Green Belt : Do You Want Facts and Figures or Fake News ?

Whilst the Green Belt political panto ploughs on in the local papers , here at Wirral Leaks   we provide you with a special cut out and keep report from ‘The Prof’ which we think is the definitive word on the matter. There is a summary of his findings at the start. But for those who want to be better informed about the Green Belt debate there is a full analysis.

  HOUSING & GREEN BELT LAND REQUIREMENTS to 2032
: WIRRAL COUNCIL FAKE NEWS

  • The council Green Belt ‘release plan’ covers ~8 square miles or 4,900 acres.
  • This land could support 71,000 homes (at typical NW density of 14.6 dw / acre).
  • But the government / council housing need forecast is for 12,000 houses.
  • So the GB land fraction required is only ~17% of the council ‘release plan’.
  • However based on ACTUAL population and household number changes in
    the last decade and allowing for lower economic growth post Brexit and a slowdown in UK life expectancy improvement, probable new housing need is 200 to 300 houses per annum NOT 800.
  • So the land required would be only ~6% of the GB ‘release plan’ in that case.
  • But the council says it has identified Brown Field sites for 2,400 houses and will build there first. If so the fraction of land required from the GB ‘release plan’ would be only ~3%
  • The council has deliberately exaggerated the ‘Green Belt Problem’ and caused great distress to many Wirral residents for purely political reasons. After the Green Belt review in December 2018 they will claim that they have ‘heroically’ saved most of the land on their GB ‘release plan’… land that was never needed in the first place.
  • Even so some sites listed will draw the short straw since building on Green Belt is more profitable than building on Brown Field sites for the developers. The council will gain from higher rates from Green Belt luxury homes. Very few ‘affordable houses’ will be built because of the ‘viability test’ loophole. The developers gain; the politicians gain; but what about the Wirral residents who elected them who are routinely treated with contempt ?

 

Wirral Housing Need Forecasts 2014 – 2032 

& Green Belt Land Requirements: Fake News

1 Summary
The government has told Wirral Council that they must build 800 homes per annum or 12,000 in total over the period 2014 to 2032. Despite having granted planning permission already for ~ 16,000 dwellings, mainly on brown field sites, the Council have decided to seek out landowners and developers ready to ‘release’ Green Belt land for housing development. This has led to 50 sites being identified (Figure 4). This land amounts to ~8 square miles of Wirral countryside. Both government and council have ignored the existing ~6,000 empty properties on the Wirral. The government and the ‘land bankers’ such as Peel Holdings have been blamed by the Council for this catastrophic situation. However the Council commissioned Housing Study of 2016 found a housing requirement of 835 to 1,235 units per annum. In fact the same complex methodology underlies both housing estimates. It is at heart still based on guesswork and produces a remarkably wide range of forecasts. The politicians can find almost any number that suits them politically. In the case of the Council this was a desire to promote their miraculous economic growth policies for Wirral.
Given the uncertainties a better approach is to consider actual recent and longer term population and household growth rates and growth rate ranges and base forecasts on these with possible adjustments for general economic growth prospects e.g Brexit effects. We do that below and find housing build rates of 200 to 300 per annum, not 800. At this level the amount of Green Belt needed (ignoring the brown belt land available) would be only ~6% of the land targeted by the Council for development release. At 800 homes per annum the fraction of Green Belt needed would only be ~17% of the Council plan. Wirral residents are being fed highly distressing fake news and alternative facts by the Council. We should all be asking why? Quo bono? Who benefits? It is certainly not Wirral residents.
2 The Wirral SHMA and Housing Needs Study 2016

This study was commissioned by Wirral Council and completed by the Nathan Litchfield Consultancy. It is 263 pages long. It uses approved data from government sources and approved analysis methods commonly used by other local authorities. It freely references work by other groups which is commendable. It fully reports its assumptions and considers over a dozen alternative scenarios. It is a comprehensive, workman-like job. Sadly government departments and councils do not always fully report or understand what their consultants tell them about the uncertainties in modelling and forecasting. Quite often the politician can take almost any number that suits him from such a report. Let’s start with the report output and the 13 scenarios shown in Figure 1.

We see that the forecast of houses needed by 2032 varies from 3,400 to 22,200 (the most extreme scenario of building 46,530 ‘affordable’ houses has not been considered here as the report drops it). This range covers a factor of 6.6 X. The dotted line is the 800 houses per annum target imposed by government (but also compatible with Litchfield’s final proposal to the council). The thick line shows the result using the actual Wirral annual delivery of 383 houses per annum in the recent decade.

 

FIGURE 1

Screen Shot 2018-08-15 at 14.49.59

The 383 figure reflects recent reality in terms of Wirral demographics, economic migration and the state of the house building market. If forecasters, councils and governments insist on very different numbers for housing growth they should be required to show cause…particularly if the forecast impacts negatively on the quality of life of large numbers of Wirral residents and threatens the loss of irreplaceable high quality farm land and core biodiversity refuges in the Green Belt. Despite the fancy talk of ‘evidence based’ planning by governments the fact is much of what passes for analysis is guess work often based on unstable base data as we will see. Forecasts are often politics based not evidence based.

