Planning Committee on 8:5 vote approves plans for Tranmere Rovers training ground to move to Leasowe

Planning Committee on 8:5 vote approves plans for Tranmere Rovers training ground to move to Leasowe

Planning Committee on 8:5 vote approves plans for Tranmere Rovers training ground to move to Leasowe


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Above you can watch what happened at the Planning Committee meeting to decide on the planning applications about Tranmere Rovers training ground.

Wirral Council’s Planning Committee yesterday voted eight votes to five on two linked planning applications to do with Tranmere Rovers Football Club. The first vote was on the application for a training ground at the Solar Campus, 235 Leasowe Road, Leasowe and the second was on a linked application for up to ninety houses on the Ingleborough Road site in Tranmere.

There were petitioners that spoke for and against the proposals. In addition to the petitioners, Jeremy Butler (Tranmere Rovers Chief Executive) made the last representation for Tranmere Rovers in support of the application. Finally ward councillors Cllr Ron Abbey (for Leasowe and Moreton East) and Cllr Paul Doughty (for Prenton) also spoke to the Planning Committee.

These representations were followed by a discussion about the linked applications by the councillors on the Planning Committee. If the applications were approved Mr Parry Davies told councillors that the plan was to move the existing plaque to the Birkenhead Old Boys who died in World War I to Hamilton Square.

David Ball referred to a letter from the Birkenhead Institute Old Boys to the Chief Executive Graham Burgess that he had received and assured councillors that they would work constructively if the applications were approved to remove the plaque to a suitable place in Hamilton Square to the men who gave their lives to the country. He also said that they would work constructively over the tree issues which were there in memory of the people who had died.

He explained that the previous approved application for Woodchurch hadn’t been able to be progressed so alternative sites had to be looked at. If approved he would make sure that the conditions were “rigorously enforced”. In discussions with Tranmere Rovers Football Club they had made a commitment to work with Wirral Council on those matters such as the men who fell in World War I.

In response to Cllr Phillip Brightmore he said that he would be sending written confirmation of this to Birkenhead Institute Old Boys that they would deal sensitively and appropriately and take all steps to make sure what he’d outlined would happen. His assurance was that the mater would be dealt with sensitively. He said he was happy to lead on it along with David Armstrong to make sure it was being dealt with at a senior level. Mr. Ball gave his assurance to councillors on these two matters.

Cllr David Elderton asked a question about heights and whether they could condition the housing planning application to reduce heights to not exceed more than two stories? Matthew Parry Davies replied that these would be considered at the reserved matters stage of any application. Cllr Denise Realey said that she lived near to Tranmere Rovers Football Club’s football ground (Prenton Park), she had heard councillors on the radio talking about it and what would be done with the money from the sale. She pointed out the five-mile distance from Birkenhead to Leasowe and didn’t think the benefits outweighed the problems.

Matthew Parry Davies replied that the National Planning Policy Framework didn’t require replacement facilities to be in the same ward or locality but just within the Borough. The section 106 agreement would make sure money from the sale of the land would be placed into an account solely for the provision of a new training ground. He then answered a question about the Leasowe site and its public transport links.

Cllr Stuart Kelly stated that it was a departure to the development plan and ought to be refused unless the circumstances outweighed the loss. He referred to the loss off the recreation ground and the heritage issues. Cllr Kelly referred to the intentions of those that built the pavilion to provide sporting facilities for young people in Birkenhead. He didn’t think that having a training ground in Leasowe was a suitable replacement. Cllr Kelly wanted a replacement in Birkenhead and referred the loss of open recreation land in Leasowe and traffic issues.

Cllr Christine Spriggs talked about the passions and emotions about these applications. She suggested that Tranmere Rovers Football Club had a real and meaningful dialogue with Birkenhead Institute Old Boys. Cllr Spriggs went on to refer to the housing built on the former site of the Birkenhead Institute School.

The Chair asked a question about the fencing, to which the reply was that the five metre fence was to prevent balls leaving the training ground. Cllr Kelly also referred to the fence and asked if they could demonstrate special circumstances for the development? Cllr Daniel referred to the issue of social housing and was told that the viability assessment for social housing had been revised but that social housing wasn’t viable at the moment. The section 106 agreement would include a contribution to affordable housing if land values changed.

