The Great Green Belt Deception

1537618043743blob

The above leaked internal Labour document shows the dissembling and deception over Wirral’s Green Belt that is going on behind the scenes at embattled local Labour HQ.

Labour HQ presumably being council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies’ West Kirby home where faithful factotum Martin Liptrot bangs out the bogus press releases from his well-worn laptop on the kitchen table – assuming ,of course, that Liptrotsky is currently not ‘indisposed’ after his recent ,ahem, travel difficulties.

Prepare for the local press to print ,without question or edit, a news release blaming the Government for threatened assaults on the Green Belt and citing ‘miscalculations’ in statistics and how Wirral Council have been ‘proved right’. Nothing to do with the fact that Wirral Council hasn’t had a Local Plan for 14 years or that the ruling Labour administration have been playing  fast and loose with facts and figures to suit their political agenda or that they’ve been using the local press to try and make out that they are the saviours of the Green Belt when all the evidence points to the fact that they won’t be happy until Wirral is one big concrete jungle with a golf resort.

However it is the contempt with which the ruling Labour administration at Wirral Council (or what’s left of it anyway) treat the people of Wirral that particularly galls us. Fortunately there is a growing number of  well-informed people out there who have sussed out the town hall machinations.  Call us a Cassandra but we called this one out from the outset in our  Green Gauge Summer  post from July where we commented :

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?

Sure enough there has been enough wasted newsprint on the subject to turn Wirral’s Green Belt into landfill . All this is is to set up the scenario where Pip’s posse rides into town to save the day from evil Government interlopers trying to take over Dodgy City. The only problem is we’ve all seen this movie a million times ,the plot is predictable and Pip is no Clint Eastwood. He’s not so much the ‘The Man With No Name’ as ‘The Man With No Shame’ and ain’t nobody is gonna be taken in by this cowboy…

cowboy-_-Phil

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Blott’s Pension Pot

DoughtySmarmy Blott

As we exclusively revealed in February Wirral Council Super – Duper Director Joe Blott is about to escape. Most appropriately the article featured a ticking clock as we can only imagine that Blott must be counting the seconds until his exit as he knows all too well that the proverbial is about to hit the fan.

Poor Joe’s main role these past few years seemed to be the “council spokesperson” wheeled out to defend the indefensible by successive Chief Executives  – most recently elective mute Stressed Eric Robinson.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/02/22/the-final-countdown/

So after a highly lucrative career in local government  we asked ourselves what might Joe’s next move be ?. Entirely selfless voluntary work in one of the many foodbanks on Wirral ? – which oddly enough is also the obesity capital of Britain – no , we don’t know how that works either!.

Just teasing !  , of course  not ! –  apparently Joe will be topping up his pension pot and forging a new career in property development!. Like you do. Not only that he will be working closely with Wirral Council’s Chair of the Pensions Committee – Paul “Dance Away” Doughty!.  A Committee on which Joe Blott was coincidentally an Officer of the Fund!.

https://mpfmembers.org.uk/pdf/rna1415.pdf

Now we think it’s to be commended that councillors and council officers have a good working relationship. But I’m sure we’re all agreed that there should be boundaries and that it doesn’t compromise Wirral Council or Merseyside Pension Fund business. One needs only to recall Matron McLaughlin’s rather desperate and misguided devotion to disgraced former Social Services director Kevin Miller and the trouble that that caused!. We also worry about Executive Policy Officer / Crypto Chief Executive  Martin Liptrotsky’s influence over Council “leader” Power Boy Pip Davies.

However we’re sure that all the necessary declarations will be made when this new business venture goes ahead – especially if Blott and Doughty are intending to work on building up the property portfolio on behalf of the Merseyside Pension Fund in the future.

Finally – an invitation  to the annual Leaky Towers Garden Party for the first person to send us a copy of Joe Blott’s Rivergate Ltd business card.

 

This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both of Us

FFvsJC

There was a gathering of Labour activists (not to be confused with leaks activists) who gathered today to worship at the altar of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn at West Kirby Methodist Church .

Now although we have Margaret Greenwood as the Labour MP for West Wirral (and about whom we hear good reports from her constituents ) we don’t usually associate West Kirby as a Labour stronghold when it comes to local politics.

We would have thought Corbyn would have found a more conducive environment for his grassroots message in Birkenhead  – Wirral’s and one of the UK’s – safest seats. Especially when Birkenhead would certainly have been a more convenient stopping off point before he hotfooted over to Liverpool for a £45 a head fundraising dinner.

