Light Emitting Diodes – What Wirral Council isn’t telling you…

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We are quite happy to provide a platform for people who want to get their message out to a wider public , especially when we don’t have the knowledge about a particular  subject and think our readers may have an ‘information deficit’ © Wirral View. Our thanks to our latest correspondent ‘Bright Spark’ for an upcoming series of illuminating posts :

Plans to replace all 27,000 street lamps across the Wirral with LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) is underway. Cllr Stuart Whittingham, cabinet member for highways is quoted in the Wirral Globe as saying ‘this investment is fantastic news for everyone. It brings benefits that are almost immeasurable’. Whilst there may be energy saving benefits of the LED, this investment will take many years to pay for itself. What residents are not being told is that these bright white LEDs (with microwave transmitting devices installed) will have ‘immeasurably’ dangerous health effects on people, the environment and wildlife.

The danger is two fold. Firstly, the bright white LED light is, in itself, not only glaring and unsightly, it is harmful to health. Secondly, the RF (radio frequency) ‘Uninode’ transmitting antenna located on top are transmitting harmful microwaves into the environment, killing insects and small birds and beaming into your child’s bedroom.

Today we will focus on the dangers of the white/blue LED light and next week we will focus on the microwave emitting antennae spewing dangerous frequencies into the environment on continuous transmission

Humans and animals have evolved to require sunlight during the day and darkness at night. Before electric light, we burned wood and candles. This light has a lot of yellow/red and almost no blue and is the most healthy light at night. What we have now is very different. The white light emitted from a LED has a lot of blue and almost no red/yellow. This is disruptive to health, causing an increase in cancers, especially prostrate and breast cancer, by hormone disruption pathways. The bright light emitted from a LED can also cause damage to the retina of the eye and also interrupts sleep patterns because the white/blue light suppresses the production of melatonin, which helps us sleep. Melatonin plays a key role in regulating the day-night cycles and has several other key functions, for example it is a powerful anti-oxidant and also has an anti-inflammatory function. It is estimated that the white LED lampposts are up to five times more effective at suppressing melatonin that the old sodium lamps.

Have you also noticed the uncomfortable glare of the new white LED lampposts compared to the old sodium lights, which are more comfortable to the eye and create a more pleasant ambience at night? Gone are pleasant evening walks with the dog. Night workers, taxi driver and those driving at night will be especially affected. Because LED light is so concentrated and has a high blue content, it causes a severe glare, resulting in pupillary constriction in the eyes. It scatters more in the human eye than the longer wavelengths of yellow and red, damaging the retina. This can cause problems seeing clearly for safe driving or walking at night. You can sense this easily if you look directly into one of the control lights on your new washing machine or other appliance; it is very difficult to do because it hurts. Street lighting can have this same effect. Look up and see how this affects you by comparing the glare and discomfort of the new LED lampposts compared to a street, which still (for now) has the old yellow/orange sodium lights.

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Street lighting is also an important component of light pollution and impacts the environment. Bright electric lighting can also adversely affect wildlife by, for example, disturbing migratory patterns of birds and some aquatic animals which nest on shore. Sleep, nocturnal patterns and hibernation are also affected. It is unlikely a co-incidence that the insect population has also declined by a catastrophic 70-80% since the introduction of these lights as well as the rapid increase in microwave radiation from cell towers and wireless devices over the past decade. If you are old enough, you may remember having hundreds of flies all over your car windscreen even after a short journey. When was the last time you saw even one squashed fly or saw flocks of sparrows or small birds? They have nowhere to hide and are unable to escape the glare and radiation, which is being blanketed across the Wirral and the UK by these lights as well as an alarming increase in cell towers. This information is being ignored or suppressed by industry and government in favour of the huge profits (and consumer demand) of new technology.

The council should be controlling the blue-rich lighting by using the lowest emission of blue light possible and they should be properly shielded. There is almost never a completely satisfactory solution to a complex problem. We must have some lighting at night but we need dimmer warmer lighting that is also technologically safe. The need for energy efficiency is serious, but so too is minimising human risk and contributing to environmental catastrophe from bad lighting.

Next week we will focus on the microwave transmitting antenna on the new LED lampposts which many people have not even noticed yet and that have been rolled out without public knowledge or consent outside your home.

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

 

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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

 

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 Weekly Dispatch #15

We’ll forego any further post mortem of the body politic after this week’s local election and turn our attention to the more obscure news items that you’ve been sending to us this past week.