Cllr Brightmore asked if it was permitted development in the greenbelt? An officer replied that as it was for recreation or sport that this was an acceptable and appropriate use of the greenbelt.

The first vote was on agenda item 5 (the Solar Campus, Leasowe application). Cllr Kelly asked why they were having that vote first? Rosemary Lyons, legal adviser to the Planning Committee stated that they were dealing with item 5 first to enable them to make a reasoned decision on item 4 as the two were linked.

Cllr Kathryn Hodson proposed approval of item 5, seconded by Cllr Matt Daniel. Eight councillors voted for, five against so the application was approved.

Cllr Stuart Kelly moved refusal of item four because it was contrary to the Unitary Development Plan and under policy RE6 failed to demonstrate an adequate replacement provision regarding the location. Cllr Denise Realey seconded this.

More councillors voted against refusal then for approval (Cllr Christine Spriggs abstained).

Cllr Kathy Hodson moved approval, seconded by Cllr David Elderton. As before eight councillors voted for and five against. So both linked planning applications were approved by an 8:5 vote.

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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.

25 thoughts on “Planning Committee on 8:5 vote approves plans for Tranmere Rovers training ground to move to Leasowe”

  1. Mr Brace I have examined the details you Blogged, would you do me and Mr Griffiths a service and blog what you have on the Isus/Big and Neighbourhoods please?

    1. Thank you for your comment Stephen.

      There is much I have already published on the BIG/ISUS issues and some unpublished work awaiting proofreading/editorial approval regarding more recent matters since the July Audit and Risk Management Committee meeting.

      I will link below to published articles on the BIG/ISUS issues. As you are probably aware, the Audit and Risk Management Committee met in July (adjourned to October) to discuss this issue and the many papers for that meeting are on Wirral Council’s website.

      Mr Hobro also raised questions at the November Improvement Board meeting which is on my Youtube channel.

      I link below to what I have previously written about BIG/ISUS issues (which is eight articles I can find, there are possibly more than that).

      23/7/14 Incredible first 5 minutes of Wirral Council councillors’ public meeting to discuss BIG & ISUS investigations

      4/10/13 BIG/ISUS Reports: Wirral Council and Merseyside Police in “Alice in Wonderland”

      22/8/13 EXCLUSIVE: Million pound contract between Wirral Council and Enterprise Solutions (NW) Ltd for ISUS scheme was never signed

      30/12/13 Wirral Council plays the Regeneration Game (badly)

      16/7/13 Wirral Council (15th July) Grant Thornton confirms whistleblower’s concerns about Wirral Council’s business grants program

      18/7/14 REVEALED: Grant Thornton’s previously secret £50,0000 report into how Wirral Council played the regeneration game

      17/7/13 Council (Wirral Council) 15th July 2013 Public Question Time Mr. Hobro asks Cllr Phil Davies about BIG

      21/9/13 Incredible: Cllr Foulkes “we seem to have some whistleblowers who are courted, almost feted”

  2. I have seen all this documentation, it is the documentation that the Audit and Risk Management Committee are expected to read before the next meeting and would decide upon what to do next are you in possession of that please? and are you in a position to publish it, so as whilst you are Proof Reading it, I can also.

    1. I read it before the last Audit and Risk Management Committee, yes.

      What I was referring to was a as yet unpublished story about developments that have happened since that documentation was published. I think also that Wirral Council have also revealed what was in previously redacted paragraph j too. DCLG is also looking into matters regarding possible clawback of grant monies.

  3. refreshing to see some more interest in this matter which though small in local government terms, perhaps £1 to £2 fraudulent claims, some £3 m of sub-standard weork and perhaps £5 m of category C-d work., has beeen blown up by the obduracy of the officers not to take any blame.

