Author Archives: westlancashirerecord

About westlancashirerecord

I am a pensioner. I was a strong supporter of the rights of elderly and disabled residents of West Lancashire to receive equal treatment from the old Tory WLBC that unfortunately did not agree, leading to the social exclusion of some immobile disabled residents. My personal suggestion of honouring the County Regiment led to us having probably the proudest day ever in West Lancashire, with the help of Cllr Adrian Owens who wrote "You will be pleased to learn that this evening the motion passed unanimously. Colonel Amlot from the Regiment was accorded a standing ovation and we look forward to a parade and march through Ormskirk next year. Thank you". After the Parade I wrote to Cllr Owens "I was reading through the emails we exchanged after I made the suggestion to honour our County Regiment. As you said today, we got there in the end, and what an end? This celebration of our Regiment was quite simply, as my original mail said, the greatest honour of all. To see all these young people who risk their lives for us was so moving. Little did I know what Council could do and how our residents would react to it all. Well, we should all be so proud of this great day. I know I am".

Once Upon A Time, There Was (Another) Draft Council Plan

From Councillor Ian Moran, Leader of West Lancashire Borough Council

“We want to work with you to create a brighter future for our borough and we are inviting you to take part in the survey on our draft Council Plan. We really value your opinions as they will help us draw up the best possible plan for West Lancashire.

“For 2020, the Council is setting out its new vision and priorities in our draft Council Plan. The Plan is based on seven key areas and will enable the Council to communicate its direction and priorities to citizens, stakeholders and staff, and supports transparency and accountability. Our draft plan is inspired by a proposed vision that West Lancashire is THE place of choice to live, work, visit and invest”.

But sadly, the vision of parts of West Lancashire is of raw sewage and flooding.

And any attempts to empower the citizens affected, any attempts at transparency and accountability, particularly in Burscough, are met with disdain in Derby Street Towers.

The proposed priorities are: 1. Create empowered, engaged and inclusive communities. 2. Support business and town centres to recover and prosper. 3. Become a Green Council. 4. Be a financially sustainable Council by 2022. 5. Provide a clean safe environment with affordable homes to buy or rent for everyone in West Lancashire. 6. Help everyone to be healthy, happy, safe and resilient. 7. Be a Council everyone can be proud of.

“We want to work with you to create a brighter future for our borough and we would like you to take part in the survey on our draft Council Plan. We really value your opinions as they will help us draw up the best possible plan for West Lancashire. The survey will only take a few minutes to complete and will help shape future Council services”. Click below for the survey.

https://www.westlancs.gov.uk/about-the-council/spending-strategies-performance/strategies-and-plans/council-plan-and-priorities/draft-council-plan-2020.aspx

Supplying PPE, The New Klondike?

Providing PPE is becoming the new Klondike

and the scandal appears to be getting dangerously close to the cabinet. The Government is facing legal action over a £100m PPE contract awarded to a tiny pest control company.  “At PestFix we hold stock of a full range of professional pest control application equipment and personal protective equipment all available for Next Day Delivery”.

     
Also, The government is under pressure to explain why an obscure finance business was granted a £252.5 million government contract to supply face masks to the NHS and care workers, despite having no apparent record in the area.

Ayanda Capital

“We are a London-based family office focused on a broad investment strategy. We specialise in currency trading, offshore property, private equity and trade financing”.

Labour yesterday demanded an inquiry into how Ayanda Capital, a small company whose directors include Tim Horlick, former husband of City figure Nicola Horlick, had won the lucrative deal. Ayanda is a name of African origin meaning growth, Ayanda is associated with a strong will and self-sufficience, a desire for independence and freedom with an intolerance for limitations.

Ayanda is owned by a company based in a tax haven and its directors have a chequered trading history. It describes itself as an investment firm focused on currency trading, offshore property, private equity and trade finance. Ayanda is owned by the Horlick family through an entity based in Mauritius, “one of the worst tax havens in the world”.

The Department of Health and Social Care yesterday declined to reveal details of the contract or tendering process, or whether a government adviser on Ayanda’s board had any role in securing the deal. Neither the government nor Ayanda would say how many masks were supplied, but Ayanda said that the contract had been “successfully fulfilled” and that proper procurement processes had been followed. It said that it had a “network of trading counterparties globally” through which it could secure PPE and that it paid tax in the UK.