We can only surmise that local political heavyweight Birkenhead MP Frank Field wasn’t having any manifestation of  Corbynmania on “his” patch.

Oh how we relish the fact that Field nominated Corbyn as a Labour leader allegedly  to promote “debate” within the party only to see his sly machinations blow up in his face when Jezza delivered the knockout blow and got elected as leader. We think it is significant that Corbynistas have recently described Field as “core negative” when it comes to the Labour leader and which is best exemplified by Frankenfield’s tetchy, arrogant display of contempt for the people who voted for him when discussing the inexorable rise of Corbyn on TV.

https://number10duckworthstreet.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/frank-fields-arrogantly-admits-his-constituents-views-count-for-nothing-and-its-not-his-job-to-speak-up-for-them/comment-page-1/

To add insult to injury Corbyn is backing the “Remain” campaign in the EU referendum which must rub Europhobe Frankenfield up the wrong way something rotten – and we absolutely love it here at Leaky Towers ! . This may also explain Field’s curious absence from today’s publicity shots showing Corbyn and Labour’s  local election candidates . As we can see there’s Wallasey MP Ange and there’s the aforementioned Marge but it’s a no show from “core negative” Frankenfield and allegedly “hostile” Wirral South MP Alison McGormless!.

Corbyn Labour

 

There are several questions that spring to mind perusing  this picture  – including how did Wednesday Addams get in there – but we’re particularly wondering how Frankenfield feels about the disloyalty shown by Wirral Council “leader”  Power Boy Pip Davies by his obsequious appearance in this apparent show of local solidarity. We must say it must be worrying for Frankenfield that Pip is showing worrying signs of having a mind of his own and exhibited by such acts of defiance as signing that letter to The Times  from North West council leaders supporting the  campaign to remain in the the EU . It’s just a shame for him that he didn’t stand up to Field sooner and he wouldn’t be up to his neck in the Wirralgate scandal !.

No wonder Corbyn looks pensive in this picture – does he know what he’s actually backing here or is his PR guy Seumas Milne as remiss/ignorant/complicit when it comes to the worrying issues highlighted in local social media as his local equivalent Martin Liptrot(sky) ?.

 

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.

It Ain’t Necessarily So

HOLY-FUCKING-MOSES-PHIL-DICK

Is it us or do Wirral Council lurch from one PR gaffe to the next with even more frequency than ever since the appointment of communication tsar Martin Liptrot ?.

The latest public relations cock up involves  Cllr Chris Jones – Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health – who thought she could stem the tide of discontent over the closure of Girtrell Court by making a stateswomanlike statement to the press.

We guess the lesson that Cllr Jones needs to learn here is that if you’re given an untrammelled  opportunity to put your side of the story that you need to check that it matches the headline.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14346757.Wirral_Council_care_chief_says_Girtrell_Court_respite_centre_will_close_in_August___and_here_she_explains_why___/?ref=mr&lp=15

Of course recently Wirral Council have been used to writing the story , the headline and take the picture with the Liverpool Echo  (more of which another time). Other media outlets  – including us – are rather less accommodating.

But then again we doubt very much whether Cllr Chris Jones – marginally less of a Welsh windbag than her Hagrid-like husband  who’s also in the Wirral Council Cabinet of Curiosities – actually wrote the press statement.

Consequently the distaff side of the Jones household has had to send a clarification as to whether the closure of Girtrell Court is a done deal or not . The mealymouthed missive sent on her behalf currently doing the rounds has inevitably landed on the Leaky Towers doormat.

Sent on behalf of Cllr Chris Jones – Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health

Dear Councillor,

Following yesterday’s article in the Wirral Globe regarding Girtrell Court, I think it would be helpful if I clarified the current position.

The article led with a headline stating that Girtrell Court would close in August. This is not necessarily the case, and did not form part of the text I issued. 

We are continuing to meet with the families and carers using the facility in order to discuss their care needs and the various options available to meet them. A carer’s event has been arranged for 14 April, at which people using Girtrell Court and their families will be able to meet the numerous alternative providers in the area.

We have agreed to continue accepting bookings at Girtrell Court until the end of August 2016. This does not affect the consultation which is currently ongoing. This decision was taken in order to give the families and carers using the facility the ability to plan their summer breaks.

We will continue to hold discussions with individual families using the Girtrell Court facility to ensure that we are able to provide them with appropriate respite care which meets their needs. No closure date has been set for Girtrell Court.