3 Wirral Population & Household Numbers History
The starting point of the ‘official’ methodologies used for housing needs forecasting are the future demographics of the area population. If these are wrong then all that follows in terms of ‘economic policy uplifts’ and the rest, is pointless. The official government (ONS) historic data on Wirral population changes from 1990 onwards has been remarkably unstable and subject to regular ‘adjustments’. This does not give confidence in the official data nor in forecasts based on it even before imaginative economic scenarios are appended to the basic demographics. Figure 2 shows the population history from 1991 to 2011 before ‘adjustments’ were made to make some consistent sense of the data. In 1990 the population was about 336,000. By 2010 population had apparently fallen to around 309,000 a decline of ~0.45 % per annum overall. Decline slowed to -0.31 % after 2005. By contrast the ONS forecasts for 2012 to 2035 projected a growth of +0.15% per annum.

FIGURE 2

Screen Shot 2018-08-15 at 14.50.12

At the 2011 census the embarrassing historical numbers were ‘uplifted’ to reconcile with those of the census. The varying ONS forecasts from various, almost successive years are concerning. Looking at 2008 base data is interesting. 2008 to 2012 we are told was a period of ‘national recession and economic stagnation’. On that basis population was projected to fall long term! Later the 2010 base rate was adjusted to correct for the census gap. By 2012 the base numbers were adjusted upwards but the end point in 2032 was the same! These are a remarkable set of estimates and forecasts for all the wrong reasons. Here are the various ‘adjustments’ made after 2010.

Start year Population 2032 Population
ONS 2008 base 2008 309,000 304,000
ONS 2010 base 2010 310,000 329,000
ONS 2012 base 2012 320,000 330,000
The reader should note the apparent sensitivity of the Wirral population to economic conditions. Current UK growth is still very modest. Borrowing and debt levels are very high. Interest rates are very low but beginning to increase. A possibly hard Brexit will further dampen growth as the government acknowledges. Please note: none of this is built into the current forecasts of Wirral housing demand and the forecasts used for job growth and so on in the 2016 report were already optimistic. They assume that Wirral Council’s ‘growth stimulation’ policies will work. History from 1990 suggests otherwise.

Nevertheless the forecast is for a major turnaround in the 20 year decay of Wirral’s population. Even if we accept this forecast (which will be challenged in section 4) note also that the population in 2032 (~330,000) has not yet recovered to the level of 1991 (~336,000). Nevertheless it seems we need to build an additional 800 houses per annum until 2032 to house a supposed additional ~10,000 people. By 2015 the government figures for Wirral had changed again (see below).

4. Forecasts of Population & Households to 2032
The core basis of the Wirral SHMA and Housing Needs Study 2016 are the local demographics. If these are wrongly forecast everything else falls. As we just saw the historical data is all over the place but we must try. Figure 3 shows the reconciled (final?) population history of Wirral and the supposed household numbers. We will work with these since the council and government do so. ONS Estimated Resident Population tables to mid-2016 tell us that the population in mid 2011 was 319,800 souls and in mid 2016 was 321,200 souls. This gives us a growth rate of 280 persons per annum.
Household numbers in 2011 were 141,000 and in mid 2014 142,400. Note that from 1991 to 2001 there was no growth in household numbers. So HH size in 2011 was 2.27, in 2014 2.255. Recently HH size has been falling at ~0.005 per annum. At that rate by 2032 HH size would have fallen to 2.17 persons. However ONS ‘Families and Households 2017’ shows that across England from 2013 to 2017 HH size stagnated. HH size change is related to increased life expectancy which has been increasing for many decades.

However the ONS Human Mortality Database just published shows a massive drop in life expectancy growth rate (2006 / 2011 12.9 weeks per annum for women down to 1.2 weeks per annum in 2011 / 2016; 2006 /2011 17.3 weeks per annum for men down to 4.2 weeks per annum in 2011 / 2016). The decline may be related to austerity and reduced funding of social care, etc. We will look at two scenarios. First that HH size continues to decline to 2032, to 2.17 persons. Second, that HH size stagnates at 2.23 persons.
How will population develop? Let’s look at actual overall trends for the recent decade and for the two latest census periods. The 2011 – 2016 growth rate we found was 280 persons per annum. The (reconciled) 2001 data puts population at ~316,000 and at 2016 as 321,200. The longer period growth rate was 347 persons per annum. We see that population growth has decelerated in recent years reflecting poor economic conditions.
Given that the government expects somewhat lower economic growth for some years related to Brexit we take the lower growth rate. Population growth 2014 to 2032 would then be 18 x 280 = 5040 persons. Population in 2014 was 321,200. Population in 2032 would be 326,240. Using stagnated HH size at 2.23 then gives us 146,296 HH versus 142,400 in 2014. Increase in HH is 3895 in total or 216.4 houses per annum. If HH size drops to 2.17, which seems unlikely, this would give us a need for 441 houses per annum. Note that the mean of 329 compares well with the actual historic delivered rate of 383 reported in the Wirral SHMA Study.
These results follow from a simple model based on actual trends and experienced trend ranges in Wirral population and households plus a few assumptions about general economic prospects over the next decade. Accuracy cannot be claimed but the housing requirement is only 27% to (an unlikely) 55% of the official target. The official housing forecast models are far more detailed, dissecting out local demographics and then adding back in council growth policies, net migration, job growth and housing market factors. But as we saw in Figure 1 this leads us to a wide range of complex but guesswork based scenarios giving a very wide range of numerical forecasts. You might well think:
’ never mind the quality feel the width’ …but I could not possibly comment.

