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Posted by: John Brace | 14th September 2015

EDITORIAL: Jeremy Corbyn, opposition, Saughall Massie fire station and “land swaps”

EDITORIAL: Jeremy Corbyn, opposition, Saughall Massie fire station and “land swaps”

                                                  

Cllr Lesley Rennie speaking at a public meeting of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority 29th January 2015 on a consultation on closure of Upton and West Kirby fire stations and a new fire station at Saughall Massie

Cllr Lesley Rennie speaking at a public meeting of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority 29th January 2015 on a consultation on closure of Upton and West Kirby fire stations and a new fire station at Saughall Massie

A councillor on Wirral Council once suggested to me I write an editorial. It was a good suggestion, but generally I like to steer clear about giving a party political opinion.

Over the weekend, Jeremy Corbyn was elected Leader of the Labour Party and Tom Watson Deputy Leader (Wirral’s own Angela Eagle missed out on becoming Deputy Leader).

Within hours of Jeremy Corbyn‘s election as Leader, I received a press release (nothing too unusual about that) from a PR company with quotes from DeVere Group (who describe themselves as “one of the world’s largest independent advisors of specialist global financial solutions to international, local mass affluent, and high-net-worth clients").

It seems that Jeremy Corbyn becoming Leader of the Labour Party has to put it mildly rattled those who work on behalf of the rich. There were a series of hyperbolic quotes which if I included here would be taking sides on a party political matter and alienate any of my readers that lean towards the left (although some of the quotes are so full of hyperbole that they’re funny).

However, it brings me to an important point about opposition. One of the quotes describes him as “Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition” . Opposition really matters in politics.

Moving from national politics to more local matters, on Tuesday evening (I’m writing this on Sunday but it will be published on Monday) Wirral Council’s Regeneration and Environment Policy and Performance Committee will discuss Cllr Chris Blakeley’s notice of motion about whether the greenbelt land owned by Wirral Council in Saughall Massie should be blocked from being gifted, sold or leased to Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority for a new fire station. The public meeting starts at 6.00 pm in Committee Room 1 at Wallasey Town Hall.

The issue was reported extensively on this blog and the local newspapers over the last few years, however it an example why opposition in politics is important because there are about a thousand people who signed a petition against it going ahead.

On Thursday afternoon, a meeting of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority’s Policy and Resources Committee will decide whether to transfer the land by Birkenhead Fire Station to Wirral Council for a Youth Zone. The land is worth an estimated £250,000, but is predicted to be transferred to Wirral Council “at nominal consideration” .

In other words Wirral Council will probably get it just for the costs of the legal costs involved in the sale and not at the market price. So how are the two issues connected?

Back on the 30th June 2015 when the issue was being decided by the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority, Cllr Lesley Rennie asked for an explanation about a series of emails from its former Deputy Chief Executive Kieran Timmins that had been released in response to a FOI request.

The Chief Fire Officer Dan Stephens just answered that he didn’t know anything about it, Kieran Timmins (the author of the email stayed silent) followed by comments from at least one Labour councillor alleging that Cllr Rennie was making things up.

Below is an email from Kieran Timmins suggesting that a “land swap” happens. It suggests Wirral Council gets the land it wants next to Birkenhead Fire Station in exchange for the land in Greasby (this is before Greasby was ruled out and replaced with Saughall Massie).

I have no idea what Wirral Council’s response was to this suggestion!?

I might also point out that Colin Schofield is the PFI Project Manager at Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and it’s never been made crystal clear whether the new Saughall Massie fire station will be part of the PFI fire stations or owned outright by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority. DCLG (Department of Communities and Local Government) only partially answered my FOI request as to what Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority was spending the £4.4 million of grant money on.



Timmins, Kieran


From: Timmins, Kieran
Sent: 12 December 2013 09:58
To: ‘Armstrong, David’
Cc: Royle, Jeanette E.; Schofield, Colin
Subject: RE: Request for Sites

Thanks David, much appreciated. Hope you are ok?

