Who’s Resorting to Misleading Information? You Decide!

BEACON FOR TOURISM

Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies, the outgoing Wirral Council ‘leader’ has repeatedly stated that campaigners opposing the Hoylake Golf Resort have been spreading ‘misleading’ information. However, apparently when asked to meet with campaigners to clarify his accusation he went strangely quiet. If Pip and his Council cronies are so outraged about ‘misleading’ information, we wonder why they haven’t bothered to correct any of the ‘misleading’ information being put out by the developers for the Hoylake Golf Resort?

In recent media articles and on their website the Nicklaus Joint Venture Group (NJVG) have stated the building the luxury golf resort houses will mean that the Hoylake Golf Resort link road will not be funded by the public purse. This information is incorrect as the Golf Resort road WILL be funded from the public purse. This ‘misleading’ information was brought to the attention of Wirral Council officers in February, but no response was received.

We understand that at the last Wirral West Constituency Meeting on 14th March a member of the public asked David ‘Golf’ Ball, Assistant Director of Housing and Economic Growth, to clarify whether the NJVG were correct to state that the road would not be publicly funded.

David Ball responded:

I’m not quite sure why the Nickalaus Joint Venture Group have said there is no public money going in to the road because as we did report, as you have rightly said, to the last Cabinet meeting …the link road has an opportunity for a number of sources of funding, one could be through grant from the Liverpool City Region as a transport scheme or the other alternative approach is to recycle the capital receipt that the Council would receive from the golf resort project into part funding that road, and that is my understanding of the position at the present time, so I don’t know why the Nicklaus Joint Venture Group said there was no public money required for that because that’s not my understanding of the position

Responding to cries from the audience about people being misled Cllr Jeff ‘Yellow’ Green stated:

To be fair to David…David won’t be able to give an answer about why people are being misled by the Joint Ventures web site, but I am sure he will go back and speak to them and make sure that it is corrected, is that right?

to which David Ball gave a resounding:

Yes!

However at the time of this post, more than 6 weeks after the constituency meeting and 10 weeks after the ‘misleading information’ was first highlighted to Council officials, the incorrect information is still on the NJVG website.

Other misleading information which the NJVG is stating on their website is about the quality of the farmland that could be annexed by Hoylake Golf Resort. NJVG claim it is “poor quality grade 4 cultivated land”. The Wirral Society obtained further information from the Soil Association and Landis.org. They also sought the opinion of Cranfield University who produce the Soilscapes website and are sponsored by DEFRA. Rather than being poor farmland, the Soilscapes websites indicate that much of the land is productive, suitable for dairying or beef and some cereal or feed production. Cranfield University were also of the opinion that the soil could even be graded as ALC Class 1 if better irrigation was introduced. We don’t know exactly what that means but even we know that Class 1 sounds better than Grade 4.

https://www.wirralsociety.net/hoylake-golf-resort-agricultural-land-assessment/

Finally, we would like to highlight that one of the pages on the resort website says “Hoylake Resort will provide a beacon for tourism within Wirral” – accompanied by photos NOT of Wirral’s many fabulous tourist attractions and wonderful natural areas, but instead by photographs of the Liverpool skyline and bizarrely , Wallasey Town Hall. Not a green in sight! – which politically is just how Power Boy Pip and Co would like it!

Does this mean that the NJVG know what many already suspect – that despite what the top Council spinners may say about making Hoylake a “world class destination”, most golfers will finish their rounds of golf and disappear along the publicly funded road straight on to the motorway to go and visit the world class international attractions in Liverpool just 15 minutes away!…

Not that we’re suggesting that Wirral Council’s ruling administration would ever resort to misleading information. However we’d like to point out that in a recent Labour leaflet distributed in Birkenhead & Tranmere there was the usual ‘Vote Green Get Blue’ rhetoric and alleged evidence that  that Cllr Pat Cleary votes with the Tories. We are reliably informed that the image is being pointed out to residents on the doorstep.

orginal-scan
It is certainly a ‘misleading’ piece of editing but certainly not as technically proficient as piecing together the panoramic that shows the full vote that was occurring out of view which had six out of seven Labour Councillors with their hands up as well!

A Green Party leaflet exposes the ‘misleading  information’ here :

Transparency

Now that’s what we call evidence of ‘misleading information’.

Over to you Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies to evidence campaigners opposing the Hoylake Golf Resort have been spreading ‘misleading’ information.  Although no doubt he’ll be too busy counting the minutes until his leaving do to be held at Wallasey Town Hall on May 8th…

 

 

Planning in Action – Planning Committee 17th April

Screen Shot 2019-04-17 at 14.08.01

Apologies if we’re a bit late to the planning party but events have rather overtaken us this week . However we have been asked for your support against a planning application  concerning Ashton Court ,West Kirby  that comes before tonight’s Planning committee.