FIGURE 3 

Wirral Population & HH ONS Estimates 2015

Screen Shot 2018-08-15 at 14.50.26

Is this perhaps unfair? Let’s take a key example from the Wirral SHMA & Housing Need Study 2016. Page 137 presents Table 8.2 which lists their key modelling assumptions for the growth forecasts. It starts with the basic population and two estimates:

‘2012 based SNPP 10,140 population growth 2014 – 2032.’
‘10 year long term Migration Scenario 66 population growth.’
‘Higher of the 2 approaches represents the population for the demographic starting point’.

Funnily enough if we take the scenarios mean we get 5103 compared with our 5040… but the low growth scenario is ignored. They use the 10,140 growth figure which it is said equates to 11,830 new houses. Various ‘uplift’ factors are then applied giving a 757 houses per annum requirement which is further ‘uplifted’ for Council growth plans, etc, giving ‘Fully Objectively Assessed Needs’ of 875 to 1233 houses per annum…higher than the ‘wicked’ government imposed 800 target of 2018.

5. Green Belt Land Requirements
The Strategic Land Availability Study is a necessary part of the preparation of the Local Plan and part of this is a Review of Green Belt land. In July 2018 Wirral Council published a map showing 50 green belt sites across Wirral said to be available for ‘release’ for housing development according to the landowners / developers. The interesting question is how does this area of land relate to the ‘official’ housing needs target which must be met by the Council i.e 12,000 new houses by 3032.
We now look at the land area involved and typical housing densities to answer this question. Using the NLS online measurement tools and 25 inch OS maps the total land area involved is ~7.6 square miles and ~4864 acres. Figure 4 shows the map of intended GB ‘release’ sites. The square of 3 miles X 3 miles shows the rearranged green belt sites which fill it well. Imagine a new urban township 3 miles X 3 miles square on the Wirral.

FIGURE 4 Intended Green Belt Council Release Sites

Screen Shot 2018-08-15 at 14.50.42

The DCLG Land Use Statistics (England) 2010 provides actual housing densities by region. For the NW densities have ranged from 22 to 49 dwellings per hectare in recent years with a tendency to increase. The mean is 36 dph or 14.57 dwellings per acre. At this density the GB release plan land could support 14.57 x 4864 = 70,870 houses.
The government / council required total is 12,000 houses. So the GB land proposed for development ‘release’ by the council is 5.9 X more than the land needed to meet the target (assuming that no houses are built on brown field land).Only 17% of that Green Belt land would be required. Readers might consider this a little strange. Is the Wirral Council incapable of doing a few simple calculations to support their housing planning strategy? Surely they employ professional planning officers at considerable expense to us?
I suggest that the GB land overkill is part of a deliberate political strategy. First, announce that a huge area of Green Belt is needed to meet the ‘government’s housing targets’. Second, encourage residents to ‘complain’ through local Labour Party organised resident meetings and a hysterical press campaign: those to blame being the Conservative government for trying to ‘subvert local democracy’ and Peel Holdings for ‘land banking’. Third, hold the official Consultation on the plans in September 2018.
Fourth, in December 2018 after the review, announce that the Council has listened carefully to residents’ concerns and thanks to the Council’s heroic efforts 83% of the GB sites on the release plan have been ‘saved’. Fifth, win more votes in the next election.
However the above calculations start from the official housing needs estimate of 800 x15 = 12,000.We have shown that this is a very unrealistic target taking into account actual Wirral history, population numbers, household numbers, lack of economic growth prospects and the strong slowdown in life expectancy improvement. A more likely housing requirement over the plan period is 216.4 x 18 = 3895. If we use this number the fraction of GB land on the ‘release’ plan actually required would be 5.4%.
Note also that the Council has now identified 91 brown field sites where 2,400 houses could be built. But this is 62% of our estimated 3895 requirement. If these sites are used the Green Belt needed would be just 2% of the proposed Council ‘release’ plan.
Nevertheless somebody is going to draw the short straw and lose their adjacent Green Belt. After all there is much more money to be made by not bothering with the large area of Brown Belt land available on Wirral which costs more to develop. The developers make more profit from Green Belt. The Council gets higher rates from the Green Belt luxury houses they build. Very few ‘affordable’ houses will be built because of the ‘viability’ test loophole. Surely Wirral residents are being badly misled and treated with contempt by those who were elected to protect their interests… to the benefit of land speculators and the politicians. Politicians come and go but once Green Belt land is gone it is gone forever.
Enough is enough. It is time to fight back.
Professor (retired) D P Gregg: Background in mathematical modelling, statistics and operational research. For fifteen years served as visiting professor with a leading northern university. Collaborated with several universities in Europe and the USA and led EU funded industrial projects with other large companies. For several decades led a forecasting research / decision science, internal consultancy group for a large, well known multinational company. Advised senior management and the board on tactical and strategic business planning.

 

Green Belt Review

pip-grinch

Pip : Green Man or a threat to the Green Belt?

We are pleased to publish a letter from The Prof an extract from the introduction to his brilliantly researched Wirral Green Belt Review 2018 explaining why Wirral residents need to wake up and take action against threats to Wirral’s Green Belt. It would appear that there is a growing realisation that that threat lies closer to home and that the approved narrative from Wirral Council that the villains are the Peel Group and bullying bureaucrats from central Government simply doesn’t stack up – especially in the light of the proposals for the Hoylake Golf Resort.

