Posted by: westlancashirerecord | August 17, 2017

More Crime, Less Policing

Or is it that less policing causes more crime? We are told that policing has changed. They are here but less visible. Well, crime is visible. Just this month the official figures reported to the Aughton Parish Council (APC) are “…16 reported crimes since the last meeting including: 4 criminal damage to a vehicle (Westhaven Crescent, Swanpool Lane, Winifred Lane, Delph Park Avenue); 2 thefts from a vehicle (Prescot Road, MickeringLane); 1 assault with injury (Whalley Drive); 1 attempted burglary in a dwelling (Delph Park Avenue); 1 public fear/alarm/distress (Prescot Road); 2 burglary in a dwelling (Whalley Drive, Noel Gate); 1 criminal damage to a building other than in a dwelling (Royal Oak); 2 other theft or unauthorised taking (Parrs Lane, Robins Bridge Nursery); 1 criminal damage (other) (Rothwell Drive); 1 criminal damage (Sports Pavilion, off Winifred Lane)”. Also overall an increase in nuisance, anti-social behaviour, and criminal damage.

Is it the same elsewhere in other parishes? Crime rates for Aughton & Downholland Ward show them almost doubled from June 2014 to June 2017 . So why are we left with 2 PCSOs with no power to arrest, as reported at the APC this week ? [click pics to enlarge]

Perhaps a specific answer might be forthcoming for the member of the public living on Prescot Road who recently suffered fear, alarm and distress?

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | August 16, 2017

Stand Off At Long Lane

Colin Draper, a local campaigner against Long Lane Aughton traffic problems, witnessed and photographed a stand off as drivers of these cars  refused to give way. Mr Draper waited for five minutes and finally turned off to leave the scene with no resolution to the stand off caused by a long line of parked cars.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | August 16, 2017

Oh Dear, What Can The Matter Be?

Turmoil at the seat of county power ? Our West Lancashire  has published a report from the Lancashire Telegraph about “More falling out among Lancashire county Conservatives as a councillor with 32 years service quits the party and sits as an Independent. The reasons aren’t clear but it’s notable that neither of the two councillors who have resigned the Conservatives takes the handsome special responsibility allowances that the majority of the Conservative group do”.

Morecambe North Tory Cllr Tony Jones is reported to have disagreed with the way his party is now running the authority. The Tory Leader has suggested he is surprised by the decision because Cllr Jones has supported all the Tory decisions made since they took control of the county in May. Naturally enough the Labour group leader suggests the resignation shows Tory Group in crisis and meltdown.

But what might seem worthy of note is the role of the ruling party whip. We, council tax payers, fund the political whips. Seems that with two departures already our unwilling donations for the post are being wasted. No surprise there then, just sack the whips and save our cash!

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | August 15, 2017

Aughton Parish Council News

The Aughton Parish Council  website states “Notice has previously been given pursuant to Section 87(2) of the Local Government Act 1972 that 3 vacancies have occurred in the office of Parish Councillor for North-East Ward (2) and Town Green Ward (1) of the above named Parish. The Parish Council is still seeking to fill the vacancies by co-option in accordance with the Local Election (Parishes and Communities) (England and Wales) Rules. Applications are invited – for further details please see General Notice in Vacancies Box. Irene Roberts Clerk to Aughton Parish Council May 2017”.

But with two resignations, Glenn Wohlers and Mark Gibbon, APC now has five vacancies, including one in Christ Church ward and one in Delph ward, although it is now apparent that two new members including former Cllr Dr David Gallagher are under consideration. Who next for the merry-go-round?

Incidents of disorder, crime, anti-social behaviour and criminal damage in Aughton are on the increase and concerns have been expressed regarding the level of policing. The Community Beat Officer Constable Ivan Leivers has now left to take the post of “wildlife officer” at Hutton HQ and has not been replaced. This leaves Aughton currently policed by two PCSO’s who have no power of arrest. The APC is writing to Lancashire Constabulary expressing their concerns. What a question, does wildlife matter more than lowlife?

During the recent meeting Cllr Grant mentioned the absence of any of the WLBC/LCC Councillors at APC meetings. It was decided that APC will write to the Councillors suggesting that they should create a rota to ensure that at least one of them attends each APC meeting. Why bother? As we regularly comment, only one of five local Tory WLBC members lives in the parish, the others being three from Halsall and one from Haskayne. If the political party they represent dumps candidates on us what else do we expect other than to be ignored?

