Majority of Wirral Council councillors agree settlement agreement with Nicklaus Joint Venture Group and payment of £495,000 over abandoned Hoylake Golf Resort project

Majority of Wirral Council councillors agree settlement agreement with Nicklaus Joint Venture Group and payment of £495,000 over abandoned Hoylake Golf Resort project

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

Majority of Wirral Council councillors agree settlement agreement with Nicklaus Joint Venture Group and payment of £495,000 over abandoned Hoylake Golf Resort project


Former Councillor Phil Davies facing questions on Hoylake Golf Resort at Hoylake Community Centre 9th December 2017
Former Councillor Phil Davies facing questions on Hoylake Golf Resort at Hoylake Community Centre 9th December 2017

By John Brace (Editor)
Leonora Brace (Co-Editor)

First publication date: Friday 20th August 2021, 9:19 AM (BST).

At a meeting of Wirral Council councillors held on the 11th August 2021 behind closed doors and not webcast, the Labour and Independent councillors outvoted Conservative, Green and Lib Dem councillors (who opposed it) in agreeing to a payment of £495,000 to Nicklaus Joint Venture Group Limited.

Nicklaus Joint Venture Group Limited had threatened legal action against Wirral Council over an alleged breach of trust to do with the Development Agreement between Wirral Council and the Nicklaus Joint Venture Group Limited connected with the Hoylake Golf Resort. Nicklaus Joint Venture Group Limited had requested £20 million in damages from Wirral Council but this was negotiated down to £495,000.

The payment has since been made by Wirral Council, is made without any admission of liability or fault by Wirral Council, released Wirral Council from any responsibilities under the Development Agreement and is made in full and final settlement of the dispute between the two parties.

The Hoylake Golf Resort was deeply unpopular with campaigners, although it remains to be seen what plans (if any) Wirral Council has for the land in that area in the future.

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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.

16 thoughts on “Majority of Wirral Council councillors agree settlement agreement with Nicklaus Joint Venture Group and payment of £495,000 over abandoned Hoylake Golf Resort project”

  1. John if I had not read your blog I would not believe what our councillors have behind closed doors.
    Correct me if I am wrong but I followed this debacle with interest when Phil Davies was in charge and the upshot and cancellation of the scheme was that the proposed ground was in fact 2 toxic waste sites and should not have been considered in the first place.
    Having paid out £495k plus whatever was expended on the original planning application Wirral ratepayers are out of pocket well over a million pound.
    Why should ratepayers pay out to speculators who fail their application.
    Who were the councillors who voted for this and who voted against?.
    As usual your learned comments would be appreciated.

    1. Thanks for your comment Jonathan.

      From memory yes, the history of part of the site involved was used as a landfill.

      As far as I know the project never got to the stage where a planning application was made.

      Unfortunately at the latest meeting this was decided (the 11th August 2021 one), before the meeting got to the item about the Hoylake Golf Resort Development Agreement, there was an item to exclude the press and public for that item.

      So unless a recorded vote was taken of which way individual councillors voted, unfortunately we’ll have to wait till the minutes are published to see which way individual councillors voted.

      The draft minutes of this meeting and this meeting on the same issue have been published but unfortunately don’t state which way individual councillors voted (just the totals).

      I hope that helps!

  2. Time this whole contract was investigated by the police. A vanity project with little chance of success promoted by Cllr Phil Davies and his cabal of a cabinet in secret. Most of the cabal still sit on the current Council committees. At a spent cost of over a £million to Wirral ratepayers already, this payment is another insult to constituents considering the proclaimed”austerity” this Council operates under. The last filed accounts of NJVG show an insolvent position of £116,490, to appoint the developer the Council fulfilled a ‘due diligence test’ on the company and Mr Anderson that has never been disclosed. Publication of this document will expose the complete ineptitude of the financial handling of this development not only by the Council but also of its Officers. What a surprise this decision (like the £26m loan) lacks the transparency that the Council boasts of.
    This was supposedly a flagship development providing a boost to the economy and jobs for the local area providing luxury houses, golf course and hotel. The debacle ranks alongside the many other economic and job creation scheme failures notched up by the Council over the last twenty years. The regeneration scheme for Birkenhead and the Local Plan have yet to take off, I dread to think of what cost this will land on the long suffering Wirral ratepayers
    Wake up Wirral to your Council.

