What’s in the nomination papers of the 6 candidates wanting to be a councillor for Claughton? (Wirral Council)

What’s in the nomination papers of the 6 candidates wanting to be a councillor for Claughton? (Wirral Council)

What’s in the nomination papers of the 6 candidates wanting to be a councillor for Claughton? (Wirral Council)

                              

Ballot Box
Ballot Box by NAS of the Noun Project provided under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States (CC BY 3.0 US) licence Original has been resized and converted to a .jpg file

In the interests of openness and transparency in the Claughton byelection, I am publishing the nomination papers of each candidate during the election rather than after.

These are open to public inspection until 3rd May 2017 (the day before the poll).

Each form contains the candidates’ address, date of birth and the names of ten electors in Claughton who support their candidacy (referred to as proposer, seconder and eight assentors).

Each candidate has to sign to state they accept the nomination.

In addition to the nomination paper and candidates’ consent to nomination, candidates standing on behalf of a political party have to submit extra paperwork around the use of descriptions and party logos on ballot papers. This paperwork is not included here.

In order to be fair, the list is alphabetical by candidate surname (which is the order they will be on the ballot paper).

There is no deposit required to stand as a candidate for local councillor.

Please note each file below is a multi-page TIFF bitmap file.

EVANS, David Robert Cynlais (Liberal Democrat)
HEYDON, Liz (Green Party)
JONES, Beryl Rosina (UK Independence Party)
SINCLAIR, Barbara Vera (Conservative Party Candidate)
WHEDDON, Leon Allen (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition)
WOOD, Gillian (The Labour Party)

If for whatever reason a candidate’s nomination paper is invalid* a Returning Officer (in this case Eric Robinson) can disqualify that candidate before the result is declared.

*There are 101 reasons it could be, but some have been corrected to correct errors.

I’d like to thank Wirral Council for the time involved in supplying the above information.

Polling day for the Claughton byelection is Thursday 4th May 2017.

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Flaybrick Cemetery – What will happen next? (Claughton byelection)

Flaybrick Cemetery – What will happen next? (Claughton byelection)

Flaybrick Cemetery – What will happen next? (Claughton byelection)

                                   

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Flaybrick Cemetery – What happens next?

John Brace at Flaybrick Cemetery 28th April 2017
John Brace at Flaybrick Cemetery 28th April 2017

Leonora recorded this brief video of myself speaking about the problems at Flaybrick Cemetery. I need to learn better to continue to face the camera as I’m speaking as when I turn to refer to what’s behind me, sound quality can be an issue.

Flaybrick Cemetery over the years has had problems with flytipping and damage to its walls. The area I filmed in called Crossways is mainly Magenta Living properties, but many are vacant. Cllr Steve Foulkes (one of the existing Claughton councillors is one of Wirral Council appointed directors of Magenta Living (formerly called Wirral Partnership Homes)). Since the vacancies have increased the problems with flytipping have increased.

After the video was filmed and I was heading back home a resident talked to us and wanted it to be improved.

Although there are longer quotes in the video, I include below quotes from a Labour councillor for this area Brian Kenny and the Lib Dem candidate for Claughton ward David Evans.

People go to vote in Claughton on Thursday 4th May 2017 for both their local councillor and Metro Mayor and the election result is expected on Friday 5th May 2017.


Response from Liberal Democrats (David Evans – candidate for Claughton ward) sent on 27th April

From: David Evans drcynlaisevans@btinternet.com

Hi John

I have family members interred in Flaybrick and I am saddened not only by the flytipping but also the vandalism of the grave stones and the fabric of a site that is part of the history of Birkenhead.

Birkenhead Park, Bidston Hill and Flaybrick are fantastic assets and a vital part of the heritage of Birkenhead – Flaybrick is similar in many ways to Highgate Cemetery and is much loved by the community as evidenced by the current work to preserve the chapels (although I understand that this is due to the efforts of a local heritage group rather than the council)

Flytipping is also a problem around Bidston Hill and Noctorum (Thermopylae Pass) as is the regular setting alight of the gorse on Bidston Hill.

The council seems to be unconcerned about the importance of local heritage (see demise of Woodside Hotel and ESWA problems)

I would like to see a role for the return of “Park Police” to patrol these areas to act as a visible deterrent and contact point for locals to report incidences of anti social behaviour.

I would also like to see local kids encouraged to value these assets by way of community education about the history of the area, this could involve local volunteers and agencies visiting schools etc.

Maybe the money spent on Wirral View could be diverted to projects such as this…

As you can see, I am an idealist but Birkenhead Park was on its uppers until Friends of Birkenhead Park was set up so involvement of local action groups is vital.

There is much to be appreciated in and around Birkenhead.

