A stranger rides in to Wirral Town in a thrilling Wild West tale about gold, greed, horses, the law and a land grab

A stranger rides in to Wirral Town in a thrilling Wild West tale about gold, greed, horses, the law and a land grab

A stranger rides in to Wirral Town in a thrilling Wild West tale about gold, greed, horses, the law and a land grab


John Wayne as the sheriff in Rio Bravo
John Wayne as the sheriff in Rio Bravo

The following is a work of satire.

Deep in the dusty, hot West was a town called Wirral. This tale is about a land grab, a common theme in these parts as some townsfolk had let greed enter into their hearts.

Outside of town were about ten acres of farmland known as Fernbank Farm where all day the pony club offered rides to the local children. Everyone had fun there and the pony club had been there for as long as people could remember and paid rent for the use of the land to their landlord. Everybody was happy.

Little did the pony club know then, but their landlord wanted them off that land. At first they thought everything was going as it had in years gone by as their landlord even sent them a new lease to sign, which they returned back thinking everything would be just as it was in the past.

However they didn’t know that the local politicians had had a meeting and at this meeting they had changed the rules so a hundred houses could be built on the land. This was deliberately kept a secret from the pony club on the instructions of Tony Simpson.

Once a deadline had been passed and a new lease had deliberately not been agreed (while telling the pony club they would happily agree to a new lease), the landlord went to Surjit “the Sheriff” Tour, who worked for the landlord to ask him what to do. He told them that he couldn’t turf the pony club off their land yet and in order to evict them he’d first need a judge to agree to it.

The pony club were surprised by this move and got Kirwan (a lawman and former politician to help them), he did his best but the pony club soon ran out of gold coins to pay him and asked for help from Lewis instead.

The pony club’s day in court came and in the judge’s chambers in the town’s courthouse a Judge explained to all (including two curious journalists from the local reservation) that it would have to go to a proper trial where everyone would have their say. Reluctantly the landlord agreed to this.

The day of the trial came and another Judge was in charge. The landlord had hired expensive help from far, far away. The Judge said he was very sorry, but that he had no choice but to sign a possession order to turf the pony club off the landlord’s land. His hands were tied, he felt he had no choice but was very apologetic. If their landlord hadn’t been so underhand he said, he would have granted the pony club a new lease, but now unfortunately his hands were tied.

Once again the two curious journalists from the local reservation were there including a large number of the townsfolk who wanted the pony club to stay. The journalists wrote down what happened, told the local people and a story about the trial appeared in the town’s newspaper.

The husband of one of those put on trial felt the whole thing was unfair and complained. The landlord read his complaint but (surprise, surprise) said he didn’t agree. One of the two curious journalists from the local reservation even asked a question at a meeting of the politicians (it took a month for the politician to answer).

The landlord wasn’t entirely happy with these two going off the reservation at all, as well, these two were known to have caused trouble in the past but they also knew the townsfolk would really start kicking up a fuss if a large number of braves on horseback rode into the town because of how badly it had been handled. You see those on the reservation quite liked horses and didn’t like as it tended to be translated “white man speak with forked tongue”.

It wasn’t the done thing anymore for the landlord to label people (even those from the reservation) they saw as troublemakers as “crazy”. They’d done just that and ending up having to pay many, many, many (and probably a few more) gold coins to a Mr. Morton (a former employee) after he’d raised a big stink about their past skullduggery and a large amount of gold coins that the landlord had stolen accidentally removed in one of their “mistakes” and had said that they wouldn’t pay back (later changing their mind).

So what was the landlord to do? They asked a stranger from far away to come into town. The stranger did come into town, he talked with the pony club and he talked with the landlord.

Not quite understanding the rules of the game* Mr Aspin (the stranger) was from a far away town called Rochdale. He was not a lawman, but a surveyor but he did not like all he surveyed. Phrases such as “this is not an appropriate action for a Local Authority landlord to take”, “accusation of dishonesty”, “gnawed at his professional conscience” and “unfortunate sequence of events” ran through his report as a series of criticisms as to how the landlord had behaved.

*rules of the game referring to the landlord’s rule in that they preferred “independent” people to agree with them as if they didn’t it would mean no more gold coins from the landlord for them.

The stranger recommended they send an immediate written apology to the pony club, pay them them the gold coins they had paid to Kirwan and allow them to stay rent free as well as finding them somewhere else to move to.

Oh dear, what was the landlord to do? Sooner or later those two pesky reservation journalists would start writing about it (although on the plus side the landlord thought it might stop them writing about another of their dastardly schemes to try and close a local school called Lyndale) and then their mistakes would end up in the newspaper again which would mean all the townsfolk would know. Oh dear! How could they stop the press writing about it they thought? Let’s release the report on a Saturday they decided, the press won’t be at work then.