Planning Committee 17.04.19 agenda

It will be interesting to observe the actions of Planning Committee Chair (!) Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes on this particular agenda item particularly considering the conflicts of interest involved with him being a board member of Magenta Living. But then this is Wirral Council where all kinds of conflicts go undeclared and unchallenged.

Here are the details of one of the objections to the plans:

ASHTON COURT……Planning Committee – Wednesday 17 April 2019.

1.      My name is Alan Rundle and I live at XXX, West Kirby.

2.     This Planning Committee has already rejected two identical planning applications for development at Ashton Court. The Planning Inspectorate has dismissed two appeals.

3.      ‘Magenta Living’ has created three companies to privatise its housing stock. They are ‘Starfish Commercial’, ‘Bamboo Lettings’ and ‘Hilbre Homes’.

4.      The previous two identical applications were submitted by Starfish Commercial.

5.       This application has been submitted by ‘Hilbre Homes’.

6.         Since this application is identical to the previous two, the concerns and objections to the previous applications apply equally to this application.

7.      Six petitions have now been submitted to the Council, objecting to this scheme.

8.     A large number of West Kirby residents want to see the Ashton Court flats refurbished, modernised and occupied, once more, by elderly people.

9.     The Lead Local Flood Authority (the LLFA) objects to this application and recommends refusal of planning permission contrary to what is printed in the Ashton Court Agenda, under the heading ‘CONSULTATIONS’.

10.             I quote from an email sent by the Lead Local Flood Authority to Neil A.Williams, with the subject given as ‘Application APP/18/01625 (Ashton Court) consultation response, dated 10th January 2019. It states:

“……the Lead Local Flood Authority object to this application and recommend refusal of planning permission….” adding “….the proposed scale of development may present risks of flooding on-site and/or elsewhere if surface water run-off is not effectively managed”.

The LLFA also states that “….there is no information whether the system will be in private ownership or offered for adoption, who will be responsible for maintenance and how maintenance of unadopted communal components…….will be secured and funded in perpetuity”.

The LLFA further adds: “In the absence of this information, the surface water flood risk resulting from the proposed development is unknown and this is therefore sufficient reason in itself for a refusal of planning permission”.

11.             The Council’s website shows that there were seven bodies consulted concerning this application. The LLFA one has been seen to recommend refusal of planning permission. I have given some of the LLFA’s reasons. The Wirral Society was consulted. In a communication to Mr. N. Williams, dated 9 January 2019, the Wirral Society writes: “The Wirral Society objects to this repeat, repeat application….”.

Reasons are given including one that states: “Surely, a refurbishment is possible and less costly, and would maintain the green space that is under threat from this application at the centre of Banks Road”.

Why is there no mention of the Wirral Society objection in the Ashton Court Agenda document under the heading ‘CONSULTATIONS’?

Why is the Agenda item ‘CONSULTATIONS’ so misleading and incomplete?

12.             This application breaches several NPPF and Council policies:

  1. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) definition of Previously Developed Land (aka Brownfield Sites) specifically excludes the inclusion of “….land in built-up areas such as private residential gardens….”. Therefore, Ashton Court does not qualify as a Brownfield Site and should be removed from the Council’s Register of Brownfield Sites.
    Ashton Court is not actually given ‘confirmed’ status on the Council’s Brownfield Site Register and, as a consequence, this application does not qualify for the subsidy of a Vacant Building Credit of £9,291 to be paid by the Council to the applicant.

    The Lead Local Flood Authority has previously stated that the site cannot be classed as ‘previously developed’ or ‘brownfield’ for the purposes of the water drainage system.

    (ii) GRE1 – The title of the Council’s Urban Greenspace Strategic Policy is a big clue as to what it is intended to do: GRE1 The Protection of Urban Greenspace. This planning application proposes to cover urban greenspace with concrete, tarmac and bricks and mortar.

    (iii) SPD2…..Separation Distances.
    In the Agenda, section 3.8.13 it states that “Almost all separation distances are complied with“.This is not acceptable. Does the Council’s SPD2 policy apply to some residents but not to others, or does the SPD2 policy apply to all residents? This application breaches the Council’s SPD2 policy.

    (iv) SPD4…..Car Parking provision for newly-built properties – 27 car parking spaces should have been provided for the proposed 14 houses. This application breaches the Council’s SPD4 policy. and

      (v) the NPPF definition of ‘Affordable Housing’ states that

     “Social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing, provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the market. Eligibility is determined with regard to local incomes and local house prices. Affordable housing should include provisions to remain at an affordable price for future eligible households or for the subsidy to be recycled for alternative housing provision”. “Intermediate housing” is homes for sale and rent provided at a cost above social rent, but below market levels.

    It is not clear that the applicant has made any commitment to guarantee that future eligible households will receive any subsidy.

13.             Some West Kirby residents have suggested that the Council compulsorily purchase the Ashton Court retirement flats.

14.             Some West Kirby residents have expressed their desire to see the Ashton Court flats awarded listed status…….as an example of 1960s council housing.

