Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 28, 2016

Rosie Coopers’ Labour Party?

The  championlogo letters throws up a question “What kind of Labour Party does Rosie Cooper represent?”. It goes on to describe her “many years” as our MP. “Well respected for her excellent support for individual constituents and organisations, a credit to her party and sets a high standard for representing the borough in Parliament rosie_cooper_mp. “But there are “grey areas” in her activities, topics which are off her radar. She’s not keen on getting involved with “hot” questions, one of which is the Iraq War of 2003″.

Well, bearing in mind she was elected in 2005, no doubt she was elected despite that war, and because of other reasons than a war? But the writer wants to know where she stands on the Labour leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. What kind of Labour Party does she represent, Corbyn’s or that of his right wing opponents? Perhaps he might ask her again in 2020?

He then reveals he is a member of the Green Party but doesn’t want to embarrass her. I doubt he could, in fact she could embarrass him. But who in 2016 wants an explanation of an event she didn’t vote for, instead of where she stands on local issues? Not me thanks. And with that I’m signing off the WLR for a week or so to take a break. Perhaps it will be a quiet week, with Wally and Paul settling who is the candidate for West Lancashire (East) in May?

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 28, 2016

Labour Action On Fiveways

Lancashire County Council has begun a safety review of one of Ormskirk’s busiest road junctions following a dangerous crash there earlier this month. Highways Officers were already looking at traffic flow through the junction as preparation for implementing traffic calming measures on Cottage Lane and Halsall Lane, which leads up to the junction and the safety review will now be included in the decision making process .

Traffic monitoring cameras traffic-monitoring-sign have already been installed at the junction and the data from them will be reviewed to see what changes may be made to improve the traffic flow and limit the possibility of future crashes. County Councillor and Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport John Fillis said “Most of the incidents that occur on this junction are due to driver errors, such as speeding or going through red lights, but we want to be certain that the junction is operating as safely as possible for all those who use it.”

Through the local PACT (Police And Communities Together) meetings for Knowsley and Scott wards, local residents had already made their concerns known about the speed and volume of traffic on nearby roads, with many more signing a petition to review the Fiveways junction following the latest crash. cllrs-adam-yates-nikki-hennessy-gareth-dowling-at-the-fiveways

Knowsley Ward Councillor Nikki Hennessy said “We’re grateful to local resident, Michelle Aldridge, who started the petition to review the Fiveways as this has made many more people aware of the traffic issues in this area and encouraged several of them to get involved by attending our local PACT meeting. We met with the Highways Officers recently to explain to them what the main traffic problems are on Cottage Lane and Halsall Lane, as part of the £66,000 works that we secured for these roads earlier in the year.

“There are many drivers using these roads as a rat run to avoid the lights at the Fiveways, as well as lots of farm traffic, including very large lorries that regularly have to mount the kerb to pass by because they are too wide for these roads. We want to make sure that any changes we make on these roads don’t just move the problem to the adjacent roads, so the timing of the Fiveways junction safety review couldn’t be more helpful. The information it provides will help the county officers to offer us some safer options for our roads, which we can then take forward to a full consultation with residents to hear their views.

“Hopefully, the end result will be improved safety on all of the roads and a reduction in the number of accidents at the junction.”

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 27, 2016

Official Labour Response To Parrs Lane Inquiry Decision

Following a meeting of the full council, members of West Lancashire Borough Council wlbclogo have voted to make a legal challenge against the decision by the Planning Inspector to allow developer Wainhomes to build up to 150 houses on land near Parrs Lane in Aughton.

In August, the Planning Inspector overturned the council’s original decision to refuse planning approval on the site which is listed in the Local Plan as being suitable for future development. The Local Plan, which was approved by the previous Conservative administration, lists a number of sites that may be used to meet the targets set by national government for housebuilding. However, WLBC believes that the Planning Inspector failed to take into account all of the available sites in the borough. This included one site on which building work has already begun, and two others that the Planning Inspector omitted to include.