So instead of bogus consultation meetings and political point scoring in the local newspapers Professor David Gregg (‘The Prof’)  is kindly providing facts and figures and a cogent argument as to why local activists need to be informed and get involved to protect the Green Belt. Although his analysis is about the impact of housing development at Poulton Lancelyn it serves as an excellent template for Green Belt activists . If anyone would like a free e copy of The Prof’s book get in touch with us :  Wirralleaks@gmail.com

Hello! Now the time scale for green belt site assessment against the national and local development criteria has been slashed to zero it is essential that local action groups make and submit their own analyses to the planning process.

As I mentioned I have done this for site 1984 at Poulton Lancelyn. I have published and am now circulating this independent report to locals, councillors, Alison McGovern and various heritage, wildlife and countryside activist groups. On several key grounds the aim to ‘fill in’ the whole GB land area east of the M53 from Prenton, south to Raby Mere is very damaging and totally unjustified on the Council’s own criteria. Somebody has gone insane. My local group will be gearing up action over the next few weeks but I thought you might like to see the report now. I am providing e copies free to any local Wirral residents affected.

                                                                          The Prof.
INTRODUCTION

A Strategic Housing Land Availability Study is being undertaken by Wirral Council as part of the generation of the Core Strategy Local Plan to be submitted to the DCLG Secretary of State. Part of this process involves identifying sites within the Green Belt to be made ‘available’ by landowners and developers for housing development and their subsequent ‘release’. The NPPF of 2012 requires local authorities to boost housing supply and this has recently (March 2018) been reinforced by the Prime Minister in the new draft NPPF proposals. Fifteen councils were singled out for condemnation by the then Secretary of State for failing to define a Local Plan and deliver an adequate level of new housing. Wirral is one of these councils. Secretary Sajid Javid has recently said of Wirral

‘In the 13 years that have passed since the 2004 Act was introduced your council has failed to meet the deadlines set out in that timetable.’

The threatened consequence is direct government intervention in the housing development process. The last Local Plan was written in 2000. The policy on Green Belt in the draft 2018 NPPF remains essentially unchanged (3). However there will be increasing pressure to build on Green Belt land which is why the listing of ‘available’ sites for development in the Wirral is important. If a site is not on the list it will not be considered, given the long list of ‘available’ sites in total (~110). The aim of local resident groups at this stage should be to prevent and protest local site listing and then ‘release’ for development. The question of redefining the Green Belt and building on green belt land sites appears to have arisen because of ‘land banking’ by developers in other Wirral areas. Council leader Phil Davies informed Secretary Sajid Javid in an official letter (31.01.18) that

‘Planning permission is currently in place for 16,098 new homes including 2,577 on existing urban and previously developed sites and up to 13,521 dwellings at …Wirral Waters…
The Council’s current SHLAA to April 2017 shows potential for a further 4,531 dwellings, subject to viability…’

At an intended target rate of house building of around 800 per annum the above implies we have a 26 year supply in hand. In addition ~6,000 existing houses are claimed to be lying empty.

According to Cllr. Davies, progress on ‘housing led regeneration has been hindered’ by the cut back in Conservative central government funding. Given this background the pressure to release and build on Green Belt land must seem obscure to the ordinary Wirral resident (but read on). The unfortunate attitude of some local councillors appears to be that until a landowner or developer makes a planning application residents can go back to sleep. This presumably reflects a complacent view of current ‘national’ policy.

‘National policy states that Green Belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances through the preparation or review of the Local Plan and that inappropriate development in the Green Belt should not be approved except in very special circumstances.’

But a new Local Plan is being written and ~110 Green Belt sites have been put forward by ‘landowners and developers’ including site 1984 ; GB parcel SPO42, adjacent to Colmore Avenue and Poulton Green Close and further south to a point near Lancelyn Farm. If all these Green Belt sites are ‘safe’ why have so many landowners put them forward formally, as available for development ? Is this simple land speculation or prior knowledge? Also, very special circumstances are with us: an alleged national shortage of ‘affordable’ housing and the government’s desire for some major political ‘virtue signaling’…

Green Gauge Summer

Green Siege 003

Another week , another front page shock horror probe about the Green Belt courtesy of Wirral Globe.

Following on from Wirral Council’s CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson coming out from under his desk at Wallasey Town Hall to make a special guest appearance and announce his deep and heartfelt concern about Wirral’s green and pleasant land we now have a ‘leaked document’ which has been sent to the Wirral View , sorry , we mean Wirral Globe.

This ‘leaked document’ – yeah right ! -‘leaked’ from Wallasey Town Hall HQ  with full approval of council leaders and their lackeys by the looks of it- apparently tells us that :

A MAJOR assault will be launched on Wirral’s precious Green Belt land, the Globe can reveal.

In a leaked document seen by this newspaper, acres of protected space have been earmarked to be sold-off to developers in order for the council to meet Government-set housing targets.

The controversial proposals, which target 14 wards across the peninsula, “will fundamentally change the nature of our community.” Full story here : Leaked Document

Note how  councillors Phillip ‘Brightboy’ Brightmore and Angela Davies don’t seem particularly bothered that the document has been leaked with the former commenting that : “Residents will be rightly outraged at these proposals……”

No sorry to have to tell you  Phil , sweetheart , but what residents are pissed off about is being subject to the cynical media manipulation that’s going on here.

Is anyone taken in by this carefully orchestrated bullshit? Shall we gauge this summer by the amount of bogus stories about the alleged threat to Wirral’s Green Belt that clearly emanate from the power elite within Wallasey Town Hall?

Oh and can anyone identify where the Hoylake Golf Resort proposal is on the ‘Green Belt threat map’ – or is that not considered a threat? And if not why not?…

 

Summer Shorts : The Heat is On 2 – Quo Bono?