Not sure if Tony can pick this up but it strikes me as making sense if (presuming a Wirral owned site is identified in Greasby) that a land swap for the youth zone in Birkenhead might be a sensible approach for tidying up ownership etc…….. what do you think?

Take care

Kieran

Kieran Timmins
Deputy Chief Executive
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority
Fire Service HQ
Bridle Road
Bootle
L30 4YD

Tel: 0151 296 4202
Fax: 0151 296 4224

kierantimmins@merseyfire.gov.uk
www.merseyfire.gov.uk


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Responses

  1. I’m not going to comment on the politics except to say that if such wheeler-dealing is in the public domain, imagine what isn’t? I will comment on this laughable plant o create a ‘world class’ youth facility in Birkenhead to the detriment of other parts of the borough. Have the youth actually been consulted rather than ‘stakeholders’? What I can tell you for a certainty is that many kids from outside the area will see this as a Birkenhead thing. Those I know who are friends of my sons for instqacne, in the Leasowe area, have no interest whatsoever in going down to Birkenhead to have a load of aggro. Young teenagers, especially from less affluent backgrounds, are very tribal. This is ill thought out and has been planned by educated white middle class types over expenses fuelled lunches.

    • Thanks for your comment. The public sector employee who wrote that email (Kieran Timmins) has since been made redundant.

      However the Birkenhead Youth Zone is in Cllr Phil Davies’ ward. Enough said eh!?

      I seem to remember Stuart Kelly (probably when he was a councillor) making a similar point to yours about the travel side of it.

      I think there was consultation with young people over what to call it. Whether there was also detailed consultation on the whole proposal, I can’t quite remember.

      Councillors did say at the time that losing local youth clubs and facilities and merging everything into constituency “hubs” was not a good idea. However the politicians got persuaded it was, so they went ahead with it.

      Sadly that’s about all I know.

      As to “such wheeler-dealing” being in the public domain, there’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff in the public sector that isn’t.

      Sadly it’s hard to write about what isn’t easy to get at (unless you interview people or request the information).

  2. Reblogged this on kimnowell.

  3. G’day John

    The man is a loony tune.

    To give him his full name for a change “Phil the Deluded Dill”

    Does he think anyone on the Wirral will believe they will have any influence in anything now there is a new fearless leader?

    From the rubbish local propaganda sheet.

    (Notice reader comments is closed as usual when they are criticised)

    Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil Davies said: “Knowing what residents need and want – and then making sure they get it – is the fundamental principle public services in Wirral are built upon.

    How long have these nincompoops been on the scene and now they want to pay their new best friends for ever oodles of taxpayer money to tell them what Wirral wants.

    Why don’t they know they have been there for ever?

    I will tell the fool that Wirral does not want them letting incompetent bunglers like Wirral “Funny” Bizz take/steal £2,000,000.00 with no effort to prosecute/clawback and especially to not keep paying criminals for 18 months after the whistle was blown to Adderley and Basnett.

    Ooroo

    James

    God help Wirral

  4. G’day John

    This will be like that ridiculous woman “Rosemary” reporting on Foukles.

    There will be no case to answer…….but a big cheque to “Ms Rosemary”

    When I spoke to her she told me about her deafness which I bet is selective fortunately for “Ankles”.

    John it really riles me for them to waste money to a firm which like Grant Thornton will do as they are told.

    What they should do is ask the rubbish local propaganda sheet for the comments they refuse to show.

    “Phil the deluded Dill” talks more tripe in that rubbish local sheet today.

    “I urge every resident who receives a questionnaire to participate in the survey.”

    I presume the questionnaires will go to West Kirby, Caldy and Hoylake.

    Or, will they choose the people they know cannot read and write?

    Ooroo

    James

    How much will they be giving to there new best mates forever year on year to say everyone wants a crazy golf course that won’t even happen.

    .

  5. G’day Again John

    Is “Crabapple” going to deliver with his kiddies?

    Ooroo

    James


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