Councillor Resigns Over Halton Stadium Sponsorship

Friday, November 22nd, 2019 2:51pm

By Chris McKeon - Local Democracy Reporter

Halton Council’s member without portfolio has resigned over a deal the local authority signed with bailiffs DCBL to sponsor Halton Stadium.

Cllr Andrea Wall said she was “very unhappy” with the Runcorn-based firm sponsoring the council-owned stadium in Widnes and had had “no part in the decision”.

In a post on Facebook, Cllr Wall said: “I have raised urgent questions about it since I found out over the weekend. 

“I have made it very clear that I am very unhappy with a bailiff sponsoring the stadium, totally disagree with it and want it stopped. 

“I have worked for years trying to help people in poverty and if this deal continues, I will continue to call it the Halton or Widnes Stadium and refuse to recognise any new name as a result of this deal.”

Cllr Wall, who had been assisting council leader Rob Polhill on regional matters in her role as member without portfolio, added that she would continue to represent the Kingsway ward as a Labour councillor.

The deal, reported by the Local Democracy Reporting Service on Thursday, will see the Widnes Vikings’ ground named the DCBL Stadium, with the bailiffs paying the council an as-yet undisclosed annual fee.

Several other councillors are understood to be uneasy about the impact on the council’s reputation of the deal with DCBL, a firm made famous by the Channel 5 show Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away.

But the company’s CEO, Gary Robinson, said his business had “the most ethical teams in the country”.

Mr Robinson said: “We do pride ourselves on ethical enforcement, and the TV show made us the UK face of the enforcement industry.

“That also brought a lot of scrutiny. We knew fairly early on that everything had to be done correctly, ethically, and we have ever accreditation that’s out there to get.”

He added: “We hope it’s going to be beneficial to the community and the economy and maybe help the mighty Widnes Vikings get back on top.”

Cllr Polhill was unavailable for comment on this story. Halton Council was also approached for comment.

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