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | August 15, 2017

Cutting Half Of The Town Green Grass

Whoever holds the contract for cutting grass on the Town Greens ought to be paid half the fee if the most recent activity is supposedly job done! As locals will know the Aughton Town Greens are split by Whalley Drive. So we can only wonder why the Town Green grass nearest to the Aughton Surgery hasn’t been cut  whereas the other half behind the bus shelter has.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | August 11, 2017

Meeting The Council Budget Challenge?

There is much furore in the press about local council savings, or less to spend on services, mainly because of central government austerity. Take more council tax, reduce services, make charges for what council tax is imposed for, and then have the audacity to hold a “consultation” event viz “Residents and organisations in West Lancashire are invited to give their views on the Borough Council’s proposals for savings, efficiencies and increases in income totalling £310,000. Service users and residents, along with local community groups, organisations and businesses, can give their views through the “Meeting the Budget Challenge” page on the website. Comments can also be submitted by letter and email. The closing date is 3 September and the Council will consider the results in October 2017”.

The consideration? Just as in past consultations the views, probably very few given despite the size of the borough population, will be blandly ignored. Travel concessions ended for elderly and disabled residents and created social exclusion, housing, planning, local issues like the Burscough Parish Referendum on Yew Tree Farm, the Aughton Parrs Lane campaign, we could go on forever. It’s all just a matter of going through the motions to say “we consulted”.

But one issue keeps on and on recurring, the number of council members and their allowances. 54 members costing us £343,565 in total allowances. In Knowsley the council was reduced by almost a third as the authority made budget cuts after the Local Government Boundary Commission published its recommendations following an eight-week consultation. It said the council could be represented by 45 councillors in future, rather than the current 63. Council leader Andy Moorhead said it was a tough decision, but the right one. “Quite simply, it means that us as councillors have to work that bit harder,” he said. “We’re asking our employers to do exactly the same, I think it’s fair that we do the same.”

Max Caller, chair of the Commission, said he believed the plans deliver “electoral equality” for voters as well as “reflecting the identities” of the communities in Knowsley. He added that he was “extremely grateful” to people across Knowsley who took the time to send their views.

In a letter to the Champion this week  there is a drastic suggestion offered by way of WLBC being one of the most expensive boroughs in the whole of Lancashire in terms of allowances for councillors who apparently have fewer responsibilities compared to neighbouring authorities, so “lose Skelmersdale” and let it be absorbed into either Wigan or Merseyside. Perish the thought that this could bring the remainder of West Lancashire back into the ruinous hands of the WallyCons? And of course we have the “two council hats” member for Wyre and WLBC Councils, Moon, absent now for both recent Full Council Meetings, Wyre on 7th July and WLBC on 19th July. August is closed down for meetings, is it beyond belief that members can use that closure for their own ends? Moon’s current WLBC Full Council attendance rate is 60%, should he and others with low attendance rates at the decision making meetings be paid pro rata their allowances? Why not put THAT option out to consultation?

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | August 10, 2017

The Costs Of Election Winner And Loser

The official candidate costs for the recent General Election show a small cash margin for a big voting difference between the Labour and Conservative candidates. The Tory party spent £12,211  to achieve 20,341 votes on its failure, while Labour spent £11,927  to achieve 32,030 votes on its victory.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | August 10, 2017

Town Green New Look Cockbeck

The Town Green Co-op store opened a few minutes ago, very smart, nice bench outside for Ted and Doris to rest on . Elsewhere, just a few yards away, Winifred Lane triangle, not so smart, in fact downright disgraceful with rampant grass and weeds  [click pics to enlarge]. The Aughton Parish Council will meet on Monday, not that the appearance of Aughton is on its agenda.

Aughton Parish Council. A Short Meeting Of The Parish Council Will Be Held On Monday, 14 August 2017, In Aughton Village Hall Annexe, Commencing At 7.30pm For Planning, Parish Finance And Urgent Matters Only (Plans Available From 7.15pm). The June APC Minutes show that The Chairman said County Councillor Greenall was taking up the matter of Long Lane [traffic and speeding] with LCC Highways and the police. He thought LCC money should be provided for a SPID, as in some other areas, and only after exhausting all avenues and, providing the statistics proved a need, would APC money be considered”. Perhaps road safety of local residents might become a first rather than a last option when APC is cash rich and drawing very little, if any, interest?



