you will be thinking of roses and chocolates and candlelit suppers and sloppy films, if you and yours are making your way through a cold dark Wirral night you deserve a fine romance

So this is what we have in store for you. A drama of epic proportions! Spanning continents! Passion! Pride! Laughter! Tears! Yet more tears! Romance!

Yes! It’s the love for the NHS that dare not speak its name. Four men against the world!

PS 1: For the BIG picture of what’s happening to our NHS read this: https://publicmatters.org.uk/2019/01/25/rinse-and-repeat-the-sequel-to-the-5-year-forward-view/

PS 2: For the REGIONAL picture read this: What changes will patients notice when the NHS is run by Integrated Care Systems and Providers?

PS 3: for the LOCAL picture go to our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/defendournhs/

 

 

Defend Our NHS : walk-in back to (un)happiness?

 

defend our nhs wirral

Dear friends of the NHS

Are you ready to be insulted? You probably will be (again) on next month. Read on!

Insult and minor injury

Before Christmas 32,000 people signed petitions opposing the proposed damaging changes to Wirral’s walk-in and minor injuries services.

The petitions (organised by us and by local doctors and other campaign groups) also called for the board of Wirral’s clinical commissioning group (CCG) to organise meetings in every Council ward to explain themselves.

In November Wirral councillors* demanded that the related farcical ‘consultation’ be ended and that “…the CCG come back to clinicians and patient group[s] to discuss meaningful and open proposals to retain the existing community-based services and improve the services, not at the cost of them being subsumed into a new Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) at Arrowe Park Hospital”.

And what was the CCG response? They said ‘consultation’ would continue as planned but “notes the motion”. They said they would ‘listen’ to the thousands (having based the changes on the alleged ‘confusion’ of a few hundred).

The arguments should (but there’s no guarantee) be aired again in February. AND WE URGE YOU TO ATTEND TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD.

  • On Tuesday, 5th February 2019 at 2.00pm in Birkenhead Town Hall there’s a meeting of the Joint Strategic Commissioning Board*. Three Wirral councillors (Councillor Chris Jones, Councillor Bernie Mooneyand Councillor Stuart Whittingham  will meet a mass of CCG representatives to continue the now agreed plans to run local health and care services jointly. Oh, by the way, the Council now picks up the tab when the CCG gets into (more) financial hot water, acting (to quote the document) in a ‘cash management/banking role until anticipated income is received’.
  • Then on Tuesday 12th February from 1.00pm in the Exmouth Room at the Lauries in Birkenhead it’s the CCG Governing Body meeting. Will they have listened by then?  They tell us that “An analysis of the feedback received during the consultation period has commenced.  This will be considered along with other evidence by the NHS Wirral CCG Governing Body later in the year [no date given].  The analysis and report is being completed by an external organisation.” (Uh, oh! We hope it’s not PWC!)

*Ignorance or hypocrisy?  Wirral Council wins at Pointless

Wirral councillors do not seem to realise that they can condemn walk-in changes as loudly as they like but their opposition is pointless. Why? They have signed a ‘Section 75’ agreement with the CCG. That’s part of the ‘sustainability and transformation/accountable care/integrated care’ system which the Council has been aiding and abetting for years – while denying it was happening. It includes ‘urgent care transformation’ and the end of current walk-in services. That’s why persuading them to change direction and defend our NHS is ever more important.

So, who said romance is dead?

What more appropriate date on which to discover the answer to that question than Thursday 14th February? We will be holding our next public meeting that evening (details soon) and hope that you will share your Valentine’s Day with fellow romantics determined to Defend Our NHS.

Best wishes on behalf of DONHS

 

Poppy Appeal

 

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Following today’s Armistice Centenary commemorations we’ve had a number of appeals asking us do we know anything about the ‘poppy situation’ or rather the ‘non-poppy situation’ at Wallasey Town Hall.

Poppy 2017

2017

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2018

Among the pleas are these :

Looking at the national news and the lengths that communities have gone to commemorate the end of World War 1. The fact that Wallasey Town Hall remains when ,streets,shops etc all over the country have been working for years for this day. Sunday! 100 years on ,yet the town hall in Wallasey is empty. Its poppy has been a focal point for years . Nowhere to be seen,yet no-one seems to care .It’s staggering. It’s not newsworthy.It’s incredible yet social media is condemning all who are not remembering. Where was our WALLASEY TOWN HALL POPPY? Where is our town hall contribution?

