Following on from the Bidston & St. James Focus article about housing I am pleased to read that the high-rise flats Vittoria Court owned by Wirral Partnership Homes are to receive investment.
There are also plans being discussed for more social housing on the Beechwood estate. In addition the Coalition government and Council have agreed the Wirral Waters scheme.
Many Wirral Partnership Homes properties in this area have also received investment following a construction contract with Brammall Construction last year. With Labour sitting on Wirral Partnership Home’s board, perhaps there could be an explanation as to whether any declaration of interest was declared in regards to a contract awarded to Bramall Construction after a £2,000 donation was made from Brammall Construction to the Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party? A spokesperson for Bramall Construction rejects any connection and explains the donation as follows:-
“In 2000 we entered into a partnering arrangement called the Tranmere Partnership with Riverside Housing Association, Maritime Housing Association & Consultants which carried out some major works in Tranmere.
As part of our commitment to working with the local community, we sponsored an event [ED – in 2004, not 2000] at Prenton Park which was organised by the local Labour Party. Like many other local firms [ED – although the Birkenhead Labour Party records no donations or sponsorship from others], we took a table of 12 and sponsored the night by putting three bottles of wine on each table. We viewed the event as putting something back into the local community. Our donation to this event was registered by the Labour Party.
In 2004/5 we put in a bid to carry our major repair works for Wirral Partnership Homes but we were unsuccessful. The work was awarded to two other contractors. In 2007 we understood that there was a contractual issue with one of the incumbent partner contractors and in line with the framework agreement were given the opportunity to express an interest in undertaking decent homes works. After following all of the required procurement procedures we were awarded a section of works. To suggest there is a link between our sponsoring of a Labour party organised event and the awarding of a contract of WPH is a very serious allegation which we strongly reject.”
The link to the Electoral Commission website doesn’t link directly to the information, however an extract from the register is below.
To be fair (as I always like to be) to Labour they are required by law to declare an interest when representing Wirral Council on outside bodies and withdraw from any discussions. The public must know that their representatives are acting in the public interest. With trust in politicians low, isn’t it about time WPH published any documents of meetings held about this?
Isn’t it time the public had a bit more openness and transparency when it comes to Wirral Partnership Homes, a company that receives £43 million in rent a year (some of this from the taxpayer from Housing Benefit claims)?
In the interests of openness and transparency:-
1) The author lives in a property formerly owned by Wirral Council in the heart of an area with many WPH properties
2) The author knows people on the WPH board
3) WPH and the author have not always agreed about things in the past
4) In the interests of clarity, the author does not have a financial or any other interest in Brammall Construction (or other companies within its Group) or WPH