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Posted by: John Brace | 3rd January 2017

Will a planning appeal over the Saughall Massie fire station fail due to incorrect legal advice to councillors?

Will a planning appeal over the Saughall Massie fire station fail due to incorrect legal advice to councillors?

                                                         

Originally this bundle was going to be published in a different way, but instead it will be published as an exclusive in serial form on this blog.

I’d better start by declaring an interest as the Appellant in First-tier Tribunal case EA/2016/0054, which is about an Environmental Information Regulations 2004 request for the estimates of capital costs involving a new fire station first at Greasby, then at Saughall Massie and the sale of fire stations at Upton and West Kirby.

Despite the bundle being 480 pages in total, there are hundreds of pages missing from it (such as the transcripts of the public meetings involved, communications between the 2nd Respondent (MFRA) and the 1st Respondent (ICO) etc).

There are still sub judice matters involving one aspect of this, which I will try not to get into here. However what is published below does not strictly refer to the sub judice matters (as it relates to the hearing that has already happened in September 2016) and even if it could be argued that it does, I’m using my editorial discretion using the exception to discuss public affairs.

I will however comment on the national matters this raises, as MFRA’s press release gives the impression that they will consider appealing the refusal of planning permission to the Planning Inspectorate.

As readers of this blog will know, Wirral Council’s Planning Committee last month refused the planning permission for the fire station at Saughall Massie that this relates to. This was on a narrow 7:6 vote of councillors.

Part of MFRS’s planning application was based on two 12 week consultations (first on Greasby then on Saughall Massie) when the public (and indeed councillors on Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority) were told that Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority do not have compulsory purchase powers.

Unfortunately this appears to have been in error.

That’s what Dan Stephens (Chief Fire Officer) told them and what presumably he is repeating what Janet Henshaw (solicitor to the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority and Chief Legal Adviser to both MFRA and MFRS’s Strategic Management Group) also stated.

However Janet Henshaw has since changed her mind as a result of this First-tier Tribunal matter.

She acknowledges that MFRA does have compulsory purchase powers, for those who are interested the powers are in the Article 5 of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 (Consequential Amendments) (England) Order 2004 but now states instead that they will not use them (although surely that’s up to the councillors and not up to her and if councillors are told they didn’t have such powers how can they exercise them?).

If Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service appeal the planning permission one of the sites they’ve ruled out (the Red Cat pub in Greasby) is not in the green belt. This was ruled out on the basis that they couldn’t force a sale of this site (based on the incorrect legal advice that they don’t have compulsory purchase powers).

In order to prove the very special circumstances to get granted permission for land in the green belt, one of the tests that has to be passed is ruling out suitable sites elsewhere.

Of course the councillors on the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority (including the councillor that represents the ward I live in Brian Kenny (although to be fair to Brian Kenny he was appointed after the main decisions on this were made) have effectively (despite saying this project is to save money) in my view squandered at least a six-figure sum on this (and perhaps more if appealed to the Planning Inspectorate).

As it is in the public interest that money isn’t frittered away, I will be serialising the bundle (despite its flaws) on this blog.

I will point out that the cover page states the Second Respondent is Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, when it should be Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority. I’ve corrected this error on the page published below to prevent the confusion the First-tier Tribunal has as at least 4 decisions have been issued with the wrong party name for the 2nd Respondent. I’ve also corrected the incorrect case number on the first page of the index.

However the bundle was only received by parties the day before the hearing and the First-Tier Tribunal Judge and Members on the morning of the hearing itself (scheduled to start at 10.00 am).

Based on its size, for reasons best known to the judiciary, they decided to go ahead (and make decisions) at the hearing without having first read the bundle.

One could comment on whether that’s a sad and sorry reflection on the current way the British legal system works compared to the way it used to.

This may be a first as I do not know of anyone else that has ever published a First-tier Tribunal hearing bundle.

As I filmed the public meetings these relate to, I’m classed as a public service broadcaster, so the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015 applies.

Thankfully the rather bureaucratic hoops you have to jump through to get permission in those regulations don’t seem to apply to public service broadcasters if the documents are held for the purposes of the provision of programme services (which indeed the whole First-tier Tribunal matter was about whether I should be able to include the withheld figures in relation to the published video about the meetings). These are the pages up to Tab 2 (which includes the index too).

I’ll point out that as the below includes an edited form of the disputed information, the original information requested as part of this request was not published or disclosed to me prior to the hearing. I received a copy of the original documents on the 14th October 2014 (a few weeks after the hearing).

I’ve redacted the logo of the First-tier Tribunal as I’m not sure if I have permission to reproduce it on the case management notes.

