Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 17, 2018

It’s Not Too Late To Stop The Preferred Options Paper

Veterans of the opposition to the current Local Plan that included Parrs Lane , the Aughton Residents Group 2012, have commented to the Champion, below.

“Firstly I would like to thank the Champion for its coverage of the Local Plan Review Preferred Options Paper. In addition to specific articles you have also included many letters addressing the concerns of residents. It was telling that the only letters supporting the proposals were from Labour Councillors, one of whom is actually the wife of the very Councillor behind the plan.

“It is clear that many people are worried about the significant problems that the proposals would bring, but I fear many more think that it won’t effect them. Unfortunately they are mistaken. If you currently find it difficult to access medical services, struggle to get your children into schools etc or find traffic congestion and pollution unacceptable, imagine what it will be like with around a 30% increase in population, houses and vehicles .

“The formal consultation period has closed but it is not too late to stop the plans progressing. Contact your own councillors and let them know your views. Hopefully all parties will pull together for the good of West Lancashire and stop our Borough being ruined”.

Dave on behalf of the Aughton Residents Group

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 17, 2018

Come On Rosie Cooper, Get A Move On With Brexit!

Rosie Cooper MP statement on the EU Referendum vote, 24th June, 2016.

In response to the decision of the British people to Leave the European Union, West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper  said “Today’s EU Referendum result marks a momentous day in British history. A result that has led to the Prime Minister being forced to resign just one year after winning a general election. As with the rest of the country, West Lancashire residents voted in favour to Leave by a margin of 55.26 per cent to 44.66 percent. A generation-defining decision. Throughout this campaign there were passionate and deeply held views expressed on both sides of the debate.

“For politicians of all political parties and on either side of the debate the referendum result must be respected, but the large minority vote to Remain should also be acknowledged too. Going forward we have to return to the common cause of working in the best interests of the British people who have made their decision.

“Our only certainty at the moment is the uncertainty of the immediate future. Friday morning brought great volatility in the currency and stock markets. Highlighting the absolute need for government to secure stability in the British economy. We are in a situation that demands national leadership. We cannot afford for the Conservative Party to disappear off into an obsession with infighting over David Cameron’s successor.

“For the people of West Lancashire the priorities now need to be economic stability to protect jobs, businesses and trade, pensions, worker’s rights, living standards, and our public services. The least well-off and our most vulnerable residents cannot be allowed to be cut further adrift in Britain’s new future. The vote to Leave has to be made to work for all people and for all communities”.

We haven’t heard any more from Rosie on Brexit. She had told the Visiter “In October 2011 I voted on a motion in the House of Commons calling for a debate on Britain’s relationship with European Union. I am a pro-European and believe that our economic future lies with Europe. Ahead of the referendum we need to consider the security of jobs, growth and investment along with the protection of workers and consumer rights. For some time it has been evident there is significant disillusionment amongst people and the British people wanted an opportunity to have their say. It was for this reason that I voted in support of a referendum”.

After she voted to trigger Article 50, she supported her party in other votes. She voted against the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill at Second Reading. She retains her reputation as a constituency MP by backing the Beacon Park Golf Seniors, and for her involvement in social and health issues and the NHS. Now, Labour’s attitude to Brexit and a second referendum could cost them 19 of their 25 most marginal seats, making a Labour government a more distant prospect.

Voters want to get a move on with Brexit and are not interested in a second referendum. Global Britain conducted a new poll of the 25 most marginal Labour seats and found 58 per cent of voters declared that politicians should get on with the UK leaving the EU and respect the result of the referendum. 63 per cent thought politicians should respect the referendum result whatever their personal opinion and so consequently almost half of voters (44 per cent) said if their MP blocked Brexit in Parliament, they would be less likely to support them.

45 per cent of voters thought Brexit to be the most important issue facing the country and a huge four-fifths of voters (80 per cent) stated that the sooner Brexit is finished the better, and that the issue has now dragged on enough.

