The Power of Nought

Nought

As we continue to wind down we are grateful to one of our long standing contributors Dr Robert B Smith who has provided us with what he calls a ‘summery summary’ of recent Wirral Council history which he has titled :

WIRRAL COUNCIL & THE POWER OF NOUGHT.

In aerial warfare CHAFF is a radar countermeasure in which aircraft or other targets spread a cloud of small, thin pieces of aluminium, metallized glass fibre or plastic, which either appears as a cluster of primary targets on radar screens or swamps the screen with multiple returns to create confusion and distraction from the actual target.

This is the ‘diversionary’ principle of the use of NOUGHT by Wirral Council. If, as a Council, you are completely bankrupt of real ideas and true vision, there is always NOUGHT to hide behind, and use as a distraction and confuse residents and voters.

Over recent years Wirral’s population has been reasonably static, and the borough has remained the same size (about 60 sq miles) however during that time 10s of thousands (4 NOUGHTS) has rapidly become BILLIONS using 9 or even 10 NOUGHTS.

Over recent years Wirral Council has invested in NOUGHT on many occasions. Usually NOUGHT, or multiple-NOUGHTS, are used as a smokescreen to cloud the reality of incompetence, and the most appalling standard of local government. In Wirral Council the presence of a great many NOUGHTS indicate the seriousness with which issues are being prioritised, and the likelihood of NOUGHT actually happening .

WBC Number 1 Priority – protect at any cost the status and ‘reputation’ of Wirral’s ruling administration and chief officers. As many NOUGHTS as it takes, but that is privileged information!

Here is a small sample of the power of NOUGHT in Wirral Council over the last decade.

2006 – 30 year Wirral Waters programme announced £4,500,000,000 – 8 NOUGHTS

2008 – over £500,000,000 invested since 1991 by WBC in Birkenhead – 8 NOUGHTS

2015 – Wirral Partnership ‘will pool budgets’ by 2020 – £200,000,000,000 – 11 NOUGHTS

2016 – Threat of Government intervention in Wirral Child Safeguarding arrangements – an additional £2,000,000 initially committed by Leader Phil Davies – 6 NOUGHTS

2016 – Hoylake Golf Resort – Investment revised to £190,000,000 – 7 NOUGHTS

2017 – Maggie Atkinson takes Chair of Wirral Child Safeguarding Board; Eleanor Brazil takes Chair of Child Safeguarding Improvement Board; suddenly an additional £10,000,000 is committed – 7 NOUGHTS.

2017 – Wirral Growth Joint Venture Company investment ‘opportunity’ announced £1,000,000,000 – 9 NOUGHTS

If we add up all of the NOUGHTS, they total 56 – which added together totals NOUGHT.

What value, or real benefit or improvement, has Wirral Council achieved with all of these projects combined?

Yes, you have got it in 1 (which is a figure far higher than Wirral Council has successfully achieved to date) which is NOUGHT.

Wirral Council and its Leadership has taken the power of NOUGHT to sensational new heights in Wirral that others can only dream about!

… because for Wirral Council spin doctors, whatever they say, NOUGHT really means nothing. 

 

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!

Old Boy’s Network – No Girls Allowed

Northern Outhouse

Rotheram’s lot = Not a lot of ladies!

We note Liverpool Echo are late to the party yet again – as they suddenly raise questions about the newly announced male dominated Metro Mayor cabinet.

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/who-metro-mayor-steve-rotherams-13110884

Not only was this picked up elsewhere beforehand

http://www.ybnews.co.uk/regional-development/metro-mayors-men-women/

but Wirral Leaks picked up that it was testosterone-a-go-go when it comes to Liverpool City Region politics a long time ago. November 2015 to be precise. Clearly the newly installed Metro Mayor Steve ‘The Brickie’ Rotheram thinks that ‘Diversity’ is a dance troupe from Britain’s Got Talent.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/northern-outhouse/

However we had to laugh that Rotheram has confirmed that Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies will be his cabinet member for ‘Economic Development and Culture’.

Although Pip seems incapable and/or unwilling to tackle the toxic culture afflicting Wirral  Council no doubt the appointment will help Pip in his attempt to box off the Hoylake Golf Resort scheme!

Needless to say a place was found in the Cabinet for  (M)Asif Hamid, who is the chair of the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) . So that’s at least one diversity box ticked !…..

