ICO require Wirral Council to supply without redactions 34 pages about the £26 million loan request from the Nicklaus Joint Venture Group for the Celtic Manor Resort/Hoylake Golf Resort project
By John Brace (Editor) and Leonora Brace (Co-Editor)
First publication date: 1st January 2021, 14:39 (GMT)
ICO (the Information Commissioner’s Office) has issued a decision notice (IC-48238-Y0D6) requiring Wirral Council within 35 calendar days of the 15th December 2020 to provide further information about the Celtic Manor Resort project that it had previously withheld in response to a request.
The request made on the 27th June 2019 was ignored by Wirral Council, then a request for reconsideration based on the lack of response to the request (made on the 10th September 2019) was also ignored and no response to the request was received from Wirral Council until after ICO was contacted on the 11th November 2019.
Paragraph 2 of the ICO decision notice stated this lack of response (twice) was unlawful as it breached laws that required responses to be made within a certain timeframe stating, “The Commissioner also finds that in not responding to the complainant’s initial request or internal review request within the statutory timeframe, the Council has breached regulation 5(2) and regulation 11 of the EIR.”
Wirral Council did release 56 A4 pages of information which were partly redacted by Wirral Council (along with 6 A4 pages stating its reasons for redaction) on the 26th November 2019. However ICO disagreed with Wirral Council that the redactions Wirral Council made where it had claimed “commercial confidentiality” to pages 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 15, 19, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 33, 34, 35, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 50, 51, 52 and 55 were justified.
The two reports that the request was about were a final due diligence report written by consultants IPW (titled Review of the NJVG (Nicklaus Joint Venture Group) Development Proposals May 2019) and an accompanying internal Wirral Council report to councillors.
Both reports were made to councillors who either had to decide (or make recommendations to those who decided) whether Wirral Council should loan £26 million to the NJVG. Wirral Council’s Cabinet at a public meeting on the 8th July 2019 (see video below) decided not to lend the money (which Wirral Council planned to borrow from the Public Works Loan Board) to the NJVG.
Please accept YouTube cookies to play this video. By accepting you will be accessing content from YouTube, a service provided by an external third party.
If you accept this notice, your choice will be saved and the page will refresh.
Cabinet (Wirral Council) 8th July 2019
If you click on any of the buttons below, you’ll be doing me a favour by sharing this article with other people.
5 thoughts on “ICO require Wirral Council to supply without redactions 34 pages about the £26 million loan request from the Nicklaus Joint Venture Group for the Celtic Manor Resort/Hoylake Golf Resort project”
Happy New Year John, keep up the good fight, the good always wins in the end!
Hi, Happy New Year to you too.
As the decision notice is dated 15th December 2020 and gives Wirral Council 35 calendar days I’ve got probably another couple of weeks to wait yet.
Thanks John, all of us on the Wirral Society committee are appreciative of your tenacious efforts.
Thanks for that kind comment.
It probably isn’t very widely known, but in November 2020 the Public Works Loan Board stopped lending money to local councils that intended to buy commercial assets for the yield the local council would receive.
As a wider point though this article goes into further detail about how some other local councils invested borrowed money (in the case of the main council mentioned here borrowed from other councils) without understanding the risk. Others invested in commercial property, such as buying a shopping centre on the assumption of guaranteed rental income just before the coronavirus restrictions came in and many shops shut.
Indeed, neighbouring Liverpool City Council had until its plans were abandoned detailed plans in 2019 to set up a £50 million Fund to invest in commercial property.
Looks like the same rot has set in on councils everywhere! Letting narcissist free- market spivs in to spend borrowed money whilst promising wine from water was never going to end well…except for the individuals who invested their commission in luxury sport vehicles probably registered in someone else’s name.
Comments are closed.