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 :
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!”