The vast majority of voters were against a second referendum, with only 22 per cent wanting one. The message is clear to Labour: prevent Brexit and you prevent your party becoming a government. The poll was conducted by IQR using a weighted sample of 500 in each constituency over the last weeks. Coming out as it did just at the time of the Labour conference, it sent a message to the Labour leadership that backing a second referendum or delaying Brexit would be electoral suicide.

Rosie Cooper MP Statement on European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, 15th September, 2017.

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said “Let me be clear – Brexit is happening, don’t let anyone try to fool you on that. I voted in favour of holding a referendum, I voted in favour of triggering Article 50, and I will continue to vote to represent the will of West Lancashire residents.

“This Bill is about how we leave the EU, and I could not agree to the power grab where Theresa May and the Tories were trying to take decisions away from Parliament and concentrating it in their own hands.

“We voted to leave the European Union to put power and law-making back in the hands of the British people, not to hand it over to a Tory Cabinet, making decisions behind closed doors. It would be very dangerous to give the Prime Minister a blank cheque before we see what deal can be done.

“I will continue to vote to ensure Brexit progresses as per the timetable set out, and will scrutinise this Bill when it comes back before Parliament to safeguard our current vital rights and protections”.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 17, 2018

Stop The Scare Stories And Embrace A Sovereign Brexit

We publish extracts from an open letter to the Prime Minister  written by a businessperson who backed Leave at the referendum but who for professional reasons is currently unable to enter the political fray. It describes the appalling use of her medical condition to damage the referendum result, scaring insulin users.

Dear Prime Minister

I have watched with a sense of appalled inevitability your recent unsuccessful visit to Brussels, characterised as it was by a lack of ideas, an absence of combativeness and a reckless and relentless desire to cling on to every rotten element of the vassal state deal that you and your small Remainer clique of advisers in Downing Street have concocted with the EU.

“There have been the most extraordinary and juvenile claims of potential (albeit very short-term) shortages in this country after 29th March 2019. Even you, lamentably, mentioned your diabetes and your desire for being sure of your supply of insulin . Who persuaded you to say that? Did you give the slightest thought to how ridiculous that scare story was?

“Insulin is sold under a wonderful system we call private enterprise, from one company to another. In the UK’s case, it’s mostly a Danish company selling insulin to companies in Britain. The insulin is put on a plane or a boat and comes over to our country. What, do you assert, would prevent this from happening after a Sovereign Brexit? Come on, what? Are you saying that the EU would somehow seek to prevent insulin being placed on a ship or a boat and exported to us? You aren’t saying that, are you? Such an action would be illegal.

“Or, OK, let’s even say that, however unlikely, the EU indeed decided on 29th March to start acting entirely illegally (again, for a short period of time only, which is all they could possibly ever do). Then the UK would get its insulin from the US, or the Danish company would sell the insulin to Norway, or some other non-EU country, which would then export it on to the UK. Businesses successfully deal with complications of this sort all the time. All that the EU’s (highly, highly unlikely) illegality would result in is the Danish company losing money, one way or another. But you and I know that the EU wouldn’t shoot itself in the foot like that.

“So, were you claiming instead that Britain would somehow put up barriers against Danish insulin coming into the country after 29th March? We wouldn’t, would we? Come on, you know that, don’t you? So why did you raise a false scare story, that would have had tens or hundreds of thousands of diabetics worried that their supply of insulin was suddenly going to dry up, when you know it’s hogwash? Isn’t that the sort of rabble-rousing nonsense that we try not to do in the Conservative Party?

“Insulin is just an example of any other product that comes into the UK from the EU. We would not prevent any product from arriving; the EU would have no legal locus (or indeed any physical ability) to prevent any product from being sent; can you please just stop being silly and admit that there would be no supply shortages in the UK?

“And please, can we in particular try to keep our Conservative ministers from making fools of themselves, in their eagerness to support you, by escalating the level of ludicrousness of such scare stories from a possibility of momentary disruption of a day or two, through to six-week problems, through to six-month problems? The more outlandish their claims get, the less anyone believes them, though some Remainers tactically pretend to. We will actually need to have a set of ministers who are seen as competent by the UK electorate after all this settles down, if the Conservatives wish to remain in power”.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 17, 2018

Labour Voter Says Vote Out Local Labour?

