Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Wigan Council get caught out with their Baloney!!!

Wigan Council have put out yet more propaganda. That is putting it nicely, others may just say lies but yet in truth, the truth is in the details.

The issue is Ashfield. I asked the Council some time ago was it true that they spent £70,000 on a barrister to stop the Ashfield Village Green public inquiry even happening? The Council said they would not release that information. 

However what they are trying to push is that the village green public inquiry wasted £36,025. Below is there Press Release and breakdown in figures.

The cost to Wigan Council in processing the town or village green application and holding a non-statutory public inquiry is £36,025 made up as follows:

 Inspector’s fee £8,475 
Objector’s barristers fee £14,500 
Objector’s Solicitor time cost £6,400 (approximately 100 hours work) 
Registration Authority Solicitor time cost £6,000 (approximately 90 hours work) 
Admin (Bundle Costs) £450
 Press Notice of Inquiry £200 

The element in black are what the are, However the figures in red are council officers time. 
The first thing to note is if the Village Green didn't go ahead then the Council would still have paid the officers their salary. Fact! So no additional cost there.

Then let's look at the figures. The first two represent 2 Council officers. Let's call them X and Y. I don't think we need to know their names, although I do. Names are not important but figures are.

For the Objector's Solicitor (x) they say £6,400 for 100 hours work. That works out at £64 per hour. Given that their contractual hours are probably 35 hours per week that means 100 hours work out at just over 3 Weeks. For easy of the figures let's call it 3 weeks worth of work. 

So the Council is saying for person x they get paid £6,400. That works out at £2,133 per week, approx. Times that by 52 weeks of the year you get person x is on a salary on just under £111,000.
Now what we have to remember that this person is not an executive officer or executive. The PM only earns £142,000 per year and this person is earning over 75% of his wage. 

For the Registration Authority Council (person y) again they work for the Council and would have got their salary anyway. But if you then work out his salary, using 90 hours at 2.5 weeks then his salary is just under £125,000. Again he's just an officer and not a member of the executive. Again compare that against the PM's salary, ridiculous.

As for £450 for the bundle, I have no idea where they got that figure from because it was only one file they produced. If it costs the council £450 to make a bundle then they need to outsource that.

Also they say I cost them the £14,500 for their barrister. No they choose to hire a barrister. They have an internal legal team already and they could have represented the council but they didn't.


I don't believe that person x and y are are on the salary's that the council are claiming and if they are serious questions are needed. Especially when this Labour council are asking people to do the job of the Council for free - the deal! We all remember Don't blame the council.

For me these figures should not be included because they were getting paid anyway and therefore not a direct cost for the Village Green. But the Council simply make these figures up to try and push their propaganda. One word Jackanory!

So the true figure for me is that the Village Green cost just over £8,500. Given up until recently that this Labour controlled Council spent £75,000 on free meals and drinks for Cllrs £23,000 is small. 

What is also important to recognise that it is the independent Inspector that recommends a hearing or not. If they do not feel their is a strong enough case for a hearing they recommend to through it out. On the basis that the independent Inspector said that Village Green had merit to be explored means that I did not waste this money at all as it wasn't my call to say whether we got a hearing or not nor was it my call that the Council choose to hire a barrister costing nearly £15,000. 

Council's will have to pay money for numerous things. The people of Standish pay the most in the borough and losing virtually all their green open land, golf course and the line. Also losing employment area in Bradley Hall Trading Estate (50%) being turned into houses too. So any action from any one to try and keep green open land, especially important land like Ashfield is worth it.

The fact is in 2012 the emails we have seen under the Freedom of Information proves they were hell bent on selling to persimmon/ morris homes. We stopped it then and now the Council have been saying this then we have it so far on the record that they will not sell Ashfield I wonder what they will say the reason for the sale in the 2nd half  of 2016. Or maybe we have backed the council into a corner to protect Ashfield. If this is the case then the money that has been spent on Ashfield is well worth it.     

As for this press release that the Wigan Evening post are going to run with and won't publish my comments just proves that they back Labour and not interested in fair unbiased reporting because I bet they don't mention the figures in the way I have. Surely there is a story for them to ask why two normal officers are being paid so much. Will they ask the Council? No. Then they wonder why no one buys their rag? 

The figure prove how the Council lie and to what extent, if I was the local paper I wouldn't want to try and explain these figures. Surely unbiased reporting is interesting rather than just pushing Labour's propaganda! 

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