    It is WBC’s obduracy that has made this a cause celebre and had WBC suspended the contract of wirralbiz in July 2011, as Mrs P Basnett had asked, then the evidence woulfd have been there for the plucking, hot from the oven, proisecutions would have followed and the ship righted without the galley stove tipping over hot embers onto HMS Wirral planking and giving rise to the resultant fires. Some lieutenants wiould have been cashiered also in the finest traditions of the service, order resumed and Mr Griffiths and myself , would not have had to whine on like a pair of sirens on a rocky shore

    Give me your email Mr Harper and I may very well send you stuff

    1. Thanks for your comment Nigel. Have you or Mr. Griffiths come across Stephen Harper before, if so what is his involvement in BIG/ISUS or is he just curious? He could be this guy but that is just a guess on my part. By the way what do you mean by category c to d work, is that an accountancy term or does it mean something else?

      You’re being a bit harsh referring to yourself as “a pair of sirens on a rocky shore”!

      Sadly the prospect of prosecutions (whether civil or criminal) is remote now as justice delayed is justice denied. The report from DCLG and possible grant clawback is a matter I’m still interested in though and will hopefully have concluded before the meeting of the Audit and Risk Management Committee resumes.

  4. I want to thank you all for your help and offer of help? in this matter I will in due course send you my email address I am not a Reporter, Police Officer or Agent of Local Government. I am what you would call a slightly educated Soul that was left behind when they moved the Grave Stones (Metaphorically Speaking)

    1. I wondered, sorry to be so curious, it’s in my nature!

      I’d already figured out you weren’t a reporter or a police officer (they’ve dropped this as a criminal matter anyway). As to the third, as there’s a solicitor also called Stephen Harper I wasn’t sure!

      Your last sentence is very cryptic!

  5. G’day John

    Thanks for not revealing “Highbrows” latest stuff to Stephen Harper.

    Why do people have to try to be so smart arsed and not be open, honest and transparent.



    Been away going again see you 7 October.

    1. The unpublished article (not yet published) was about the “three card monty” issue. However like you I’m not sure where Stephen Harper is coming from.

      Some people try to be clever yes, Wirral Council (at a senior officer level) is trying to be open and transparent. I got the feeling in July that Graham Burgess is doing his best to bring the BIG/ISUS matters to a conclusion. However things need to both be done properly (for example not sending about 500 pages a few days before the meeting) and be seen to be done properly if anyone is to believe that things have changed.

    1. Ahh thanks, it makes more sense now. However the civil service I would guess has a more rigourous selection process for employees than Wirral Council where in the past both some parties’ candidates for councillors and in the past senior employees seem to have been picked not based on an aptitude or skills for the job but merely because of who they know, naked ambition and greed.

  6. I am aware of most of your stuff and all I would ask of Mr Griffiths and Mr Highbrows is the person they dealt with Garym Lambert from Audit? and can they confirm also that Contemporaneous Notes were taken of the interviews?
    I can confirm that I am not a smart arse either

    1. Sorry if I sounded unfriendly, myself and the two you mention have all been whistleblowers in the past and it can leave you questioning peoples’ motives.

      I suggest if you want the answers to such questions you email Nigel Hobro who has made his email address to you available elsewhere on this comment thread.

      I’m not trying to be evasive, it’s just better if you hear things first hand from them rather than from myself. Hope you understand that the press know plenty of stuff that doesn’t go in the public domain and if you want to know their side of the story it’s probably better you get it directly from them.

  7. G’day John

    Stephen Harper says he is not a smart arse.

    Kevin Adderley said he wasn’t a liar.



    1. Talking of Kevin Adderley, I saw him on Friday morning, in a corridor in the Town Hall. Had a chat with him and who he was with on his way back.

      Mr Adderley was kind enough to try and arrange a chair for my wife only to be told that rearranging chairs at Wirral Council is not allowed, not because they don”t want John to write headlines comparing Wirral to the Titanic but because of fire regulations.

      There are times when I miss your emails Mr. Griffiths, pr shall I be more informal and call you James?

  8. G’day John

    You can call me whatever you like o wise one.

    I think you were were brave letting Adderley get your good lady a chair I think you would find he would pull it from under her as she attempted to sit he is just that kind of guy.

    The things he must of done to to The Chamber Pot and others.

    I wonder why he didn’t sue me for calling him a liar?



    Ps We know don’t we John?