QLocal’s  delighted to post this reader’s letter written in response to a missive published in last week’s Champion’s letters page.

‘I am writing in response to Councillor Gail Hodson’s letter published recently.

‘Two things to say before I comment on the actual content of the letter. Firstly, I am a lifelong Labour supporter so I have no party political axe to grind. Secondly, I think the tone of Mrs Hodson’s letter is disgraceful, to describe the arguments of Council Tax payers who stand to lose their homes and livelihoods as ridiculous is arrogant and dismissive. The fact that she doesn’t go on to state which particular arguments she sees as ‘ridiculous’ only makes matters worse.

‘Mrs Hodson  tries to lay the blame for this Plan at the door of the Tory party. However, this is not supported by the facts. She is correct to say that a 5 year review of the existing plan was required. The Planning Committee tasked a sub-committee with carrying out this review. Instead of this the sub-committee, led by Mrs Hodson’s husband, came up with a totally new plan that they saw as lasting until 2050, 23 years longer than the existing one!

‘When this plan was put before the full Planning Committee they rightly pointed out that this was not what they had been asked to do. A motion was raised asking them to go away and look again. This motion was defeated by Mr Hudson and his cronies.

‘If this was, as Mrs Hudson suggests, the consequence of a Tory Government directive why did the Tory councillors not see the need for the new 2050 Plan? In fact it appears to have come as a shock to some of the Labour councillors, including our own Bickerstaffe representative. Unfortunately we can’t see what was considered and discussed at the sub-committee meetings as the Council, despite a Freedom of Information request, is refusing to release the relevant minutes.

I won’t comment on all the points raised by Mrs Hodson but I do find her description of the ‘Garden Villages’ as some sort of Truman Show world where the poor, old and infirm are to the fore as quite charming. The only shock is that the Plan does not guarantee permanent fluffy clouds and hoppy bunny rabbits as well. Unfortunately the truth is more likely to be that once the Day 1 sell off has taken place the developers will run rings around the Planning Committee and they will build properties aimed at maximising profit.

‘Cynical you may think but this is the same Planning Committee that has allowed developers to turn Ormskirk into a town of HMOs occupied by students. Surely it is a case of stable doors and horses to now be talking about affordable housing. Interestingly they want to give up Green Belt land for Edge Hill to build yet more student accommodation at a time when the student population appears to be in rapid decline, falling from 18,000 to 15,000 in the last four years.

‘The Plan is just the Day 1 sell off aim padded out with statements of the obvious which are not supported by credible solutions.

‘The most obvious of these is the road problem. Mrs Hodson says only 1.7% of the available Green Belt land will be used. However, she fails to point out that most of this is concentrated in a very limited area. If it was spread over the whole of the WLBC area then it may be less of a problem, maybe even using some of the Green Belt that surrounds Chez Hodson in leafy Tarleton?

‘In truth I think there would still be a problem as the aim of building 16,000 new homes at an average of 3 inhabitants per home, maybe a total of 50,000, will cause insurmountable infrastructure problems for a Council area with an existing population of only 110000. In reality there won’t be the luxury of the increased population being spread across WLBC, they will in fact be concentrated in a very small area which relies on only 2 roads to get into Ormskirk.

‘The Plan acknowledges there is a road problem but does not suggest how it will be solved. If there is a Day 1 sell off Plan surely there needs to be a definite road plan now as if the Council rides rough shod over public opinion the Day 1 developers’ feeding frenzy could occur very soon.

‘It pains me to say it but the only practical objection to this plan will be to vote out the Labour councillors who seem intent on changing the whole nature of WLBC at one fell swoop”.

Eric Lupton Bickerstaffe.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 17, 2018

The People Of Skelmersdale Should Decide?