Councillor John Hodson johnhod the portfolio holder for Planning, said “This motion was about local democracy, pure and simple. Since the Conservative-led coalition Government pushed through the NPPF in 2012 there has been a clear indication of the direction of travel in favour of big business and developers, in regard to how the government intends to address the housing situation we face.

“The Housing industry is a classic example of what can go horribly wrong when the largest players in the field hold an inordinate amount of influence on Government in order to push through their agenda of market optimisation regardless of the actual societal need for housing supply.

Pure market-led thinking, true laissez–faire dictates that the optimum profit obtainable can be achieved by the exploitation of prime green field sites; market-led Planning rather than Planning-led Planning. The truly disturbing truth is the degree of influence that the big developers have had and continue to have on government Planning Policy with the ongoing erosion of the Borough Council’s ability to control housing supply according to the wishes and needs of the people they represent.

“West Lancashire Labour Councillors did not support the adoption of this Local Plan but since taking control have acted responsibly in acknowledging that in the eyes of Planning Law, it is for better or worse, now our Local Plan.

“Therefore it falls to the ruling Labour Administration to acknowledge that it is our moral duty, in the full knowledge that the Planning Inspector has erred in his calculation of the 5 year Housing Land Supply, to defend not only the residents of Aughton but all of the residents of West Lancashire who are themselves required to abide by the Adopted Local Plan whilst the developers seek to exploit the loophole created by the provision of Paragraph 49 of the NPPF thus undermining that very same Local Plan for commercial gain. We must allow the people of West Lancashire to have some say in the future strategic direction of the Borough in terms of Housing and Employment needs, which the Conservative Councillors of Aughton westuna were happy to ignore.

“Therefore it is of utmost importance that with the caveats contained within the Cabinet decision to proceed with the Section 288 Legal Challenge in the interests of the residents of West Lancashire.”

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 27, 2016

Was Wally Deselected

…from his seat on Lancashire County Council, as stated in the Visiter southvisiter?

“I’m the candidate” said Cllr Greenall who was adamant HE was selected for the West Lancashire East seat that Wally currently holds. It is understood that Councillor Paul Greenall will be taking over the role as he was voted in by his fellow party members and he reported it “Party members have tonight selected me as their candidate for the West Lancashire (East) seat in the 2017 County Council elections”. Now, as a source told the Southport Visiter to whom we are indebted for their story “Westley was outvoted in a straight contest with Cllr Greenall in the selection for the West Lancashire East seat greenwest [Visiter pic adapted]

No you’re not, says Wally, mustering all the authority of the busted schemer he was when he “won” the party leadership “The process is ongoing and a candidate has yet to be selected so I have no further comment to make at this time”.

The Visiter states “Westley has held the West Lancashire east seat for seven years since he was elected to it in June 2009. He is the West Lancashire Borough Council Conservative leader and this position will remain unaffected by the deselection.

“According to a source there was an initial meeting in July in regards to the selection for the West Lancashire east seat which ended in a tie between the two councillors. A second vote was also tied so a third meeting was set for September. During the third meeting another vote was taken and Greenall beat out Westley in a straight vote. That’s why Greenall is out and about with his election leaflets.

“Cllr Greenall was the Mayor of West Lancashire from May 2012 – 2013 and has been a Derby Ward Councillor since 2001. In the 2010 general election he was the Conservative Candidate in St Helens where he obtained the best Conservative poll since 1992. Paul was the Deputy Chairman of the West Lancs Conservative Association from March 2013-6. He was also the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for West Lancashire in 2015.

“Councillor Westley was approached about his deselection but did not wish to comment on the matter. He told the Visiter “The process is ongoing and a candidate has yet to be selected so I have no further comment to make at this time”. Well, it’ll be a bit of a bugger if Greenall has wasted party money on all those leaflets! greenallwithleaflet But does Wally tell lies when it suits him, as he did in Aughton when he wrongly accused campaigning residents? So what will happen now, if the party does admit the Greenall third vote selection while Wally says a candidate has yet to be selected? Whose pants will be on fire?

