Burntwood Town Council’s foray into amateur property development “probably a mistake” admits councillor
Former Burntwood Town Council leader Cllr Richard Mosson has admitted that it was probably a mistake for the Council to commit local taxpayers to a property development vanity project.
The Council offices moved from it’s convenient cost-effective location at Burntwood library to the Old Mining College Centre in 2015. Cllr Mosson said:
‘It was a great opportunity, what could possibly go wrong, signing up to a 35 year full repairing lease of a dilapidated building?’
A meeting of the Town Council’s policy and resources committee last week to considered plans to address the state of the building, including replacement of wooden framed sash windows at a cost of £20,000 and the relaying of floors. The total cost of repairs and refurbishments is currently estimated at over £55,000.
Paul Mycock, an officer in Lichfield District Council’s Legal, Property and Democratic Services department did not want to be identified. He said:
‘I can barely contain myself,’ he laughed, ‘even with the District Council’s resources and proven track record in successful property development projects, we could never make the Old Mining College commercially viable. But we were saddled with a 35 year full repairing lease from the landlord, Staffordshire County Council. We told them we wanted to surrender the lease and they said “fcuk off”.
‘Thinking that maybe they had been a little harsh, the CC came back to us to say that they would take a surrender but only if we could find some other mug to take it on on the same debilitating terms.
‘There was a knock on the door and who should be there but former Burntwood Town Councillor Steve Norman. And the rest, as they say, is history.’
The Town Council meeting considered various solutions to the dilemma. Cllr Sue Woodward suggested approaching the producers of DIY SOS or the Restoration Project. Unelected leader of the Council “Cllr” Norman Baker responded:
‘Don’t be so ridiculous Sue, after all it was you and your husband that got us into this mess. No, what I propose is that we spent £5,000 on flowers and a new lawn and introduce a mini crazy golf course. And we should invest in photo’s of Town Council Chairmen past and present to adorn the stairway and the charge local taxpayers who want to view. We could announce these innovative plans on a new £1,000 message board.
‘Sorted. Now where’s my cab? Has anyone seen Brian? The old fool.’
The Town Council’s plans can be seen HERE
EXCLUSIVE: The Glastonbury festival will be moving to Lichfield from its home at Worthy Farm in 2019, under plans outlined by its founder, Michael Eavis. He said the move to a site about 150 miles north of Glastonbury was likely to take place every five years to save the existing site.
Eavis revealed that he had identified the Lichfield location following news of the success of the Tom Jones spectacular and Cars in the Park in Beacon Park earlier this year. He said:
‘Lichfield has demonstrated that it has the drive and the infrastructure to accommodate a musical festival. I am arranging for one year off, say every fifth year or so, to try and move the show from Worthy Farm to a site that’s more suitable, I have to say Lichfield is that site. It will be Somerset’s loss but a massive gain to Lichfield even if it went there every five years, would it not?’
Eavis, who started hosting the festival at Worthy Farm in 1970, told the BBC:
‘We’ve got a wonderful product, what we do, and we can do it almost anywhere. I love my own farm … I might have to move it to Beacon Park eventually.’
Elusive insolvency avoiding event organiser tinyCows commented :
‘We don’t exist, but if the likes of Tom Jones or the Glastonbury Festival waft by in our direction we have a fuck off tent and we know how to inflate it. We’re up for it, we’re forming a new shell company on Companies House website as we speak.’
Tickets for Glastonbury Lichfield 2019 are on sale now, contact the ticket office @The_Garrrick immediately to avoid disappointment
The Boundary Commission has drawn up plans to move Whittington and Streethay from the Lichfield constituency into the neighbouring Tamworth electoral area.
The proposal was branded as “excellent news” by Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant.
‘This will considerably reduce my workload. It will, at a stroke, remove all of those Whittington golfers whinging on about HS2 carving through their clubhouse and golf course. In addition I will no longer have to pretend to be interested in the local objections to the new residential and commercial developments in Streethay and its associated traffic problems. What’s not to like?’
Tamworth Conservative MP Chris Pincher says that the changes will bolster his parliamentary majority. He commented:
‘I welcome all former Lichfield Conservative voters into our Birmingham sink town constituency. I am sure that my objections to HS2 in 2010 that were instrumental in shifting the route out from Hopwas and Mile Oak and straight through Whittington Heath Golf Club have long since been forgotten.’