MEN OVERBOARD

We understand the the long running New Brighton lifeboat station saga continues.We’re particularly interested in the involvement of Cllr Tony Jones but those who want to follow the latest developments :

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PETER’S POTHOLE PLEA

I am not a active “political” person  but as a keen cyclist the state of our roads is of close and personal interest since their rapid deterioration presents a serious hazard each and every time I use my bike. I routinely risk being thrown from my bike and being mown down by the always impatient motorists, van and lorry drivers.

I have tried and failed to find any information on the Wirral council website as to numbers / locations of reported pot holes and their plan for rectification in the borough during 2018.
I did read somewhere that a plan was supposed to be published by end of April 2018.
I see no action being taken and only things getting worse which inevitably will mean higher eventual repair costs
Can you give me any advice was to how to find out or who to contact to find out what the council is doing?
I was especially annoyed when reading my council tax demand that Our Dear Leader Phil specifically claims he will be repairing our roads with the money raised but there appears to be zero action taken.

Look forward to any advice and will share information if I learn anything useful.

We understand that Labour Cllr Stuart  Whittingham is the Cabinet member responsible for this area of work . However if anybody has any further assistance/advice on the pothole problem we’ll pass on to Peter.

COURT REPORTS  

Still no news on the outcome of the Morton v Information Commissioner ‘s Office and Wirral Borough Council case . We also understand that our other main Wirral institution is also keeping under wraps a matter that will soon come before Liverpool Crown Court. We’ll keep you posted………

 

 

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…”

 

Measure for Leisure

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Following on from our Pit of Despair story we first bring you the good news that a contractor has been out measuring up to install much needed safety measures at Woodchurch Leisure Centre . Indeed a letter from Margaret Greenwood to a local resident says : 

Further to your email last month, we have been informed that Wirral Council has made the decision to fit a rail and gates along the wall next to the drop at the side of the small pool. New signage has also been ordered to highlight the drop. 

This action is as a result of yourself and others raising concerns with the HSE and Wirral Council. In taking these steps, you have made the pool safer for other residents. 

Result ! You might saying to yourself. Well , yes and no. Whilst we received a tremendous response to our blog post from pool users who not only commented upon the long term non-compliance they also highlighted further safety issues.
Apparently when swimming sessions come to an end and all swimmers, young and old, move to the changing area shutters are required to be pulled down to stop access back to the pool area to prevent accidents and particularly drowning. Woodchurch Leisure Centre have not got any such measures despite the fact that we understand that this is a legal requirement. Moreover we understand that staff are supposed to stay in the pool area until the building is empty just in case a child or vulnerable person goes back into the pool area. Staff shortages can often mean that this ‘backstop’ safety measure is not possible and so members of the public are left even more unprotected.
We are reliably informed that all other leisure centres have these shutters but because of cost implications it’s not happened at Woodchurch . Once again it is a matter has been raised for a number of years and yet has never been resolved. This must be particularly stressful situation for leisure centre staff.
One can only wonder what were considered to be priorities when there was a 4 week closure of the leisure centre for ‘maintenance work ‘ only last year  . A lick of paint, grout a few tiles and steam clean the bogs and hope nobody notices the deadly drop at the side of the pool and that there are no shutters ?  Maintenance work – Woodchurch Leisure Centre
As one of our many sources said : “Cost of protection a few grand. It’s fine for the people of West Kirby and Bebington. Woodchurch gets no protection. And the council treat the law with contempt” 
We’re further left wondering what knowledge and involvement members of  Wirral Council’s infamous ‘Golf Club’ have had in all of this especially Health, Safety & Resilience(!) Manager , Mark Camborne  and Head of Recreation Damian Walsh ?
What needs questioning even more is the involvement or non-involvement of local councillors Matthew Patrick aka Matty Patty , Stuart ‘Witless’ Whittingham and Tony ‘Don’t mention Ofsted’ Smith  .
You’d think they’d be up in arms to hear about local residents -and especially children – in their ward being put at risk.  But not a peep ! Shame on them that it was left to concerned citizens to raise (and part- resolve) the long-standing issue. Could it be that Wirral Cabinet members , Cllr Patrick and Cllr Whittingham in particular, are less concerned about the safety of the public and causing their own staff stress than promoting the Wirral Growth Company – which was launched yesterday with the usual stage-managed dreary fanfare of backslapping BS – in the hope that this Joint Venture will pick up the tab not just at Woodchurch but at all the other leisure centres at a later date ?
Whilst we’re at it we’d like to raise the complicity of the utterly useless unions in all of this . Seemingly pacified by a small pay-rise for their members whilst oblivious to the gathering shitstorm . With early retirement being denied for some whilst others are told they’re going on less favourable terms there’s a lot of disgruntled Wirral Council staff around at the moment. But as always it’s the lowest paid and least powerful who are in the firing line.
As ever with Wirral Council there’s a bigger story which is not just about shutters and covers – it’s a case of shut ups and cover ups with staff too afraid to open their mouths , managers too busy covering their backsides…….. and politicians turning a blind eye.