Best Regards


Labour’s position (sent on the 18th April) from Cllr Brian Kenny briankenny@wirral.gov.uk:

Dear Mr & Mrs Brace

I thought you would be interested in this email exchange.
There has been a great deal of activity around Flaybrick Cemetery, over the last week or so.

I will shortly be attending a meeting, to discuss further improvements.

Many Thanks.

On 18 Apr 2017, at 12:30, Burrell, Joanna joannaburrell@wirral.gov.uk wrote:

We have asked probation to clean up these areas.
….
Dear Jo

Please see this email and attachments, sent to me a few minutes ago, by Jayne Phennah.
The original was sent to Brian Sinton.
As you can see, Jayne is very upset by this appalling situation.
I would be obliged if you could please have a look at this situation, Jo, and see if there is anything you can do to eliminate the problems.
Please let me know if you require any more details, or clarification.
I am also copying this to the Claughton Ward Councillors, for their information.

Many Thanks, Jo.

Brian Kenny
Labour Councillor for Bidston & St. James Wirral Labour Group Chief Whip
….
Hi Brian,

Spoke to my mum today and she took me up to the cemetery, at the roman catholic end, where the houses are. I was shocked at what I saw. A tree has come down and took the fence off the wall. So anyone can now access the cemetery though here. The tree that has fallen, has been chopped into sections and left sitting on the railings on the floor, on the outside of the cemetery. So the gates on the entrance from lower flaybrick road are a waste of time, due to a big section of the railings being underneath the fallen tree. I took some photos for you. Fell free to forward this email to the appropriate people. I will also send this to Julie and Brian who are local councillors in the area. Let me know what you think, it breaks my heart to see this!

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Who are the 103 candidates in the 2016 Wirral Council elections?

Who are the 103 candidates in the 2016 Wirral Council elections?

                                             

Polling card Bidston and St James ward 2016 front
Polling card Bidston and St James ward 2016 front
Polling card Bidston and St James ward 2016 back
Polling card Bidston and St James ward 2016 back

The nomination period for anyone wishing to stand as a candidate in the elections to become a councillor at Wirral Council has been closed for some time. As usual elections in each of the twenty-two wards on Wirral are all being contested (ranging from two candidates in Seacombe ward to seven in Liscard ward).

All wards except Liscard will be electing one councillor, Liscard will elect two councillors.

Continue reading “Who are the 103 candidates in the 2016 Wirral Council elections?”

People power leads to Wirral Council U-turn on sale of Rock Ferry High School woodlands

People power leads to Wirral Council U-turn on sale of Rock Ferry High School woodlands

People power leads to Wirral Council U-turn on sale of Rock Ferry High School woodlands

                                                 

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Wirral Council’s Cabinet meeting of the 10th September 2015. The item on Rock Ferry High School starts at 17 minutes and 16 seconds

Cabinet discusses the future of Rock Ferry High School 10th September 2015 L to R Cllr Chris Meaden Cllr Pat Hackett Cllr Adrian Jones
Cabinet discusses the future of Rock Ferry High School 10th September 2015 L to R Cllr Chris Meaden Cllr Pat Hackett Cllr Adrian Jones

The issue of what happens to the former Rock Ferry High School site was on Wirral Council’s Cabinet agenda for a decision at last Thursday’s meeting.

Included with the reports for the meeting were details of the public meetings held. In case anyone has forgotten, one of the public meetings sparked a series of bizarre stories in the Liverpool Echo about what happened in the lead up to the 2015 General Election. The story continues with a Wirral Globe article and a Green Party investigation clearing its members of what Frank Field accused them of doing (which is that exceptional case of a party sticking by and believing its own members and not throwing them to the wolves when an influential member of another political party complains).

Maybe the Green Party aren’t like other political parties who take a "guilty until proven innocent (and we the party will decide upon what prove innocent means)" approach and grill the party member when a complaint happens. No I’m not referring to the recent suspensions of councillors in the Wirral Labour Group… but my own personal experience of the Lib Dems taking seriously a party political complaint about me from former Labour Cllr Harry Smith (sent to both me and the party with a Wirral Council "With compliments slip").

In essence his complaint was that when he was Vice-Chair of the Pensions Committee (the Pensions Committee manages the Merseyside Pension Fund worth £billions which has over a hundred thousand people either pensioners or employees part of it) I put in a leaflet to people in the Bidston & St James ward that he didn’t go to a meeting that reported the Merseyside Pension Fund had dropped by hundreds of millions of pounds.

His complaint was that he decided to go on holiday instead (he didn’t send a deputy to the meeting) and that my leaflet wasn’t unfair personally to him because it led to people going to his surgery and asking him questions (because and I mean this with a lot of dripping sarcasm of course, obviously the last thing a local councillor is paid a generous allowance of thousands of pounds a year for is to actually have to deal with the public and see what I write below for why the Labour Group of 2015 takes a different view on representing the public to Harry Smith). Therefore former Cllr Harry Smith (around the time of a one week suspension as a councillor for not apologising properly for bullying) wanted disciplinary action taken against me by the Lib Dem Party for telling the Bidston & St James residents the truth.

