The Hard Sell

Cannes Shah

Sitting in the shadow of Liverpool – here’s Wirral Council’s chief this week in Cannes.That’s him – the one in the blue shirt on the bottom right. Surely you didn’t think we meant that useless sack of potatoes top left?

It’s been the week of the Wirral hard sell.

The figure £1 billion has been bandied about about how much investment is heading to Wirral (or rather ,Birkenhead ,which is being branded ‘the capital of Wirral’) with slavish Liverpool Echo screaming headlines  ‘£1 BILLION VISION FOR WIRRAL’

Wirral’s ‘leaders’ touting their tawdry wares in the South of France and Downing Street and according to the newly launched ‘Wirral. Well made.’ ( who thought that branding was a good idea?) aspiring that Wirral become the ‘Brooklyn of the North West’ – is that to Liverpool’s Manhattan?- with the dullest promotional launch ever. This would appear to be the brainchild of Sally Shah who apparently is ‘Lead Commissioner: Place and Investment’ – so yes, yet another highly paid public asset stripper on the Wirral Council payroll.

And then we have the Peel Holdings (up) gegging in with its ‘university of the sea’ plans for Wirral Waters with hundreds of jobs and sunshine,lollipops and rainbows for everyone!- again accompanied with the obligatory artist’s impression and yet more Echo headlines

And it doesn’t end there here comes the ‘asset transformation strategy’ and the formation of the Wirral Growth Company.

Wirral Growth 011

The hard sell meets the big sell off.

Year of the Chicken

foghorn-leghorn

A special Chinese New Year of the Chicken message to Power Boy Pip from Looney Tunes legend Foghorn Leghorn

Chinese New Year isn’t until February but you won’t be surprised to hear that Stella Shiu won’t be around to wish Wirral Council leader Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies : ‘Kung Hei Fat Choi’  as we enter the Year of the Chicken.

It should come as no surprise to Wirral Leaks watchers and anyone with an IQ that reaches double figures that Shiu will not be appearing on the shores of the River Mersey laden with fortune cookies – not this year, Chinese New Year or any other year.

And so after all the photo-ops , press statements, Liverpool Echo exclusives, artist’s impressions , false promises , foreign delegations and the portrait of Stella hanging up in the waiting room next to the Wirral Council Chief Executive’s office it’s finally time to put this seemingly elaborate – if not particularly convincing – hoax to (the river) bed.

You may remember that after the failure to secure investors for the International Trade Centre at Wirral Waters  that Shiu was invited to move operations down river to some Godforsaken wasteland  (attractively described as former Ministry of Defence land situated on ‘a surburban industrial estate behind Port Sunlight Tennis Club’ ). We exclusively reported this locally in November 2015 after a story appeared in the Financial Times and presciently asked the question   : So we’d like to know whether this is a suitable site for an International Trade Centre or merely a very expensive and financially risky way to save face over the Stella Shiu affair?”

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/11/20/chinese-takeaway-1st-dibs-2nd-course/

Now it would appear we finally have the answer courtesy of yet another question , this time asked at the Wirral Council meeting on 19th December by Cllr Phil Gilchrist:

pg-question-014

We wonder whether we’ll see the news that ‘ The International Trade Centre is not progressing because the project sponsor cannot confirm funding for the project at this time’ on the front page of Wirral View or with a centre spread in the Liverpool Echo under the headline  ‘ Shiu’d off ! – Stella Dupes Wirral Fellas’ or ‘ Due Diligence? – Don’t Make Us Laugh!’ accompanied by a picture of Power Boy Pip looking like a sad-faced emoji ?

Don’t hold your breath people of Wirral – this is the kind of ‘information deficit’ that Wirral Council have no intention of ever addressing because it doesn’t fit with their bogus ,happy-clappy narrative. Especially when Power Boy Pip and his political ilk of all parties are chicken – with an inability to say they’d been had, never admit when they are wrong or acknowledge that they’re big on promises and short on delivery .

And before we finish let’s remember it wasn’t just Pip that Shiu strung along. Here’s Stella  with Lindsey Ashworth from the Peel Group and Wirral Council Tory group leader Jeff Green wishing us a suitable Looney Tunes farewell:

green-shiu-ashworth

That’s all folks!

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?……..

 

 

Year of Flogging A Dead Horse

Under the table

Peel Director Lindsey Ashworth (left)  fondly remembers the table that he claims  Hong Kong bankrupt Stella Shiu could drink him under. Power Boy Pip (allegedly left) looks on gormlessly.