As no politician wanted to associate themselves with such an unpopular issue, they got the big cheese and well-known troubleshooter Mr. Burgess to apologise. “We apologise for the distress”, “the site is on of the three most valuable council-owned development sites”, “savings targets” and “we should have communicated better” he wrote as well as making the same commitment his boss had Councillor Phil Davies to find the pony club somewhere else.

Mr Burgess even went a little too far in some people’s minds in his enthusiasm and wrote things like “the independent investigation”“found that the Council acted legally throughout possession proceedings” when the investigator’s report in fact stated “I am satisfied that the Council followed the correct procedure in the preparation and issuing of Court proceedings. It is outside my remit to make further comments in this regard as a legal process subsequently followed resulting in the Court granting permission.”

So, one of the two journalists on the reservation saw what went on and wrote this tale and here it is. A partial victory for the pony club, but it seems that the fight will carry on.

Tune in for next week’s thrilling episode about the Wild West Town of Wirral to hear how about the landlord continues to get into hot water in its efforts to “evict” disabled children from the local school called Lyndale in another tale of communication problems, politicians, apologies but this time (as far as we know at this point) not involving horses.

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Author: John Brace

New media journalist from Birkenhead, England who writes about Wirral Council. Published and promoted by John Brace, 134 Boundary Road, Bidston, CH43 7PH. Printed by UK Webhosting Ltd t/a Tsohost, 113-114 Buckingham Avenue, Slough, Berkshire, England, SL1 4PF.

11 thoughts on “A stranger rides in to Wirral Town in a thrilling Wild West tale about gold, greed, horses, the law and a land grab”

    1. Well the “Ingleborough Gang” is a highly contentious story. I don’t know of recent developments in it, but as above have linked to what I do know.

  1. ISUS1 comes to mind here. ISUS1 thrice thwarted by WBC and its agents on BIG; on a lease and by Wirralbiz re the lease!

    ISUS1 obtained a licence to occupy the Millenium centre in Leasowe. Before investing much labour and £35k ISUS1 asked the trust for guarantees there would be a full lease and the Trust re-assured them that the section of the licence to occupy written a full lease will be negotiated meant what it said. As ISUS1 invested money and time ISUS1 phoned the council property department believing that the Millenium trust was the sub-tenant of WBC. Council officers reassured ISUS1 that a lease would be forthcoming.

    Time elapsed and the business had commenced in the premises but still no lease was forthcoming. News of the Millenium trusts dire financial position became known so ISUS1 couple and myself attended the AGM of Millenium trust in summer 2011 to ask whether the tenancies were imperilloed by the Millenium trust’s impecuniousness.

    At the AGM no accounts were offered but ultimately after being reminded by myself that accounts must be submitted either Mr Sheriff or Mr R abbey produced a Balance Sheet from the briefcase. Further questions elicited the response that no, The Millenium trust did not have a head lease from WBC (contrary to the property officer’s assurances at WBC), but were only acting as letting agents. The bottom had dropped out of ISUS1 who now saw that the £35k investment in the building could never be recouped by selling the business with a proper lease.

    Unfortunately ISUS! had also sought advice from wirralbiz!!! (see grant Thornton ISUS report) who having read the licence had made reassuring noises that it must be converted to a full lease ( and charging WBC £1,144 for this , as it turned out, facetious and incorrect advice). Ultimately a property lawyer in Liverpool explained to ISUS1 that the terminology used was standard, had no term to when the full lease would be granted and thereby was not actionable. Beginning to sound like Fernbank Farm, is it?

    As an afterthought let me explain that for BIG one of the spouses ran a software firm dealing in an analytical tool which was to be sold across the world ( and presently is used in $250,000,000, a quarter of a billion. of hedge funds money rests upon it). Unfortunately when ISUS1 applied in 2010, there was an immediate rejection over the telephoen, without proper consideration. After all ISUS1 was to employ a software tester and was to export not just out of Wirral but across the world, which now is done. The software had been written and tested and the only reasons we can come up with are

    1. Sheer arrogance by council officers or
    2, ISUS1 was known to be friendly with myself even though I had no dealings with BIG from summer 2009.

    ISUS1 ultimately could not run the business from the millenium Centre because one of the children had a life-threatening illness, the very sort of contingency why ISUS1 wanted a lease to sell.

    No wonder ISUS1 spent three soilid days with Grant Thornton, councillors and the erdf auditor!!!

    1. Well on that last point, if any business run by a family with a child with a life threatening illness was thinking of investing on the Wirral and producing lots of jobs, do you think they currently would considering the future uncertainty over Lyndale?

      Penny pinching in one place can result in a loss of millions of pounds of investment elsewhere. A point somewhat lost I think on Wirral Council who don’t seem to understand that businesses do due diligence to check on places they’re possibly investing in…

      But yes, the culture of Wirral Council is such that the same stories keep repeating themselves just with different characters. Or as the old saying goes “history repeats itself”.

  2. I have read the “Report” and supporting documents, this again is a matter for the DCLG

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