Agenda and minutes
Venue: Committee Room 1 - Wallasey Town Hall. View directions
Contact: Andrew Mossop
Apologies for Absence
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and noted that no further apologies had been received other than for Councillors Ron Abbey, Chris Blakeley, Anita Leech, Tracey Pilgrim, Jerry Williams and Steve Williams, all of whom had deputies standing in for them.
Members' Code of Conduct - Declarations of Interest / Party Whip
Members are asked to consider whether they have any disclosable pecuniary interests and/or any other relevant interest in connection with any item(s) on this agenda and, if so, to declare them and state the nature of the interest.
Members are reminded that they should also declare whether they are subject to a party whip in connection with any item(s) to be considered and, if so, to declare it and state the nature of the whipping arrangement.
Members were asked to consider whether they had any disclosable pecuniary interests and/or any other relevant interest in connection with any item(s) on this agenda and, if so, to declare them and state the nature of the interest.
Members were reminded that they should also declare whether they were subject to a party whip in connection with any item(s) to be considered and, if so, to declare it and state the nature of the whipping arrangement.
No such declarations were made.
Attached to the agenda are:
· Call-in procedure
· Call-in form
· Cabinet report of 7 November, 2016
· Cabinet minutes 55 and 61
The Chair referred to the decision of Cabinet (minutes 55 and 61) in respect of its decision on Hoylake Golf Resort and the signing of a Framework Development Agreement on the terms reported.
The decision had been called in by Councillors Chris Blakeley, Bruce Berry, Eddie Boult, David Burgess-Joyce, David Elderton, Gerry Ellis, John Hale, Paul Hayes, Andrew Hodson, Kathy Hodson, Ian Lewis, Tracey Pilgrim, Cherry Povall, Lesley Rennie, Les Rowlands, Adam Sykes, Geoffrey Watt and Steve Williams, on the following grounds –
“The signatories to this Call-in are deeply concerned that, by agreeing to the confidential Framework Development Agreement (‘FDA’), the Council is effectively committing to a ‘done-deal’, with no clear exit strategy should the proposal prove not to be viable or financially and environmentally sustainable.
We are also disappointed that this project has never been subject to full debate by Council, so that other issues such as the impact of traffic, wildlife, flora and fauna, and effects on Wirral’s Green Belt can be fully explored; together with the alleged economic benefits to local people and to Wirral as a whole.
We believe signing the FDA renders any further consultation, prior to a formal planning application, as meaningless, contrary to the Council Leader’s reassurance to local residents and all other interested parties that ‘we will be continuing to consult and talk to people who live in Wirral, to make sure that we all move forward as partners in delivering these plans.’
Furthermore, to date £237,000 of Council Taxpayers’ hard-earned cash has been spent. To commit an additional £595,969, with the potential for further escalating costs, at a time when vital council services and jobs are being reduced, suggests that the Cabinet’s priorities are misplaced, while exposing the Council to further risk
We believe that a matter as important as this should be looked at in greater depth and detail in order to ensure adequate safeguards are in place to protect the Council Taxpayers of Wirral.”
The Chair then invited the lead signatory to address the Committee for up to five minutes
Explanation of Call-in by the Lead Signatory – Councillor Chris Blakeley
Councillor Blakeley expressed his concerns at the Cabinet decision which were not just with the financial implications but also included the consultation process and environmental concerns. He suggested that the exempt appendix containing the report on the Development Agreement and the Development Agreement itself should be in the public domain as they both contained information which it was in the public interest for the public to see. Over £830,000 of Council tax payers’ money was being gambled on this scheme. Although the Nicklaus Joint Venture Group (NJVG) would contribute £300,000 of the £596,000 the Cabinet had approved, this contribution was contingent upon the scheme progressing and planning approval being granted. The NJVG should put up their money as well and take some of the risk, why was the Council being asked to take all the risk? The NJVG had a Statement of Capital of £1,000 with one ... view the full minutes text for item 45.