Perhaps the onus is on Greenall to tell the truth, or does he accept he wasn’t selected after all? One of them needs to explain.

The Conservative Party was also contacted but did not respond before the story went to press. NB The Champion has the same story…Wally commented “On the LCC Selection, the process is still ongoing and I have no comment to make at the present time” and Greenall says ““I was very honoured that members chose me and put their faith in me. I will do my best to speak up for this area if I am voted in next year”. meeting One honoured, one dishonoured! NNB Greenall’s picture has disappeared from the “People” section of the Tory website. Must be a gremlin! NNNB Greenall back on the Tory website, must be a gremlin again!

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 27, 2016

Does A Potential Railways Disaster Not Rate As A Priority?

Lancashire County Council has published an overview report on the December 2015 floods, as a first step in making public the findings of investigations into how the county’s communities were flooded and how future flooding risks can be managed, and while doing so has neglected a major risk.

“This first report, however, is much more limited in scope. Known as a “Section 19 investigation”, the report looks at the weather conditions leading to flooding in December 2015 and is particularly focused on the statutory responsibilities and duties of flood risk management authorities during those storms.

“The report identifies those bodies identified as risk management authorities by the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, namely • The lead local flood authority (in this case Lancashire County Council) • The Environment Agency • A district council for an area for which there is no unitary authority • An internal drainage board • A water company • A highway authority” but not the Rail Accident Investigation Branch.

“The report found that all of these authorities had discharged their duties before, during, and after the flooding events caused by Storms Desmond and Eva, and that work continues in the medium-to-long term. All of the risk management authorities have been involved in gathering information about the individual causes of flooding in all 229 affected communities and potential measures to manage or mitigate the risk of future flooding. That information continues to be gathered and will be published as a series of district level updates, every three months, with detailed information on the investigations undertaken at each of the affected locations, and flood risk improvements already completed and the opportunities for further investigations and/or works.

“County Councillor Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said “The December floods were unprecedented in their severity and extent, affecting more than 200 communities across the county and causing untold distress to homeowners, disruption to businesses and damage to critical infrastructure. Those agencies with responsibility for managing the risk of flooding have been working very hard together, as the Lancashire Flood Risk Partnership, to understand how each individual flooding incident happened and to take action to manage or reduce the risk of it happening again. This report starts the process of sharing the results of that work, ensuring that people are fully informed about plans for their communities.”

Two residents from New Lane recently contacted Gavin Rattray of Burscough Flood Group to tell him of their concerns about the high frequency of flooding in New Lane Village on the approach road to the level crossing shown. newlane [click to enlarge] One was particularly concerned that should the road flood overnight in winter then there is the potential for a driver to lose control on ice and skid through a closed barrier and into the path of an oncoming train. BFG know that the primary source of flooding in New Lane is the inadequacy of its sewer network and therefore the most likely cause of any flood is going to be a sewage spill from UUs sewer network.

So Gavin stated “I am writing to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch rather than UU because my other experience of UU is of a great unwillingness to spend money to prevent their sewers polluting roads, footpaths, gardens and homes, because they aren’t responsible for spills in law because they don’t control what goes into the sewers (i.e. rainfall). In this instance you may be able to convince them otherwise because UU admitted that they have a widespread sewer network problem in secret to WLBC and BFG obtained proof of that through FOI uufeb2016 [click to read]. BFG also have a copy of a letter signed by their Wastewater Services Director which he states that New Lane suffers from historical flooding due to the hydraulic inadequacy of the sewer system.

“So although UU are immune from prosecution for pollution, but if one of their frequent sewers spill should lead to an accident then there could be a potential case against UU for gross negligence, with the knowledge of its senior executives. I hope you agree and make that clear to UU so that one of your crossings can be made safer and at least some residents will also finally get a break from having their environment so frequently contaminated by UU’s sewage spills”.