Green Belt Eric 008

This follow up to yesterday’s bogus  Stressed Eric ‘Green Belt’ Wirral Globe story is a timely reminder that on Wirral there is a need to question every front page ‘exclusive’ , especially when it comes to timing and motivation.

We are grateful for ‘The Prof’ for giving us a sneak preview of this  letter to the Globe editor

The Globe report on Green Belt development, quoting Eric Robinson, is puzzling.

We are told that ‘there is no other option’ than to build on the Green Belt and it’s the wicked government’s fault. It seems we must build 12,000 new homes by 2035 or ~700 per annum. This is all very strange.In February Phil Davies wrote to the CLG & H minister, Sajid Javid,  to reassure him all was well.

Here are the key bits:

‘Planning permission is currently in place for 16,098 homes, including 2,577 on existing urban and previously developed sites and up to 13,521 dwellings at a large regeneration site …at Wirral Waters…The council’s SHLAA  to April 2017 shows the potential for a further 4,531 dwellings, subject to viability…’Taking these numbers in total we have 20,620 homes with planning permission, or 29 years worth at the required rate of building. We are also told that ‘1,315 new dwellings were under construction in April 2017 compared to only 475 in April 2016’ an average of 895 homes per year in recent years compared with the average needed rate of ~700.

Clearly the ‘government’ required rate of building is possible to meet. Robinson’s view that new Green Belt land must be used is therefore puzzling. I also note Javid’s comment that Wirral ‘is not an area of high housing pressure’ which is interesting. Javid’s attack was not about numbers but about Wirral’s failure to meet the statutory duty to have a Local Plan in place. The last plan was published in 2000 !

To conflate statutory plan duties with Green Belt release issues is arguably mischievous. Is all this blather something to do with forcing through pet council Green Belt schemes like the ‘Golf Resort’? Tax payers might reasonably ask, Quo Bono?

Professor D P Gregg (retired)

So there we have a perfect riposte with facts,figures and everyfink ! – and ending with the pertinent question as to who benefits from bogus front page stories like this ?
PS  Oh and to the reader who asked us whether the name at bottom left of the Globe picture was a subliminal message – well spotted. You win a Chinese meal , a recording device and four blank cheques courtesy of Wirral Council.

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.

field-s_n-clp

“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 :

Javid letter 361

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.

 

 

 

 

Making Plans For Wirral

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Following yesterday’s masterful Masterplantastic story we bring you an immaculately timed letter from  Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Housing , Communities and Local Government which tells us what happens when a council has ‘visions’ rather than ‘plans’ !

As you may remember last November we brought to your attention Wirral Council’s failure to produce a ‘Local Plan’ and Javid’s warning that there would be government intervention if Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies couldn’t get his house in order : Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail .  Wirral Council was one of 15 council’s who received such a warning with  Javid making this sabre rattling statement :

…today is the day that my patience has run out.

Those 15 authorities have left me with no choice but to start the formal process of intervention that we set out in the white paper.

By failing to plan, they have failed the people they are meant to serve.

The people of this country who are crying out for good quality, well-planned housing in the right places, supported by the right infrastructure.

They deserve better, and by stepping in now I’m doing all I can to ensure that they receive it.

Now it would appear that Wirral Council has excelled themselves by being one of only 3 remaining councils who now face intervention for “persistent failure over many years to get a Local Plan in place”  For further details : Three councils

The full shameful letter from Javid to Pip can be read here :

Wirral Plan

Meanwhile a Wirral Leaks commentator going by the name of ‘HeadBallRoll’ writes to us to say :

After a series of mealymouthed excuses as to why highly paid council officers and their political paymasters couldn’t actually cut and paste something resembling a Local Plan by 31st January 2018 – as they were too busy hiding behind their 20/20 Vision and pledges rather than meeting a statutory requirement by which they can be held to account . Maybe the chosen few were too busy scoping golf courses, closing children’s centres, farming out council houses to private property developers … or simply not paying attention? So it’s been around a while, ending up with 15 councils warned by the angry Slaphead Javid.  But even nearly three years’ notice wasn’t enough for the senior, blind, bumbling incompetents shuffling around lost, bumping into each other, muttering, tripping over files, in the dusty, unused Wirral planning office.

And let’s face it, 33 months is  nowhere near enough notice to get their shit together (after 13 years of not having a ‘Local Plan’ !)  Presumably the other dozen LAs scraped through because they had enough about them to focus, gather the remnants of good practice and apply the last surviving vestiges of planning nous into cobbling some crappy document together in time.

But not here.  It seems they’ve sat around, twiddled their thumbs and hoped the horrible Tories would either go away, forget, or not go through with it.

Despite the BIG proclamations, the BIG egos, the BIG senior salaries, they’ve messed up BIG style.  It’s one BIG cock-up.

This being Wirral though, where abject failure and disaster have long become customary bedfellows, like night follows day, or falling off a log, it doesn’t soften the blow.

But hey, as long as those bumper salaries are not cut off and continue to come in on pay day, where’s the incentive to do your jobs, lol?

So chaos is now expected and planned for at ‘most improved’ Wirral. (Who remembers the Children’s Services OFSTED catastrophe that overpromoted social worker and CEO Eric Robinson  knew about months in advance, only to dive under his desk, head in hands, dribbling and doing bugger all to stave it off?)

And what of the grafting junior staff of the Planning Department, doing their utmost to at least be professional and hold the fort?