SkemNews  is reporting that Lancashire County Labour Group have agreed to support a Skelmersdale Town Council if that is what local people want. It’s important that local people know what it entails regarding democratic structures, service provision and how much this will all cost on top of the current combined council taxes. This is because town councils and parishes do cost local people more money through the precept is not a replacement for existing council tax costs. The precept unlike the other authorities is not capped by government as such it can set its own tax.

There are town and parish councils all over Lancashire and in West Lancashire, only Skelmersdale and Ormskirk are not covered by a 1st level authority. A Skelmersdale Town Council would result in three levels of local government, Lancashire County Council, West Lancashire Borough Council and Skelmersdale Town Council. Working alongside this would be Lancashire Police Commissioner and Lancashire Fire Authority.

The legislation to establish a town council is laid down by government and not other local authorities, but they do have a part to play in the process. To set up a town or parish council, a petition containing the signatures of at least 7.5% of the local population need to be submitted to the local authority. If the petition is valid, the local authority, West Lancashire Borough, will carry out a ‘community governance review’ to see if a local council should be created.

Town councils can develop an extensive range of discretionary powers providing and maintain a variety of important and visible local services including allotments, bridleways, burial grounds, bus shelters, car parks, commons and open spaces, community transport schemes, community safety and crime reduction measures, events and festivals, footpaths, leisure and sports facilities, litter bins, public toilets, planning, street cleaning and lighting, tourism activities, traffic calming measures, village greens and youth projects.

It’s also important to recognise that they are not in charge of the police, education, fire, or the national health services. Much of these roles are as consultees rather than service providers.

Cllr John Fillis, speaking on behalf of the Skelmersdale County Councillors, Cllr Julie Gibson and Cllr Terry Aldridge,  said “It’s important that people decide if they wish to have a Skelmersdale Town Council once they have all the facts without the fiction. There are many town and parish councils in Lancashire that do an excellent job. However concerns have been raised by local people regarding the impact some town and parish councils have and the subsequent cost.”

“Although the question of a Skelmersdale Town Council has been raised before, it’s important that this is debated again if people wish to consider it. But this debate must be open and honest so that people can make an informed choice. Lancashire Labour is here to listen and support the wishes of the people of Skelmersdale”.

 

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 16, 2018

No Deal Really Means Free Trade

Tim Martin  said “I have written a few hundred words below on the advantages of free trade, which greatly outweigh the illusory benefits of a ‘deal’ with the undemocratic EU. Free trade will benefit consumers and the economy, yet few commentators today make the case for it, or appear to understand it.

“If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then to me…..” W. Shakespeare.

“For millennia people have been sought advice from soothsayers like the Oracle at Delphi, or today from Mystic Meg . In business, the world’s greatest investor, Warren Buffett, has warned that “Forecasts tell you a lot about the forecaster, but nothing about the future”. But some forecasters lack Buffett’s humility and insight. Pro-EU economists like David Smith of the Sunday Times or Paul Johnson of the IFS, full of scare stories about a post-Brexit future, are confident in their powers of prophecy.

“In reality, I believe the most consistently INACCURATE forecasts of the last 40 years have been made by pro-EU economists, bankers, academics, MPs, and organisations like the CBI, City accountants and the Financial Times. The predecessor of the euro, the exchange rate mechanism (ERM), was supported, almost universally, by these individuals and organisations. It was supposed to bring economic stability, but it brought the opposite – record high interest rates, recession, bankruptcies and negative equity”.

“After this débâcle, broadly the same voices were evangelical in support of the euro, even though no currency has survived in history, as Wetherspoon pointed out at the time, without a government to collect taxes and redistribute them throughout the ‘country’. It was predicted that the U.K. would suffer terribly if it failed to join the euro, but the U.K. has since greatly outperformed the Eurozone, which has impoverished much of Southern Europe.

“The pro-EU dogma  is the product of an undemocratic ideology, mainly- and surprisingly – promoted by Oxbridge graduates in influential jobs. Even so, a minority of Oxbridge nonconformists, including MPs like Michael Howard and Tony Benn, journalists like Neil Collins, bankers like Mervyn King, business people like Simon Wolfson and academics like Patrick Minford played a big role in defeating their Oxbridge colleagues over the euro.

