Posted by: John Brace | 15th January 2018

How will the £16.5 million Hoylake Golf Resort highway improvements be funded?

How will the £16.5 million Hoylake Golf Resort highway improvements be funded?

                                               

Cllr Phil Davies on Hoylake Golf Resort at Hoylake Community Centre 9th December 2017

Cllr Phil Davies on Hoylake Golf Resort at Hoylake Community Centre 9th December 2017

On the 22nd December 2017 I announced I was taking a Christmas break from blogging and Wirral Council released further information about the costs of the roads associated with the proposed Hoylake Golf Resort. It was also released a few days after Cabinet’s decision to loan the developer £26 million if a planning application is successful.

In fact Wirral Council’s request to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority for £1.65 million towards the costs of the roads had previously been covered by this blog.

The information released splits the road upgrades into three schemes. Scheme A is the new link road (this runs from Saughall Massie Road to Hoylake), scheme B is an upgrade to Saughall Massie Road and scheme C is an upgrade to Heron Road.

Scheme A is estimated at £7.9 million, scheme B at £5.8 million and scheme C at £2.8 million.

However, just as the estimated cost of a fire station at Saughall Massie rose over the course of the project from £4 million to £5 million, I’ll point out the caveat that the costs of these highways improvements were estimated in September 2016.

According to this Cabinet report ground works are not estimated to be started until February to March 2019. It puzzles me as to why that table lists the ground works as starting before the grant of planning permission in June 2019.

Replacing two of the Four Bridges cost an estimated £7-8 million (a project which is facing delays) and was only possible with a £6.4 million grant from the Department of Transport and a £142,000 contribution from Peel Ports Group Limited.

So, in the absence of any known funding for the roads associated with the Hoylake Golf Resort, the question is where does the £16.5 million come from to pay for it?

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Responses

  1. Is it a coincidence that they have taken back road maintenance in house?
    So much for green belt and unitary plans!!

  2. I cannot comprehend the logic behind Phil Davies proceeding with this project and lending public funds to the project, unless he knows something we don’t.
    There is something that stinks but I don’t know what yet other than lined pockets.

    • There’s a transcript of Cllr Phil Davies’ reasons he states in public which haven’t changed since that meeting as he was repeating the same reasons in December 2017.

      In summary his three reasons are jobs, business rates and council tax.

      As Wirral Council owns a large part of the land and has options to buy the third party land needed that it doesn’t own if planning permission is granted, there’s obviously some sort of commercial reason for Wirral Council too.

  3. This years council tax will rise to find this extra money, yet they still can’t repair lights and pot holes. I would still like to know if lending millions of tax payers money to a builder for this golf course etc is legal?
    As for shemme A,B or C costing up to £7.8 million i bet it did cost this much to build the M53

    • The M53 was originally built to link with an A55 link road.

      However the A55 link road was never built!

  4. It is legal for Council’s to lend money to private companies but the risk is huge for should the venture fail, we are left to pay the bill. It is risk to which Council refers when using the term “Prudential Borrowing.” Prudential Borrowing is not guaranteed borrowing.

    The M53, if built today, would cost many 10’s times this cost.

    Instead of complaining and commenting here, email your Councillor.

    • Hi John,

      There was a DCLG consultation last year on changing codes that councils have to follow that would prevent this sort of investment.

      In the FAQs for that consultation, the government states, “However, the prime duty of a local authority is to provide services to local residents, not to take on disproportionate levels of financial risk by undertaking speculative investments, especially where that is funded by additional borrowing.”

      What happens next is down to the government.

  5. Can it be outsourced to Carillion?

    • As far as I know the new hospital in Liverpool was, a joint health scrutiny committee of councillors (including Wirral Council councillors) expressed concerns in 2014 about the practices of a company like Carillion, but went ahead and gave the go ahead to the project anyway.

      Sorry for the poor quality footage below, I bought a better camera a few weeks after this meeting!

  6. John, I would guess the sale of Acrelane School land that equates to 21 Acres or thereabouts will help. I have no idea what the council have agreed, but I know we the taxpayer paid to demolish the old school. Now an application for over 225 houses has been submitted, just where the School places are going to come from for the possible 400 Children I don’t know. Or the other infrastructure that’s failing in Bromborough due to a lack of investments. I would hope from the recent land sales in the immediate area, all for development these where approximately 0.5-0.75 and averaging £500,000.00 the council are in for a windfall of over £10m. Then of course a school will or should be required! But I am sure those millions will make there way to the other end of the Wirral.

    • I think regarding Acre Lane, as it was no longer a school Wirral Council have more flexibility over what they can do with the capital receipt.

      In order to prop up the budget in 2018-19 I think there’s around £10 million in capital receipts being used to keep services running.

      There were figures given for what they would receive for the Acre Lane site at one point, but off the top of my head I can’t remember the precise amounts.


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