Will Cllr Phil Davies weaken greenbelt planning policy to help planning permission for Hoylake Golf Resort?

Will Cllr Phil Davies weaken greenbelt planning policy to help planning permission for Hoylake Golf Resort?

Will Cllr Phil Davies weaken greenbelt planning policy to help planning permission for Hoylake Golf Resort?

                                                 

Cllr Phil Davies 6th March 2017 Budget Council speaking about Labour's Budget
Cllr Phil Davies speaking at a meeting of Wirral’s councillors earlier this year (6th March 2017)

Earlier this month I wrote about the Strategic Regeneration Framework consultation which includes the Hoylake Golf Resort project.

A week tomorrow (2nd October 2017) Wirral Council’s Cabinet meets in Committee Room 1 at Wallasey Town Hall starting at 10.00 am. On the agenda is a report in Cllr Phil Davies’ name to Cabinet that recommends not only is the new Strategic Regeneration Framework agreed as policy but also recommends to Council that the Strategic Regeneration Framework is adopted as a “material planning consideration” and that it’s used in the Core Strategy Local Plan.

So what does this mean? If the Strategic Regeneration Framework (which includes the Hoylake Golf Resort project) is adopted as a planning policy by Wirral Council, then this will be a material consideration in favour of approving any future planning application for the Hoylake Golf Resort that the Planning Committee will decide upon.

At the moment due to the greenbelt nature of the site proposed for the Hoylake Golf Resort, Wirral Council’s planning policies only allow development in “very special circumstances”.

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What’s going on at Wirral Council?

What’s going on at Wirral Council?

What’s going on at Wirral Council?

                                              

Madam Mayor and Surjit Tour (Annual Council) Meeting (Wirral Council) 16th May 2017
Madam Mayor and Surjit Tour (Annual Council) Meeting (Wirral Council) 16th May 2017

And so did councillors gather and the meeting got to “Leader’s Announcement”, otherwise known as the gospel according to Cllr Phil Davies.

Cllr Phil Davies gave a prayer of thanks for Councillor Jeff Green and asked for his appreciation to be recorded.

He set out his priorities for the next year which of course include the 2020 pledges.

Three new Cabinet portfolios would be created, “Delivering Differently”, “Transformation” and “Finance and Regeneration”.

However “issues” had arisen in Children’s Services according to Phil. The Director of Children’s Services had resigned and his Cabinet Member had “stepped down” which Phil felt was the “right decision”.

Cllr Phil Davies continued, but as this is an election period, we have to provide some political balance on this blog.

But before that, some words from someone who isn’t allowed to be party political Madam Mayor. She was asked why she decided to stop around sixty councillors from speaking on this topic towards the end of the meeting.

Madam Mayor said, “Council, I have exercised at my discretion, I do not have to explain that to you! I’ve accepted it. You or any other Member of the Council, this is how we will proceed now.

This is going to be the order of speakers, Group Leader for the Conservative Group Cllr Ian Lewis (5 minutes), Group Leader for the Liberal Democrat Group Cllr Phil Gilchrist (5 minutes), Deputy Group Leader for the Conservative Group Cllr Lesley Rennie (3 minutes), the spokesperson for the Liberal Democrat Group Cllr Alan Brighouse (3 minutes), the Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services Cllr Bernie Mooney (3 minutes), the Leader of the Council Cllr Phil Davies (5 minutes).”

Cllr Ian Lewis said he had, “no faith whatsoever that the lessons have been learned or that this department is being well-led” and went on to say, “Madam Mayor, it is our view that such is the chaos in this department, that expecting this problem to be managed in-house is no longer feasible. Nor is it acceptable to expect unelected individuals to manage the department under the guise of an Improvement Board that meets in secret.

Extra support and guidance to this Council is required. Not one person on this Council can hold the Improvement Board to account in public. That is not good enough!

For that reason Madam Mayor, the Conservative Group will be asking for government intervention as we’ve seen in other failing authorities with similar cases as we’ve seen in the Liverpool Echo and other media over the last 48 hours.

Madam Mayor, whether this happens or not, the Conservative Group will not sit quietly while those in authority such as Cllr Davies utter platitudes and wring their hands. We will hold this administration to account, before, during and after the serious case review and at every opportunity from now on.”

Cllr Phil Gilchrist said, “The minutes of the Improvement Board are available in public on the Council’s website if Members wish to look for them. They record the contributions of Members I think fairly and accurately.

I do think that the Chair Eleanor Brazil is determined that things should improve and is keeping a very weather eye on it. I’m not in the business of rocking the boat when work is in hand and in progress. The issue is that the work is in progress, but incomplete.”

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Annual Council (Part 2) Wirral Council 16th May 2017 Part 2 of 2

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Why did a councillor refer to NHS Plan for cuts as a “PR disaster”?

Why did a councillor refer to NHS Plan for cuts as a “PR disaster”?

Why did a councillor refer to NHS Plan for cuts as a “PR disaster”?

Before I write about what happened at Monday’s People Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Cllr Phil Davies shut down any debate and ruled that he wasn’t allowing the public to speak at an earlier public meeting of the Health and Wellbeing Board (which he chairs) on the Sustainability and Transformation Plan.

Protest outside Wallasey Town Hall side door 28th November 2016 38 Degrees Wirral West over NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan
Protest outside Wallasey Town Hall side door 28th November 2016 38 Degrees Wirral West over NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan
Protest outside Wallasey Town Hall 28th November 2016 Green Party over NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan
Protest outside Wallasey Town Hall 28th November 2016 Green Party over NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan

Prior to the People and Overview Scrutiny Committee starting there were two protests at ways in to Wallasey Town Hall (photos above). Apologies for the poor quality of the photos!

