ONE of Wirral’s most senior council directors has quit after just a few months in the job.

The now-former corporate director for economic and housing growth Brian Bailey, who was only recruited by the authority to the £115,000 role in the summer, has left his role.

The exact reasons for his departure are unconfirmed, but on Friday, a spokesman said: “Wirral Council can confirm Brian Bailey has left his post as corporate director for housing and economic growth.

“Brian was appointed in June 2018, unanimously, by a panel of Councillors comprising all three main parties on the council.

"We thank Brian for his support and wish him the best of luck for the future.”

Mr Bailey was responsible for the development of Wirral’s local plan, which has been the subject of major debate and scrutiny this year.

Upon being recruited, the authority said he brought a 'wealth of experience' in economic regeneration, planning and housing, and he had previously held a similar role at Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.

His responsibilities also included working with developers on regeneration schemes such as Wirral Waters and Celtic Manor Resort in Hoylake.

But the council will now begin looking for a new candidate to fill the post.

Responding to the news, Cllr Ian Lewis, who leads the council’s Conservative group, said there was 'something very wrong' with how senior, well-paid directors are appointed “if we have to part company with one of them after just a couple of months."

He added: “These positions are filled using equally well-paid recruitment consultants. On this occasion, the council paid the recruitment consultants £14,800 to find ‘the right person’ for the role. Presumably the Town Hall will be asking for this money back.

“More worrying is that the role of Corporate Director for Economic and Housing Growth includes overseeing the production of our Local Plan. Now that this position is vacant, we need urgent assurances from the Town Hall that this won’t result in further delays, putting our Green Belt at further risk.”

When asked why members of his party had voted for Mr Bailey’s appointment, he said the council had paid recruitment consultants to come up with candidates they identified as best for the job – and that the all-party appointments panel had selected from those put forward.