Another message read :

My grandad’s parade will leave the Royal British Legion ,Wallasey at 10.15 am passing our town hall with no poppy to be followed by a service at the War Memorial at Magazine Parade, New Brighton, New Brighton ,at 10.55

Birkenhead Town Hall has its poppy. Liverpool and St George’s Hall have hundreds . So where is Wallasey’s ? ‘Eyes right’ … when our veterans walk past this will not be shouted this year. No,not this year, of all years ! Answers please !!!!

 

Although perhaps the questions should be directed elsewhere we’ve done what we can on this momentous day to answer them.

First of all we’d like to make the observation as to whether Wirral’s  councillors or managers noticed the omission or did anything to address it ? Or is it all about Birkenhead Town Hall this year (and we all know who’s pulling those strings there don’t we boys and girls?)

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Forget the poppy – the most significant symbol in this picture is the seagull. Just like Wirral Council it has a tendency to shit on people from a great height.

An initial enquiry about the poppy omission at Wallasey Town Hall led to the response : “Some sort of cock up apparently” . Further enquiries reveal that the poppy was damaged last year and despite the fact that one whole year has passed and that 2018 was particularly significant, a repair was not arranged in time. Which leads us to scream at someone : YOU HAD ONE JOB !

Apparently the damaged poppy was dragged up from the basement this week for a photoshoot and then swiftly dragged back down when awkward questions were asked about why it wasn’t up outside Wallasey Town Hall.

So whilst we know in the scheme of things getting a poppy up outside Wallasey Town Hall isn’t the worse thing that Wirral Council have done but we’re talking about symbolism here and the poppy itself  is one of the most potent symbols we know. So as far as we’re concerned this sorry story symbolises everything about Wirral Council.

File under CBA (Can’t Be Arsed).  What a way to commemorate the fallen.

 

 

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #9

Javid letter 354

Mail on Sunday 25/3/18

LOCAL PLANS,WEDDING PLANS – IT’S ALL THE SAME TO THE PLANNING DEPARTMENT (NO F*CKS ARE GIVEN)  

We think it’s fair to say it’s been a bad week for Wirral Council’s planning department. Just to cap it off there was a High Court ruling on the long running Thornton Manor story  A Thornton Huff : Where once again ‘ignorance is bliss’ when it comes to the Green Belt . You won’t be surprised to hear that Mr Justice Kerr ruled that Wirral Council had allowed Thornton Manor to flout planning laws and erect three marquees on the Green Belt by mistakenly making the permission to do so ‘unconditional’. The council only spotted the blunder in March 2017  – SIX YEARS  after permission was granted – like you do. In an unprecedented move Wirral Council apparently “confessed to its error “(!) which prompted the owners of  nearby rival and Mayor’s Ball venue , Thornton Hall Hotel, to make a legal challenge. Press reports say that as Thornton Manor has made wedding bookings up until 2020 that up to 50,000 guests could be affected by the ruling. Mr Justice Kerr stated ” I do not think that the existence of these bookings should override the public interest in the integrity of the planning process”. Little does he know that the public interest and integrity of the planning process seem to be alien concepts to Wirral Council!

We have to say the story reduced Her Ladyship to tears……..tears of laughter that is – as she read that blushing brides had been tempted to hire one of the marquees for their big day with a ‘Say I Do In Choo’ promo, where if they spent £3,950 – which struck us as a bit of a random figure – they would be entitled to a £500 voucher for Jimmy Choo shoes.  Her Ladyship composed herself after her bout of schadenfreude and rather pointedly sniffed : ” I think that prospective brides will find that being Choo-less is the first of many disappointments when it comes to married life “

“DON’T LET THE S*N GO DOWN ON FRANK” PLEADS MATRON

Oo-er Matron! Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin tries to come to the rescue of her adored Frank Field as he came under fire at Friday night’s Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party (CLP) meeting for continuing to write for The S*n .