Posted by: westlancashirerecord | August 9, 2017

Incident At Halsall Polling Station 8 June 2017

In a remarkable response to the events at the Halsall Polling Station in June, reported on WLR, we can now confirm from the official Police Log a series of Police Operational decisions which show that not only was an Armed Response Unit dedicated as a Police Divisional resource for the election, and deployed, but that there is also now a dedicated Divisional Police resource for Fracking Protest.

What is also confirmed beyond doubt is that the original complaint received third hand from a WLBC Employee, from local resident Cllr David Westley, was that “an anti Fracking protest had been set up, outside the Polling station on Halsall Road at Halsall” . This claim is debunked by the Police Log, that “It was not initially clear the numbers involved until informant, having re contacted the Polling Station, advised that there were indeed only two persons” and that “ The Sergeant reported that 4 persons  had set up a Gazebo with the land owner’s permission. They were some considerable distance from the Polling station and were not actively approaching any voters but were happy to speak with anyone who approached them. They were local residents and left at 20:30hrs, without incident”.

The Operational Log states “…West Lancs Geographic Insp. Was on duty, to assist with the reassurance operation and oversee the policing operation at the “Count”. Attended the Polling station as the local “protesters” were leaving. Speak with staff for general update on the operation and any welfare issues. Resume after a short visit to return to Count Location…dedicated Divisional resource for Fracking protest, was not deployed, heard the incident via Police radio, self deployed, arrived and immediately resumed…Armed Response Unit – dedicated Divisional resource for the Election, were on patrol in West Lancs and self deployed to the incident and resumed prior to Insp’s arrival. These units carry two officers”.

The Police Log concludes with the Geographic Inspector West Lancashire stating that “This incident has incurred no extra cost to the Constabulary, above the dedicated resources in place for the Election. There were no deployments of staff that were not dedicated resources to the Election operation and no deviation to normal Police resilience for the area. The Armed Response Vehicle was on roving patrol and at that time was in West Lancashire offering further visible presence. ARVs regularly self deploy or are despatched, to non firearms incidents and are a vital resource when managing demand. I am not aware of any unmarked BMW in that location, or being used on this operation. I attended in an unmarked Vauxhall Corsa and although I did not see ARV at the Polling Station, I did see them in Burscough and Ormskirk, in a fully liveried BMW”.

The conclusion to this sorry episode must be that if we accept as is claimed there has been no extra cost to the Constabulary, there has been a sheer waste of Constabulary time by the spurious claim as confirmed that a “protest” was taking place, not the matter of local residents so concerned by the issuing of fracking licences for virtually all of the local area that they were simply providing leaflets to other local residents who asked for them.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | August 7, 2017

Opening Of Town Green’s Co-op

Apparently the new “Town Green’s Co-op”   [click to enlarge] will be officially opened on Thursday by the Deputy Mayor Cllr Noel Delaney. How strange that while the role of the mayoralty is under consideration for dilution this new commercial enterprise attracts the “official blessing” of WLBC.

Why wasn’t a local, Aughton, dignitary asked to cut the ribbon? We have five councillors, although only one, Cllr O’Toole, lives in Aughton proper, the other four being residents of Halsall and Downholland. Cllr O’Toole is well versed in local official openings, having attended the Town Green Brasserie and the Moor Hall events. We have three Borough Aldermen too, Grant, Roberts, and Atherley, all members of the Aughton Parish Council. Perhaps the Co-op has connections that enable the Deputy Mayor to officiate instead?

Meanwhile, there is a local rumour circulating about the possible return of Dr David Gallagher  to the Aughton Parish Council, to fill one of its vacancies. Dr Gallagher is a former chairman of the APC. A long time Tory who fought impossible to win borough council seats while nepotism and peculiar selection procedures (favouritism) put others in safe Tory Aughton seats, Dr Gallagher joined UKIP and was actually the first ever UKIP chair of the APC, indeed possibly the first ever non-Tory chair before being given the elbow, but I stand to be corrected. Perhaps all will be revealed at the next APC meeting?

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