Ultimately the Lib Dem Party (who then were always very keen to curry favour with other political parties) gave him and his fellow Labour party members their way in 2011 but the Lib Dems (under a lot of pressure to get rid of me) did it so badly, the Birkenhead County Court ruled one of the Lib Dem councillors, the local Birkenhead party and indeed the whole Lib Dem Party had broken the law in doing so.

Thus proving that politicians are terrible at realising that there are legal limits on what they should or shouldn’t do. As many will know, the political class have an arrogant view at times that rules and laws apply to everyone but them! The MP expenses scandal showed that.

However to be fair (and hopefully as balanced as I can be) to the Lib Dem Party, their view is that an unlawful decision still stands and court orders should be flouted (and then the Lib Dem Party wonders why it lost 49 MPs at the recent General Election?)

As former Cllr Harry Smith didn’t get his way over that complaint he tried to stop filming of a public meeting of Pensions Committee meeting stopped, telling others on the Pensions Committee it I was because I was a member of a political party (at the time a lie as I wasn’t a member of the Lib Dems then, due no doubt in part to his complaints and moaning about me "blotting my copybook" as one party member put it). A rather young fellow Labour councillor had the gall to tell him such a point was irrelevant which really got him going, however I am digressing into stories from yesteryear. It was suggested to me recently that I should be more positive (however remembering how former Cllr Harry Smith used to be is enough to spoil anyone’s good mood)!

Returning to the Cabinet meeting, Cllr Adrian Jones explained that Rock Ferry High School had closed in 2011. He outlined the process that had to be followed if the Rock Ferry High School and the playing fields were to be used for a different purpose and that this required government approval from the Minister. He summarised the efforts so far on finding an alternative educational use for the buildings which unfortunately had not panned out.

The costs (business rates and security) of managing the vacant site were costing Wirral Council money. The original intention had been for Wirral Council to sell the buildings and playing fields. However following public consultation and "opposition" to disposal of the site, a compromise position had been found or as Cllr Adrian Jones put it, “However, we are a listening Council and following extensive public consultation it was evidenced that there was a very significant amount of opposition to that proposal.”

He went on to say that this option would produce a reduced capital receipt to Wirral Council, but this would allow the Residents’ Association to bring forward proposals for the playing fields and woodland.

Cllr Adrian Jones proposed the following recommendation.

"It is recommended that:

17.1 Cabinet approves the submission of the application to the Secretary of State for Education for the disposal and change of use of the former Rock Ferry High School.

17.2 Approve the mixed use option for the site as outlined in 6.4

17.2 Approve officers to progress development proposals to site (area A) for residential development in accordance with local planning requirements

17.3 Work with the newly formed Rock Ferry Residents Association to bring forward proposals for the management of the site (areas B and C)"

For the purposes of information 6.4 (which recommendation 17.2) of the report refers to states:

6.4 Take account of local views and develop a mixed use option for the site

(i) area (A) i.e. the main school site, development for housing

(ii) areas (B) and (C) the former playing field site could be considered for community asset transfer for continued sport use and open space. This is of particular interest to the residents in the area and plans for the management and development of the area are being considered. Football clubs in the area have expressed an interest and there are opportunities for obtaining grant funding. This area was previously designated as school playing fields and the only community use was through lettings agreed with the school, general community access was not endorsed.

Areas B and C are detailed in the report. Areas B and C are playing fields and area A covers the buildings and part of the playing fields.

Councillor Chris Meaden pointed out that it was in her ward and referred to "slightly heated meetings" that she had attended and that they’d listened to the residents, changed the recommendations so that the woodland was kept and the sports field. She thanks the residents of Rock Ferry and that "we hope we’ve proved ourselves to you"

Cllr Meaden went on to thank Jeannette Royle (Senior Manager, Asset Management), David Armstrong (Assistant Chief Executive) and David Ball (Head of Regeneration) for attending the meetings and she wanted to thank them for their support and their efforts in listening to residents.

The recommendation were agreed by Cabinet.

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The dark days of Wirral Council and the "bureaucratic machinations" surrounding the Anna Klonowski Associates report

The dark days of Wirral Council and the “bureaucratic machinations” surrounding the Anna Klonowski Associates report

The dark days of Wirral Council and the “bureaucratic machinations” surrounding the Anna Klonowski Associates report

                                                            

Councillor Steve Foulkes answers a question during the public question time section of a Council meeting in December 2011
Councillor Steve Foulkes answers a question during the public question time section of a Council meeting in December 2011

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The public question time element of the Council meeting on 12th December 2011

I thought I would write a blog post today on what was probably one of those nearly forgotten times in Wirral Council’s history (which you can watch above recorded by my wife).