  3. Good way of making money,
    lets come up with a hair brain idea that hasn’t got a chance in hell, wait a few years for nothing to happen threaten to sue and walk away with half a million, wish i had thought of this in the first place i be laughing all the way to the bank now.
    This just goes to show we do not need councilors they are a waste of time. space and money?
    So over the last two or three years Wirral has wasted a Million pounds of tax payers money, don’t forget Kingdom

    1. The question is, what were they threatening to sue over? There was nothing in the *written* agreement which would directly put WBC in ‘breach of contract’. There was nothing saying if it doesn’t go ahead then the developer shall be entitled to receive X amount of compensation against potential losses. Everything in the agreement put the onus on the developer to complete under the terms or WBC. The written agreement puts the council firmly in the driving seat, every step of the way. So something else outside of the written agreement has caused a rumble.

  4. There was nothing in the development agreement which covered a ‘breach of contract’ scenario. There was nothing in the document either, committing WBC to be the finance providers of the scheme. A clause (6.1 I think) stated this clearly.

    Furthermore, each phase of the development put WBC in a strong position regarding their satisfaction with completion of each phase, even giving them the option to intervene and if necessary, take over.

    The development agreement was written in a manner giving WBC the upper hand. The ‘developer’ had everything to prove and WBC had nothing to lose. The whole project was set out in ‘phases’ where the next ‘phase’ couldn’t be started until the previous one was completed to the councils satisfaction.

    ‘Phase’ 1 was the funding strategy and it was clear, the NJVG didn’t have a pot to p*** in! Without funding in place, the development was dead in the water.

    So, I smell a stinky WBC Phil Davies Cabinet rat rotting in a cupboard; the sort of rat born by means of back-room deals and verbal promises, with its collateral held in knowledge about unpleasant things WBC would rather remain buried forever. Funny how 20 million got whittled down to less than half a million…

    Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time WBC had parted with some form of currency for non-disclosure.

    1. Thanks for your comment.

      Section 36 of the contract titled “Disputes” sets out a resolution procedure in a section titled “Pre-Expert Dispute Resolution”, there’s a first-tier, then a second-tier, if neither tier resolves the dispute then it can be referred to an expert (the nature of the expert depends on the nature of the dispute) or for the aggrieved party to “seek such other remedy as may be appropriate”.

      In addition to the phases you refer to, from memory there were also timescales for various stages put into the contract too.

      The Cabinet made its decision not to loan the developer the money around 2 years ago, so yes, a lot of this doesn’t make sense does it as if NVJG raised the refusal of the loan 2 years ago as a contract dispute why has it taken so long to get to this stage?

      1. I would imagine in those 2 years, there would have been a lot of private discussions and people on the NJVG hedging their bets. Eventually, the penny must have dropped that they weren’t going to get a change of heart from the council and probably took their time to weigh up some verbal leverage which they knew would be detrimental to the council in a public context. There’s more to this decision than we are being told but as ever, it will remain strictly between the council, the NJVG and a tidy bank transfer.

    2. Dear Drum Doctor talk about hitting the nail on the head you have done it in spades & i think Phil Davies may still be behind the plot with probable verbal agreements with the developer which his fellow councillors had to behind closed doors had to agree too . Just a thought.

  5. Im a full time carer. Ive attended meetings over many years where Phil Davies and his cronnies have used same old rhetoric sorry no money to keep respite home going, sorry we need to close day centres and luncheon clubs for the vulnerable and disabled. Still to this day we are fighting to save 3 centres proposed fof closure as covid caused financial difficulty yet during said same pandemic the council have decided nows the best time to redeveop Birkenhead anx spend millions more of your money on vanity as opposed to desperate need to help those most in need of support. Sad beyond words this council are liars and thiefs.

  6. And just to add flames to the fire, Seacombe Ferry Terminal is having £7 million spent on it at the moment, been at it for weeks now, I don’t know why as Mersey travel doesn’t seen to run a normal ferry service any more.
    Then next to this is the Space port, remember that? That’s having £11.75 million spent on it, turning it into Eurekal Science and Discovery, so we can see tens of thousands of paying visitors coming thought the doors when its open?
    So that’s nearly £18 million pounds being spent on something that will hardly get used, £18 million doesn’t sound much when you say it fast!

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