“Pro-EU arguments reached a hysterical zenith during the referendum, with the Chancellor George Osborne , the Treasury, most academics, PWC, Deloitte, most PLC directors, the CBI, the FT, the OECD and the IMF supporting the view of an immediate economic downturn in the aftermath of a Leave vote. Unsurprisingly, the opposite happened. About 500,000 jobs have been created since, rather than the loss of 500,000. Mortgage rates have been lower, not higher, the stock market has risen, not fallen, City jobs have increased, not declined-and so on.

“A curious aspect of the hopelessness of these economic forecasts over 40 years is that the “man on the Clapham omnibus” (ie the public) understood the issues well, rejecting the euro and the arguments about a downturn post-referendum. Democracy works, partly because elite education can create arrogance and an ‘echo chamber’ of groupthink, which inhibits good judgement. The dominant theme of the Oxbridge ideology today is that the U.K. will be worse off without a ‘deal’ with the EU.

“This view has been backed by a dishonest and surreal campaign to persuade the public that food prices will rise without a deal, the opposite of the truth. Unfortunately, a section of the elite wrongly believes the public is gullible and stupid. This ‘deal at any price’ exhortation has been accepted by, I believe, a weak PM with autocratic tendencies, who dislikes genuine debate, and is locked in a tiny ‘echo chamber’ of like-minded people.

“In fact, ‘no deal’ really means ‘free trade’. On 29 March next year MPs can end EU import taxes on oranges, coffee, wine, bananas, children’s clothes and 12,651 products, thereby reducing shop prices. Many commentators do not understand that the UK can adopt free trade, ending import taxes, without the need for consent or permission from the EU. Today, these taxes are collected by the U.K. government and sent to Brussels. So enriching the public comes at no cost to the Treasury.

“The U.K. can simultaneously regain control of fishing waters and save £39 billion which the desperate Theresa May has offered the EU – even though there is no legal obligation to pay anything (“Brexit: UK could quit without paying…say Lords”, 4 March 2017, The Guardian). Wetherspoon has set an example by swapping EU products like Jägermeister, Courvoisier and German beer for UK or non-EU products of equal or better quality and price. It follows that UK businesses and consumers have the power to reduce EU exports to the UK to zero, or almost zero.

“Everything that can be bought from within the protectionist EU club can be bought from the 93% of the world outside the EU – if you look hard enough. In a recent interview the former Chancellor George Osborne told Newsnight that “a minority of people were interested in rather esoteric issues of constitutional sovereignty. In fact, the desire for democracy and self-determination is not ‘esoteric’ (ie only the concern of a few). North America, Japan, Singapore, India, Ireland and Australia, among many examples, have thrived following the end of what they saw as remote or arbitrary rule. The former prime minister of Australia, Tony Abbott , showing more economic insight than Osborne, has mocked the UK government approach – and succinctly summed up the arguments for free trade in the Spectator magazine.

“The economic truth is that no deal/free trade will leave the U.K. better off on the day we leave the EU in March next year. The risk to the future lies in staying linked to the chaotic and undemocratic Brussels regime. Boiling all these issues down, there are four simple tests which the public can use on 29 March next year to work out whether Theresa May and MPs have implemented the referendum result, and left the EU, as promised, or whether we have been hoodwinked

1) Does the UK still charge protectionist import taxes (tariffs) on non-EU imports and send the proceeds to Brussels? If the answer is “yes”, the UK hasn’t left the EU. 2) Has the UK paid or is it continuing to pay money to the EU in return for trade? If “yes”, we are unlikely to have left. 3) Has the UK regained control of its fishing waters? If “no”, we haven’t left. 4) Is the UK still subject to European laws? If “yes”, we haven’t left.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 16, 2018

Beacon Country Park, Beacon Park Golf Course, Chalk And Cheese?