Aintree Irony

For those of you looking for a last minute topical tip for this afternoon’s Grand National Wirral Leaks  provides you with this free cut out and keep guide to some of horses that have caught our eye:

grand national 011

This one is for fans of Martin Liptrot – that’ll be Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies then. Liptrotsky is always the perfect candidate for Pip regardless of his experience or qualifications. Who needs an Equal Opportunities Policy when your mate is the Leader of the Council? This is also one for fans of Stewart ‘Happy’ Halliday  – that’ll be his preferred referees if not our friends in York ! And again this will be popular with the Basnett clan because a) if you’re related to Princess Paula or b) you’ve  lamped the former CEO of Wirral Council over a shared perk then you’re the ‘perfect candidate’ for the Wirral Chamber of Commerce !

grand national 013

No, this isn’t for fans of the current Labour administration at Wirral Council. They’re definitely (spelt correctly) NOT red! This one is for fans of current Wirral Council CEO Eric ‘the Red’ Robinson. No, we’re not referring to the fact he’s an LFC fan among all the high profile bluenoses at Wirral Council – we’re talking about his visage and his presiding over the ‘Wirral Council High Blood Pressure Club’ alongside Cllrs Phil Davies, George Davies and Steve Foulkes. Whatever could be the reason for the beta blockers?

grand national 016

It may have been a stellar notion for Wirral Council to place their bets on a Hong Kong bankrupt Stella Shiu. However we suggest looking elsewhere for a winner as this one could end up like Stella herself –  falling in the (Wirral) Waters.

grand national 015

This is one for fans of the Hoylake Golf Resort . That’ll be Power Boy Pip again – shame the response to the desecration of the Green Belt in the name of big business has been decidedly under par.

grand national 017

This one is for  Kevin ‘Lost’ MacCallum’s Communications Team at Wirral Council. Apparently they’re not averse to a tipple at our expense. Celebrating the launch of Wirral View and recently celebrating St Patricks Day. We wonder if they’ll drown their sorrows when Wirral View ends up in the recycling bin – again.

grand national 019

This one is for all fans of Wirral Leaks as we continue to expose dishonesty,incompetence and corruption and prick the pomposity of local politicians and senior council officials. But unlike Wirral Council we ask you to gamble responsibly. When the Fun Stops Stop! 

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’ !

 

 

 

Homes Under The Hammer

FLOG-IT

A housing boom is coming to Wirral whether we like it or not – every piece of land and every building that remains standing seems to be up for grabs in the council’s everything must go slash and burn sale.

In an ingenious ploy to make money for  property developers , who must be rubbing their hands in venal glee ,  there goes the old Lyndale School site and we  presume the Girtrell Court site to follow shortly after. Indeed poor Saughall Massie looks set to become more concrete jungle than green belt – what with the fire station proposal and the residential development and barn conversion planning application for Diamond Farm :

https://planning.wirral.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=_WIRRA_DCAPR_99836

The further desecration of the green belt for the benefit of property developers continues unabated with Wirral Council  ploughing on with Hoylake Golf Resort despite increasing local opposition . They are intent on speculating a further £600,000 of your money in an attempt to ensure this project doesn’t end up in the bunker . Although this particular Cabinet decision is subject to a Special Meeting to be held next week  we predict the call-in will end up like all others – with the ruling Labour group driving down the fairway and avoiding the rough  by using the biggest club they have  in the caddy – an overall majority . As we’ve said all along the only way the Hoylake Golf Resort stacks up financially is courtesy of the high priced executive homes. Indeed we think Hoylake Golf Resort should be more accurately described as a housing development with a golf course attached (or should that be linked?).

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=758&MId=5899

Meanwhile it’s hard not to reach the conclusion that the Wirral Waters project is finally no more. As Wirral Council goes chasing government Housing Zone money to try and build more residential properties on the Peel Holdings site it seems the piecemeal development of Wirral Waters looks set to continue – a Department of Education funded building here, a contact centre there, a housing development over there. Might we suggest that the infamous artists’ impression of ‘Shanghai On The Mersey’ might need a bit of re-touching.

Now that Neptune Developments plans for revamping Birkenhead town centre has been thrown overboard it would seem Wirral Council are attempting to avoid another Wirral Waters , where they were left floundering on the China Seas , by talking about setting up their own development company .