When  I read the line  : “The article led with a headline stating that Girtrell Court would close in August. This is not necessarily the case, and did not form part of the text I issued. ”  to Her Ladyship ,  she replied  : ” Who does Cllr. Jones  think she is ?- the Almighty handing down tablets of stone to Moses?.”

We think perhaps that Cllr Jones may have been over-influenced by the alleged strong leader powers of the Godlike Council Leader Power Boy Pip Davies. Fortunately here at Wirral Leaks we understand that the things that your liable to read from Wirral Council – it ain’t necessarily so……

 

Mass Debate

Vox Populi

After some initial doubt we understand that the Girtrell Court debate went ahead at last night’s Council meeting at Wallasey Town Hall  and from what we hear it was a fractious affair.

We are getting reports of Council “leader” Power Boy Pip Davies petulantly sitting down and refusing to speak whilst being repeatedly heckled……a heckler being ejected from the public gallery………Power Boy Pip heckling back (but not being ejected from the Council chamber).  As they say all drama is conflict and we’ve bought  multiplex -size popcorn supplies in the hope that Brace TV (© Cllr Jeff Green) covered the events so we can tune in later and heckle along.

Joking aside – we are positively joyous at Leaky Towers to hear about such open dissent and public challenge.We admit we were initially sceptical about the Save Girtrell Court campaign as it seemed to be a platform for politicians and trade unionists and suffice to say we have a healthy suspicion of both. However subsequent events have shown that  parents and carers have found their voice and been making their views known – and how!.

We think that decision makers at Wirral Council underestimate the parents and carers of disabled people at their peril. They have a lifetime’s experience of  having to fight the powers that be in the best interest of people who can’t speak up for themselves.

If nothing else at least people are becoming more and more aware of how Wirral Council operates. No wonder the final decision about the (inevitable) closure will (inevitably) take place behind closed doors !.

If people of Wirral truly want to have more openness, transparency and public accountability then the more members of the public engaged in political debate the better. This at least enables voters to make an informed choice (that word again) at the ballot box. It is the only way politicians will ever listen to the voice of the people.

 

Crazy Golf

hoylake golf

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Cartoons and Puppets

PuppetMaster

We were treated this week to what Wirral Council are calling their “annual health check”. I asked Her Ladyship if we were to give an assessment what might it be ?.

” Do Not Resuscitate” she drawled.

However undaunted by our barbs Council “leader” Power Boy Pip Davies demonstrates his unlimited capacity for delusion by jauntily declaring :

“When we agreed the Wirral Plan in July 2015, we identified 20 Pledges to outline our ambition for Wirral.  Reporting our progress is an important part of being an open, transparent and accountable local authority.”

No laughing at the back please. Open , transparent and accountable ? – when each and every week we report the fact that Wirral Council is anything but. Oh how we long for the day when they actually are open,transparent and accountable and His Lordship and Ladyship can finally retire to their villa in the south of France.

Meanwhile for buzzword bingo lovers ( Empowering Locally – Leading Collectively , Acting Regionally- Organising Internally etc; etc; ) the Wirral Plan report is here :

https://www.wirral.gov.uk/sites/default/files/all/About%20the%20council/Wirral%20Plan/Wirral%20Plan%202020%20Annual%20Report%202015%20-%202016.pdf

However joy was unconfined at Leaky Towers when we learned we were also being treated to a movie double bill to accompany the launch of the report. It took us back to the days when nanny would take us to the Plaza on Borough Road in Birkenhead .There would always be a cartoon before the main feature . And so it is here with a  U-rated childishly patronising  animation before leading man Power Boy Pip takes to the screen like a matinee idol on the skids.

You can find an animation detailing our progress here

You can find a video of Cllr Phil Davies talking about our progress here

The animated feature is not for anyone on a New Year/New Me diet as its reliance on pie charts might be a bit subliminal. However suffice to say all the usual suspects are here – dodgy statistics , golf resort , potholes, streetlights , litter , dog crap etc; . There are also the usual bogus claims about “Wirral Waters” – a Department of Education funded college campus and allowing Asif “Massive” Hamid to throw up a contact centre at the back of Egerton House with no opposition from the  organisation running Egerton House – the Wirral Chamber of Commerce who’s Chairman just happens to be one  Asif Hamid – does not “Wirral Waters” make.

However the undoubted highlight is the performance of Power Boy Pip starring in his very own video. To our , admittedly jaundiced eyes , he has all the gravitas of a Spitting Image puppet made flesh – all foam-faced insincerity whilst reading unconvincingly from a teleprompter . We could almost see Frankenfield pulling the strings.

