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Posted by: John Brace | 9th May 2017

Why did a ferris wheel in New Brighton and a Wirral Globe article about it disappear?

Why did a ferris wheel in New Brighton and a Wirral Globe article about it disappear?

                     

Fort Perch Rock car park (New Brighton) 29th June 2015 (before the Wheel)

Fort Perch Rock car park (New Brighton) 29th June 2015 (before the Wheel)

With spin machines in overdrive on the second of two election cycles this year, how about a story about the New Brighton Wheel?

Regular readers of this blog will be aware that the issue of Wirral Council charging for car parking on Fort Perch Rock car park has been a political issue in the recent past which led to a U-turn by Wirral Council on the issue of charging.

Relatively recently part of the Fort Perch Rock car park (owned by Wirral Council) was cordoned off for a ferris wheel and associated facilities run by a limited company.

The Chief Executive of Wilkie Leisure Group Limited, who manages a business close to the Fort Perch Rock car park had concerns about how Wirral Council had run the tendering process for the ferris wheel.

He instructed Kirwans Solicitors (David Kirwan is a former councillor at Wirral Council) to help Wilkie Leisure Group Limited with Wirral Council.

Stories now differ between the different parties to this matter as to why the wheel came down when it did.

The following two quotes are from a press release about the matter.

In a recent letter from Wirral Council to Wilkie Leisure Group Limited, Wirral Council’s Assistant Chief Executive and Director for Business Services (referred to as Mr Amstrong) is quoted as writing,

“Mr Armstrong recognises your client’s long standing contribution to the attractions of New Brighton.
Liverpool Fair Ltd have been granted an extension of their contractual licence to 11 pm on 6/5/17.

They must begin the safe removal of their equipment on 7/5/17. Any further use of the site for the Big Wheel is dependent on the grant of planning permission and a decision by the Council as landowner that it would be an appropriate use of the site.

The Council’s Contract Procedure Rules would apply to any procurement that might then follow.”

David Wilkie wrote, “While I am pleased that Wirral Council has acknowledged its failure to follow the correct tendering processes, I am sorry for the people of New Brighton and the surrounding areas that, thanks to that failure, they will now lose an attraction that all should have been able to enjoy.

It is crucial for local businesses such as ours, which has passed through three generations, that councils conduct fair and just procedural processes through which all businesses can bid. This is a reminder that they have a responsibility to do just that.”

Rather mysteriously, a story in the Wirral Globe about it was published, then “unpublished” and is still available to read in Google’s cache. In the interests of transparency I will point out that we receive money from Google for advertising on this website.

The related court matter has been discontinued due to the removal of the Wheel, but the corporate governance concerns raised by it related to both planning permission and whether Wirral Council had followed their own rules in how the licence was awarded.

Certainly since the removal of the wheel there has been an accusation that the Wirral Council spin machine has entered spin mode. Both the Wheel and the Wirral Globe article about it have both disappeared!

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Responses

  1. An there we have it, he dosen’t want it, so it goes!

    • Thanks for your comment.

      Who is the he you refer to? David Wilkie?

      Are you referring to the Wheel going or the Wirral Globe article or both?

  2. Or indeed a timely reminder of how before in 2009 the same council ( see government auditors report of Dec 2014) brazenly ignored both its own tendering rules for ISUS,and those of the Erdf, with the result that the small business regeneration scheme was robbed by the contractor and short changed with poor quality advice.

    Bad results and suspicion always arise when public contracts are unfairly awarded.

    The letters from Willie Amusements to the council are reminiscent of the letter of complaint sent to D Ball by the losing, but rated at 88 to wirralbiz’s 36, contractor. Unanswered..which prompted the losing contractor to contact Government Internal audit agency.

    • I’m sure you mean Wilkie Amusements rather than what you wrote!

      As you know there are roadblocks put in the way to applying press and public scrutiny to Wirral Council’s tendering processes. For example I requested the litter enforcement contract and a lot was blacked out.

      Commercial confidentiality is also becoming a reason why they refuse FOI requests.

      It would appear it’s easier from a political perspective to have a contractor to blame matters on and be able to wave the cloak of “commercial confidentiality” when awkward questions are posed.

    • Accountant

      Funny you should mention “Humpty Dumpty” who never fell off the wall ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

      Ooroo

      James

      There is a massive chance he will fall off a wall in New Ferry if he ever builds one.

      Errmm who’s contract will he accept?

  3. Rats in a sack on all sides.

    Council
    Newspapers
    Wilkie
    Kirwan

    Somebody get a sledgehammer.

    • Hi Paul,

      I’m not familiar with the “rats in a sack” phrase, care to explain?

      Thanks,

      JB

  4. G’day John

    Its all about breaking rules and giving contracts

    signed or preferably not

    to their personal choice

    and they all have dirt on each other and like the masons

    what happens on the square.

    Ooroo

    James

    • Hi James,

      As you know power corrupts people.

      Systems have to be designed with proper checks and balances, but in the end people are only human!

      JB

      • G’day John

        You were definitely brought up in a different wirral to me.

        This shower of crud break the rules and then all stay schtum, walk all over the Audit Commission/Grant (Chocolate Teapot) Thornton, the Information Commissioner, the cops, DCLG and everyone in between.

        Who on earth would want to join this club or be a partner/spouse or relative of any of this dross.

        Ooroo

        James

        • I was born in the Wirral (in Birkenhead).

          I then went through a Wirral primary education, followed by Wirral secondary education, followed by Wirral sixth form education. Education beyond that stage was outside the Wirral.

          In fact the taxpayer must’ve paid an awful lot for my education here on the Wirral!

          However when I was young my father worked in the criminal justice system.

          Typical question when I was younger, “What did you do at work today Dad?”

          “Can’t tell you.”

          Much later in life, I worked with his line manager (who has since died). Again a long story that one.

          So I reckon my father ended up doing the paperwork on more people abusing power in his career than all the stories I’ve ever written and published. Although my mother admonished him from answering the phone at work with, “enforcement”.

          He now gets a pension administered by ….*drum roll* yes you guessed it Wirral Council (although Wirral Council wasn’t his employer).

          And that bit of personal history may explain why I understand better the judicial branch due to that upbringing, rather than the executive branch (such as local councils).

          • G’day John

            I think I knew most of this story to our few conversations over the years.

            Your dad I believe would be disgusted with their behaviours.

            I might be wrong but doubt it.

            Ooroo

            James

            • Hi James,

              Sorry if I told you some of this already.

              As I’m regarded as the black sheep of the family (a family who on one side have supported the Labour Party for generations), I wouldn’t know what my dad thinks any more.

              • He will be so proud John

                Undoubtedly

                Ooroo

                James

                • I realise you have a high opinion of me James (not sure why).

                  He (my father) at one stage wanted to be a solicitor. Perhaps if he’d understood how miserable some of them appear to be he’d have changed his mind (apologies to any solicitors reading)!


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