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
Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant welcomed PM Theresa May’s announcement that the Labour Party will be consigned to history in time for the summer recess.
‘I welcome the PM’s bold announcement that was endorsed by a huge majority vote in the Commons. This will undoubtedly secure my place in Lichfield life for another five years. My position is unassailable and no opponent stands a chance, so I say don’t waste your £500 on the deposit, donate it to Lichfield Cathedral and help to keep my rent down.’
Cowed by the colossal Member, only one opponent has so far declared his candidacy. Lib Dem Paul Ray, a long-time loser in the public popularity stakes having chosen to be both a lawyer and a banking specialist, is an early tosser, his hat landing firmly in the ring. Mr Ray, known in District Council circles as X-Ray due to his level of invisibility at Council meetings, said:
The identity of the Labour candidate remains uncertain. Labour’s Mr Chris Whoishey who stood in the 2015 general election refused to be drawn, blaming satnav malfunctions for being unable to visit the constituency from his home somewhere in the Black Country. He said:
District councillor Sue Woodward has been inundated with emails, texts and tweets urging her to stand as Labour’s candidate. Despite being recently distracted by an irritating burning bush on Gentleshaw Common Mrs Norman has found time to treat herself to a makeover and has become a fluent French speaker. She said:
‘Le Fabricunt! Il est un tas de merde!’
Having yet to be formally selected by his local constituency party, Mr Fabricant expressed concerns about the outcome of the West Midlands Mayoral election on 4 May where his long time chum Andy Street is the Conservative candidate. Mr Fabricant said:
‘The BBC hustings on Thursday evening showed the fraudster Simone Simone to be head and shoulders above the diminutive Andy despite Andy being way ahead on my poll.
‘If Andy doesn’t get elected on 4 May he’ll be unemployed and I know he’s had his eye on my seat for years.’
‘Lichfield councillors can barely read briefing papers,’ claims Council’s special educational needs officer.
Lichfield District Council Employment Committee met this evening (Thursday 9 February) to consider a report by officers pleading for elected members to avail themselves of training opportunities.
The annual Learning and Development Needs Analysis form has proven to be too challenging for almost half of Lichfield councillors to complete and return. Human Resources manager Katie Salter was unavailable for comment, she said:
‘At first I thought they were arrogant, egotistical idiots, but now I fear that many members just use bluster and buffoonery as a cover for severe learning disabilities. We are an equal opportunities employer but please, really? Twenty-eight so-called community leaders who can’t fill in a simple form?’
Cllr. Paul Mycock (Lichfield Scales and Spoons), said:
‘Training and continuing education? Give me a break. I wouldn’t need to understand all that rubbish if those ponsey polytechnic losers in the council office did their jobs properly. I enjoy a pies and bars as much as the next guy but I can’t be doing with all these graphs and facts and figures.’
Other councillors claim to have taken full advantage of training opportunities. Burntwood’s celebrity granny Cllr. Sue Norman, she said:
‘As an active member of the Audit Committee I am responsible for overseeing the council’s financial performance. After months of valuable training I am now able to evaluate complex financial reports and recommendations, if they contain graphics in primary colours, are well formatted and run to less than two pages then they get my vote.
‘And IT training has been great, don’t get me started on online petitions! I’ve just knocked one out against HSBC if you’d like to sign up.’
The Lichfield officer’s report on councillor educational needs is available Here
Staffordshire County Council approved almost £5 million in cuts to health and care services in September this year, which would see £439,000 of the Citizens Advice service’s funding being lost.
As part of the cuts Burntwood’s Citizens Advice Bureau has been closed and it’s elderly volunteers replaced with an Amazon Echo, a voice-activated internet-connected intelligent device that answers to the name of Alexa.
The device will be located on a table behind the Bureau’s front door and can be activated by citizens shouting their problems through the letterbox.
One of Burntwood’s many troubled residents is unemployed life coach Paul Mycock. He said:
‘I’ve been a regular at the CAB since I lost my job, especially during bad weather and the Jeremy Vine show.
‘The problem that I don’t really have this week turns on the correct interpretation of the provisions of The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013.
‘The CAB volunteers are great, particularly Mrs Norman, she’s a lovely old dear, but she hasn’t a clue – not unless it involves organising an online petition.
‘I knew she’d be on the Google for an hour or more before suggesting I see a decent local solicitor in Birmingham. Plenty of time for a brew and a chat by the radiator.’
Paul was shocked to discover the door to the CAB was locked but was intrigued by the instructions to shout through the letterbox. He continued:
‘I called out her name, “Alexa, Alexa are you there?” She said hello, she has a lovely sexy calming voice. I composed myself, placed my hand in my trouser pocket and told her of my 2013 Regulations based problem.
‘Quick as a flash Alexa came back with the answer, “14 days”. No tea, no biscuits and no time to sort myself out. It may be a quick, accurate and cost effective solution to Staffordshire’s financial crisis, but that’s not the point.
‘All I’m after is a bit of company, is that too much to ask?’
Staffordshire County Council refused to comment on the Echo trials although spokesperson Paula Wright did say:
‘There is an 80% chance of rain today.’
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.’