Monday morning will arrive, and they’ll find themselves intercepted, scapegoated, placed into the line of fire and reaping the consequences of years of failure by their bosses and councillors – who will have had just enough prior notification to give it all a timely body swerve…. That’s the type of ‘planning’ they’re very good at. Avoidance measures, whilst junior bods and lackeys are left to pick up the pieces. 

So it’s not just Children’s Services, Social Services, Highways Services that have collapsed into an abject, irretrievable mess.We can now add the Planning Department to the long list of shame.

Of course the upshot of all this is that Wirral’s ‘Local Plan’ could now come under the auspices of the Liverpool City Region as Javid warns in his letter:

 

My officials will also begin formal discussions on the options of inviting the Combined Authority for the Liverpool City Region to prepare a Local Plan for Wirral and on the possibility of directing an accelerated Joint Plan, as part of considering whether to use my statutory powers and if so which ones.

Could this have been part of  Pip’s ‘Masterplan’ all along ?  To evade accountability for an unpopular ‘Local Plan’ and subsequent planning decisions – ” It wasn’t us who approved a golf resort etc;  – it was the Liverpool City Region!”

 

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…”

 

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #7

THE FREE PRESS

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If nothing else Wirral is well served by free media – mainstream or otherwise . From Wirral Leaks  to Wirral Globe to Wirral View to Wirral Life – all along the news spectrum from the grime to the gloss.

However did you spot the deliberate mistake? We’ve been asked what part of  the word ‘free’ doesn’t Wirral Council understand . Those of our readers who have miraculously received their first ever print edition of Wirral View have been asking us how can it have ‘FREE’ emblazoned on the front cover when the print and distribution costs and presumably the wages of the cut and paste mob who are responsible for compiling the unwanted rag runs into hundreds of thousands of £££ each year and is paid for by council tax payers ?

For those who had the honour and privilege of finally receiving a copy of Wirral View the most frequently asked question is : “Are there elections due ?  In probably the last edition before purdah we understand it was rammed with Wirral Growth Company/Muse Developments/Wirral Waters articles replete with the obligatory artist’s impressions. There wasn’t even room for any healthy, cheap and nourishing recipes! We are sure a peep at the online edition would confirm the veracity of these claims but as the saying goes you don’t have to go to the Arctic to know it’s cold…

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Another reader was a bit alarmed by the Wirral View headline above . At first they thought it was members of the Wirral Council cabal getting a vigilante posse together and taking time out from next week’s MIPIM conference in Cannes to track down ‘His Lordship’ and give him a good pasting . That was until they read the article , which was about how not to upset the kiddiewinks with stories about all the nasty things going on in the world. Although we think telling them to get a good education, not to do drugs and get away from Wirral as fast as you can is the best advice that any Wirral parent could give to their child.

THE ART OF DOING BUSINESS ON THE GOLF COURSE

From the glitz and glamour of Cannes we glide seamlessly to the latest glossy, glamorous, aspirational edition of Wirral Life . Inexplicably the cover star is hasbeen chanteuse / gardener Kim Wilde. So is Kim –  best known for that annoying racket ‘Kids in America’  – coming to Wirral as part of her UK tour ? Er,no. She’s going to Wrexham ( oh the glamour of it all) . We couldn’t work out a Wirral connection even though the exclusive and highly insightful interview revealed that Ms Wilde only has “2 handbags and less than 10 pairs of shoes (not counting trainers) “. Now if the interviewer had asked her about what trackie she would wear to visit The Pound Bakery we might have understood why Wirral Life was plugging her tour and giving her front cover status.

However less of this celebrity flummery what did interest us was finding out about the inevitable Wirral Chamber of Commerce section. There was news of Wirral Waters ( don’t they know it’s had a re-brand to Wirral Waters One?) and the Wirral Chamber Corporate Cup as the Chamber  ‘host prestigious corporate golf day at Caldy’  . What is it with these people and bloody golf?  We’ve long known that much of Wirral Council business is conducted at Wallasey Golf Club and of course there’s that  Hoylake housing development proposal masquerading as a ‘golf resort’ but we’re definitely with Mark Twain on this one – “golf is a good walk spoiled”. The point of this anti-golf tirade (and we do have one) is that one of the 2018 teams is Morgan Sindall . Muse Developments are part of the Morgan Sindall group of companies .  Is anyone other than us joining the dots? Read more here : Morgan Sindall

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WIRRAL UNIVERSITY TEACHING HOSPITAL : #PROUD  – The Musical 

Following our  Wirral University Teaching Hospital : #Proud ?  story we’ve been sent a video of the opening of Arrowe Park Hospital entrance from 2014 involving a ‘flashmob’ performing the song ‘Proud’. It brought a lump to the throat and a tear to the eye – but for reasons that probably means that we’re best walking away from the keyboard. Disgraced former WUTH CEO David Allison can be seen at the start of the video doing the difficult job of encouraging someone to cut the ribbon. So David tell us what did YOU do since this was filmed to make you feel proud?

AND FINALLY…….

We have some very observant and tuned-in readers who look at the world in the same slightly skewiff way that we do . Accordingly we are grateful for both the picture taken from a Channel 4 ident along with the following comment :

My daughter has forwarded me this image today explaining that this giant monster is actually a deconstructed number 4 (as in C4).

So, not only is it a good New Brighton image but it is also, I guess, some kind of metaphor for what Wirral Leaks is trying to do – deconstructing Wirral?