The Skwawkbox blog reports that a strongly-worded motion of censure was proposed by Birkenhead CLP’s Prenton branch which stated as follows :

Prenton Branch condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the decision of Frank Field to write for Murdoch’s S*n. This not only flies in the face of Birkenhead public opinion and a Wirral Labour Council boycott, it rides roughshod over the memory of those who died or survived the Hillsborough tragedy and were smeared by that rag. It also causes upset to friends and family of victims and survivors.

One Prenton member has cancelled his membership due to Frank’s involvement in the gutter press. The branch feels that this is a clear case of bringing our Party into disrepute.

We call on Frank, to give a clear, unambiguous, public apology, for the hurt caused and to provide an undertaking not to contribute in any way, in future.

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“The writing was almost literally on the wall beyond him” –  pic and caption courtesy The Skwawkbox

A Labour Party member who was present at the meeting told Skwawkbox :

Frank said that he would not be muzzled. He refused to give the requested commitment not to repeat the offence caused and stated that if members didn’t like it, they could deselect him.

He flounced out of the meeting, claiming that he was continuing his surgery at nearby Birkenhead Town Hall. Nobody believed that, as it was nearly 8 pm and his surgery started at 5 pm!

His parting shot was some snide comment about Jeremy Corbyn, but members shouted back at him “thanks for nominating him”, as Field provided the deciding vote, which secured JC’s place on the original ballot!

We remind him of that frequently. If he thought he was being clever at the time, and JC had no chance of winning, look how that turned out.

Read full story here : Labour MP Field censured by Birkenhead CLP for S*n columns

The flouncing , arrogance and snide comments of Frankenfield will be familiar to those who happen to get on the wrong side of the Birkenhead MP . All you have to do is simply not to agree that he is 100% right on EVERYTHING and fail to prostrate yourself in adoration before him and you’re a wild-eyed Trotskyite and/or a mad malcontent. Which brings us round to Matron who gallantly (and unusually) writes in support of her hero in the comments section (Frankenfield had himself had declined to comment to The Skwawkbox) . There’s an interesting spat with local blogger Wirral In It Together. Matron loses – badly (and inevitably). One comment that particularly caught our eye was from Ian Campbell who wrote : “1984 N Wales Euro election Frank FIELDS (sic)  signed a half page in all the 10 constituency newspapers to warn against Ian Campbell the official Labour Candidate LP general Secretary wrote to me to apologise adding Fields has the backing of the Catholic Church and is untouchable.”

This reminded us that we really must get round to that story about Anglican Field’s extensive local connections with the Catholic Church………

ALL WRAPPED UP

You’re telling us that the Wirral Growth Company news emanating from its PR arm Wirral Well Made is absolutely relentless. We understand that this week’s Wirral Globe featured yet another 4 page  wrap around ‘advertising feature’ (costing  £4K +). Why Wirral Council’s ruling Labour administration continues to publish their Wirral View and duplicate spending on exactly the same content in a local newspaper we can only assume is down to arrogance and contempt for council tax payers. Wirral Well Made ‘s Martin Liptrot must be Wirral well made up that having wanting to put the Wirral Globe out of business he now has the financial means to use it as just another Wirral Council media outlet  Indeed Wirral Council now appear to have the local mainstream media all wrapped up. Indeed one reader has kindly sent us an artful representation of what it feels like to be subject to the ongoing media bombardment :

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And what’s more it would appear that local opposition parties are not able to do anything about it. Whilst we understand the local Conservatives took out their own pre-purdah page in this week’s Wirral Globe (presumably paid for by local Tories and not by local council tax payers) to rerun the usual fare of complaints about consultants, Wirral View , Hoylake Golf Resort , bins and loans it seems to us that despite the high costs these are , politically-speaking , low ticket items :

Javid letter 360

The problem that opposition parties on Wirral now have (and particularly the Tories) is that as a result of their misplaced politesse the big ticket item of institutional corruption involving a small cabal of  Labour councillors has allowed the latter to act with impunity . Consequently this cabal have grown in strength, increased their power and are now acting, somewhat like their mentor and spiritual leader Frankenfield , as though they are “untouchable” . And with a perpetually impotent opposition with few new ideas things can only get worse.

AND FINALLY….

