The Sorry Story of The Lauries

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As you know we’ve long thought that the Wirral Council/ Wirral Chamber of Commerce/ The Contact Centre hook up was way dodgy.

And we’re gratified to find that we’re not the only ones!. As we’ve previously reported the Wirral Chamber of Commerce seems to have been set up to support pulchritudinous Paula Basnett and her family, friends , pets and ex- Wirral Council reprobates.

However our focus of attention on this particular occasion is ‘The Lauries Centre’ which has received funding from all over the place including Wirral Council.We understand this funding runs into hundreds of thousands. We also understand it was a place for many a Labour Party gathering and a favourite place for Matron McLaughlin to meet. However as one of our sources comments :

“Cafe closed, no front entrance open anymore and trust me it’s grim around the back which a notice on the door says you can use.”

The Wirral Network seem to have picked up on ‘The Lauries’ situation  on their Facebook page with this status :

So, from the available information, it appears that the Lauries Centre is still a public asset, owned by the Council.  However, the resignation in May 2015 of Cllrs Kenny and Stapleton as directors, means that there is no longer any direct political accountability for the way the building is run.  Was enough done to investigate whether a different form of public control would work before deciding to hand over control of the companies to private individuals over whom the public has no direct political oversight at all?  Would it have been possible for a coalition of community and voluntary groups to take over the running of the building on the same generous terms (i.e. a “nominal peppercorn rent”) now enjoyed by Paula Basnett and Asif Hamid?  How are the charitable objects of the company being delivered now?  According to the memorandum of association of the company (also a charity, apparently), the objects are: “to promote any charitable purpose for the benefit of the community within Birkenhead and areas surrounding (the area of benefit) and in particular the advancement of education, the promotion of good health and providing focus for development and regeneration”. The ways in which this object would be delivered include: “To promote and assist in the creation of [sic] continuing operation of new enterprises which are owned and controlled by employees or which are operated by and for the benefit of particular communities which suffer from economic disadvantage…To provide a means whereby the business community can contribute to the wellbeing of areas in need of regeneration…To promote the interests of those living or working in such areas…To develop, market and deliver community services including services of an educational, leisure, sporting, artistic, community safety, childcare or for the creation of employment services…To procure grants and funding from third parties and to assist others to do the same…”  

Further to this observation a deeply valued commentator adds :
“Funds/Grants to Contact Centre….interesting that Paula’s husband is a board member of the above…cosy night time chats maybe? “

Apparently Mark Basnett is  :  “A Guarantor Director for Liverpool LEP, Mark was formerly the Director of Investment at the Mersey Partnership which has now transitioned into the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (Liverpool LEP) where he is Executive Director for key Growth Sectors.

Mark’s role here is to drive forward the economy’s key growth sectors working closely with businesses, education and government.”

Ain’t that impressive?. Especially the transitioned bit which makes the Liverpool LEP sound like the Caitlyn Jenner of regional grant funding – a confused travesty of what they they used to be and desperately seeking approval. Roughly translated that means Mark Basnett is a richly rewarded bullshit merchant on the public payroll.To which Wirral Leaks would like to comment  : Enough already of this jiggerypokery  with Euro-money and being prepared to kiss the arse of Brussels bureaucrats and name a bus station in a town dying on it’s arse  ‘Europa Boulevard’! .

Finally , as we’ve already noted, the cafe in The Lauries is closed.
As somebody else commented to us : ” CAFE !…now isn’t that right up someone’s street?”
Could they be referring to the proprietor of the failed enterprise that was the recipient of various grants – ‘The Spotty Blue Teapot’?.
Although we have  to say we do have our reservations as to how twee teashops would work in downtown Birkenhead. Perhaps a rebranding to ‘Smack and Snack’ is the way to go?. Just sayin’!