Among those hoping to benefit from New Labour's rout at the next election is Esther McVey, erstwhile daytime TV presenter & prospective Tory candidate for Wirral West. However, Ms McVey finds herself in the difficult position explaining why a property on the Dock Road owned by her father was allowed to fall into such a state of disrepair & neglect that it collapsed on to the road last week (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2009/07/24/collapsed-liverpool-property-is-owned-by-parliamentary-candidate-esther-mcvey-100252-24228402/ ).
The building, formerly known as Lascar House, crumbled & fell on to Waterloo Road in the early hours of Monday morning. Despite the fact that the Dock Road is now largely closed to traffic, it caused some inconvenience to drivers a few hours' later.
So what is Ms McVey's explanation for the incident? "My dad has been working on the site and the project was under way. We are looking at the development of an education centre in an area that badly needs regeneration, the planning application has been in for some time, it's a great project.
"When it was bought the structural surveys were all done for insurance purposes and it was given an absolutely clean bill of health.
"Everything was done correctly."
Now I'm not saying that Ms McVey is disingenuous in her statement. However, it does smack of a heavily scripted missive from Tory Central Office as a damage limitation exercise swings into effect; it's a pity there wasn't a damage-prevention exercise carried out on the building itself.
The apparent intention to turn the property into "an education centre in an area that badly needs regeneration" seems laudable...until you realise that the area is still partly used for purely industrial purposes, which would make the development of "an education centre" in the vicinity somewhat questionable. Moreover, it does seem a little too convenient to ascribe the derelict state of the property to council red tape.
There's also the role played by the structural surveyors. If they gave the building "an absolutely clean bill of health", & all the procedures were carried out correctly, it raises some interesting questions.
Still, as Ms McVey declared, I'm sure it will be "a great project"...once the investigation has been completed.