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Will Cllr Phil Davies weaken greenbelt planning policy to help planning permission for Hoylake Golf Resort?

                                                 

Cllr Phil Davies 6th March 2017 Budget Council speaking about Labour's Budget

Cllr Phil Davies speaking at a meeting of Wirral’s councillors earlier this year (6th March 2017)

Earlier this month I wrote about the Strategic Regeneration Framework consultation which includes the Hoylake Golf Resort project.

A week tomorrow (2nd October 2017) Wirral Council’s Cabinet meets in Committee Room 1 at Wallasey Town Hall starting at 10.00 am. On the agenda is a report in Cllr Phil Davies’ name to Cabinet that recommends not only is the new Strategic Regeneration Framework agreed as policy but also recommends to Council that the Strategic Regeneration Framework is adopted as a “material planning consideration” and that it’s used in the Core Strategy Local Plan.

So what does this mean? If the Strategic Regeneration Framework (which includes the Hoylake Golf Resort project) is adopted as a planning policy by Wirral Council, then this will be a material consideration in favour of approving any future planning application for the Hoylake Golf Resort that the Planning Committee will decide upon.

At the moment due to the greenbelt nature of the site proposed for the Hoylake Golf Resort, Wirral Council’s planning policies only allow development in “very special circumstances”.

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Are more cuts on the way for Wirral’s Council’s Leisure, Libraries, Culture and Parks Services?

                                                                  

Libraries, Leisure and Culture Transformation Scrutiny Workshop Page 1 of 6

Libraries, Leisure and Culture Transformation Scrutiny Workshop Page 1 of 6

A public meeting of Wirral Council’s Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee yesterday evening had an urgent item on a recent Libraries, Leisure and Culture Transformation Scrutiny Workshop held earlier this month.

Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Wirral Council) 22nd September 2017 starting at Libraries, Leisure and Culture Transformation Scrutiny Workshop

At the end of this post is a copy of the 6 page report that resulted from the workshop.

This Cabinet report and its associated appendix (written by consultants) describe what it is about in more detail.

If you read between the lines of the workshop report, there are a lot of words used in it that are code for cuts, here is a quote (Members means councillors) “Members agreed that one of the aims of this project was to reduce the Council investment in these services and members suggested that some services may have to be sold to residents at the price it costs the Council to deliver them”.

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2 further days of strike action on Merseyrail network in October by RMT over driver only operated trains

                                       

One of the new driver only operated trains ordered by Merseytravel that has led to the strikes

One of the new driver only operated trains ordered by Merseytravel that has led to the strikes

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) has announced further strike action on the Merseyrail network. Drivers and guards will be on strike on the 3rd October 2017 and 5th October 2017.

RMT stated that it was angry and frustrated that Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Mayor Steve Rotheram had refused to put pressure on Merseyrail to resolve the dispute.

At a meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority last week (which is chaired by Mayor Steve Rotheram) the industrial dispute between Merseyrail and the RMT was discussed towards the end of a Merseyrail Update item.

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority 15th September 2017 Part 1 of 4 (starting at Merseyrail Update 38:42)

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority 15th September 2017 Part 2 of 4 Merseyrail Update

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority 15th September 2017 Merseyrail Update (slides)

Various proposals made by the RMT, such as increasing fares to cover the cost of the guards when the new trains are introduced or Merseytravel paying for the salaries of the guards were rejected.

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Posted by: John Brace | 19th September 2017

Liverpool City Council’s Chief Executive Ged Fitzgerald suspended

Liverpool City Council’s Chief Executive Ged Fitzgerald suspended

                                                                    

Ged Fitzgerald (Chief Executive, Liverpool City Council) tries to explain devolution to a meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Scrutiny Panel 28th October 2015

Ged Fitzgerald (Chief Executive, Liverpool City Council) at a meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Scrutiny Panel 28th October 2015

Liverpool City Council’s Chief Executive Ged Fitzgerald (pictured above) has been suspended from his position as Chief Executive by Liverpool City Council.

He was arrested in May on suspicion of both conspiracy to pervert the cause of justice and witness intimidation as part of Lancashire Constabulary’s Operation Sheridan. Operation Sheridan is a corporate corruption investigation.

Since his arrest, Ged Fitzgerald has been bailed and rebailed a number of times.

Operation Sheridan is a long running police investigation into the Lancashire County Council’s former One Connect Ltd partnership with British Telecom. Ged Fitzgerald is a former Chief Executive of Lancashire County Council.

A number of other individuals were also arrested earlier this year as part of the same investigation.

Liverpool City Council councillors were informed of the suspension yesterday evening by email from Mayor Joe Anderson which included this statement,

“We can confirm that a meeting of the City Council’s Appointments and Disciplinary Panel met today to discuss the circumstances surrounding the Chief Executive, Ged Fitzgerald.

After deliberating carefully, the Panel took the decision to suspend him.

We must stress this is a neutral act to allow an independent investigation into issues, including potential reputational impacts on the City Council at the current time, to proceed.

It is important for the City Council, the Panel and the Chief Executive that the investigator is able to make an objective assessment and therefore we are not able to make any further comment at this stage.”

A public meeting of all Liverpool City Council’s councillors meets tomorrow evening starting at 5 pm at Liverpool Town Hall.

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Auditors state Wirral Council doesn’t provide value for money for 2nd year in a row!

                                                      

Cabinet 17th December 2014 voting to close Lyndale School L to R Cllr Tony Smith (Cabinet Member for Education), Cllr George Davies, Cllr Ann McLachlan

Cabinet 17th December 2014 voting to close Lyndale School L to R Cllr Tony Smith (Cabinet Member for Education), Cllr George Davies, Cllr Ann McLachlan

Wirral Council’s auditors Grant Thornton will be telling councilors on Wirral Council’s Audit and Risk Management Committee next Monday evening (25th September 2017) that Wirral Council doesn’t provide value for money.

The auditor’s concerns are to do with the lack of improvement following the OFSTED report last year that rated Wirral Council as inadequate. In a report to be discussed by councillors next week the auditors state:

“In September 2016, Ofsted issued its report on the inspection of the Authority’s services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers. The overall judgement was that children’s services were rated as inadequate. The inspection found widespread and serious failures in the services provided to children who need help and protection.

The Council has established an Improvement Board and developed an Improvement Plan to address the Ofsted recommendations, and provided an update on progress in its Annual Governance Statement. However, a subsequent Ofsted monitoring visit in April 2017 reported that while inspectors identified areas of strength and improvement, there are still some areas where inspectors considered that progress has not yet met expectations.

This matter is evidence of weaknesses in proper arrangements for understanding and using appropriate and reliable financial and performance information to support informed decision making and performance management, and for planning, organising and developing the workforce effectively to deliver strategic priorities.”

Since the publication of the OFSTED report, the Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services Cllr Tony Smith, the Director for Children’s Services Julia Hassall and the Chair of the Improvement Board Eleanor Brazil have all resigned (for clarity Cllr Tony Smith resigned from his Cabinet position not as a councillor).

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