House of Bamboo

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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
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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?

Advent Farewell 14 – Why Wirral Leaks Speaks in Parables

PHIL_yawot

No offence meant to LRJ but Wirral Needs pleas to Pip seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. – Matthew 13:13 ( Our thanks to Mr F. Field , Oxton for the biblical quote )

We’ve found some time to catch up with our beloved John Brace’s footage of Monday’s last full Wirral Council meeting of 2017. We’ve attached part one of the meeting below (you can do the rest if you’re interested).

First thing to say is that it confirms that our sources were spot on with the Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ) story (part 3 of Brace’s footage)…..and secondly we were interested to see Mr Brace himself ask a question about Wirral Council’s forthcoming plans to film council meetings themselves. We just hope John keeps on filming as knowing Wirral Council if the rehearsed and scripted exchanges are anything to go by their footage is bound to be selectively edited.

So what else happened ? Hats off to young Peter Shield from the Wirral Needs campaign who spoke most eloquently whilst accompanied by the Momentum Choir in the public gallery who chanted at regular intervals :

                               LABOUR COUNCIL LISTEN TO THE PUBLIC

Good luck with that one guys and guyesses!  Although you’re singing our song – we would have added a few whistles. We’ve been at it for 7 years and they only listen to what they want to ( i.e what Frank Field tells them) . The battle for the soul of the local Labour group was clearly demonstrated by the fact that the Corbynistas applauded Tory leader Cllr Ian Lewis more than Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies. These are strange times indeed.

Looking at the agenda ( well we didn’t – life’s too short) but our faithful factotum Verity told us to look out for a question about why the Highways contract , which is currently with BAM Nuttall, is suddenly being brought back in house. Unfortunately there were endless questions about the Hoylake Golf Resort which came with the same scripted answers and added nothing to the debate and so we never discovered the rationale or details of the business case for doing so. But then the question would have been answered by Cllr Stuart ‘Witless’ Whittingham so it is highly likely we would be none the wiser if he’d had the chance to clarify this curious volte-face anyway!

Finally we publish a statement from Defend Our NHS on their take on Monday’s meeting  if only to reinforce it’s not just us who are concerned about how the Wirral Council leadership conduct their business. Wake up people!:

Massive deception of Wirral public by Council leadership

A statement from Defend Our NHS.   

12th December 2017.

For immediate release.

 At Monday’s (11th December 2017) Wirral Council meeting it was agreed to press ahead with changes to local health and care services.

Council leader Phil Davies told the meeting that the Council was implementing Labour national NHS policy by working with local NHS colleagues to integrate health and social care services.

There were angry protests as Davies refused the suggestion of meeting local anti-cuts campaigners and accused them (falsely) of advocating an ‘illegal’ budget.

The health and care changes involve deception on an industrial scale.

Why?

At the weekend Davies had emailed every single Wirral member of his party to say, “In addition, Labour Party policy nationally is to halt and review the NHS ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’ (STPs), which are looking at closing health services across England, and this is fully supported by the Labour Group in Wirral. It is the Wirral Labour Group who have already led the fight to reinstate Eastham Walk-In centre after its closure.”

His statement and the changes bulldozed through last night are based on deceit, half-truths and worse:

1.     To halt and review”?  NO! At its annual conference this year the Labour Party agreed: “This Conference Calls on our Party to restore our NHS by reversing all privatisation and permanently halting STPs and ACSs.” No mention of a ‘review’. The policy is ‘permanently halting’. STPs and ACSs are acknowledged to be the government’s way to “slash, trash and privatise” the NHS with over £900 millions of cuts planned for Cheshire and Merseyside alone.

