Posted by: John Brace | 6th February 2018

Wirral Council rejects complaint about Saughall Massie Fire Station planning application but apologised for delay!

Wirral Council rejects complaint about Saughall Massie Fire Station planning application but apologised for delay!

                                          

Wirral Council’s Planning Committee 20th July 2017 voting to approve planning application APP/17/00306 (Saughall Massie fire station)

Wirral Council’s Planning Committee 20th July 2017 voting to approve planning application APP/17/00306 (Saughall Massie fire station)

In what appears to be a topical issue, as it is today that a councillor is now complaining about the knock on effect of Saughall Massie on Wallasey Wirral Council have finally issued a stage 2 complaint response (with an apology) over the grant of planning permission for the Saughall Massie Fire Station.

For the stage 1 complaint letter you can read the text here.

I requested a stage 2 complaint on the 20th October 2017. According to Wirral Council’s complaints policy it should take 15 working days. Instead I had to wait 12 weeks for no response and complain to the Local Government Ombudsman over the lack of response (which then arrived a day later than I was told it would).

The text of letter is below. The letter with its original formatting can be read here.

(Wirral Council logo)

Business Services

David Armstrong
Director for Business Services
Town Hall, Brighton Street
Wallasey, Wirral
Merseyside, CH44 8ED
DX 708630 Seacombe
Website: www.wirral.gov.uk
Email: vickishaw@wirral.gov.uk

date 1 February 2018

to Mr J Brace
Jenmaleo
134 Boundary Road
Bidston
Wirral
CH43 7PH

By Email

your ref
my ref VS
tel ext: 0151-691 8481 Please ask for: Vicki Shaw

Dear Mr Brace

Stage 2 Complaint – CCR 3317
Grant of Planning Permission APP/17/00306

I am writing further to your request to have your complaint reviewed at Stage 2 of the Council’s complaints process. My understanding of your complaint is as follows:

1. Cllr Steve Foulkes is a director of Wirral Partnership Homes Limited who trade as Magenta Living. The property to the east of the site this planning application relates to in Woodpecker Close is 62 retirement bungalows managed by Magenta Living who also own these properties. This disclosable pecuniary interest was not declared. Had it been declared and Cllr Steve Foulkes not taken part in the votes on the refusal motions, the vote would’ve been tied 6:6 and the Chair would’ve had to exercise her casting vote to determine the matter.

2. Wirral Council owned the land that this planning application relates to. Wirral Council listed this piece of land in its asset register as having a £NIL value. Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority allocated £300,000 in their budget to purchase the land from Wirral Council after planning permission was granted.
Therefore the grant of planning permission increased the value of Wirral Council’s land from £NIL to £300,000. This was a disclosable pecuniary

www.wirral.gov.uk

interest that all the councillors on the Planning Committee had (but not declared), as they are all Wirral Council councillors.

Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in reviewing your complaint at stage 2.

In accordance with our procedures, I have now had the opportunity to fully review your complaint, together with the specific points that you have raised for consideration. It is my view that the previous response that was given to you at stage one was a full and detailed response. I note the content of your rely to the stage one response you received from Mr Ball, however, I do not consider that the information contained in your further correspondence provides any new information. I have therefore concluded that there is nothing further I can add to the response previously sent to you, which to my mind has addressed in detail the comments and complaints that you have made.

Having reviewed your complaint at stage 2 of the corporate complaints procedure, I am therefore unable to uphold your complaint for the reasons previously provided at stage one. As your original complaint was submitted prior to 1 October 2017 if you remain dissatisfied you can request that your complaint is escalated to Stage 3. If you would like to do this please let me know and I will arrange for this matter to be progressed to Stage 3.

Yours sincerely

(signature)

Vicki Shaw
Acting Senior Manager Legal and Committee Services and Deputy Monitoring Officer

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Responses

  1. Whats the point of having a complaint if they are the ones defending themselves, and then turn around and say ” you have gone though proper channels to lodge a complaint but stuff you , this is how we do things here!”
    Didn’t know Cllr Foulkes had ties with Magenta, and as for the land having a NIL value thats just bollocks every bit of land in the counrty has some value, other wise what are we paying rates?

    • Thanks for your comment.

      The reason it was determined in their asset register as having no value was because it was in the green belt, therefore there was a presumption against development. Having rechecked the asset register it was put down as valued at a nominal £1 (which is near enough to £NIL).

      The requirements on councillors not to participate in decisions they have a prejudicial interest in is a legal requirement. Cllr Foulkes was at the time one of the company directors of Magenta.

  2. If Councillor Foulkes did not declare a pecuniary interest as a company director of Magenta has he broken any law? If so, what sanctions could be taken and by who ?
    I wouldn’t be holding my breath if it was his mates in the council!

    • In answer to your question, failure to declare a pecuniary interest is classed as a criminal matter, therefore it would be down to Merseyside Police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts to impose sanctions (if any).

      However in this matter, Wirral Council deny he had any pecuniary interest at all!


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