West Lancashire Borough Council Meeting, held Wednesday 20 July 2016. At its meeting the Council Chief Executive announced that Beacon Country Park had been re-awarded the Green Flag Award, which recognises that not only is it one of the best green spaces in the country, it’s also one of the best managed. On top of this, the Green Flag judges have increased our score over previous years and we now sit in the highest scoring category possible. She thanked Dave Tilleray, Director of Leisure and Wellbeing and his team of Rangers shown here with Cllr Gagen, who’ve done an absolutely fantastic job up at Beacon Country Park, particularly Head Ranger Dan Massey, who pulls all the hard work together.

But how different it was when it came to the Beacon Park Golf Club Senior Golfers’ magnificent competition success, and the Chief Executive didn’t recognise that Beacon Park Golf Course was becoming the worst managed municipal golf course in the country as parts of it disappeared under landfill .

In a motion, the last business of the meeting, included on the agenda by Councillor Aldridge  on behalf of the Labour Group, it was merely “Resolved; that this council recognises the difficulties facing the Beacon Park Golf Club and its members during the course developments and congratulates them on their success in winning the South Lancashire Municipal Golf Clubs Association Team Championship held at Bowring Park Golf Course. Eight teams of fourteen players each competed for the trophy which can be seen at the Beacon Park Golf Clubhouse. It is a splendid success for Captain Tom Jackson, for his team, and for West Lancashire”.

It was the same staff of the Directorate of Leisure and Wellbeing who were leading the “developments” we now see as a desecration of the driving range, illegal dumping of royalty incentivised landfill, and the uprooting of parts of the course to re-locate masses of that illegal landfill. When will it end?

Perhaps a courageous councillor will congratulate the Senior Golfers on their latest success and commiserate with them on being expelled from competitive golf because WLBC, Serco Leisure Operating Ltd, and Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd between them have ruined the course.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 16, 2018

Blair The Leaver Plots To Remain

Theresa May accused Tony Blair of undermining the UK national interest as he seeks to subvert the Brexit process. May launched a blistering attack on Blair, who was elected as an MP on his manifesto accusation of the EEC draining natural resources and destroyed jobs. She accused the former Labour PM of insulting the British people with his shifty attempts to thwart the referendum result.

And she bluntly reminded him it was his own open-door immigration policy which spurred millions to vote leave. Mrs May’s patience snapped after an exhausting week of clashes with MPs and Eurocrats blocking her departure deal.

In an astonishing broadside, she lashed out at her predecessor’s treacherous trip to meet EU chiefs in Brussels while Brexit talks were taking place. She raged “There are too many people who want to subvert the process for their own political interests rather than acting in the national interest.

“For Tony Blair to go to Brussels and seek to undermine our negotiations by advocating for a second referendum is an insult to the office he once held and the British people he once served. We cannot, as he would, abdicate responsibility for this decision. Parliament has a democratic duty to deliver what the British people voted for”.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 15, 2018

Swiss/UK Trade Deal Agreed?

The Federal Council  lays the foundation for future economic and trade relations with the United Kingdom. Bern, 14.12.2018 – At its meeting on 14 December the Federal Council approved the text of a trade agreement with the UK aiming to maintain existing economic and trade relations with the country after its departure from the European Union. The conclusion of this agreement forms part of the Federal Council’s ‘Mind the Gap’ strategy.

The United Kingdom is set to leave the European Union on 29 March next year. At present relations between Switzerland and the UK are largely based on the bilateral agreements that exist between Switzerland and the EU, particularly on an economic and commercial level. In 2017 the UK was Switzerland’s sixth largest export market (CHF 11.4 billion) and its eighth largest supplier (CHF 6.1 billion of imports).

In October 2016 the Federal Council adopted the ‘Mind the Gap’ strategy aimed at guaranteeing as far as possible the mutual rights and obligations in all areas that currently link Switzerland and the UK. At its meeting on 14 December, the Federal Council approved the text of a trade agreement with the UK which could serve as a basis for future economic and trade relations. This agreement guarantees, as far as possible, the continuation of the economic and commercial rights and obligations arising from the agreements between Switzerland and the EU, and provides for exploratory discussions aimed at developing these bilateral relations in the future.