Cllr Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies today launched yet another plan outlining this particular proposal. This new 4 year plan is to help raise the cash to cover a £132 million hole in HMS Wirral Council before it sinks without trace.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14937580.Wirral_Council_plans_radical_reforms_and_warns_of_tax_hikes_to_cover___132m_budget_black_hole/

Unsurprisingly this further extension of  Wirral Council’s ‘New Operating Model’ will include the old standbys  ‘Improving Efficiency ‘, ‘Redesigning Services’ (aka  ‘Redundancies’ and ‘Privatisation’) and ‘Generating Income’ . The latter will inevitably include a Council Tax rise and ‘plans are also being progressed to increase how many new homes are built in the borough.’ As we can see above  , those plans seem to be well underway and so with the Labour Cabinet lead for regeneration being Cllr George Davies with his unorthodox way of doing deals , what could possibly go wrong?……..

 

 

Big Hitters

Companies house 011

What was that phrase that Wirral Council bandied about to absolve themselves of any responsibility when the much heralded Stella Shiu/ Peel Group  Wirral Waters International Trade Centre  sank without trace ?  – Ah! yes , they’d undertaken “due diligence” .

“That’s a first” trilled Her Ladyship.

Based on subsequent events we can only presume “due diligence” didn’t include Googling Shiu to get some useful background information!.

Consequently we’ve been asked whether we have any info about Wirral Council’s “preferred development partner” for the proposed Hoylake Golf Resort – Nicklaus Joint Venture Group Limited  – and exactly what is Jack Nicklaus’ role in the scheme.

From what we’ve discovered so far it seems to us that Nicklaus has licensed his name and Skyped a message over from the States praising  Hoylake’s famous micro-climate . Hoylake has a micro-climate – who knew? . Judging by this week’s weather we can only presume he means golf ball size hailstones in late April.

 

So we thought we’d  find out about the big hitters who Wirral Council are investing so much hope in and check out the Nicklaus Joint Venture Group Limited  (NJVG) at Companies House.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxrkIjRDgrB-TnhlLTVWZjJqOWc/view?ts=57191ab1

It was less than reassuring to see that the big hitters behind the venture have invested an underwhelming  £1,000 in the company. Of the 1000 shares -a mere 50 quids worth are owned by  Nicklaus Design LLC.

However this is an entirely sensible approach as potential investors obviously need reassuring that the not inconsiderable obstacles of planning and conservation regulations in general and those relating to the Green Belt in particular can be overcome.

At least the people behind NJVG seem to have a track record of undertaking such a project  when they set up the Pentre Nicklaus Village over a decade ago.

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business/business-news/nicklaus-village-homes-demand-2476840

What is also apparent is that the Hoylake Golf Resort proposals seem to very much follow the pattern of  Pentre Nicklaus Village  project which incorporated a housing development alongside a golf course.

Indeed it seems that the only way of making the  Hoylake Golf Resort project viable is by building 150+ luxury homes on Green Belt land. With Wirral Council having already spent an estimated £275,000 on consultants trying to make this scheme stack up it would seem that they think this is a sacrifice worth making. This all begs the question as to whether the real aim (and moneyspinner) here is the housing development and whether the golf resort is the means of achieving that aim.

Unsporting Life

Unsporting life

On Grand National day our thoughts turn to sporting pursuits or more accurately unsporting pursuits with the local main players being (sad to say) self -serving Evertonians.

We’re not being partisan – it’s just the way things seem to work round here.We just wonder how Liverpool fan – Wirral Council Chief Executive “Stressed Eric”  Robinson – slipped through the net?.

Firstly whilst Her Ladyship is a keen golfer and is avidly following this weekend’s Masters golf tournament in Augusta she was not dismayed to learn that the Hoylake golf resort has hit a rough patch. We understand a 100 strong meeting was held on 29th March and the meeting was overwhelmingly against removal and development of the Green Belt as a means of setting up a golf course and (more pertinently) a housing development . However as far as we can tell this opposition hasn’t been reported anywhere else. Vested interests or apathy outside of Hoylake ? – you decide.

Continuing on an unsporting theme  –  what does Wirral have in common with the judicial system?. Apparently it’s a place where life doesn’t mean life. Witness this message we’ve received about the ongoing “Passport for Life” debacle :

”  A ‘Passport for Life’ surely means a Passport for Life and I checked and yes I still have a pulse, albeit difficult to detect on occasions. An award, by definition, is a gift that should not be taken back……… I think there’s room here for a petition to demand the return of the Burgess et al golden handshakes and the reinstatement of all our long service awards.