Less impressed is Robert Past, leader of Whittington’s Amish community and current chair of the so-called Green Party’s Lichfield and Burntwood branch. Speaking from the Tree House at the bottom of his parents’ garden the 15 year old firebrand said:
‘The Boundary Commission’s plan to remove Whittington from the Lichfield constituency is mindless and insensitive. Our weekly journey for essential provisions by pony and trap will take an extra three hours if we have to shop with the peasants at Tamworth Asda. This will be a real burden on our women folk especially in winter.’
Another consequence of the boundary changes will be the loss of Lichfield Trent Valley station from the constituency. MP Mr Fabricant has been taking up the matter of disabled access to the split level platforms with ministers for a number of years, he said:
‘Thank goodness I won’t be held responsible for this project when it’s kicked into the long grass again for another ten years. But as a regular rail traveller who is becoming increasingly infirm this is a real concern for Lichfield constituents. I will certainly be lobbying the MP responsible, Chris Pincher of Tamworth, to hold ministers to account.’
Mr Fabricant is widely expected to stand down as Conservative candidate for Lichfield MP before the next election in favour of his long term friend, West Midland’s Mayor Andy Street.
People have until December 5 to give their views on the proposed boundary changes via the online consultation website.
Controversy has hit Lichfield’s Garrick theatre as it emerged that its ‘enhanced ticketing protocol’ was inadvertently invoked for the recent sell-out concert by Sir Tom Jones.
Thousands of people attended the LichVegas event in Beacon Park which was marred by ticketing problems that saw multiple duplicate tickets issued by the Garrick which was running the box office for events organiser TinyCOW.
Lichfield based Lee O’Hanlon of TinyCOW commented:
‘Confusion and delays on the door were caused when it became apparent that duplicate tickets had been issued. Fans were disappointed to have their “keepsake” tickets confiscated as we had to retain them as evidence against the Garrick.
‘We’ve been pressing the Garrick for an explanation but so far none has been forthcoming.’
However 5SL has been contacted by a disgruntled Garrick employee with an axe to grind who wishes to remain anonymous. Box office manager Paul Mycock disclosed:
‘This was a cock-up by the Garrick. It was clear from the outset that Tom’s concert would be a sell-out but someone here inadvertently initiated the ‘enhanced ticketing protocol’ in the box office software.’
Mr Mycock explained:
‘It is well known that The Garrick has traditionally been the venue of choice for third-rate acts and productions.
‘The nadir was ‘An Evening with Michael Fabricant’ when it became apparent that only a handful of Jonathan Hall’s immediate family would actually buy a ticket. The protocol was created – all tickets bought would generate ten duplicate free tickets. These were left on tables in The Malt and stuck in copies of The Big Issue by local salesman Gobby Scouse. This produced a respectable turnout, albeit an audience comprised of drunks and vagabonds.
‘This ticketing protocol was mistakenly invoked for Sir Tom and chaos ensued.’
Garrick head of marketing Alex Lloyd refused to comment on this specific case as it was in the hands of their solicitors, but he did say:
‘Multiple ticketing can work well for some unpopular events. Almost twenty members of the audience are now paying for their seats at the monthly Comedy 42 events.’
Sir Tom Jones has been made aware of the controversy but after surviving decades of industry scams he commented :
‘It’s not unusual.’
Petplan, the UK pet insurance provider, is to introduce health insurance for pet owners’ families as part of its premier level cover, offering “long-term peace of mind for your dog, your cat and now your children”.
Petplan marketing manager Paul Mycock commented:
‘We have noticed an increasing number of pet owners pleading with their vets for timely medical advice and minor surgical procedures not only for their pets but also for themselves and their families.’
Driven by increasing frustration with the NHS delays, whether trying to get a GP appointment or an early date for an operation, patients are turning to man’s best friend’s health providers for a solution.
Mum of five under fives Britney Singleton is unimpressed, she said:
‘If the dog is scratching at his ear I can call the vet, make an appointment and get him sorted within two hours. If one of the kids has an ear infection we’ll have to wait a week to see a doctor. During the winter I call the surgery for an appointment even if no-one’s ill, just in case.’
Local vet John Rothschild commented:
‘With affordable pet insurance cover now available for all the family vets will be able to relieve the pressure on our NHS colleagues. If your kids need worming just bring them along.’
Pippa Greenflange, long suffering wife of a Lichfield Roundtabler is excited by these developments, she said:
‘I’ve been trying to get Pete booked in for a vasectomy for months but he still hasn’t been given a date. I’ve bought myself a dog just so that I can get the pet insurance for the whole family. Pete’s booked in at Rothschild’s Friday morning.’
Mr Rothschild welcomed the new patient:
‘Pete should be back home by lunchtime, it’s just a routine procedure, castration.’