There were a few notable absentees ( including Cllr Louise Reecejones) and the announcement of a couple of retirements at this week’s full Wirral Council meeting. The latter included Cllr John Hale , a former Wirral Council leader from the last century (or was it the century before that?) and outgoing Mayor and former Deputy Leader of  Wirral Council  Cllr Ann ‘Moving Forward’ McLachlan.  Cllr McLachlan always appeared to us to be in a permanent state of denial about the appalling conduct of some of her contemporaries be they Wirral councillors or council officers . Her mantra was always about ‘moving forward’ as if it made all that ‘unpleasantness’ suddenly disappear. Now that Cllr McLachlan is ‘moving forward’ into retirement from politics perhaps she will take time to reflect that sometimes silence is compliance.

 

 

 

 

Masterplantastic

 

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We sincerely hope it’s not the last hurrah from long time Wirral Leaks contributor Dr Robert Smith. But if it is – what a way to go. The ‘Good Doctor’ shows ‘His Lordship’ up for the flâneur that he truly is.

Now whilst we all would like to live in those alluring artist’s impressions this the harsh reality – expertly and forensically laid bare :

Wirral, Wirral Council, and the development of the ‘Masterplan’ over the last 30 years.

Given that Wirral Waters is a 30-year programme of regeneration of derelict docklands, and a number of now-senior councillors in 2018 have been Wirral Councillors for a similar period, I have been taking a look at the history of ‘Masterplanning’ in Wirral and searched for the successes of the last 30 years. With a few exceptions, the greatest success of the last 30 years of Wirral Masterplanning appears to be a huge growth industry in ‘artist’s impressions’, and very little else.

Masterplanning, as opposed to planning or even developing a scheme (remember them?), appears to come into its own in local authorities, with the adoption of quasi-military and business terminology such as ‘strategic planning’, ‘resource development’, and ‘business case’ justifications in the early 1990s, to demonstrate coherent planning, business-like operations and efficient use of resources. Followed swiftly by ‘blue-sky thinking’, ‘thinking outside the box’, ‘joined-up thinking’, ‘picking the low-hanging fruit’ and ‘going on a journey’, etc., etc.; management-speak jargon, as like what it is frequently spoke…

As multiple regeneration funding sources were amalgamated to form the Single Regeneration Budget in the 1990s, and European funding sources and Objective One status came to Merseyside, a more integrated approach to planning and regeneration was required to achieve external funding support. Wirral Council officers were good at that in the 1990s.

After extensive research of Wirral Council and other partners’ efforts at planning across a wide range of services, facilities or developments, it appears that those who claim regularly to have ‘vision’ are proven by results to be the least well-equipped to hold such a self-aggrandising view.

Wirral Council whose motto may as well be ‘Lectiones sunt didici, sed nihil mutare non’ (‘lessons have been learned, but nothing will change’) is an organisation that does not learn from experience, either its own, or that of others. Now there is neither innovation nor inspiration, just copy and pasting of others’ ideas, there is little public ‘buy-in’ due to imposition, and that is why it mostly doesn’t work. And that lack of truly innovative thinking with genuine public consultation generally leads nowhere, except to bitter resentment. Wirral is never now the first to generate and implement an idea (what Wirral used to be famous for, ferries, town planning, trams, guide dogs, ship building, and lots more), but this mediocrity and endless consultancies creates exactly the pattern that has produced Masterplan after Masterplan after Masterplan, few of which have been fully or partly realised.

The pattern of Wirral Council Masterplanning is this: –

Aspiration (‘I have a vision’) – Perspiration (usually other people’s to promote the ‘vision’) – Degeneration (ongoing decline through delay during ‘visioning’) – Desperation (produce another Masterplan) …eat, sleep, rave, repeat…ad infinitum…

It is notable that Cllr Phil Davies, elected as a councillor in 1991, was having a 2020 Vision for Birkenhead in 2001, but only having a 2020 Vision for Wirral in 2015.

Also worthy of note is that between 1990 and 2008 the regeneration programmes of Wirral CityLands, Hamilton Quarter Project, New Wallasey, Lairdside, New Opportunities for Wirral and Wirral Waterfront, represent a collective investment in excess of £500,000,000. The greater part of it spent in Birkenhead. The Council was the accountable body with ultimate responsibility for the programmes and their continuation. Just to note that there has always been a £1bn investment opportunity in Wirral…why not just add more noughts nowadays to look impressive in the media?