We’d like to pitch a  suggestion for Wirral Council’s next video  where they finally demonstrate that they do indeed take openness , transparency and accountability seriously.They could show  that they have finally dealt appropriately with some errant councillors of ill repute and  in which case  the video be a case of suspended animation!.

Say Hello Wave Goodbye

Oh Pip what have they done to you?.......

Oh Pip what have they done to you?…….

And so our very own political superhero Power Boy Pip Davies throws in the towel as Chair of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Thingummy Doo-dah saying : “I felt now was the right moment to rebalance my time in favour of my duties as Wirral Council leader.”

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14143332.Wirral_Council_leader_Phil_Davies_stands_down_as_chairman_of_Liverpool_City_Region_Combined_Authority/

The long suffering people of Wirral must have heaved a collective sigh of relief to know that Pip will be around more to finally save us from the sleaze that surrounds Wirral Council.

Or perhaps not !.

His parting words sound to us to be very reminiscent of public officials who protest that they want to spend more time with their family when they’ve been caught up to no good and step down from office before they ignominiously fall from grace.

You may therefore asking yourselves do the Leaky Towers crew think that Pip has been up to no good?.

To which we collectively cry : HELL YES! 

Alternatively it has also been suggested to us that this could be the start of of Pip’s Metro Mayor campaign.This may sound far-fetched when you consider that Pip has publicly slated the idea of a Merseyside -wide Metro Mayor  –  but then when has flagrant hypocrisy and ambition over talent ever stopped Pip before ?.

We can only assume that under such circumstances he has his eyes on a bigger prize. Can you imagine the power axis that Wirral Chamber of Commerce and Metro Mayor Pip could create ?…….and not in a good way!.

 

Northern Outhouse

Northern Outhouse

What leadership looks like : The Liverpool City Region Gang celebrate diversity by ordering a Chinese takeaway…..

My how we laughed at Leaky Towers at yesterday’s brouhaha and ballyhoo over the so called Devo Scouse Agreement launch.

As you can see from the agreement itself they seem to have ditched the cumbersome Liverpool City Region Combined Authority tag which appears to uphold our theory that this exercise has been nothing more than the Lord Mayor Joe’s Show all along.

Devo Agreement

Of course as casual observers of local political lunacy there was much to comment on – not least the curious local media coverage.

BBC1’s North West Tonight featured the obligatory appearance from Mayor Joe Anderson himself, the Lib Dem MP for Southport John “Who?” Pugh and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Greg Clark – who befitting someone who is the MP for Tunbridge Wells maintained a rictus grin throughout media proceedings which seemed to say :

” I’m a Conservative Get Me Out Of Here……and preferably First Class” .

Surprisingly there was no show on TV from our very own Power Boy Pip Davies – the chair of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

However judged by his erring and erming in the Wirral Globe video covering the Devolution Agreement launch this may have been a wise move on the part of his political aide, Martin Liptrot(sky) to pull his charge from further embarrassing exposure across the Northern Powerhouse region.Indeed it appears the video has since been pulled from the Globe website – as unless we we were hallucinating previously we now can’t seem to find it.

Even the relentlessly upbeat Power Boy Pip had to concede that the powers and funding devolved by central government to – let’s face it , Liverpool  – was relatively pisspoor compared to the likes of the Manchester City Region.The agreement was not so much Northern Powerhouse as Northern Outhouse.

“This deal isn’t perfect, no deals ever are.” he whimpered.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14035923.What_the_devolution_deal_will_mean_for_Wirral__Council_leader_Phil_Davies_writes_exclusively_for_the_Globe/?ref=mmsp

Might this include sweetheart deals with whistleblowers who have the means to bring his political ambitions crashing down around him we ask ourselves?!.

However it must be said  – oxymoron klaxon alert – that sensibly , central government have resisted moves to put police powers and health funding in the hands of a group of so-called Merseyside leaders who couldn’t even agree on a collective name (and now seem to have had it thrust upon them).We can only wonder which ones will throw their hats into the ring to contest the “Metro Mayor” election in 2017 – which is currently  the most significant aspect of the Devolution Agreement?.Put it this way we won’t be offering any prizes for guessing!.

However we’ll give the last word to Wirral Lib Dem Councillor Phil Gilchrist who mixing his metaphors with a double entendre comments on the Devolution Agreement :

“This is a great opportunity, with strings attached. The strings and tools are now in our own hands.”

Judging by the motley crew pictured above no truer words have yet been spoken on the Devo Scouse debacle!.