A resident described how a 3 ton metal grid cover was bouncing up and down because of the violent flood. The railway track just looked like a canal, he said. Imagine a train hitting that!

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 27, 2016

Student Accommodation At Saturation Point?

It had to happen. Such has been the intensity of the student accommodation drive that it seems now to have reached saturation point. If that’s the case what does McComb Students mccomb-students do next? “We are the largest purpose-built student accommodation provider in Ormskirk and we are dedicated to providing our students with a first-class service” they claim.”Our modern, purpose-built developments are in superb locations within walking distance of Edge Hill University and Ormskirk town centre”.

Research by OWLs owllogo shows there is now a surplus of student accommodation in Ormskirk. Jane Thompson writes “For the first time in many years there is now spare capacity in student accommodation in Ormskirk and that should lead to a change of approach from the council according to our Ormskirk activist, Jane Thompson. Research by Jane of local letting agents has shown that there are at least 60 vacancies for students in properties in Ormskirk”.

“For years demand has outstripped supply for student housing. It reached its worst in 2011 when the University had to use Pontins in Southport. The council took the right steps in the last local plan to allow more halls of residence on campus and the situation has been improving, but we’ve still seen starter homes converted to student houses this year. Now, that supply exceeds demand we need to see a halt to house conversions to HMOs as there is no longer a demonstrable need”.

Jane continued by saying that with the additional planning permissions already granted for student housing and in the pipeline, there should be a stricter stance taken to protect first time buyer and family homes in Ormskirk. She added that there was also no need to sacrifice further green space around the University. “With the introduction of student loans instead of maintenance grants this September, more and more Edge Hill students will also choose to commute rather than live in the town” she said.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 26, 2016

The Westley Wasted Business Opportunity?

The West Lancashire party of business development, always thought to be Conservatives, is actually Labour. Who’d have thought it, you might ask. But it’s true, if the latest news that WLBC is claiming “One of the Council’s top priorities is to be ambitious for the local economy by developing commercial and residential property. This would help support new and growing businesses, retain and grow jobs, increase the number of residents in the area and generate income to the Council through Council Tax and Business Rates” comes to fruition.

Having read about the Ormskirk entry into the “Great British High Street Competition” and that “The Ormskirk Town Centre Management Group is made up of West Lancashire Borough Council, representatives from town centre retailers, Ormskirk Community Partnership, Edge Hill University and Edge Hill Students’ Union” perhaps that’s the partnership Ormskirk needs?

Or perhaps not, if a public comment on the excellent QLocal website is to be believed “Councillor Ian Moran, Leader of the Borough Council and portfolio holder for Economic Regeneration, I have nothing against ex postmen but it takes a large leap of faith to think the experience of a postman is perhaps the best qualification to meet the needs of Economic regeneration of Ormskirk. When I read this article I was hoping it was 1st of April…but then again!”

OK then. Perhaps the experience of a “graduate senior bank manager” is the best qualification to meet the needs of economic regeneration of Ormskirk and that doesn’t need a large leap of faith? ormskirk_market_day-01_-_geograph_org_uk_-_878563

Well think again and think back to December 2014, a BBC Radio 4 interview of people about Skelmersdale. Westley as so called Council Leader was interviewed and embarrassingly for him and the “party of business” had to admit he was in blissful ignorance and out of touch with the facts. One such fact is that Skelmersdale has the highest persistent shop vacancy rate in Great Britain. How disgraceful is it that such a fact, that ¾ of retail shops are empty/closed for over 3 years, and that because of it 90% of all retail spend is done outside of the town, the worst in the whole of Great Britain and Westley wasn’t even aware of it? This man is a total embarrassment to the borough and his party”. skemcon
Remember, the Interviewee David Westley is the Leader of West Lancashire Council “Westley. I hadn’t quite realised the figures were as high as that but I do acknowledge there is a problem in Skelmersdale. Probably down to over capacity and has been for many years”.