However, in recent times when Wirral Council states that is going to be more ‘business-like’ (shouldn’t this have always been the case?) ‘with a private sector head but with a public-sector heart’ as stated by Cllr Ann McLachlan – when a council spokesperson states that Wirral Council collecting statutory Council Tax and Business Rates is business enterprise representing commercial success of the Council, we should know we are really in trouble.

I took more of an interest in the non-statutory range of Masterplans produced by and for Wirral Council (there is a lot of statutory masterplanning as well, such as in 2017 when Ofsted rated Wirral’s Children’s Services “inadequate” after “widespread and serious failures” were found. This is one element of council core business).

When you fail to deliver a number of crucial core public services (the local authority raison d’etre), you’ve ‘taken your eye off the ball’ for far too long. You then descend into the realms of ‘reputation management’ often similar to propaganda, and create the smokescreen of column inches and artists’ impressions, or even local media allies and an in-house ‘newspaper’ to control publicly available information.

But, I digress, the list below is indicative rather than definitive, and focusses mainly towards the north of the borough, as that is where the Council has chosen to concentrate its efforts. I have included relevant media quotes as appropriate.

 

30+ ‘Masterplans’ in 30 years…that really is Masterplantastic!!

 

1990-1997 Wirral CityLands April 24th, 1997 Wirral Globe. Council Leader Dave Jackson writes “The work done on Birkenhead town centre is an achievement, but it has also given the impetus to make further commercial development possible.”

1995-2002 Hamilton Quarter Project – £82m to create a cultural and creative industries quarter, rebalance the local residential demographic, and develop attractions. The programme centred on Hamilton Square with a brief to unify the Woodside/Hamilton Square link to the retail centre. Also, to continue the ‘Heritage Trail’ museums package initiated by MDC. “Deputy Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil Davies believes the success of the Hamilton Quarter Project, which has completely rejuvenated this part of Birkenhead, has shown what can be achieved.” (Mike Hornby 11th Jan 2002, Daily Post)

1998-2003 New Wallasey – “More than £9m had been allotted to carry out work in New Brighton and Wallasey, and, at the time, it included ambitious plans to build a Merseyside Imperial War Museum. But many of the hopes fell by the wayside and the scheme came in for much criticism when one of its lasting legacies was the New Brighton clown – a sculpture welcoming people to the town.” Mar 31, 2005 Daily Post

1996-2003 Lairdside – reclamation of derelict land and buildings for re-development and creation of Tranmere Urban Village.

1998-2004 New Opportunities for Wirral – A 6-year scheme aiming to tackle social exclusion and reduce poverty in the Pathways areas on the Wirral.

2000-2008 Wirral Waterfront – £144m programme to implement a comprehensive physical and social regeneration strategy for the Wirral Waterfront from New Brighton taking in Seacombe, pathway areas in Birkenhead, Tranmere and Rock Ferry.

2001-2008 LOBO Loans financial strategy – £137m borrowed from private banks at 6% pa; interest payable £8m pa. Total repayable in excess of £500,000,000 finally to be paid off in 2078; expensive exit penalties making it super-expensive to get out of the loans.

2001-2020 Birkenhead Town Centre 2020 Vision and Strategy January 11th, 2002 Liverpool Daily Post – Deputy Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil Davies added: “This is an exciting vision which shows how Birkenhead can be developed and improved over the next 20 years. The document sets up a framework which we will use to attract additional investment and create jobs. It is something which will benefit the whole of the borough, not just Birkenhead, and will enable us to compete with places such as Liverpool and Cheshire Oaks.”

2002 Enriching Our Lives – Wirral’s first Cultural Strategy, never properly promoted, understood or implemented.

2002 Birkenhead Park £11.3m HLF restoration (completed 2007) a successful project undermined by the Council’s cavalier attitude to the agreed management plan, park maintenance and security.

