EXCLUSIVE: Councillor Phil Davies agrees to pay extra £113,189 to Hoylake Golf Resort consultants based on secret report

EXCLUSIVE: Councillor Phil Davies agrees to pay extra £113,189 to Hoylake Golf Resort consultants based on secret report

EXCLUSIVE: Councillor Phil Davies agrees to pay extra £113,189 to Hoylake Golf Resort consultants based on secret report


Yesterday Councillor Phil Davies agreed that consultants on the Hoylake Golf Resort project would be paid an extra £113,189 based on a report in the name of Kevin Adderley, the Strategic Director for Regeneration and Environment. David Ball, Wirral Council’s Head of Regeneration (davidball@wirral.gov.uk/0151 691 8395) had a role in preparing the report.

The report on which Councillor Phil Davies made his decision has not been made available to the public on grounds that it has “commercial sensitive information”. However the surprising decision would seem to not to comply with The Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012. The decision is a key decision however:

  • A document detailing that they wish to make a key decision was not published 28 clear days by Wirral Council before making the decision (see Regulation 9 (Publicity in connection with key decisions).
  • A notice was not published five days before the decision detailing agreement of the chair of the relevant policy and performance committee that it was an urgent decision and could not be reasonably deferred (see Regulation 10 (General Exception).
  • A notice wasn’t published claiming special urgency and detailing agreement of either the chair of the relevant policy and performance committee, Mayor or Deputy Mayor that it was urgent and couldn’t be reasonably deferred (see Regulation 11 (Cases of special urgency).
  • It’s a legal requirement that an annual report (see Regulation 19) is brought by the Leader to a meeting of all Wirral Council councillors about decisions where a case of special urgency is used since the last report. Despite this being a legal requirement since the 10th September 2012, to my recollection no such report has ever been brought to a Council meeting.

Councillor Phil Davies’s decision could still be called in by councillors as a call-in deadline of 24th April 2014 has not yet passed. The reason for the urgency was given as “to allow the OJEU Competitive Dialogue process to be finalised and a preferred developer for the Hoylake Golf Resort project to be selected and announced prior to the Open Golf Championship at Royal Liverpool in July 2014.” At least one Conservative councillor has previously asked at a public meeting about when the public will be consulted on Wirral Council’s Hoylake Golf Resort plans.

UPDATED: The extra £113,189 paid to David Langdon (AECOM) is in addition to £123,823 already agreed by Cabinet last year who also agreed to £55,000 of legal advice from Pinsent Masons LLP.
A report on Wirral Council’s website from last year details what the Hoylake Golf Resort is about.

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Cabinet: Hoylake Golf Resort recommendations agreed by Cabinet

A report on Wirral Council’s Cabinet decision on the Hoylake Golf Resort

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Playlist of Wirral Council’s Cabinet of the 11th July 2013

The last six minutes of Wirral Council’s Cabinet meeting dealt with the item entitled “Hoylake Golf Resort”. Quite what is in the three page report is a mystery to me as despite requesting it at the end of the Cabinet meeting and being told it’d be published on Wirral Council’s website the next morning, it hasn’t been. As of the following Monday the report is available on Wirral Council’s website.

Cllr Pat Hackett (Cabinet Member for the Economy) talked for about four minutes about it. He said that Cabinet was being asked to accept the decision of the Strategic Director of Regeneration and the Environment (Kevin Adderley) to accept specialist external legal and technical advice tenders in the sum of £178,823.

The aim of this was to procure a development partner for the Council for the Hoylake Golf Resort, because of the size of the tender they were having to advertise it in the Official Journal of the European Union. Cllr Hackett said that the golf resort would bring a number of significant benefits to Wirral and that they were looking for a multi-million pound investment by the private sector to bring this about to contributes to the area’s regeneration. He was hoping that it would attract a variety of golf competitions to the Wirral.

Cllr Hackett said that the golf resort had the potential to enhance Wirral as a destination for leisure and business. Due to inexperience within the Council of such large tenders, they decided to pay external bodies to provide them with advice. The bodies contracted were Pinsent Masons LLP for legal advice (£55,000) and technical support work was contracted to Davis Langdon (AECOM) (£123,823). The reason for this was to allow the tendering to be completed in time for the Open in July 2014.

Cllr Phil Davies said, “I’d just add my support for this project” and that he thought it “would be a fantastic development”. The recommendation was accepted by the Cabinet.