15.            This application includes no Social Rented Housing…….no Intermediate Housing……. and……no Key Worker Housing.

16.            I ask Wirral Council’s Planning Committee to reject this planning application.

 

Greasby Green Belt Public Meeting and Defend Greasby’s Green Spaces Action Group

greasby green belt mtg 1

We’re pleased to note that the Green Belt campaigns are spreading across the peninsula and happy to publicise the latest developments emanating from Greasby :

Press Release

 

On Saturday 12th January 2019, residents attended a standing room only public meeting at Greasby Community Centre about the threat to the Green Belt. Dozens more residents were turned away at the door.

 

Residents heard from a number of speakers about the proposals to build hundreds of houses on the last remaining green fields around Greasby and the negative impacts that the proposals will have on the local community and the environment. Speakers included a renowned local ecologist and representatives from the Wirral Society and the CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England).

 

The very informative presentations covered topics which included the impacts of climate change and  threat of increased flood risk, threats to wildlife, pressure on local NHS services and increased traffic and air pollution. We heard about threats to ancient heritage sites near Greasby Copse, dating from 8500BC one of the oldest dated settlement sites in the country. We also heard from a local tenant farmer whose family farm and livelihood is under threat.

 

The Defend Greasby’s Green Spaces Action Group are overwhelmed from by the unanimous support which they received on Saturday night and would like to thank all the residents who attended  – and apologise to those who were unable to get in. It highlighted the great community spirit that we have in Greasby and showed that the Green Belt is highly valued by residents. The local community are determined to do everything they can to save it. Further public meetings are being planned for the next few months.

 

Everyone at the meeting agreed that Wirral Borough Council should not be releasing precious Green Belt land for development, when there are enough Brownfield sites and empty properties on the Wirral which should be brought back in to use. Wirral requires affordable homes and social housing in the right places not executive homes on precious green spaces!

 

The Defend Greasby’s Green Spaces Action Group are always looking for additional volunteers to help with the campaign. We need people to help with printing, leafleting, fundraising etc. We are also looking for people who may be able to offer particular skills such as legal knowledge, planning knowledge, research skills, media contacts and I.T. skills. However people with no particular skills are also very much needed – all that is required is enthusiasm and time.

 

Anyone who would like to get involved with the campaign, please contact Phil Simpson on 07988 677270

 

Defend Greasby’s Green Spaces Action Group – January 2019

 

Muckspreading Over Wirral’s Green Belt

Muckspreading

© Copyright Peter McDermott and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 

There seems to be no end to the acres and acres of ‘news’ about the so-called threat to Wirral’s Green Belt. The verdant verbiage of  Wirral’s ping pong politicians has been the equivalent to midsummer muckspreading and similarly stinks to high heaven.

Consequently we’d like to give the final word to ‘The Prof’ on the matter. Whilst we appreciate the factual analysis he brings to the alleged threat to the Green Belt we concur wholeheartedly with his assessment of the cynical games that are being played which amount to nothing more than a distraction during the dog days of summer.

Is there no limit to the dishonesty and stupidity of the council?

Having talked to the Wirral Society I was pointed to the issue of
how much land was needed to meet the official 12,000 houses
strategic target. I did a few sums you might like.
Area of Green Belt (GB) land on the published council ‘release’ map
is ~7.6 square miles and 4864 acres.
(Calculated using the NLS online mapping tools and 25 inch OS maps.)
Housing density on ‘previously undeveloped land’ in NW England is
22 – 49 dwellings per hectare, average 36 dph = 14.57 dwellings per acre.
(Data from DCLG Land Use Statistics (England) 2010.)
There is room on the GB release plan for 14.57 x 4864 = 70,870 dwellings.
The official government / council 15 year housing target is 12,000.
The GB land targeted for release is 5.9 X that actually needed.
Is the council incapable of doing simple planning calculations?
Or is the huge area of GB threatened part of a cunning political plan?
Imagine the cabinet conversation earlier this year.
‘I know, let’s scare the hell out of residents by threatening far more GB 
land than we need. Stir the sheep up! Then after the Consultation we say:
look we listened to you…we have saved 5 / 6 of your  GB land under threat! 
Vote for us!’
Of course it’s worse than this. The 800 houses a year official housing target is not based on what has actually happened on the Wirral in the last decade but on fantasies which assume economic growth and migration unprecedented in our history at a time of great economic uncertainty and as life expectancy increase falls drastically. A more realistic housing target is ~200 hpy. So  the official housing target is 4 X that probably needed. This suggests that overall the GB release plan is targeting ~24 X more land than is needed.Of course the council (and government) accept that considerable brownfield land is also available and should be used first.
The only Green Belt crisis is that created by local and central government 
politicians for their various political and selfish ends…not for our well being. 
Surely it is time to stand up to these foul people once and for all. 
                                                                                 The Prof.