Why did a ferris wheel in New Brighton and a Wirral Globe article about it disappear?
With spin machines in overdrive on the second of two election cycles this year, how about a story about the New Brighton Wheel?
Regular readers of this blog will be aware that the issue of Wirral Council charging for car parking on Fort Perch Rock car park has been a political issue in the recent past which led to a U-turn by Wirral Council on the issue of charging.
Relatively recently part of the Fort Perch Rock car park (owned by Wirral Council) was cordoned off for a ferris wheel and associated facilities run by a limited company.
The Chief Executive of Wilkie Leisure Group Limited, who manages a business close to the Fort Perch Rock car park had concerns about how Wirral Council had run the tendering process for the ferris wheel.
He instructed Kirwans Solicitors (David Kirwan is a former councillor at Wirral Council) to help Wilkie Leisure Group Limited with Wirral Council.
Stories now differ between the different parties to this matter as to why the wheel came down when it did.
The following two quotes are from a press release about the matter.
In a recent letter from Wirral Council to Wilkie Leisure Group Limited, Wirral Council’s Assistant Chief Executive and Director for Business Services (referred to as Mr Amstrong) is quoted as writing,
“Mr Armstrong recognises your client’s long standing contribution to the attractions of New Brighton.
Liverpool Fair Ltd have been granted an extension of their contractual licence to 11 pm on 6/5/17.
They must begin the safe removal of their equipment on 7/5/17. Any further use of the site for the Big Wheel is dependent on the grant of planning permission and a decision by the Council as landowner that it would be an appropriate use of the site.
The Council’s Contract Procedure Rules would apply to any procurement that might then follow.”
David Wilkie wrote, “While I am pleased that Wirral Council has acknowledged its failure to follow the correct tendering processes, I am sorry for the people of New Brighton and the surrounding areas that, thanks to that failure, they will now lose an attraction that all should have been able to enjoy.
It is crucial for local businesses such as ours, which has passed through three generations, that councils conduct fair and just procedural processes through which all businesses can bid. This is a reminder that they have a responsibility to do just that.”
Rather mysteriously, a story in the Wirral Globe about it was published, then “unpublished” and is still available to read in Google’s cache. In the interests of transparency I will point out that we receive money from Google for advertising on this website.
The related court matter has been discontinued due to the removal of the Wheel, but the corporate governance concerns raised by it related to both planning permission and whether Wirral Council had followed their own rules in how the licence was awarded.
Certainly since the removal of the wheel there has been an accusation that the Wirral Council spin machine has entered spin mode. Both the Wheel and the Wirral Globe article about it have both disappeared!
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