(or, like those blokes in wheelchairs…maybe I am pushing it)

Ident

Leaky Awards 2017 – Quotes of the Year Part Two

Leaky awardsLeaky awardsLeaky awards

Join us for the second part of our journey down the red carpet to hell.

JULY

“Five years ago, we were a local authority in crisis: focused on cuts and on the verge of government intervention. Since then, we’ve been recognised as the Local Government Chronicle’s ‘Most Improved Council’, experiencing the fastest turnaround of any council in the UK. So what’s changed? In a nutshell, we refuse to give up; we never stop moving. Our pragmatic, innovative and bold plan, ‘2020 Vision’ will ensure that we’re getting the basics right; that we’re achieving more; that we’re changing the way we do things. In this role, you’ll take us to the next level and create a legacy for yourself in the process.” – Wirral Council advert to recruit a new Director of Finance will make you laugh , vomit or both.

Full story : A LACK OF DISCRETION

“They don’t seem to realise I’m at the top of the pecking order ” and referring to the investigator : “She doesn’t scare me and a little councillor involved might just shut her up.” – Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ) texts used as evidence against her during Standards Panel Code of Conduct investigation. LRJ describing herself as top of the pecking order brings visions of an Animal Farm hen coop in desperate need of a cock. The cock in question being Foghorn Leghorn!

Full story : AN LRJ REACTION

AUGUST

”  ‘Sustainable’ = slashed budgets and services.·   ‘Transformed’ = cut, demoralised and damaged beyond recognition. ‘Partnership’ = developed in secret, operating in secret, condemned by local councils, a total lack of public/patient consultation, and the only happy partners are Richard Branson and a series of US ‘healthcos’. ”  Defend Our NHS provide a definition of STP (Sustainability & Transformation Plans)

Full story : BANK HOLIDAY BULLETIN BOARD

SEPTEMBER

“An economic value below the legal minimum wage……..(would help employers) to take on low-productivity disabled workers.”  – Frank Field ,Birkenhead MP demonstrates his deep understanding of disability and equality rights .

“For anyone in this day and age to hold those views, and especially someone in Frank Field’s position, is abominable. It is exactly the same sort of thinking as the Nazi ‘useless eaters’ rhetoric.” Linda Burnip from Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) responds to Field’s comments

“The right to equal treatment and equality are human rights. Human rights are not privileges. That’s why they are called rights. I suggest Mr Field goes back to the drawing board. His comments are a disgrace and he should now apologise. Furthermore, if the Labour Party wishes to prove that it has truly changed its tune, it will need to demonstrate that the New Labour old guard are no longer calling the shots and put the voices of disabled people first.The last time we looked, Mr Field was not a spokesperson for disabled people.” John McArdle from campaign group Black Triangle also responds to Field’s comments. By the way people from Birkenhead , just a reminder, you are allowed to disagree with your MP.

Full story : THE SKWARKING CANARY COMES HOME TO ROOST

“It had adversely affected the staff morale and the reputation of the authority and rebuilding trust and transparency is still ongoing”   –  Simon Cuerden – Corporate Business Support Manager, Wirral Council comments on the conviction of Wallasey Town Hall petty cash thief  who would have evaded justice if an attempted cover up by officials hadn’t been uncovered by Wirral Leaks

Full story : EXCLUSIVE : THICK AS THIEVES UPDATE

OCTOBER

” Wirral is officially the happiest place to live in the North West” Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies , ‘Leader’ of Wirral Council in peak Pollyanna mode latches onto a bogus Rightmove survey as if it somehow negates an Ofsted report deeming Children’s Services ‘inadequate’ and a Care Quality Commission assessment that over half of care homes on Wirral are inadequate or require improvement. Yeah, Pip, whatevs.

Full story : HAPPY TALK

No laughing matter

Hotel Prestige ,Sorrento try to apologise to holidaymakers for alleged conduct unbecoming a former Wirral Council Mayor and his consort. 

Full story : SORRENTO SHAME 2 : NO LAUGHING MATTER

Comrades, “Now is the time” to stop acting like a “Party within a party” – and even like a “Momentum within Momentum”.

It is time to grasp that the mainstream (often called the “Left”) has won back the heart and soul of the Labour Party.  I do not know of a single member of the Seacombe Branch who has not fully supported my own declarations for Corbyn on the two websites or who does not support him now.  So why introduce friction where there need be none? Let’s try now to be a single Labour Party in Seacombe Ward.

Some comrades will remember that we also, for a while, held “Songs of the Labour Movement” musical evenings in the Park View Social Club – an opportunity for comrades to perform – or just listen and rub shoulders informally.  But, since then, we have had the difficulty of the Party being suspended so long that many of us don’t even know each other. – Cllr Adrian Jones keeps the red flag flying and addresses Wallasey CLP members seemingly in denial about the circumstances that led to the local branch being suspended by the Labour Party. 

Full story : SONGS OF THE LABOUR MOVEMENT – TWO TRIBES

NOVEMBER

“To ensure the promotion of “professional curiosity” when vulnerable children seek advice” – The final recommendation made following the (unpublished) Serious Care Review report following the Rajenthiram Brothers Child Sexual Exploitation case. It comes to something when you have to ask those who get paid to protect vulnerable children to actually try and do their jobs properly!

Full story :  A REPULSIVE EXCLUSIVE 

“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.” – Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies announces the surprise return of highways services to council control which is in the opposite direction of all other council services. There are suggestions this decision was influenced not by best value but by personal and political interests.