EXCLUSIVE: The leader of Burntwood Town Council has confirmed he will step down next month.
Cllr Richard Mosson says he will relinquish his position at the helm of the controlling Conservative group.
Read Cllr Mosson’s full statement on his resignation below:
‘I will be stepping down in May, but that is not unusual as the Conservative group are rotating the responsibility of being leader in the hope that we can find a decent one eventually.
‘It has been very hard work reading all those agenda documents and briefing notes but enjoyable none the less, once I realised that as Leader it wasn’t really necessary to have a grasp of any actual facts.
‘I would like to take a few moments now to blame the previous council, under Labour control, for all the problems that I’ve caused during the past year.
‘Labour will probably unearth the embarrassment of the consort’s chain again. It cost a bit less than £400 and as this fell inside the budget of the chairman essentially this has not cost the taxpayer a penny. Because the chairman’s budget is not taxpayer funded, as it materialises out of thin air every financial year if I understand correctly.
‘The positives are that the Old Mining College Centre will still be called the Old Mining College Centre, paying tribute to Burntwood’s proud mining heritage. I was delighted that my battle against Labour to retain that name was so successful. The building has new IT facilities that will enable councillors and council officials to maximise cost effective communications with the public through use of social media – another innovation that I have ceaselessly championed during my mercifully short tenure.
‘The official reopening of the Old Mining College Centre takes place on May 8, coincidentally following my departure.
‘Other positives are that everything will seem bigger, better and brighter next year without me.
‘The Wakes which will be also be back, another traditional event that has received by wholehearted support in the past.
‘As a controlling group we have been working hard behind the scenes (in case you thought that we weren’t actually doing anything) and have been in discussions to finally get Burntwood the retail offering it needs to boost the local economy and improve areas in the town that have been left derelict for years. I am confident that we will soon secure a new high profile tenants for the shopping centre, discussions with BHS and Comet are in advanced stages.
‘I have also invited London and Cambridge Properties Plc to purchase the remainder of the town that they do not already own for £1 and have introduced them to Tata Steel who I believe is actively seeking industrial space in the UK for its steelmaking operations at the moment.
‘The town is finally moving forward. We will welcome hundreds of new residents who will be moving into the Milestone Way development when most of the unexploded bombs have finally been removed from this contaminated site.
‘Having totally ignored the Neighbourhood Plan, we have welcomed members of the public to join the committee in the hope that someone with a modicum of insight and talent can deliver some sort of plan for the town that will not be laughed at in public by Lichfield District Council, unlike our first attempt.
‘We are fully aware of the need for improved healthcare facilities and I would thoroughly recommend BUPA Health Insurance and Little Aston private hospital.
‘All in all Burntwood will be a better place without me in charge. As well as all of the above we now have a McDonalds to look forward to which we hope will be the catalyst for more local obesity and antisocial behaviour in the town centre. The defibrillators, that I have persuaded Cllr Darren Ennis raise funds for, will be essential to resuscitate our town.
[Additional reporting by @LichfieldLive]
International health club group Virgin Active is expected to bid for Friary Grange and Burntwood Leisure centres following the announcement by Lichfield District Council of plans to abdicate its civic responsibility and off load public assets onto the private sector.
Virgin Active is already operating a successful gym at Wall Island, a health club location that is only accessible by car. General manager Paul Mycock said:
‘Taking on one or both of these leisure facilities would certainly compliment and enhance our local offering. Wall Island caters for the upwardly-mobile, middle class, vigorous penis-towelling, BMW driving pricks on their way to and from their Birmingham offices. Our vision for Friary Grange is that it will be re-branded as a Virgin InActive Centre of Physical Excellence, appealing to local mums who’ve let themselves go after years toiling away in loveless marriages to BMW driving, vigorous penis-towelling husbands.’
Mercifully elected Liberal Democrat Councillor Paul Ray said that any moves to outsource the district’s two leisure centres needed to have proven benefits. The Twitter-blocking, BMW-driving Birmingham banking lawyer, councillor for Chadsmead, commented:
‘I can see some real community benefits in a “Virgin InActive” at the Friary Grange site, Mrs Ray certainly fits the demographic and is always keen to get out of the house, especially when I’m there.’
Councillor Andy Smith, Cabinet member for leisure at Lichfield District Council, said he was committed to ensuring any deal worked for local residents. He is particularly concerned to see that any change to Burntwood Leisure Centre is tailored to meet the special needs of the community.
Virgin’s Paul Mycock is up for the challenge, he commented:
‘For Burntwood we are recommending our “Active Virgins” brand. The emphasis will be on high-intensity interval training. It lasts a matter of minutes, leaving plenty of time for high-intensity enjoyment of the centre’s enhanced restaurant facilities offering a wide selection of deep fat fried filth for those who find themselves between meaningful lives.
