Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #9

Javid letter 354

Mail on Sunday 25/3/18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALL WRAPPED UP

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

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.

 

 

 

 

Sorrento Shame : Holidaymakers claim they faced ‘racist abuse’ from ex – Wirral Mayoress

Now we can all agree that everyone should be allowed to let their hair down on holiday and behave in a way they perhaps wouldn’t do at home. However there comes a point when certain types of behaviour become not only questionable they potentially cross the line into criminality. What’s more when there are people involved who condone such behaviour and they either once held or still do hold prestigious public positions we think it is legitimate to ask questions – yet again -about their fitness to hold public office.
As our previous introductory post suggested we have received some serious allegations about conduct unbecoming a former Wirral Mayoress. In this particular case the allegations are concerned with Elaine Foulkes , who you may remember was  Cllr Steve Foulkes ‘ consort when he held the position of Mayor. As you know the latter is a former leader of the Wirral Council and now acts as a council representative on various lucrative outside bodies.
According to our sources the following events took place on a shuttle bus and the hotel lobby of the Hotel Prestige, Sorrento on Saturday 7th October. The purpose of this post is to present the allegations that we have received and provide the corroboration of two witnesses from Belgium which was written on Hotel Prestige note paper (see below).
We will provide further observation and commentary in a forthcoming post.
The Hotel Prestige provides a shuttle to and from Sorrento. We were booked on the 11pm shuttle back to the hotel along with the Foulkes’. We were on the bus until 11.15, the driver was trying to contact them but no answer.
Just as he gets in to leave they appear. Mr Foulkes climbs in the front with the driver on the right and I am sat behind the driver with my partner next to me then Mrs Foulkes climbs in next to him, next to the door.
In the back directly behind us are the 2 sisters from Belgium.
At this point we were half expecting an apology for the holdup – but nothing!
This was the day we arrived in Italy and had been travelling since 2 am (Sat the 7th Oct)
So as the bus sets off my partner turns to me and quietly says we should have got a taxi earlier as to be honest we  were ready to head back at 9 but held on for the bus we had booked. It was at this point Mrs Foulkes says loudly : “Yes, you should!”
I turned to her and said : ” Sorry but he was talking to me and we are very tired as we have been travelling all day”  to which she replies “Us too!”
She then began her torrent of abuse saying , “Uurgh ,you’re from Yorkshire” while mimicking my partner and then said “you’re black! (my partner is of Pakistani origin).
My partner stayed calm and just said to her : “I think you should leave it there” but she continued with :  ” I can say what I like I was born in this country”  to which he replied ” So was I and pay tax just like you” and then she said “you’re parents weren’t and I wont be a minority in my own country, fuck off” she then proceeded to call him “Isis” at which point the ladies in the back become upset and told her to stop this awful abuse to which she replied : ” I voted Brexit to keep you lot out too!”. She then started to put her hands on my partner prodding him, saying you’re a short man! (he is 6ft 3!) The ladies in the back tried to stop her so she turns round and throws punches at them both! Then she sinks her teeth into my partners right arm!
All the time this is going on my partner is saying to the man in front “Sort out your wife” and he just lets it continue with the odd half hearted “Elaine, Elaine” 
As she continues to attack everybody her husband turns round and tries to restrain her  but she hurls abuse at him telling him ” I’m your wife!” 
 
It took 20 minutes to get to the hotel. All the time she’s “fucking this, fucking that” hence why the ladies from Belgium named them “this ‘fucking’ couple” in the email (which Wirral Leaks has also seen along  with apologetic emails from Hotel Prestige management).
Back at the hotel it continued. I rang the hotel while on the bus and requested the police be waiting for us but the police never came, maybe they didn’t ring them who knows? but the attack continued in the hotel lobby. She again tried to attack my partner and the ladies and abused her husband, he was asking not to call the police. The lady from Belgium told him she was sorry he was married to such a horrible lady – so she ran at her again!
The Foulkes’ then went upstairs and we could hear her screaming we were told the next day the hotel had lots of complaints and staff told us she continued for 2 hours after threatening to kill her husband! The hotel asked them to leave but they refused
Apparently she never went on the planned trip the next day and he went for breakfast alone we never saw them again until the airport in Naples.
When my partner got stopped at passport control they walked past so smug. I did say to him “Goodbye Mr Councillor Foulkes ! His face was a picture.
The  Hotel Prestige rang the police and they told us best to report to UK police as otherwise we would have to travel to Italy for court . So on returning to the UK to Liverpool airport  I informed the police who took note and I signed a statement but was told basically the Italian police had fobbed us off and that they couldn’t do anything as it happened in Italy . It is logged with the police though . In this country she would be charged with 3 counts of assault and racial abuse without a doubt. She certainly is a nasty lady and we were very surprised to come across her Facebook page and find she had been Mayoress! After Googling his name we were shocked to find he is a Labour councillor when his wife clearly and openly has such racist views.
For us the final line of the above statement  is perhaps is the most pertinent aspect of these allegations.  We have approached Cllr Foulkes for comment. We have thus far not received a response.
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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 ?