2004 West Wirral Hoylake & West Kirby Masterplan designed to raise the profile of coastal towns Hoylake and West Kirby,. Consultants brought in by Wirral Council submitted their ideas in 2004. (Shelved 2014)

2006 Woodside Masterplan by Building Design Partnership (BDP) 28th February 2007The first phase of works will include the creation of a ‘development spine’ running from the Woodside Ferry Terminal up to Hamilton Square Station”. (Shelved)

2006 Wirral Waters 14th December 2009 Wirral Globe Wirral Council leader Cllr Steve Foulkes said: “This is a significant step in our vision to regenerate Wirral.” Plans for a £200m International Trade Centre (ITC) in Birkenhead that could provide up to 3,000 new jobs have been approved by councillors. The centre, planned for the West Float former docks site, makes up part of the £4.5bn Wirral Waters regeneration scheme planned by developer Peel. 21 September 2011 BBC News

2007 Peach Developments/Neptune Woodside Masterplan May 2007. “The exclusivity agreement between Merseytravel and Neptune Developments and Peach Developments means ambitious plans to redevelop the Woodside area of the Wirral waterfront will go ahead”. Liverpool Echo. Martin Lowe, who runs Peach Developments, said: “I first took the drawings to the council four years ago, and when they saw them, they could see the potential for developing the area, so asked me to work with them. Since then, others have come on board, but the Woodside Hotel remains the lynchpin in the development.”

2007 Brand New Brighton – Neptune Developments scheme to redevelop the Floral Pavilion Theatre, and to develop Marine Point. 2nd September 2013 “New Brighton finally reaps rewards as successful revamp takes off” Wirral Globe. Except that Wirral Council has tried to strangle it at birth by introducing parking charges.

2008 Wirral Council Strategic Asset Review – Epic fail https://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?Id=607

2011 Wirral Heritage Strategy 2011-2014 ‘Making Our Heritage Matter’ Private Eye writes… “that a fire at historic buildings in Wirral is often followed by demolition.” Liscard Hall, Birkenhead Market, ESWA Sports and Social Club, Central Hotel, British Leather Tannery, Woodside Hotel…

2013 Wirral Council and Neptune (later Ion) Development Limited – £30m redevelopment of Birkenhead town centre. The project was due to regenerate the town’s market and rebuild the Europa Pools leisure centre, with restaurants, a food court and a hotel also proposed.

2015 Wirral Council £1.1m Hamilton Square traffic plan – The plans were revised after criticism from businesses, residents and Birkenhead councillor Pat Cleary – who called it a “giant waste of public funds” – and they have now been shelved altogether. Liverpool Echo

2015 Wirral Council and Neptune (later Ion) Development Limited 27 October 2016 BBC News – Cllr Davies said the council continued to have “huge ambitions” for Birkenhead and believed it could be a “fantastic destination”. (Ion, previously Neptune Developments 2013 agreement scrapped 2016 – Council leader Phil Davies said the decision was linked to “more ambitious” development opportunities.)

2015 Wirral Council 2020 Vision (see 2001) – 20 ‘Pledges’. In his own words, Cllr Phil Davies to be held accountable by Wirral public.

2015 Wirral Partnership to pool £2bn public sector budgets by 2020 17th September 2015 Wirral Globe Cllr Phil Davies states “It is our ultimate aim to have a pooled budget by the end of the five-year plan.” Never going to happen.

2015 Hoylake Golf Resort Masterplan 7th December 2017 Wirral Globe Cllr Phil Davies states “This is another example of Wirral Council being commercial, ambitious and innovative.”

2016 Downtown Birkenhead CH41 25th Jan 2016 Liverpool Echo Cllr Phil Davies “This is the biggest regeneration plan I have ever been involved with.”

2016 Wirral’s Culture Strategy – would you know there was one? Not Wirral’s first Cultural Strategy, and will never be properly promoted, understood or implemented.

2016 Wirral Healthcare Masterplan STP – is WBC in or out and for or against, as a Wirral NHS CCG ’partner’…who knows?

2016 Wirral Growth Plan – is this a school project? https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/gallery/new-images-1bn-wirral-growth-13173369

2017 Wirral Growth Company – “The prospect of bringing thousands of new jobs, hundreds of millions of pounds of new investment, into the borough will be life-changing for many of our residents who look to us as a council to set these ambitious visions.”; states Cllr Phil Davies. Wirral Council Chief Executive states it is ‘asset rich, but cash poor’. However, it will transfer publicly-owned assets to the Wirral Growth Company, a private company with its own board. The Council will buy more assets (Birkenhead Market £??, parcels of land £??, Europa Building £8.4m) for which it will borrow many millions to buy. It will then take additional multi-millions in loans to lend to the developers, who presumably won’t be credit-worthy enough in their own right? More interest payments, even asset-richer, loadsa-cash poorer, is the likely outcome for Wirral’s public finances. The financial risk assessment must make for interesting reading.

