Advent Farewell 10 – Question Everything

question-everything

As we’ve commented earlier in this Advent adventure we’re lovin’ the emergence of a seemingly increasingly questioning Wirral public. It would seem that Wirral politicians relying on the supine,docile and uninformed seem to be over……and they don’t like it! Witness yesterday’s public meeting organised by Wirral West MP Margaret Greenwood about the Hoylake Golf Resort proposals. An increasingly exasperated Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘ Power Boy Pip’ Davies was told to ‘stop sulking’ by a member of the public when he was repeatedly forced to halt his oft-repeated stream of BS. It’s called public accountability Pip – get used to it and quit with the titty-lip!

And we don’t know what superannuated Cllr Gerry Ellis is putting in his Horlicks – but can we have some? We couldn’t have done better than describe the dodgy housing development on the Green Belt masquerading as a ‘golf resort’ as ‘Phil’s Folly’

And apparently there’s more to come as tomorrow’s full Council meeting at Wallasey Town Hall which features more pesky members of the public wanting answers to various questions . We anticipate the BS quotient from Pip & Co will be through the Wallasey Town Hall roof. We’d like suggest that people might be better off making Freedom of Information requests  but let’s face it , they probably wouldn’t be – life’s too short.

We are also breathless with anticipation as to whether Cllr Louise Reecejones actually turns up and offers a grovelling apology to rest of the council chamber and the public gallery for previously failing to make an acceptable apology for conduct unbecoming an elected member as well as being , well  Cllr Louise Reecejones and therefore not  one of the protected Labour Party  cabal. Fortunately there are a number of attendees in the public gallery who’ve promised us some feedback on events as they unfold – so we look forward to reporting all the gory details.

Until then we’ll leave you with the petition organised  by the Hoylake & West Kirby Campaign Group which has forwarded to us. And finally remember – when it comes to Wirral Council – question everything!

A few days ago the petition, below, was delivered to Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council, signed by 600+ people. The Council will now go through its ‘validation process’ which means excluding any signature which was not accompanied by a full address.

People are still waiting for Margaret Greenwood, the Wirral West MP, to oppose Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council’s plan to devastate the NW England Greenbelt at Hoylake and West Kirby.

SAVE WIRRAL’S COUNTRYSIDE.
STOP THE HOYLAKE GOLF RESORT.
STOP THE URBANISATION OF WIRRAL’S GREENBELT.
To – PHIL DAVIES, Council Leader, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council, Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street, Wallasey, Wirral, CH44 8ED.

We are opposed to Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council’s plan to build the exclusive ‘HOYLAKE GOLF RESORT’ on 285 acres of the Birket Valley, which is publicly owned greenbelt land.
The Council’s plan includes: the construction of roads; car parking; a luxury housing estate; a 250 bedroom, exclusive hotel; a spa; and a conference centre. The Hoylake Municipal Golf Course is to be relocated. There are already 17 golf courses in the Wirral Metropolitan Borough. Most Wirral residents do not play golf. Hoylake already has two golf courses, one privately owned and one publicly owned. There is no need for another, private golf course in the Hoylake/West Kirby area.
The Council has failed to act in an open, transparent and fair manner, in connection with the Hoylake Golf Resort project. . A Freedom of Information request (FOI request 827270), of August 2014, revealed that the Council had paid £237,012, of public funds, to consultants, in connection with the Hoylake Golf Resort project.
The Council failed to allow members of the public to participate at an early stage in the planning process, in an effective way, when ALL options were open. There is no evidence that the Council allowed members of the public to propose any alternative plans for the 285 acre area or for the area to remain as it is.
There is no guarantee that the exclusive Hoylake Golf Resort would be an economic success. Golf resorts, all over the world, have gone bankrupt, including several in the USA and one in Northern Ireland. The proposed, private Hoylake Golf Resort would have a detrimental impact on the Hoylake and West Kirby landscape. It would urbanise a rural area.
We, the undersigned, call on Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council to cancel its exclusive ‘Hoylake Golf Resort’ plan. Housing should be built on ‘brown field’ sites, not on valuable, much appreciated, ‘green belt’ land, in the borough.
We believe that the remaining Wirral greenbelt countryside should be protected.
The construction of the Hoylake Golf Resort would not be in the interest of the local community.

NAME SIGNATURE ADDRESS DATE

…………… …………………… ……………….………… ……
Published by: Hoylake and West Kirby Campaign Group.