Norman Meddle, retired Wirral worker and Unison member.”
Norman Meddle – what a great name and what a great suggestion. He also tells us he’s been in touch with local and national Unison to see whether there can be a legal challenge to this move. We don’t fancy his chances as Unison haven’t backed a winner in a long time  – but then that’s what you get for being top of the handicap when you’re an employee and a union rep. As the saying goes  you can’t ride two horses at once.
Although Mr Meddle specifically mentions former CEO Burgesski we think special consideration should be given  to additional pension contributions  for “retirement” (with absolutely no justification) to  the likes of another Wirral Council CEO  Steve ” Mad Dog” Maddox and more recently Kevin “Addled” Adderley.
But then Wirral Council’s main players  have a long-standing record of not playing  fair or by the rules . Witness this week’s non-debate of the Girtrell Court closure proposal – blaming the Wirral Globe for an allegedly misleading headline and asking opposition councillors for an apology for , er, opposing …….or the continuing  delay of the Standards Panel when they know the game is up for some of the Council’s leading (own) goal scorers.
They remind us of that spoilt kid who takes their ball away when the whistle is blown on their foul play.
LEAKY TOWERS TOPICAL GRAND NATIONAL TIPS : JUST A PAR & UNIONISTE !!

Crazy Golf

hoylake golf

Forget the celebrity endorsed golf course and 5 star hotel it’s the potential residential sites that are the most significant parts of the Hoylake golf resort plan.

 

We’ve always wondered at Leaky Towers where the golf resort notion sprang from. So knowing what we know about the gone but not forgotten senior officers at Wirral Council we imagined that an historical Chief Officers meeting went something along the lines of :

“Hey , we all like golf we’ve got a loads of green belt  land – let’s build a golf resort on it!”. They then commissioned a report , all pulled on their Farah slacks and went for a quick round before they concluded their meeting with another round at the 19th hole.

However a  commentator on a previous  Wirral Leaks post send Verity scurrying off to do some research on what happened from there….

Needless to say it took nearly 10 years and for someone to have to resort to the inevitable Freedom of Information request  before the original 2006 Capita Symonds viability consultation report was prised out of Wirral Council’s golf grip.

http://www.hoylakegolfresort.uk/#!capita-symonds-needs-assessment/viwgy

This report which allegedly cost £275,000 is  helpfully summarised by our commentator thus:

‘Nice idea chaps, but the planning issues make it more trouble than it’s worth!” Still, there’s nothing like the “NO, NO, NO I’M NOT LISTENING!” approach to get you through 15 years of self-denial.’

However if you want not listening and self -denial then Council”leader” Power Boy Pip Davies is your,er, man.

It would seem that from the outset the only way a golf resort was viable on the outskirts of Hoylake is for Wirral Council to illegally remove it from the green belt, ignore the agricultural status of the surrounding land and raise money by selling it for luxury housing!. Even the Capita Symonds report states that in order for the golf resort to be successful, it will need to be funded by money raised from housing development.

With  Wirral Council’s deluded golf guru Kevin “Addled” Adderley having moved to where the grass is greener we would have thought it would have been an ideal opportunity to knock this idea out of bounds. However last week , at the meeting of  West Wirral Constituency Committee it seems Adderley’s successor  Dave “Golf” Ball is determined to see this tee off . Although he was well aware that the planning application will have to go before the Secretary Of State, simply because of the green belt issue , he warned this could be years away. So don’t pack your plus-fours just yet!.

No wonder our source comments :  “Either way you look at it, they have to try to get away something quite outrageous before they can see the project being funded!”. When “outrageous actions” are Wirral Council leadership’s stock in trade it’s time to wonder what they could be up to and why they seem determined to get from out of the bunker and on to the green (belt).

We can only surmise there’s a trump card to play in the planning process.Indeed there is a school of thought that Power Boy Pip must be pinning all of his hopes on Mayor Joe or whoever ends up with decision making powers in the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority to make use of whatever new devolution powers are available to change green belt planning issues at a local level. It’s unknown territory at the moment, but the current government want to change planning to make it easier to build on the green belt. If the devolution powers put the decision making to the regional heads this will suit Pip and co down to a tee.

This would also enable central government to point out to how devolving  powers to a region in the so-called Northern Powerhouse could work to serve the needs of big business.

So currently it is hard to tell in whose hands ultimately the destiny of Hoylake golf resort project lies – central government ? ,regional government ? , local government ? or big business ?. All we do know is that it doesn’t seem to be local people. Well ,so far anyway…….