Float On

Today there was a good news story today splashed (!) over the Wirral Globe website announcing Government funding for New Brighton’s Marine Lake transformation

Apparently the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) will be providing a grant for the princely sum of £38,594  to pay for ‘a floating ‘event platform’ to create ‘Animate Marine Lake New Brighton’.  So, basically a giant float. Which we’re sure we all agree that when it comes to planning and regeneration is a drop in the River Mersey.

Meanwhile on a macro planning level there was a further announcement today from MHCLG about Wirral Council today which whilst far more significant in the scheme of things found itself being announced in the rather more obscure Planning Resource website which can only be accessed via a pay wall.

Here we discovered that ‘ten local authorities have fallen below the government’s ‘special measures’ threshold for the proportion of application decisions made within the statutory timescales, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)’.

And of those ten councils we’ll give you one guess as to which authority was the worst performing in the country :

Screen Shot 2019-04-02 at 21.02.03

Which again we’re sure we can all agree that this doesn’t augur well for the ambitious developments we keep reading about the Local Plan ,Wirral Growth Company, and Wirral Waters (One), especially when it comes to these plans being realised any time soon.

But never mind there’ll always be plenty more artist’s impressions in the local press and a ‘floating event platform’ to keep the Wirral Council’s regeneration plans afloat in the public imagination.

 

Halliday Money : The Rising Son of York

smug-halliday

Hooray! Hooray! It’s a Halli-Halliday ?…

You may recall that we brought you the news of the appointment  and resignation of Brian Bailey, Wirral Council’s Corporate Director for Economic and Housing Growth  , a significant role which includes overseeing the production of Wirral’s non-existant Local Plan.

We’ll give you one guess as to his successor…

Good guess. But no, sorry it wasn’t Martin Liptrot . As you know some CCTV footage may have put paid to his meteoric – and  Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies -assisted – rise through the Wirral Council ranks …

Have another go .Yes, that’s right, it the other one. Stewart Halliday, the rising son of York. The man who arrived with a chequered past from over the Pennines and the adventures of whom Wirral Leaks have chronicled for the past couple of years.

Here are a selection of Halliday’s (and our) greatest hits :

Wirral Council – Where Transformation Means More Of The Same

Reference Point

Happy Halliday

Secret Chamber

We may never know what Halliday did (or didn’t ) get up to in York but from the reaction we’ve received from contacts in City of York Council they’re not best pleased at the appointment :

After pocketing around £300k for 21 months ‘work’? as a consultant at Wirral …, he’s now been made a Director by this LA….
It stinks !!!!
Meanwhile as far as we can see not a peep from Wirral Council or its councillors , Wirral View or the local press on the prestigious and highly remunerated new appointment. Shall we await a big media splash or will the powers that be not want to cause any waves or muddy the (Wirral Waters) about their fishing in the shallow end of the local government talent pool? …
P1010373

Wirral Waters and That Sinking Feeling

FOOD BANK and 500 apartments for Seacombe

As previewed last week in Place North West  Council’s prime chronicler of  all things Wirral Waters/Wirral Waters One/Whatever last night’s  Planning Committee approved plans for 500 apartments :

A reserved matters application for Wirral Waters One, a 500-home project at East Float Dock in Peel’s Wirral Waters will be considered at planning committee next Thursday, with a recommendation for approval.

Along with an application for 430,000 sq ft of offices in a mixed-use creative industries quarter at Vittoria Studios East, the scheme was submitted in May for reserved matters, the two applications meeting the condition set at the granting of outline consent in 2012 over the phasing of development.

The apartment scheme is proposed by Peel Land & Property and Legacy, a company founded by footballers Rio Ferdinand, Mark Noble and Bobby Zamora. The JV said in October that it intends to start work on the Glenn Howells Architects-designed scheme next summer. Comprising a mix of 256 one-bedroom and 280 two-bedroom apartments, 20% of the scheme will be classed as affordable dwellings.

Turley’s planning statement said that is design terms, “the building façades utilise a mix of materials including corrugated sheet cladding and a pre-cast construction which will provide identity and character. Bold colours will complement the existing maritime environment.”

The project is funded by Aviva and also counts the council as a partner, Wirral having agreed a business case for the project at a cabinet meeting on 1 October.