“Question; You say that you weren’t aware that the persistent vacancy rates were so high. That might surprise some people that the council isn’t across this problem. Westley; The problem with Skelmersdale is down to the way it was built in the 60s, there is no night time economy and that is something this council has been looking to address. We are on our sort of third plan in ten years and we’ve had to change that due to the downturn in the economy. The council can approve planning applications but it’s up to commercial developers to take that forward”.

Well that’s a real Westleyism, it’s up to “commercial developers” because it isn’t. Who delivered the leisure business opportunity of a lifetime to Serco and gave away all the golf course landfill development income? That was Westleconomics at its finest! Not!

Perhaps the postman moranpost will deliver what the useless banker couldn’t?

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 25, 2016

Dizzy Heights Development

Beacon Park Golf swingers will recall with some nostalgia the old driving range oldrange
Driving ranges are seen as essential to genuine golfers and golf courses. But Beacon Park Golf Course, owned by West Lancashire Borough Council tax payers, is anything but that. It is the “officially ignored” biggest landfill site in West Lancashire as confirmed by recent enquiries.

Its “development” has been in the hands of profiteering private companies for a long while now. Some of the driving range bays have stood untouched until recent days but now they are no more beacondr25094. Ripped down beacondr25091 and scrap metal stored perhaps for resale, ready for more concrete dumping to replace them beacondr25093. While the land now consists of dizzy heights landfill it’s fair to assume the profits and shareholder funds are keeping pace and match the “development”.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 25, 2016

Ineos Finds People In Favour Of Fracking!

The Guardian reported that the British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe is the first foreigner to be awarded the 2016 ICIS Kavaler Award, which he received at the Metropolitan Club in New York last week. Given by leaders in the chemical industry it comes as Ineos ineos the chemicals company he founded, plans to bring fracking, the controversial oil and gas extraction process, back to the UK. The award is for Profitability/shareholder value; Mergers and acquisitions (deals or integration); Projects/capital investment; and Innovation technology, product, business process with an impact on industry and society. Well Ineos certainly does that?

Ineos is planning as many as 30 applications for fracking sites in the UK within the next year. As part of its campaign to win over critics, Ineos invited journalists to tour fracking sites in Pennsylvania operated by Consol, a Pittsburgh-based producer of natural gas and coal and, supposedly, an example frackflame of why fracking will be good for the UK.

Ineos claims it has discussed the technique and the potential of its plan with 403 local parish councils, all the local councils on its 1million licenced acres. At INEOS community events “55% of people have been in favour of shale gas development with 15-20% neutral” according to company surveys.

Development companies always seem to have positive surveys and quite often £billionaires as owners too…strange!

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 24, 2016

OWLs In The Churchyard

OWLs owllogo have been to Ormskirk churchyard and spruced it up with help from two dozen volunteers.

“West Lancashire residents helped spruce up Ormskirk parish churchyard, clearing 55 bags of vegetation, weeds and detritus. Our West Lancashire members, including Ormskirk activists Jane Thompson and Peter Banks, were joined by local residents including some with family members buried in the churchyard and some who had expressed concerns over the summer about its overgrown state”.

OWL Councillor Cllr Adrian Owens said “With two hours’ effort we made a striking improvement to the paths in the newer section of the graveyard and to the children’s section. Interest was high. Residents came from Burscough and Skelmersdale as well as Ormskirk atwork to help and there were several comments about running such an action day again. We’d like to thank Jim Reid from the church council for his input and help and hopefully visitors will enjoy and appreciate the difference the next time they walk through this peaceful and historic corner of our town centre”.

Before and after photos of the main path are shown here before and here after [all pics courtesy of OWL] Residents of our borough will realise very soon that they will be clearing up pavements and road gutters outside their own homes because they will not be cleared by cash strapped councils.

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