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Fail to plan, plan to fail

Fail to plan

It won’t come as any surprise to our regular readers (or indeed anyone living near some derelict wasteland or an empty building) that Wirral Council finds itself in trouble with central government for failing to have a ‘Local Plan’ under the Planning Act 2004 .

Local Plan Intervention

Accordingly Sajid Javid ,Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) , has written to Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr  Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies that   central government will take over local planning if they can’t get their act together.

Only last week Wirral Leaks pointed out the lack of any Wirral Council co-ordination when it comes to planning in our Any Old Ion story.  This leads the council – and more importantly us – to be prey to speculative developers and ultimately leads to ad-hoc, piecemeal, opportunistic building developments.

Of course this isn’t all the fault of the current administration as Wirral Council have failed to produce a ‘Local Plan’ for 13 years !!! –  13! unlucky for some, usually us who pay these incompetents to actually do their jobs and comply with central  government requirements.

Nevertheless,  isn’t it funny how the current incumbents of power at Wallasey Town Hall can come up with the window dressing of ’20 Pledges’ and then drone on about them ad nauseum and yet can’t come up with the foundations for a  legally required ‘ Local Plan’ !

Meanwhile in the absence of the ‘Local Plan’ publicly-funded fantasists can pursue the corrupt dream of fire stations, golf resorts and international trade centres – OK , NOT international trade centres ,even we admit that’s a bit far fetched – without any public accountability!

But then why have central government let them get away with it all this time? Isn’t it funny how central government can intervene when it comes to planning regulations but when it comes to failures in children’s and adult social services we’ve had to put up with with totally ineffective and utterly cosmetic ‘improvement boards’.

Perhaps it’s not so confusing when you think about it , as apparently we live in a world where everything and everyone is a commodity and obviously real estate (including the blessed green belt) has so much more worth than real people.

A Thornton Huff : Where once again ‘ignorance is bliss’ when it comes to the Green Belt

Thornton Manor

A marquee of distinction

We’d like to thank Heswall Today for their excellent coverage of yet another Wirral Council debacle. Their report , which can be read in full  HERE  states as follows : 

Thornton Hall Hotel in Thornton Hough has applied for a judicial review against Wirral Council that aims to explain and overturn planning permission given in error by the Council that allowed nearby Thornton Manor to erect three large marquees without any conditions.

As reported in Heswall Today, despite the land being Green Belt, the Council decided to give permission to Thornton Manor on the basis that it would last just five years, and that some of the profits generated by the new facilities would be reinvested in parts of the estate considered to be “at risk”. Other conditions included the installation of noise limiters and restrictions on the use of fireworks.

However, for reasons which, the Council says, are “impossible to understand”, the Decision Notice was sent out without any such conditions, and the Council was blissfully ignorant of the error.

When the five years elapsed late last year and planning officers assumed a new planning application would have to be made, Thornton Manor produced the Decision Notice it had received and stated that its terms were the ones it intended to abide by. In other words, the three marquees were here to stay and there was nothing the Council could do about them.

So basically,  the privileged folk who run Thornton Manor have done what the less privileged and long suffering council taxpayers of Wirral would like to do and stick two fingers up to Wirral Council.

Meanwhile equally privileged local hospitality rival Thornton Hall Hotel have issued Judicial Review proceedings because they claim they’re not on a level playing field with their local rival.

However what galls us at Leaky Towers is that whilst the application for the Judicial Review by Thornton Hall Hotel will not be contested by the Council,  Thornton Manor will oppose it. Which means, yes, you guessed it, that it will be Wirral council taxpayers who will once again have to stump up for costly legal proceedings because some numpty at Wirral Council can’t do their job properly and send out a Decision Notice specifying exactly why the Green Belt should not be despoiled by money-grasping opportunists.

We are led to ask ourselves as to whether all of this might explain why Thornton Hall Hotel swiftly withdrew their advertising from Wirral Council’s woeful Wirral View publication and whether the future venue for Wirral Council Mayor’s Balls be left dangling ?

 

There Goes The Green Belt

Wirral green belt

Source : DCLG 2016

One of the very few things that remains attractive about Wirral is that it is relatively green.

However in the time-honoured tradition of brutalism Wirral Council seem to be exceeding themselves when it comes to concreting over everything that’s good about the place.