Wirral Waters Apartments Set For Approval

As you can see on the webcast below Planning Committee Chair and serial liar Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes  (what could possibly go wrong? ) seems to be conceding that any idea that Wirral Waters is about business development has been thrown into the River Mersey with the International Trade Centre. It’s all about investment opportunities for second home owners now – but as we’ve asked before who is going to live in these so called ‘luxury’ apartments ?

Wirral Waters Planning Committee

The day after all this was approved it was announced that Chief council officer quits £115,000 post after just a few months . The Chief Officer in question being Brian Bailey , who is someone we brought to your attention when he was appointed in our  Peel, Pillow Talk & Forked Tongues post. We are left wondering whether Bailey’s decision to quit has anything to do with developments (or non-developments) or he’s been in touch with his old mucker from Blackburn & Darwen Council and former Wirral Council CEO Graham Burgess? – ” What’s that you say Bri, Foulkesy is chair of the Planning Committee and  George Davies is the Cabinet member responsible all this ? They and their protector Frank Field were my undoing . My advice would be to get out before they’re out to get you!”

We also ask ourselves whether there could be another clue in the Place North West Wirral Waters promo :

No major issues with the proposal are highlighted by statutory consultees, with the only potential sticking point being a notification from the council’s housing officer that depending on level of occupation, some apartments could fall below the threshold of the Nationally Described Space Standards, although Wirral has in any case not yet adopted NDSS.

So basically can we deduce that Wirral Waters is to be reduced to rabbit hutches offering high yield returns for rich investors – if they can get anyone to live in them!

 

 

 

Last Train to Pipsville

IMG_2324

All you trainspotters out there will be aware there’s a ‘mock up’ of the new type of train that is coming to Merseyside that can be seen at Pacific Road tramsheds.
It is actually made of wood and rumoured to have cost a cool £1 million.  It’s not known whether Merseytravel considered consulting the travelling public of Merseyside whether would rather have their over-inflated fares spent on securing guards on trains or on an oversized boy’s toy.

Further rumours that  Merseytravel are planning to rustle up interest in the exhibit by hosting a special Halloween  ‘ghost train horrorshow’ featuring an imposing life size figure of Wirral Council’s Lead Investment Manager Martin Liptrot standing on the train with his arms folded and giving his best death stare are as yet unconfirmed.

We also noticed that the destination on the front of the train was West Kirby which is appropriate for Liptrot and his friend,neighbour,comrade and benefactor , Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies . Both are season ticket holders on the West Kirby gravy train who try to not look out of the window as they pass through Birkenhead North!

Talking of tramsheds we note that there has been resurrection of the ideas of  streetcars in Birkenhead which were first mooted five years ago when the fantasy that was Wirral Waters was first floated. Now that that fantasy has sunk to the bottom of the Mersey along with Stella Shiu ,her prize winning marrows and the International Trade Centre and rebranded as Wirral Waters One,  the idea of transportation by streetcar been resurrected by Green councillor Pat Cleary in an upcoming Wirral Council Notice of Motion to be debated next week titled , ‘Sustainable Transport For Wirral Waters ‘. Dare we suggest the title should have been ‘ A Streetcar Named Desire To Have Some Coordinated Infrastructure Planning Between Partner Agencies For Once’?…

 

Desire

 

 

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #4

WW1

WW1 : Artist’s impression # 256

                                                                   WW1

As far as ‘Wirral Waters’ press releases goes this really is the best one yet. You can almost smell the desperation.  Note how the quietly abandoned ‘Wirral Waters’ scheme has suddenly and mysteriously been ‘transformed’ into ‘Wirral Waters One’ . Whoever thought of that new branding needs shooting – say it out loud , it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue does it? Can we also point out that when it comes to acronyms WW1 has already been taken? Just sayin’

Apparently Wirral Council’s Cabinet will announce tomorrow that a massive (! )£100,000 will ‘kick start’ a £90,000,000 residential development in ‘Wirral Waters One’ !