‘We will retain the swimming bath of course, but we will shift the emphasis from “bath” to “swimming”, there will a complete ban on shampoo and wet wipes in the pool.’
Former Butcher of Burntwood, Steve Norman, who has recently changed his name by deed poll to “Councillor Steve Norman”, said:
‘It’s a load of old bowlocks, I say bowlocks, there’s not been a successful Virgin in Burntwood since 1952. Isn’t that right my love?’
Cllr Sue Woodward was unavailable for comment. [Ed: Really?]
A proposal to commemorate the discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard in Hammerwich by installing a giant statue of a Saxon warrior by the M6 near Stoke-on-Trent has been criticised by residents of Lichfield and district.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council want to spend £3.5million of public money on the 114ft warrior to celebrate the unearthing of £3.3million worth of Anglo-Saxon gold in 2009 at a secret location near the former town of Burntwood.
Lichfield District Councillor Ken Humphreys, who represents Hammerwich, said:
‘I accept that my expertise is limited to wasting public money in Lichfield rather than Stoke. But I’m not in favour of it really, the statue will be in the wrong place. Stoke Council would be much better spending that sort of money locating the monstrosity in the Lichfield district where it belongs. But not in Hammerwich, we already have a more than adequate sign acknowledging the hoard.’
The former town of Burntwood has been mooted as suitable alternative location. Due to be closed down completely by the end of 2016, Burntwood plays host to numerous bleak and desolate areas.
Local councillor Sue Norman, endangered Labour group, commented:
‘I’m starting a petition calling for the Warrior to be located here. Burntwood would be ideal, we love dwelling on the past and erecting statues and plaques commemorating bygone eras and many of the locals still speak fluent Anglo-Saxon.
‘As for locations, we have recently cleared Gentleshaw Common as part of the “Scorched Earth” town closure plan and then there is the former housing development site at Milestone Way that is being remediated by means of controlled explosions by the lads in the Army bomb disposal team. Either site would be ideal.
‘But could the statue be made to look a little bit more miner-like?’
Local lad Paul Mycock,23, agreed, he said:
‘Any plan to pump money into Staffordshire whores gets my vote any day.’
In the spirit of compromise Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant has launched himself onto another bandwagon he has no interest in, he suggests:
‘In return for the Warrior, Lichfield should repatriate the statue of Titanic Captain Edward Smith from Beacon Park to his home town of Stoke-on-Trent where he belongs.’
In a terse response Stoke Councillor Steve Wedgwood replied:
‘Captain Smith of the Titanic? Never heard of him. Forget it.’
Mr Fabricant later commented:
‘Councillor Wedgwood is absolutely right to reject such a ludicrous proposal that I myself have never promoted and I completely distance myself from my earlier remarks. I have been completely misrepresented by myself in a premature ejaculate-tory press release. But I will certainly be raising the matter with the Minister. The matter of overcrowded trains to London that is.’
The recruitment drive for the Friary School sixth form performing arts department received a boost this weekend from the BBC’s most overpaid talent Graham Norton.
The former “Father Ted” bit part actor was in conversation with former Hollywood star Glenn Close on his Saturday morning Radio 2 show discussing the revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard at the London Coliseum.
After Ms Close generously name checked fellow performer and former Friary School pupil Siobhan Dillon, Graham asked:
‘Haven’t I met Siobhan? Wasn’t she on one of my programmes? “Nancy” wasn’t it? They’re nodding behind the screen..”
Friary School headteacher David Listless said:
‘Many congratulations to Siobhan. To be half-remembered by a failed Irish comedian for a performance in a programme in which she didn’t appear is a ringing endorsement of the Friary School’s influence in the world of the performing arts.’
Former failed contestant in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s BBC TV series “ How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” Ms Dillon said:
‘Graham Norton? Isn’t he Terry Wogan now?
‘But could I just say what a privilege it is to be on stage alongside the Hollywood great that is Ms Meryl Streep.
‘And to headteacher Mr Listless, we’ve never met but the restraining order remains in place and please remove my photos from the school foyer and from your bedroom wall.’
The hit musical Sunset Boulevard comes to the London Coliseum from 1 April , with Glenn Close reprising her Tony Award-winning role as Norma Desmond and Lichfield’s own Siobhan Dillon playing budding writer Betty Shaefer in the production.
Check out BBC Radio 2 iPlayer http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b071xkxg at 02:18:00 in