2017 New plans to turn Birkenhead Town Hall into boutique hotel – Councillor Phil Davies, Leader of the Council, said: “Driving regeneration, creating jobs and ensuring sustainable, long-term growth in our economy is vitally important”.

2017 Birkenhead Market Masterplan – “Birkenhead market could become such a foodie paradise that even celebrity chef Paul Hollywood could be tempted back to Wirral” states Cllr Phil Davies – maybe if Paul Hollywood (celebrity baker, duh) lives long enough….

2018 Wirral Waters1 WW1 – Wirral Waters £175m “International Trade Centre” sunk without trace, and diluted more with a splash of Urban Splash (modular) prefabs…what chance will all the Wirral Met College apprentice brickies have before their retirement?

AS WE COME UP TO DATE FROM CLLR DAVE JACKSONS QUOTE (1997) FROM CITYLANDS (started 1990), I THINK OF THE ‘LOST GENERATIONS’ OF WIRRAL, AND BIRKENHEAD IN PARTICULAR…it looks to me as if another generation will be ‘lost’ to ‘visions’, Wirral residents will be ignored, whilst crucial public services ‘wither on the vine’ due to neglect.

Here are 2 quotes from 2001 and 2017…

2017 Wirral Council Strategic Regeneration Framework Cllr Phil Davies states – “We have not been standing still in recent years, much has been achieved, but we look forward to working together with greater drive and pace in order to realise our shared vision for the borough”.

…and in 2001 Birkenhead Town Centre 2020 Vision – Wirral Council deputy leader Cllr Phil Davies says of the 20-year plan: “After consultations with businesses and the public what has emerged is an exciting vision which shows how Birkenhead can be developed and improved.”

Vision…? …nah…same old, same old…it’s now obviously delusion…

Masterplan 1

Strange Boutique

Now that Wirral Council and Wirral Globe seem to be cosy all of a sudden ( Hmm – we wonder why?) it seems that the (piss) poor Liverpool /Wirral Echo have to make do with scraps off the table. Wirral Council is such a fickle mistress –  even though fickle mistresses always seem to get them into trouble.

Last week the Echo published a ludicrous puff piece in advance of Monday’s Wirral Council Cabinet meeting where the headline screamed :

New plans to turn Birkenhead Town Hall into boutique hotel

Of course if you read the report to which the article refers to – there are no such plans.

Birkenhead Town Hall – Boutique Hotel

However there are pictures of Birkenhead Town Hall with crocuses in the foreground. “What a crocus of shit….” said our butler Eldritch. And who are we to disagree?

The report itself is grandiosely titled ‘ Strategic  Regeneration Framework’  (SRF) presumably because it’s no longer good enough to have a strategy , you have to have a ‘framework’ to go with it – which of course justifies the inflated salaries of those spewing out this nonsense.

Strategic Regeneration Framework

As Wirral Council seem to be so very keen on ‘ reality checks’  lets get the Leaky Towers crew to break it down for them :  Hamilton Square is magnificent. So is Birkenhead Town Hall. And they’re wasted in Wirral Council’s hands.  So having failed to turn Hamilton Square into a glorified roundabout U-Turn On Roundabout = Dead End  

Wirral Council are now hoping that investors are going to flock to them with an open cheque for a boutique hotel .So let’s take a look around –  God bless the Station Hotel. They really, really tried to bring artisan bread to Birkenhead. Unfortunately they didn’t realise that their customer base were more interested in Frank Field getting their housing benefits sorted out. You won’t be surprised to hear they’ve since closed down because those on the breadline don’t choose artisan bread.

Boutique 009

Perhaps the model Wirral Council should be following and to which they should be lowering  their aspirations somewhat and align themselves to is a skanky drug den such as the Central Hotel.

Boutique 012

Just sayin’

Strange Boutique