If the transition period between the EU and the UK comes into effect on 29 March next year, the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU will continue to apply between Switzerland and the UK. Under this scenario, the text of the agreement approved by the Federal Council will serve as a basis for economic and trade relations between Switzerland and the UK after the transition period expires on 31 December 2020 (or at a later date agreed between the UK and the EU), until such time as new trade agreements can be concluded between the parties.

However, there is a possibility that the UK may leave the EU in a disorderly manner (‘No deal’ scenario) on 29 March next year, and that no transition period would not come into effect.

In that event, the text of the agreement approved by the Federal Council makes it possible to replicate in substance the vast majority of trade agreements that currently regulate relations between Switzerland and the UK. If the relevant parliamentary committees, which will be consulted early next year, approve the agreement, it could be signed and be applied from the date on which the UK leaves the EU.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 15, 2018

False Claims Of West Lancashire Community Leisure

Below, we show the published claim by the West Lancashire Community Leisure (WLCL)  service that “West Lancashire Community Leisure exists to encourage inclusive opportunities in Sports and Leisure activities, working closely with our partners to deliver a premium service at an affordable price encouraging more people to be more active more often.

“We aspire to meet health and social needs in a welcoming environment, ranging from small community recreation centres to large multi-use state of the art leisure centres. We operate a social inclusive approach to ensure equality of opportunity for all sectors of our local communities and we openly value diversity so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of participating in sports and leisure activities”.

But WLCL, operated by Serco Leisure Operating Ltd for West Lancashire Borough Council, does not meet its claims of delivering a premium service at Beacon Park Golf Course, which is not state of the art , and has now delivered an unequal opportunity for Senior Golfers by allowing the ruination of the course by illegal landfill and their expulsion from local competitive Society golf.

Yet today, as on any day, this is what Serco claims “Clubs and Societies-Beacon Park Golf and Country Club is the ideal venue for golf societies. Golf Day Packages are available to all societies and clubs”.

So having formally notified WLBC about the situation, I received this response from the Director of Leisure at WLBC “Thank you for your email dated 5 December 2018 regarding your concerns about Beacon Park Golf Club being excluded from the competitive South West Lancashire Seniors League. It is noted that you have also sent a copy of this email to Kim Webber, Chief Executive, Councillor Gagen, and Councillor Moran and have copied it to Councillor Hennessey, John Harrison Director of Development & Regeneration, and Terry Broderick Borough Solicitor. I will be providing a response on behalf of West Lancashire Borough Council. I have directed your concerns to SERCO and I am awaiting their response”.

It’s a case of “here we go round the mulberry bush”. So I’ve written “Thank you for this reply. I am at a loss as to why you have directed my concerns to Serco. It is and was Serco Leisure Operating Ltd and Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd  that breached the original planning conditions, received the landfill royalties, and are now causing the disruption and loss of competitive golf by expulsion of Seniors.

“Serco will only repeat the platitudes they have made. The Senior golfers asked Rupert Soames the Serco Chief Executive to come to the Beacon Park Golf Course to play the course with them when he would see the shambles there. Mr Soames declined the offer by stating he did not play golf as he had no coordination of hand and eye! But there seems to have been plenty of coordination of disposing of the royalties to parties other than Beacon Park Golf Course and its members.

“I understand Mr Rupert Soames will be sent some Seniors Golf Club Official Tshirts, on the basis that the members have no further use for them. I suggest it really is time for the West Lancashire Borough Council, by virtue of its own admission of excess landfill on the Borough owned leisure facility, to take the responsibility for the loss of both royalty income and competitive golf. Serco may be the leaseholder, WLBC retains ownership. Stop passing the buck and take decisive action. The course is a leisure facility for a particular group of people who now find WLBC has discriminated against them by the incompetence of its contracted leisure provider.

“As ever I ask, when will somebody say enough is enough, after six years of Serco Golf Course failed management?”

To coin a phrase “It is not difficult to realize her answer to the question was nebulous”!

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