I include a transcript below about what was said at that meeting and well worth watching is another video below which is a clip from when a discussion of the same issue was on the North West News in January 2012. It was around the time of the news clip that Leonora and I decided to leave the Liberal Democrats.

It’s also worth pointing out at this stage that in 2011 the Liberal Democrats (proposed by Cllr Pat Williams, seconded by former Councillor Ann Bridson) suspended me with one of the reasons given was that I had criticised Cllr Foulkes (a Labour councillor).

The rest as they say is history, shortly after Cllr Foulkes was removed as Leader of Wirral Council in a vote of no confidence and the Labour administration was replaced by a short-lived Conservative/Lib Dem one.

I will at this point, point out two of the Nolan principles which all councillors had signed up to as part of the Code of Conduct which are accountability “Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.” and openness “Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.”

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John Brace: There has been much public interest in the (as yet unpublished) AKA (Anna Klonowksi Associates Ltd) report into issues that need to be remedied at Wirral Council.

My personal view is that Wirral Council needs to publish the report, reassure the public what it’s doing differently now and restore its tarnished reputation as a result of the events that led to the report being commissioned.

Please could you answer:

a) what date the report will be published on and whether changes are to be made between the draft version and final version (if so the reasons why) and

b) an update on changes and decisions made since the report, as a result of the report becoming available in draft form, including progress (which includes consultation) already made and how the changes will benefit Wirral Council, its staff, its councillors and the public?

Cllr Steve Foulkes: [sighs] What a surprise seeing you here John! [laughter]

Well, can I just thank you for your question? And, and this is a genuine, genuine answer, errm which will be backed up by a errm official statement which has been circulated to all elected Members and it is a public document so I’m more than happy for you to have a copy of that.

If you haven’t got it yet you’ll receive it very, very shortly.

As long as I’ve been Leader, I’ve been pressing both Anna Klonowski and the officers to [inaudible] of the long awaited report. It’s not in this Council’s interests for this to drag out any longer.

But it is in the Council’s interests is that procedure is done properly and within err natural justice and err you know protection for the Council’s future err prospects and liabilities. Currently err Miss Klonowski and her independent solicitors are conducting a Right to Reply process.

The purpose of this and its current state of progress is fully explained in the Director of Law’s advice note which has been circulated to all councillors.

Like I just said a copy is on its way to you immediately and I cannot you know give a specific date for publication of the final report but I give you my assurance that I will do all I can to make this soon and as and as reasonably possible.

As I say it’s not in this Council’s best interests to drag on.

We want the department to move forward. We want the Council to move forward.

What we have done though in terms of of what reports are available.

We’ve insisted that the corporate governance issues are up and running and they are believed to be at the stem of some of the issues in the other report.

I can’t say any further than that.

So I can’t you know. It would be wrong to me to tell you lies, or or or to pretend I’m, but at this point of time I cannot given that the Director’s advice note.

I believe we’ll say it’s inappropriate to publish that report.

If we are true to our word that you know whistleblowers should be protected and are important within our Council’s processes, then therefore anyone involved in the whistleblower process should have the same rights as the whistleblower and my view is that individuals have the Right to Reply, have the right for natural justice and I don’t believe that we should hurry justice just for the sake of of of of err public you know public clamour.

If the report is correct, and final replies (inaudible) then we in public cannot in full conscience cannot act upon it.

It’s not at that state yet and that’s not through any fault or mine.

Mayor Moira McLaughlin: OK, Mr. Brace, content with that?

John Brace: I have just one small supplementary.

Mayor Moira McLaughlin: Supplementary [inaudible] understand that.

John Brace: Yes, err can you give an approximate timescale, in the Spring of next year or you know something like that?

Mayor Moira McLaughlin: I think he has answered that Mr. Brace to be fair.

Cllr Steve Foulkes: I would would hope, I would hope it’s as soon as possible.

I’ve not been given an exact date.

But I have been informed, and as we’ve all been informed, that progress has been made on the Right to Reply. Err, there are some late Right to Reply issues come in come into the system as I think are detailed in Bill’s report.

Everything around this issue is within the report of the Director of Law and I think that once you will read that you will understand the difficult position he got in in this type of report.

As I say it’s not in the Council’s interests, or my interests or anybody’s interest for that report to be delayed any longer than it need be.

Because I think quite frankly people need to move on, the Authority needs to move on and rights need to err err wrongs need to be put right, and I’m interested in that happening.

But, I can’t give you an exact date and I’m not going to give you out an answer to this supplementary.

John Brace: Ok, thank you.

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