2.     Davies and all but one of his misinformed councillors have been unable to answer an unequivocal ‘yes’ to this simple question put to them by Defend Our NHS: “Do you support our campaign to stop the STP/ACS and oppose the further near £1 billion cuts?”

3.     In fact and unbelievably the leaked policy of Wirral in league with the local Clinical Commissioning Group  is now “the development of a single ‘Accountable Care System’”, while:

4.     “The STP will operate at Cheshire and Merseyside level, commissioning some specialist services. Primarily operating on the basis of a Strategic Health Authority – holding the local Wirral system to account…”

5.     In other words they are planning the very things which Davies claims to oppose.

6.     It comes as no surprise. To give just one example from recent years (there are sundry others), what was the Wirral Council Leader doing at the 9th March 2016 (yes, 2016) Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board? 
In his role as Chair, Councillor Phil Davies suggested the focus be on how, as a Board, members could add value to the whole emerging NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan agenda”.

7.     He has never replied to a single communication from Defend Our NHS – including a question (asked twice) in relation to the Vanguard project. In April 2015 (yes, 2015) we asked him, “Why has Wirral granted enhanced entry to our local health services to major US and/or US-owned corporations, especially one representing the ACO model? Surely this and “testing of a capitated budget approach” are the logical precursors to a health insurance scheme?”

8.     And, by the way, to say that, “It is the Wirral Labour Group who have already led the fight to reinstate Eastham Walk-In centre” somewhat spins the reality.

Campaigners from across the entire Cheshire and Merseyside STP ‘footprint’ have been meeting to plan their response. Davies and his like who say one thing to their members but plan the exact opposite behind closed doors – and then push it through a Council meeting – will be in for a few shocks after Christmas.

Wirral Council 11 December Part 1

WHAM ! BAM ! – Thank You Scam ?!

Bam

And so 9 years after outsourcing highways maintenance Wirral Council has suddenly -BAM! – out of the blue announced that it is to bring this area of council responsibility back ‘in house’.

Council leader Phil Davies thanked BAM Nuttall for their work but said this was the right decision for the council tax payers of Wirral.

He continued: “Wirral Council has to ensure every pound spent is wisely invested and we get the best value for our residents.This decision is the right decision at the right moment – the contract with BAM Nuttall was coming to an end and we believe we can deliver this service more effectively by taking direct control.”

Highways U-Turn

Note our emphasis on the words the right decision at the right moment. Care to explain more about that assertion Power Boy Pip? No we thought not!

We have to admit we didn’t see this one coming down the road – but then desperate times at Wirral Council call for desperate measures.  Whilst this U-turn decision may seem to fly in the face of Wirral Council’s transformation agenda , which largely consists of outsourcing as many public services as they can , for those of us with an understanding of what’s been going on behind closed doors lately and the startling developments that council insiders (and some outsiders!) have been letting on to us it all makes perfectly perverse sense. Let us explain why.

Cast your minds back to the heady days of 2008 when Wirral Council outsourced their highly lucrative highways contract out to Colas in preference to the in house Direct Labour Organisation (DLO).  Some aggrieved DLO staff , having had their employment contracts transferred to Colas , then cried foul  when it came to the tendering arrangements and ‘whistleblew’. Despite numerous subsequent investigations we don’t think it’s ever been properly explained as to what actually went on. All we do know is that it all went nuclear and the fall out is being felt within Wirral Council to this day. Colas eventually walked away from the contract and it was transferred to BAM Nuttall in 2014.

Now it seems we’ve gone right round the roundabout and highways maintenance services will be returned in-house to Wirral Council in October 2018.  All of which wants us to ask some pertinent questions as to why this is ‘the right decision’ and ‘the right moment’. The right decision for whom? How is are councillors Davies and Whittingham evidencing that this is in the best interest of council taxpayers? – that’ll be a first! and why now all of a sudden ? Will BAM Nuttall highways maintenance staff be transferred back to Wirral Council ? and if so will that include the DLO staff and particularly any of the ‘whistleblowers’ who we understand are still seeking compensation – for what exactly we’re not quite sure – from Wirral Council?

It seems to us that after a decade of dispute that would certainly get Wirral Council and , particularly some councillors, out of a deep, deep pothole they’ve dug for themselves now wouldn’t it?! #Wirralgate