The proposal is a joint venture between the council and landowners Peel Holdings, and includes the Legacy Foundation – an investment fund established by former Tranmere Rovers player Aaron Cresswell………..The Legacy Foundation will provide £100,000 of funding in the first year to be invested in community activities. Full story : Wirral Waters One

We don’t get a breakdown of the total investment between Peel Holdings/ Wirral Council/Legacy Foundation but you can bet your bottom dollar that it will be Wirral Council (or more accurately Wirral council taxpayers) who will be putting their hands the deepest into their pockets when it comes to ‘kick starting’ this proposal. Nor do we get an explanation as to what is meant by ‘community activities’

Instead stepping up to take credit for the momentous investment was Birkenhead MP Frank Field  (huh?)

“An idea bringing the largest programme of new housing to Wirral in living memory, announced today, is the brainchild of Andrew Forsey who is the head of my Parliamentary office.Through his work in making contact with footballers interested in making long term investments from their pensions. Andrew helped to persuade a crop of current and former Premier League players – including Aaron Cresswell, who was a Tranmere Rovers player and now plays for West Ham – to see whether it would be possible for his investment fund to begin work in Wirral Waters.”

Is it just us ? – or is is there something vaguely nauseating about poverty tourist Frank Field’s parliamentary office brainstorming about the ‘loadsamonies’ who they can approach with the begging bowl without considering whether it’s morally right that footballers and the like can earn such huge sums of money or question as to whether as a society we’ve got our values all wrong? Nevertheless it is interesting to discover that Wirral’s ‘largest programme of new housing’ is somehow the responsibility of Frank Field’s Parliamentary office isn’t it?!

NUMBER – CRUNCHING   – Aaron Cresswell’s  current fortnightly salary at West Ham Utd  = £100,000 ! (well fancy that!)  See here : West Ham Utd Salaries 2018

So what we’d like tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting to do is finally come clean and announce that ‘Wirral Waters One’ and indeed the ‘ Hoylake Golf Resort’ proposal are merely opportunistic housing developments and quit the soft soap.

 

                                                              Vexatious , Moi?

Wirral Council seemed to have backed off the desperate claim that Wirral Council taxpayer Charles Nunn is ‘vexatious’ for asking pertinent questions about the continuing employment of highly paid consultant Stewart Halliday . See their latest response here : Halliday FOI

Mr Nunn comments :

At last a part reply to my F.of Information request.
Halliday has had his contract extended for a further SIX MONTHS from 1st. January, 2018.
Another £90,000 odd from the Wirral Council Tax payer.
It may be worth a mention in your esteemed publication.
Charles

                           

                                           CGL:  “……and nobody seemed to care “

Many thanks to those who keep us appraised of national charity Change,Grow Live who are the grateful recipient of Wirral’s largest ( £7 million +) Public Health contract. Their latest mishap involves them in a massive data breach involving abandoned files found in an empty Tameside office  containing highly personal details about the lives of vulnerable young people – including abuse survivors. Once again we fear we have seen the future of health and social care. Be afraid, be very afraid.

CGL- Tameside

 

                                                     Posted Truth

A source writes :

By way of obscure and tenuous response to you excellent ‘Post Truth’ contribution/blog

… I am sending you this ‘Posted Truth’ image… I reckon you could say it is both a statement of fact…. and a protest. (Which I obviously feel to be a good thing).

Posted Truth

 

 

                                                       De-Stressed Eric 

A local barfly informs us :

Eric (Robinson) was recently seen in a pub in Liverpool when he should have been working – the pub being ‘Brew Dog’ dressed in casuals.
The council is no better than when we had the other 3 – it’s probably worse.

Now we can’t confirm whether Stressed Eric was on council duty or not whilst allegedly quaffing the craft ale – but we have to ask as to whether anyone would notice the difference ? Plus we simply don’t want to think about him dressed in his ‘casuals’.

Having said that we don’t need convincing that Wirral Council is worse than ever under his , ahem, ‘leadership’  As for ‘the other 3’ – whoever could they mean?!

       

                                               A Cautionary Tale

In Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #2 we commented on recent developments where Mayor Joe Anderson was interviewed  by Merseyside Police ‘under caution’ in relation to the ongoing fraud probe involving Liverpool City Council CEO Ged Fitzgerald and others. We now hear of someone closer to home who it is alleged was also interviewed under caution by Merseyside Police in relation to an altogether different matter. However such are the extreme sensitivities surrounding this particular case we are precluded from reporting any further. Nevertheless we will be following developments with interest….