How much will Wirral Council have to pay B&M Retail Limited to settle an outstanding compensation claim?

How much will Wirral Council have to pay B&M Retail Limited to settle an outstanding compensation claim?

How much will Wirral Council have to pay B&M Retail Limited to settle an outstanding compensation claim?


One of the new items added to Wirral Council’s Forward Plan (which will be decided by Wirral Council’s Cabinet in June) is The Wirral Borough Council (Grange Road, Birkenhead) Compulsory Purchase Order 2008 which relates to an outstanding compensation claim.

Although the Forward Plan doesn’t mention it, Cabinet will be asked to accept a recommendation from officers to settle a claim made by B&M Retail Limited arising from the The Wirral Borough Council (Grange Road, Birkenhead) Compulsory Purchase Order 2008.

B & M Retail Limited objected to Wirral Council’s use of compulsory purchase orders to build an Asda in Birkenhead Town Centre which resulted in a planning inquiry. The twenty-four page report of the Planning Inspector Christina Downes into Wirral Council’s use of their compulsory purchase order powers can be read by following that link.

Two of the people at Wirral Council named on the equality impact assessment for the recommendation to June’s Cabinet to settle the compensation claim of B&M Retail Limited will be familiar to those who have read the media coverage about the court case involving the tenants of Fernbank Farm back in January. They are EIA Lead Officer Tony Simpson (line manager for David Dickenson) and Chief Officer David Armstrong. Head of Section Jeannette Royle is also named on the Equality Impact Assessment.

How much the compensation claim of B&M Retail Limited is for is not known, however it is likely to be for a large amount. It is listed as a key decision on the Forward Plan, which means it is either for £500,000+ or is for ten percent or more of the agreed budget for this area. The Cabinet Member for this area is Councillor Adrian Jones (Cabinet Member for Central and Support Services).

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Asda Development Birkenhead – When do the public have a say?

I read with interest Frank Field’s piece in the local paper about the new Asda store in Birkenhead.

I agree with Frank and many other local residents that it has caused massive problems with parking (including a reduction in Blue Badge spaces). What he fails to mention was that a few days before the local elections it was a Labour-led Cabinet (with a built-in majority) of Cllr Foulkes, Cllr Davies (Phil), Cllr Davies (George), Cllr Stapleton and Cllr McLaughlin that met behind closed doors without the press and public present to agree to the price Wirral Council got for the car parks.

Generally in the month leading to an election or election period, apart from decisions that have to be made within a certain time limit (eg Planning, licensing etc), no decisions of a political nature are made. This is called purdah and it means they refrain from taking decisions or making policy announcements which are significant and may be politically contentious.

So what was the decision that was made? Well Asda (Walmart) wanted to only pay £500,000 for the car parks rather than £2 million. Asda have changed the original plans a number of times. You can search here using the postcode CH41 6EB in the address box to see things like the current planning application for signage for the store and carpark. You can leave comments online if you wish.

To finish, I welcome new jobs in Birkenhead, however there are concerns the existing businesses and stall holders at Birkenhead market have that once the new Asda store opens it’ll affect the viability of their businesses. A number of shops have already closed down. The new Tory/Lib Dem run Wirral Council believes in consulting with the public before making major decisions. The previous Labour led council had a “decide, announce, defend” strategy that led to the fiasco and public inquiry over the library closures and a very divisive, macho-style of politics that managed to cheese off large sections of the voting Wirral public.

I have seen many Walmarts in America and heard from local people about the effect it has had on local shops. I hope Birkenhead keeps its character and doesn’t turn into another Walmart clone town after the Asda store is opened in November. I hope the Asda doesn’t just end up employing people who currently work at the existing shops but also takes on people from Birkenhead who are long-term unemployed. Wirral Council is committed to supporting jobs and helping people keep their jobs or find new ones.

Casino in Birkenhead? Cabinet decides next week.

Casino in Birkenhead? Cabinet decides next week.


Having reread the agenda for next week’s Cabinet meeting specifically item 4 I notice there’s a plan to sell off two pieces of land that provide revenue through on-street car parking to a William Tar Holdings Limited for eventual use as a casino.

Even more worryingly the developer already has Planning Permission from 2008 (which was amended this year). I know Birkenhead already has one casino; but does it need another?

Birkenhead Town Centre has already lost two large council car parks to the Asda development and whereas I would always encourage people to use public transport (this area is well serve with Conway Park train station and the bus station); is a casino right for Birkenhead? What do the users of Europa Pools leisure centre think of car parking spaces going; will any Blue Badge spaces be replaced elsewhere?

Are councillors trying to make Birkenhead like Blackpool or Las Vegas? There are many people in Birkenhead who have gambling problems; won’t the presence of a new casino just make things worse?

As the planning permission expires in March 2011 is this being rushed through before Christmas?

Update: The Cabinet eventually decided against the idea of another casino in Birkenhead. However there is one planned for New Brighton if you are interested.