    1. Well he tried, but as outlined above a junior officer overruled him.

      “I wonder why he didn’t sue me for calling him a liar?”

      Because, like politicians, don’t senior officers see this sort of thing as going with the territory (as do the press unfortunately)?

      You’d be surprised at the things people have called me over the years, after my disciplinary panel hearing the Lib Dems were so shocked at my whistleblowing revelations when they wrote up the minutes instead of going with the complainant’s accusation of “leaking confidential information to the press” they (five of them including a councillor) decided to call me a liar instead. It was easier for them to believe I was lying than get their heads around a series of uncomfortable truths.

      I’ve been called a bureaucrat, a Conservative councillor, by an officer recently the “secret police” (although I think that one was half joking). I’ve been called crazy (that one was by a current Conservative councillor during an election, note it’s a criminal offence to say untrue things about a candidate’s character and/or conduct during an election) and lots more than what I’ve put here.

      A few years ago there was at a rumour going round the gossip mill about Leonora at the Town Hall that she was Czechoslovakian (well they got the C bit right she’s Canadian).

      If they’re like this about myself (let’s face it I’m not elected & not an employee there but I suppose a “public figure” in some respects) I hate to think how they are towards people that they see as a threat to their careers or their reputations. I’m politically savvy enough to know the above goes with the territory of political reporting and it’s best to have a skin the thickness of a rhino, not take things personally and keep a sense of humour. That’s not to say people saying untrue things doesn’t hurt, it’s just sadly in the above culture of Wirral Council it’s something I’ve got used to!

  9. G’day John

    You could have made a mistake saying there are times you miss my emails….here I am again.

    John as it is 1,148 days or in other words 3 years 1 month 21 days since I blew the whistle very hard and was told no Big Fund recipients gone bad….Lockwood Engineering….. and “Highbrow” has detected even more evil activities around said company.

    John when i went to the council it was very easy issues that I believe they knew all about anyway, and could have been sorted within a month or two and even got some money back,

    Paula Basnett certainly knew and that is why she wouldn’t see me till Adderely was available so I had to wait over a week till he had his “Football Shirt” cleaned and mounted. You know the one he never wore…..

    John the reason they cannot resolve it at WBC is no one person has the intellect to get around all the issues and despite there having been Beverley Edwards Dave Garry Jim Wilkie Bill Norman SirGit Tour Graham Burgess not to mention the councillors all having a dabble. Grant Thornton could have resolved it for a few hundred thousand more pounds that is how clever “Highbrow” is.

    They have spent probably in excess of £150,000.00 on fees and wages and I do not think anyone has yet collated it all in audit type fashion

    that is why the 526 pages were put together in a shambles

    feel free to laugh they are that ridiculous and disorganised

    Stephen Harper could be the latest person roped in to put it all together…….

    he knows of Garym Lambert. How?

    They wouldn’t dare bring anyone like Garym back because “Highbrow” has told him what really went on and he knew he was right.

    I might be wrong John but our “Mr Harper” is not being honest open and transparent so under those circumstances it seems to point to me that he is a WBC employee or contractor.

    Don’t you love a good mystery.



  10. Mayhap Mr Adderley did not sue because like others efore, Oscar Wilde or Jonathan Aitken, suing would have revealed less savoury aspects of Lockwood. Also note that D Garry in his report never writes that Mr Adderley did not tell James that no BIG recipient had gone bust but rather that he was unaware tat it had gone bust three months beforehand.

    Now given Mr Garry’s other finding that the assets had been transferred in March 2011 with Mr Adderley’s approval, out of Lockwood into another firm for Mr Adderley not to know Lockwood was insolvent would make him gullible to say the least

    For Mr Harper’s benefit Garym Lambert never took notes when I spoke to him, which is rather strange. The others B Edwards and D Garry did and sent me transcripts. Further the latter officers were always in two’s but with Garym it was never a pairing, Interesting point.

  11. G’day “Highbrow”

    Garym never took notes and flew solo and has now vanished the way of Beverley???.

    Do they think we are stupid My Genius?

    Are we?



    Ps Maybe stupid…… but honest open and transparent unlike “The Pretend Friend”.

    Pps Have you got the Nokia or have I?.

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