Its last set of accounts show tangible assets of only £44,509 and that Ayanda owes £3.2 million to the holding company and the Horlicks.

Justin Madders, the shadow health minister, said that the deal appeared to be an example of a Covid-19 contract allegedly being awarded to a questionable party. “We need answers about why and how these companies can be awarded these contracts” he said.

The government declined to say whether Andrew Mills, a government adviser listed on Linkedin as an Ayanda board member, had played any role in procurement. The health department said that proper due diligence had been carried out and that the procurement was within the rules. Performance details would be published “in due course” with a redacted copy of the contract.

What a pity a Skelmersdale, Ormskirk, or Burscough company couldn’t make these PPEs that bring government riches to the producers? 

Defund The BBC?

Sick of the BBC lectures? Sick of the BBC wastage? Sick of the BBC bias? We are, too.

It’s time for all of us to say ‘enough’.

Let’s work together to Defund The BBC.

 

If the BBC does such great things, it should stand on its own two feet and see if people would pay a subscription. Don’t pretend to be impartial and then force us by law to pay for the huge wages! It wouldn’t last a month without the licence fee.

And now they want cash from over 75s to help them to pay for it all. Don’t pay them, Defund them. Commercialise the BBC. Journalists interviewing each other about journalist’s opinions. This is news?

How VAT Corruption WAS Missed By WLBC

In the eyes of WLBC, out-sourced services corruption, in leisure services, was non-existent. 

But let’s say you run a small plumbing firm and you’ve been charging West Lancashire Borough Council for fixing 100 toilets a month in council properties when you have only fixed 70. Let’s say you’ve been running this fiddle for three years. What could, or should, the consequences would be if it were to come to light through unpleasant events in the bathrooms of several tenants?

In all likelihood your business would be ruined, would never work for another local council, or anyone else. Nor should you, it’s criminal, fraud. That’s outsourcing. Just as DCT Leisure Ltd running the Beacon Park Golf Course was. Because WLBC did contract direct with DCT Leisure Ltd Company Director Mark Prosser for the golf course lease and failed miserably any verification or competency assessment of the company. Its unpaid VAT, unpaid former employee claim, employee redundancy, and unpaid trade and expenses bills, totalled £69,508. 

Yet national outsourcer Serco committed fraud on a massive scale but it’s still supported by taxpayers, including West Lancashire Borough Council, as this picture shows.

From Rupert Soames, Serco Group chief executive “Those of us who now run the business are mortified, embarrassed and angry that, in a period between six and nine years ago, Serco understated the level of profitability of its Electronic Monitoring contract in its reports to the Ministry of Justice.

“Serco apologised unreservedly at the time, and we do so again. The management and culture of Serco, and the transparency with which we conduct our affairs, have changed beyond all recognition, and we are pleased that this has been acknowledged by both the SFO and by the government”.

Which brings us back to the Beacon Park Golf Course. The “Transparency with which we conduct our affairs” is missing. When will the Soames management and culture reach its relationship with Oakland Golf & Leisure Ltd so that the whereabouts of the landfill royalties is exposed, accounted for, and WLBC tax payers can be assured there was no VAT fiddle, as with DCT Leisure Ltd?

 

Burscough’s Biggest Ever Application For Houses

Will be considered by WLBC planning committee on Thursday the 9th of July. They should have in front of them the photo of the Higgins and Crabtree Lane crossroad, but they probably won’t.

They should be aware that when the Burscough Flooding Group (BFG) last met with United Utilities (UU) and suggested they fix it, in case it led to a train derailment in winter, UU argued that the water wasn’t all theirs!

Does that futile response mean UU can disregard flooding by saying “Prove it’s ours”. It’s infantile. But that’s UU.

Members must declare the existence of any party whip, and the nature of it. The question of it is futile too, because nobody will admit to being whipped. This is the usual farce enacted at these meetings.