We’d like to thank the perplexed readers who contacted us about a couple of stories that have been published on consecutive days this past week in the Liverpool Echo. They’ve asked us if we could throw some light on the stories.  The first thing we’d like to say is that the Echo is certainly living up to its name. These  two stories appear to us as being not so much published as regurgitated – and much like vomit – equally sickening.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Echo

So let us do this chronologically  – firstly on 14th March we get this previously reported story about Peel Empires Inc – having quite reasonably given up on the Stella Shiu  No-Show – moving on to Plan B ( B for bullshit)  and now want to throw up ( there’s a theme here) residential units on the site previously earmarked for businesses ,offices and the International Trade Centre.

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/business/peel-seeks-investors-partners-build-11039885

Yes ! –  23,500 more buy-to-lets! –  just what we need in the Liverpool Economic Partnership area (which includes Wirral) and which the English Indices of Deprivation indicates is the worst in England and bottom of the league when it comes to employment, income, health deprivation and disability.

Wirral – deprived and with a declining population that is becoming increasingly elderly and dependent .What an attractive proposition to investors!

Then on 15th March we get this follow up desperate “news”story :

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/wirral-trying-make-international-trade-11034120

Talk about late to the party !. It was 5 months ago we covered this bogus story about desperate Wirral Council leader Power Boy Pip Davies maintaining his blind faith in Hong Kong bankrupt Stella Shiu by flogging off some land miles away from the Wirral Waters site when it was first reported in the Financial Times :

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/11/20/chinese-takeaway-1st-dibs-2nd-course/

Presciently we commented :

  • The  FT report appears to us to have been a “controlled leak” via a national newspaper with a niche market . Who authorised this leak and what was the motivation to leak the jubilant news of the Sam Wa / Stella Shiu hook-up rather than being heralded as a “good news” story in the likes of the Liverpool Echo ?

Clearly in hindsight this was an early example of Wirral Council’s PR amateur Martin Liptrot’s early work  which he followed up months later with the  lazy / compliant local mouthpiece that is the  Liverpool Echo.

As Her Ladyship commented : ” Wasn’t it a Chinese New Year recently – what was it?  – The Year  of Flogging A Dead Horse ?”

Wirral Waters - Artists Impression

Wirral Waters – the latest artist’s impression.

Stop Being Silly

monty_python_silly

And so to the surprise of absolutely no-one the news arrives that Steal Holdings, sorry Peel Holdings have pulled out of the pipedream that was Wirral Waters International Trade Centre scheme.
We think Peel do protest too much when they claim that the split with investors Sam Wa is “amicable” and that the Chinese company is “squeaky clean” and that Stella Shiu is a “proper business person”.
Apparently Sam Wa are “going through due diligence to move the construction finance into the UK” which obviously means that if there is a failure of “due diligence” everyone involved in this debacle can turn around and blame the dead hand of bureaucracy

However Council leader Power Boy Pipsqueak Davies and degeneration, sorry regeneration maestro Kevin Addled seem determine to plough this fallow land.
Apparently by the sounds of it Stella the bankrupt from Sam Wa is going to fund it all by herself – probably from the profits made from selling giant marrows – who knows? Certainly Pipsqueak and Addled don’t seem to know as their far from convincing statements to the press prove. Check out  Pip doing his usual Pollyanna routine : HERE

“As I understand it, the way forward now is that Sam Wa who were going to be partnered with Peel, are going to be sole partner who are going to invest all of the money themselves……I’m still pretty confident it’s going to happen but now it will just be that Sam Wa will be landlord as whole on its own…….I think everybody always knew it was going to be a difficult deal to put together but I have spoken to Peel and I think they are confident in Sam Wa having got the financial muscle and Stella Shiu has the absolute determination and wants to make the Trade Centre happen……..”

Meanwhile Utterly Addled added: (see HERE)

“We have not been told by either Peel or Sam Wa that the ITC is not going to happen and on the contrary we have been told there is still the determination by Sam Wa for it to go ahead in Wirral.”

Well, that’s alright then!!  Determination will win the day!………or should that be the delusion?

Makes us want to get Eldritch to drive the Bentley down to Wallasey Town Hall to approach Pip and Addled and like the Sergeant Major in the Monty Python sketches halt proceedings by saying:
“Right stop that! stop that!.It’s gotten very silly , very silly indeed“.

It’s not loss of credibility that appears to be the most prominent issue here for Pipsqueak and co – there wasn’t any to begin with – but loss of marbles……