The Sustainability and Transformation Plan is published on the Wirral CCG website or alternatively you can watch the video of the meeting (which contains a long presentation by the NHS followed by discussion by councillors).

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Video of the People Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Wirral Council) NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan starting at the 6m35s point)

I’ll try to sum up what this means in a nutshell. If you look beyond the fancy words, glossy brochures in essence it’s a plan for NHS cuts (that is if the plan is implemented people will lose their job).

In addition to that with such a radical reorganisation of how NHS services are delivered locally proposed, services to the general public are also likely to be altered too.

Before a decision is made there will have to be a formal consultation with the public.

I’ve been asked to decipher what decision the People Overview and Scrutiny Committee made on the STP Plan.

However councillors do have a scrutiny role over matters such as this. To give an example, the move of some of the functions of Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology to a new hospital in Liverpool from 2019 was rubber stamped by a scrutiny committee made up of councillors from the affected areas. The impact on thousands of Wirral patients and the consultation was reported previously on this blog.

This is what was agreed by councillors (although some voted against) at the People Overview and Scrutiny Committee (followed by my analysis of what it means).


  • The People Overview and Scrutiny Committee thank Phil Meaken for attending the meeting and presenting the key points of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan.

  • The Committee is concerned that elected Members [councillors] have had no opportunity to feed into the development of the STP, nor have they been given the opportunity to see the plan before it was published on the 23rd of November.

  • The Committee is also concerned by any lack of meaningful consultation with the public of Wirral prior to the publication of the Plan.

  • As a result of the failure by authors of the Plan to engage with local authorities in Cheshire and Merseyside Committee is concerned at the high level of anxiety and speculation of the implications for the future delivery of health services on the Wirral which the Plan has generated.

  • The Committee further notes that though there is very little detail included, many of the proposals would represent a significant variation in service delivery and would therefore need to be presented for scrutiny to this Committee and possibly a pan-Merseyside and Cheshire Committee before any proposals could be implemented.

  • The Committee does not believe that Wirral Council can agree to the STP without absolute clarity on the proposal and a meaningful process of consultation, that engages with elected Members [councillors] and local residents.



My analysis is briefly this, consultation on the Plan was going to happen and if the result of the Plan is to change how local services are delivered, the pan-Merseyside and Cheshire Committee would happen too any way. For whatever reason politicians are agreeing to steps that would happen in any event.

Obviously there is a lot of concern as to what the impact will be for staff and patients of the NHS.

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Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr Phil Gilchrist calls for cross-party unity on Wirral Council on issue of EU funding withdrawal

Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr Phil Gilchrist calls for cross-party unity on Wirral Council on issue of EU funding withdrawal

Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr Phil Gilchrist calls for cross-party unity on Wirral Council on issue of EU funding withdrawal

                                                

Below is an email from Cllr Phil Gilchrist (Liberal Democrat Leader on Wirral Council) to Cllr Phil Davies (Leader of Wirral Council).

It asks for a unified cross-party approach on Wirral Council to the issue of EU funding if the UK withdraws from the EU.

Cllr Phil Davies did make some remarks at the start of the Cabinet meeting this morning, but the video is yet to upload at the time of writing.

Cllr Phil Gilchrist (Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group) speaking at the Extraordinary meeting of Wirral Council on the 4th of April 2016
Cllr Phil Gilchrist (Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group) speaking at the Extraordinary meeting of Wirral Council on the 4th of April 2016


From: Gilchrist, Phil N. (Councillor) <philgilchrist@wirral.gov.uk>
Sent: 25 June 2016 14:40
To: Davies, Phil L (Councillor) <phildavies@wirral.gov.uk>

Good afternoon Phil
I have begun to pick myself up after the outcome of the Referendum, an outcome neither of us desired.
However the result is what it is and I’ve no idea when the Government will set Article 50 in motion.

In the meantime I would welcome any briefing papers you can supply on the on the European funding stream that exist currently
I expect there will be streams we have expected and planned / hoped for and still are working to gain for Wirral and the region.
I say working to gain as I feel we have to start work on this!

With Cabinet coming up on Monday morning I expect you will want to address this, possibly under any other business / urgency.

Thinking on these lines would suggest that a statement to Cabinet, a referral or Motion to Council might run along these lines…
.
Council/Cabinet recognises that funding is currently available for a range of projects, training and investments to support our local and regional economy.
Council is, as with many other bodies, is uncertain on how the funding streams might be replaced, and when but believe arrangements must be made to
secure equivalent replacement funding.
Council therefore calls on the present Government to clarify the situation, offer certainty to our region, and continue the programmes as
envisaged. Council asks for assurances that the UK Government and any successor will match pound for pound any funding stream that are now at risk as a result of the Referendum.

Ideally each group on the Council would accept a formula to present a united approach from Wirral and the region. I would be happy to develop the wording in consultation.

. At various times in the recent campaign various ‘Leave’ people suggested that money would be ‘freed’ for the NHS, Agriculture, etc.

I cannot recall seeing whether ‘regional’ aid got the same treatment!

I will be home on 334 1923 on Sunday evening if you would like to have a word.

Phil Gilchrist

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36575503

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/665989/Brexit-British-farmers-EU-red-tape-subsidies-farming-minister-George-Eustice

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/24/uk-environment-ministers-at-odds-over-brexit-impact-on-farming


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