Specifically we’re talking about last night’s decision to approve the building of a fire station in Saughall Massie following pretend democratic processes involving public meetings and site visits.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15425897.Campaigners_vow_to_fight_on_as_Saughall_Massie_fire_station_is_approved/

Yes, we know there’s more tedious bureaucratic processes to go through before the fire station becomes a reality but we’re sure we’re all agreed it’s the principle of agreeing to build on the green belt which is the issue. This decision will surely give the green light to build on other parts of the green belt and specifically the Hoylake Golf Resort. And what’s more it’s no good local Tories belatedly bleating about how unfair it all is!

The Planning Committee Chair is Anita Leech ( you do the punchline) and the Vice -Chair of the Planning Committee is Steve ‘Kindred’ Foulkes. So spare us the ‘feigned outrage’. We all knew what was coming next!

Indeed might we suggest that a fitting tribute would be that Foulkesy’s political career is entombed in motorway concrete. And the sooner the better!

Alternative Facts in a Parallel Universe

Not for the first time when it comes to the ruling administration at Wirral Council we find ourselves asking : “Is it us or are we missing something?” and then we realise we are now living in the age of of ‘alternative facts’. The current epicentre of this parallel universe when it comes to local government has to be our dear own local council.

Of course the main Wirral Council conduit for alternative facts is Wirral View –and halleluljah and praise be , as for the first time Leaky Towers actually received a printed copy of what is known variously to our sources as Liprot’s Journal/ Lost Kev’s Chronicle/Pip’s Post-Truth News .

Was it worth the wait? – hardly ! However the front page caught our attention as it demonstrates to us as to why, once and for all , the tawdry rag should be halted in its tedious tracks. Here we have the now infamous ‘Spot the Muff’ photo-op and the declaration that ‘Proposals to bring in new charges at on-street car parks across the borough have been withdrawn, following feedback from Wirral residents and businesses.’

alternative-facts-010

Oh ! it was all about Wirral Council listening to ‘feedback’ was it ?. Nothing to do with protests, petitions and the highly suspect legality of most of the proposals. Feedback ?- yeah right!

The Witless, Pip and Mr Muff picture turned up again on our Facebook page due to some weird algorithm which suggests that we’d ‘like’ Wirral Labour News. We suppose it makes a change from promos for incontinence and mobility aids and ‘Superman’ pyjamas but let us state for the record it was as equally unwelcome !

alternative-facts-3-011

Then there was further message from ‘Wirral Labour News’ which made us think it must surely be a parody account :

alternative-facts-3-013

Keep Wirral Green ? Huh?  Fernbank Farm?, the Saughall Massie Fire Station ? and the Hoylake Golf Resort?  Our heads started to hurt at Leaky Towers as to how the increasingly self righteous Labour administration could reconcile these development plans with their new found love for the Green Belt.

How ironic that Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies talked about “protecting our precious Green Belt” at  yesterday’s Cabinet meeting whilst  we understand that all the seats in the public gallery had the following flyer on them :

alternative-facts-2-011

alternative-facts-2-013

However the ne plus ultra of this week’s alternative facts emanating from Wirral Council is the controversial appointment of the increasingly divisive Martin Liptrot to the post of ‘ Interim Investment Lead’ which we not only predicted but exclusively revealed on this blog:

Pip’s Pay Pal – THAT Liptrot Appointment

The Uncanny and the Corrupt

According to a spokesperson for Wirral Council ( we assume that’ll be Liptrot’s acolyte   Kevin MacCallum)

“The post was advertised and an open recruitment process was held with external support.The panel selected the best person for the job and that person has been appointed.”

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15103854.Fury_as_Wirral_Council_hires_Labour_s_policy_adviser_to_be_their_new_investment_chief___on___350_a_day/

Really ? – so you’re going with that ‘alternative fact’ are you ? Perhaps one of the interview panel chaired by Alan Evans and including the council’s Strategic Development Manager; Stephen Butterworth, Head of Transformation ( there’s that word again  !) ; Paula Basnett, CEO of Wirral Chamber of Commerce  (a surprising late replacement for a curiously unenthusiastic Asif Hamid) and Ellen Cutler, Director of Inward Investment at Liverpool Vision could publicly endorse this statement .

Alternatively they could tell the people who fund this post exactly what went on behind the scenes and whether they decided not to appoint Liptrot (or indeed anyone) but the decision was taken out of their hands and made by an increasingly desperate Power Boy Pip and the increasingly sinister Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson.

We’re led to speculate what exactly is the Rasputin-like hold that Liptrotsky  has over Power Boy Pip? All we can say is look what happened to Rasputin and the Imperial Royal Family of Wirral, sorry , Russia.  Just sayin’ !