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal Bundle cover page CORRECRED VERSION

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal Bundle cover page CORRECTED VERSION

Bundle index v2.0 EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal Page 1 of 4 CORRECTED CCF07122016_00001

Bundle index v2.0 EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal Page 1 of 4 CORRECTED CCF07122016_00001

Bundle index v2.0 EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal Page 2 of 4

Bundle index v2.0 EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal Page 2 of 4

Bundle index v2.0 EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal Page 3 of 4

Bundle index v2.0 EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal Page 3 of 4

Bundle index v2.0 EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal Page 4 of 4

Bundle index v2.0 EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal Page 4 of 4

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 1 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 1 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 2 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 2 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 3 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 3 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 4 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 4 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 5 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 5 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 6 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 6 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 7 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 7 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 8 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 8 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 9 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 9 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 10 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 10 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 11 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 11 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 12 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 12 ICO Decision Notice FER0592270

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 13 Appellant's Notice of Appeal Form

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 13 Appellant’s Notice of Appeal Form

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 14 Appellant's Notice of Appeal Form

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 14 Appellant’s Notice of Appeal Form

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 15 Appellant's Notice of Appeal Form

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 15 Appellant’s Notice of Appeal Form

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 16 Appellant's Notice of Appeal Form

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 16 Appellant’s Notice of Appeal Form

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 17 Appellant's Notice of Appeal Form

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 17 Appellant’s Notice of Appeal Form

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 18 Appellant's Notice of Appeal Form

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 18 Appellant’s Notice of Appeal Form

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal a Tab 2 - Correspondence

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal a Tab 2 – Correspondence

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 19 STRPLN 42 JH ST page 1 of 2

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 19 STRPLN 42 JH ST page 1 of 2

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 20 STRPLN 42 JH ST page 2 of 2

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 20 STRPLN 42 JH ST page 2 of 2

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 21 letter dated 14th August 2016

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 21 letter dated 14th August 2016

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 22 letter dated 14th August 2016

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 22 letter dated 14th August 2016

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 23 letter dated 14th August 2016

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 23 letter dated 14th August 2016

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 24 case management note 3rd June 2016 REDACTED

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 24 case management note 3rd June 2016 REDACTED

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 25 case management note 18th August 2016 Page 1 of 2 REDACTED

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 25 case management note 18th August 2016 Page 1 of 2 REDACTED

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 26 case management note 18th August 2016 Page 2 of 2

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 26 case management note 18th August 2016 Page 2 of 2

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 27 letter dated 19th August 2016

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 27 letter dated 19th August 2016

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 28 letter dated 23rd August 2016

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 28 letter dated 23rd August 2016

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 29 letter dated 21st August 2016

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 29 letter dated 21st August 2016

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 30 letter dated 22nd August 2016

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 30 letter dated 22nd August 2016

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 31 letter dated 14th August 2016

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 31 letter dated 14th August 2016

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 32 Email dated 26th August 2016 Page 1 of 2

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 32 Email dated 26th August 2016 Page 1 of 2

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 33 Email dated 26th August 2016 Page 2 of 2

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 33 Email dated 26th August 2016 Page 2 of 2

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 34 Email dated 12th September 2016

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 34 Email dated 12th September 2016

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 35 Email dated 15th September 2016 Page 1 of 2

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 35 Email dated 15th September 2016 Page 1 of 2

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 36 Email dated 15th September 2016 Page 2 of 2

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 36 Email dated 15th September 2016 Page 2 of 2

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 37 Case Management Note 16th September 2016 Page 1 of 3 REDACTED

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 37 Case Management Note 16th September 2016 Page 1 of 3 REDACTED

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 38 Case Management Note 16th September 2016 Page 2 of 3

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 38 Case Management Note 16th September 2016 Page 2 of 3

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 39 Case Management Note 16th September 2016 Page 3 of 3

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 39 Case Management Note 16th September 2016 Page 3 of 3

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 40 Email 16th September 2016 Page 1 of 5

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 40 Email 16th September 2016 Page 1 of 5

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 41 Email 16th September 2016 Page 2 of 5 letter 16th September 2016

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 41 Email 16th September 2016 Page 2 of 5 letter 16th September 2016

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 42 Email 16th September 2016 Page 3 of 5 letter 19 August 2016

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 42 Email 16th September 2016 Page 3 of 5 letter 19 August 2016

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 43 Email 16th September 2016 Page 4 of 5 CFO 003 15

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 43 Email 16th September 2016 Page 4 of 5 CFO 003 15

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 44 Email 16th September 2016 Page 5 of 5 CFO 101 14

EA 2016 0054 First-tier Tribunal bundle Page 44 Email 16th September 2016 Page 5 of 5 CFO 101 14

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Responses

  1. G’day John

    You can tell by the headline in their ex-local propaganda sheet that this has Clowncil or “Chamber Pot” cow dung all over it.

    ‘Outstanding’ Wirral college up for national award

    It must be linked somehow John they are the only people around that buys this crud around awards.

    Ooroo

    James


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