Full story : WHAM! BAM! THANK YOU SCAM

” Just goes to show what’s going on out there . We live in a sheltered world . We’re all too good for our own  good  Cllr Ron Abbey comments on the conduct of councillors in other councils clearly demonstrating he’s in denial and utterly deluded.

Full story : APOLOGIES AND APOLOGISTS

” I’ve always bought my houses, I’ve never inherited them……”   Frank Field , MP bitch slaps fellow Labour MP Hilary Benn and manages to unite all members of the House of Commons in condemnation of his comment.   

Full story : BIRKENHEAD MP’S BREXIT BITCHFEST BACKFIRES

“The darkness around us is very deep” – Cllr Tony ‘Tight-fit’ Norbury reads a poem urging elected members to ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ whilst every single Wirral councillor appears to be oblivious to the darkness around them.

Red Card 009

Full story : SHOW INAPPROPRIATE COMMENTS THE RED CARD

“Basically, it is the same thing over and over and over: incompetence, very poor communication (with me, but also with other agencies and between themselves), rudeness, poor or non-existent note-taking, people leaving at short notice and with no proper explanation, etc etc. It just goes on and on.

When the Klonowski enquiry produced its damning report, I briefly hoped that the people found to be grossly incompetent (and, in some cases, corrupt) would be removed. Disheartening, to say the least, to see people like Steve Foulkes still in place. Where is the accountability? There simply is none.

It beggars belief that Wirral Council has not been placed in special measures. I daresay the reasons behind that are political. The Tories asking for it are being hypocritical because part of the problem is chronic underfunding from central govt but I do think that being placed in special measures would be the best thing. The only thing, actually, that would give people like me and my son the chance at least of a semi-decent service. I know special measures are not a panacea but they would be our best chance.” – A Carer contacts us to describe her experience of trying to get a much needed service for her disabled son.

Full story : THE NEVER-ENDING STORY

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Private Eye report of Wirral Leaks exclusive featuring some choice quotes.

Full story : INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

“As the Labour  member on the (Standards) Panel it was very difficult for me  to hear that a Labour councillor had used her position as a councillor to damage the reputation and the livelihoods of other people. It goes without saying that people who come into this council were elected to serve the residents of the borough and not to use our position to do damage to them………” Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin proves to be another councillor in denial and conveniently forgets her role and that of other Labour councillors in damaging reputations and livelihoods of various former council officers who dared challenge them.

Full story : IT HAS TO STOP

DECEMBER

“Phil’s Folly “Cllr Gerry Ellis proving there’s life in the old dog yet at a standing room only public meeting where he described  Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil Davies and his plans for development of the Hoylake Golf Resort.

Full story : ADVENT FAREWELL 10 – QUESTION EVERYTHING

“LABOUR COUNCIL LISTEN TO THE PUBLIC!” – Wirral Needs campaigners repeated chant in the public gallery during last full Council meeting of 2017.

Full story : ADVENT FAREWELL 14 – WHY WIRRAL LEAKS SPEAKS IN PARABLES

Advent Farewell 18 – Satan’s Little Helper

Satan's Little Helper

Birkenhead MP Frank Field is frequently presented in the media as some kind of modern day saint. We have frequently begged to differ on his venerable status . Believe us –  he ain’t no saint . He may not be Satan either but referring to him thus allows us to redress the balance somewhat .

More specifically for the purposes of this post it helps us refer to Frankenfield’s electoral agent and folliclely challenged factotum Cllr George Davies as Satan’s Little Helper. Frankenfield’s very own Igor – ever willing to attend to his master’s bidding , no matter how unlawful , unethical or immoral . Give us the dirt we’ll give you the money , you can write it yourself . Make it up – we don’t mind .Just make sure you sign it . 

Marty F IgorGeorge as Igor

Cruel?

Life can be cruel,especially for some people who live in Birkenhead. As Frankenfield wants the world and her husband to know. Here he is in today’s Guardian (which has been sent to us by several readers) wallowing in other people’s poverty and wringing every last crocodile tear from his tawdry handkerchief . Once again doing our  Advent Farewell 7 – Frank Field’s Permanent Bank Holiday   story to death and proving once again to be a supreme sentimentalist who wants to have the luxury of an emotion without paying for it. If you have the (empty) stomach for it here is the latest instalment Hunger in Wirral: the truth behind the tale that made a Tory MP cry

Read Frankenfield described thus : immaculate in a checked shirt and tank top as he surveyed a scene of organised chaos in a sports hall at the Hive youth centre. Around him, volunteers scurried hither and thither to fill Christmas hampers for Wirral’s most needy.

In parliament, Field, who speaks in the perfect grammar of a patrician, had told the Commons it was the first time he had been able to tell the funeral story without crying himself.

A deity in a tank top? It might be a Guardianista hipster thing but we would have thought that a tank top would have been anathema – even in Birkenhead.

And there’s more :

Had anyone told him in 1979, when he became an MP, that he would be spending the run-up to Christmas packing hampers for constituents who couldn’t even afford toilet paper, he would have disregarded them as mad. “I would have gently had them put in a strait-jacket. I would have taken them to lie down in a dark-filled room.”

Can we have less of Frankenfield’s dark fantasies?  And anyway we’ve heard it all before, everyone gets disregarded as ‘mad’ if they don’t comply with his warped world view. Perhaps next time he’s telling Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies what to do he can ask him if his constituents can’t even afford toilet paper how can they can fucking afford to pay for the Hoylake Golf Resort?

Mental-PowerBoy