 

Peer Review

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Our media correspondent Phil Column asks : “That dual colour masthead ….wonder where Wirral View got that idea from? “

We all know that central government are constantly dismantling opportunities for external scrutiny of our public institutions and have lately been encouraging the use of peer reviews.

Peer reviews are basically where get your mates in to give you the thumbs up to carry on as hypernormal. Astonishingly we understand that our very own ‘strong leader’ Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies goes round the country performing this task and give other local authorities the benefit of his ineptitude.

So we thought we’d redress the balance and undertake a peer review by an actual peer of the realm. Therefore as promised His Lordship will be giving a full review of the online edition of Wirral View .  But remember folks ” Your publication” is  NOT a newspaper  !. Power Boy Pip says : “even though this is printed on recycled news-sheet this publication is not a newspaper”. So that’s all right then, thanks for clearing that up for us!.

All we can say on the matter is that if it walks like a duck , talks like a duck – it’s a f*cking duck . We’re surprised it doesn’t come with a free sachet of Hoisin sauce.

The first thing we noted (as did many of our readers) was that advertising was placed solely by Thornton  Hall Hotel. Clearly that unfortunate incident involving Foulkesy’s stepson assaulting hotel staff by pulling hair , wielding a fork and doing the “do you know who my mum is?” routine must has been forgiven. But then we suppose if you want the dubious prestige of hosting the annual Mayor’s Ball it’s always best to keep in with the hosts.  Which brings us to an interesting point. Isn’t there an incentive for those businesses who have contracts or who may be seeking contracts with Wirral Council to place adverts in Wirral View?. The opportunities for conflicts of interest , coercion and nepotism are a distinct possibility and based on how things work on Wirral , a near certainty. Although having said that we’re sure that Wirral Council’s contracting arrangements are beyond reproach – although those left out of the recent tendering exercise for Wirral’ Council’s taxi services may want to disagree!.

The rest of the publication is all a bit ‘meh’ tbh . It certainly doesn’t appear to be filling anyone’s ” information deficit” (whatever that is) unless of course you’ve always wanted to know how to make Spicy Tomato & Lentil Soup . We counted no less than 10 articles that reference food ,glorious,food . All very lowest common denominator stuff – we blame The Great British Bake Off . However as we’ve already commented the most interesting aspect is the Ofsted inspection report spin-a-rama and the no doubt Martin Liptrot – scripted  leader’s column (insert own joke!) .

Power Boy Pip /Liptrotsky are keen to emphasise that Wirral View won’t carry breaking news , football results (!) or important information you need to know immediately and that Statutory Notices will still be placed in the local weekly papers.

The local weekly papers ,by which they obviously mean the Wirral Globe  – as we all know they’ve got Wirral News /Liverpool Echo neatly boxed off on the newsfront –  will still be able to hold the council and its partners to account when they get things wrong (heaven forbid!).

Of course the Wirral Globe will only be able to  hold local organisations to account as long as it is not undermined and it would appear to us that Wirral View is an attempt to do exactly that . We think the true motivation behind the publication of this newspaper (for that’s what it is) was let slip by  Labour councillor Ron Abbey at last week’s Extraordinary Council meeting where he said the Wirral Globe  were ” too busy criticising this Council” and that they don’t send out “the right message”.

The “right message” we presume being the one personally approved by Pip’s ‘policy advisor’ Mr Liptrot and only then is it fit to grace the pages of Wirral View.

And finally can we say this :  these are desperate times when we have to rely on the local press to hold our local institutions to account. Which brings us right back to where we started –  we are reliant on the press because there is a lack of external scrutiny of our public institutions and as we have witnessed time and time again it is to the detriment of public accountability, the public interest and the public purse.