APPLICATION NO. 2019/1182/ARM LOCATION Site Of Former Yew Tree Farm Liverpool Road South Burscough Lancashire. This is a Reserved Matters application for the erection of 267 dwellings. Outline planning permission has previously been granted for residential development on this site, therefore the principle is considered to be acceptable. I consider the layout, scale, proportions and design of the proposed dwellings to be acceptable and the scheme would not adversely impact on neighbouring amenity of surrounding properties. I am also satisfied that the scheme will not have a significant impact on highway safety and adequate parking will be provided. I consider that sufficient interface distances have been achieved in order to protect neighbouring residential amenity. The requisite level of affordable housing has been provided on this phase and drainage proposals are in accordance with the overall strategy for the wider site. In my view the proposal complies with the relevant policies in the NPPF, the Local Plan, the Burscough Parish Neighbourhood Plan and the Yew Tree Farm Masterplan. RECOMMENDATION: APPROVE with conditions

CONSULTEE RESPONSES 6.1 United Utilities (25/03/2020 and 09/03/2020) – no objection subject to condition. 6.2 Lead Local Flood Authority (11/05/2020, 07/05/2020, 10/02/2020 and 18/06/2020) – no objection. 6.3 LCC Highways (16/04/2020 and 06/04/2020) – no objection. 6.4 Merseyside Environmental Advisory Service (MEAS) (27/02/2020 and 17/01/2020) – no objection.

Burscough Town Council has objected to the application on the basis of the following: The Jacobs Report was received at County Council in November 2019 followed shortly by this application in December 2019. This proposal is possibly the largest housing development in Burscough and the information contained in the report is vital for consideration of this application. Crabtree Lane has been subjected to a further 3 maybe 4 flooding events since the 2015 event, this being well documented. ln the July 2019 floods in that area possible evidence has arisen of surface water from YTF being a contributory factor. Both the NPPF and the recently adopted Burscough Neighbourhood Plan policies say that development should not add to existing problems. There is a big question mark with regard to Crabtree Lane.

After this development is passed, smug council members will look on the vast ongoing income from council tax as a price worth paying. How many of them live with raw sewage entering their homes in the dead of night?

Dereliction Of Duty, Known As The Great Golf Course Swindle

On being asked what evidence exists for how West Lancashire Borough Council owned Beacon Park Golf Course became a landfill site creating vast royalty wealth for Serco (the operator) and Oakland Golf & Leisure Ltd (referred to as Oaklands), we produce email exchanges below containing proof.
Questions

03 November 2015 12:52
To: Nelson, John; Gagen, Councillor
Subject: Beacon Park Golf Course

“Could you possibly let me know the start date for when Oaklands started their work at the BPGC, ie when the topsoil was first removed? Could you also let me know the start date for the delivery of the inert materials to BPGC? And could you please let me know how many deliveries of inert materials have been made to date?

“In respect of the new Footgolf proposal, could you let me know on what date this proposal was notified to WLBC, on which course it will be played, ie 18 hole/9 hole/both, and what fees will be charged? Has WLBC as a “one third shareholder” in the BPGC venture been presented with a business plan, and could you ascertain what staffing requirements there will be for this Footgolf venture?

“Finally for now when we spoke last I think we understood Oaklands allegedly has a record of golf course construction, but according to its website of historical completed projects there is no mention of any golf course constructed. That being the case how was WLBC able to conclude Oaklands was competent to undertake the project?”

Answers

05 November 2015 from John Nelson
“Further to your request for information.

“Contractors started on site in November 2013. The first sections of topsoil were moved back and deliveries of the inert materials commenced at the end of November 2013. The information regarding number of deliveries is not available. [Two years later and loads delivered not available!]

“Footgolf is one of the proposals for the Beacon, the course operator [Serco] was looking at incorporating this into the redevelopment work for the driving range and not the 18 hole or 9 hole course. WLBC is not a shareholder, the operation of the course and the facilities provided are for the course operator to determine. The Council will benefit from a split of one third of any operating surplus.[But not a shareholder in its own golf course]

“WLBC do not have a contract with Oaklands and would not be part of any verification or competency assessment of the company. This assessment was undertaken by Serco Leisure Operating Limited”. 

Regards John.
John Nelson
Head of Leisure and Cultural Services
West Lancashire Borough Council



Conclusion. West Lancashire Borough Council abdicated any responsibility for the development of the golf course, leaving it in the hands of Serco and the state you can see it in today. Planning permission granted in 2011, now nearing nine years for this appalling chapter in the history of this borough.