Posted by: westlancashirerecord | June 26, 2017

Canvassing? Who For?

“Nice afternoon leafleting in the Derby Ward by-election on Thursday” says Cnty Cllr Paul Greenall  on twitter. Which party? Too embarrassed to mention his own local Tory party with the leader who accused him of being snide? Possibly.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | June 25, 2017

Parrs Lane Potato Crop

While Parrs Lane continues to do what it has always done, grow a fine crop, this year potatoes , the legal crap continues its growth too. The saga of the “not so sound” Local Plan drags on, now into late January 2018 for the Redrow appeal  although the change to the Cabinet and Committee Room at WLBC [click to read] seems an odd choice if multiple “concerned of Aughton” residents want to turn up to witness proceedings. Better to watch the spuds grow?

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | June 24, 2017

In The Dead Of Night Democracy Was Damaged

They came in the dead of night, and did their work . Whoever they are, they don’t like democracy. They sneak around and bring more attention to the OWL poster than it may have had before. Stupid people! Seems the OWLs are up for the fight regardless [click to enlarge] 

 

 

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | June 24, 2017

A Temple Of Gastronomy À La Mode

Such is the description given to Aughton’s Moor Hall, billed as “a restaurant with rooms”. And what a temple! And how mode! All as described by a swept away Daily Telegraph reporter “You could put a baby to bed on the cushioned lilac carpet in my massive bedroom (there are seven) and although not my taste (silver, glass, purple, white leather, satin) it was luxurious, with a spacious bathroom and a huge bed” she wrote.

“As for the food, served on local pottery, it tasted natural, seasonal and delicious. These days, the fashion is for luxury with an earthy twist. Hence those plates, peppered with shards of rubble  from the renovations. Sheffield knives whose blades rest in blocks fashioned from medieval timber pegs found on site”. Lunch 3 course menu costs £35 per person, 5 course tasting menu costs £65 per person, 8 course tasting menu costs £95 per person. And for Dinner, 8 course tasting menu costs £95 per person and a 5 course tasting menu costing £65 per person. Cheap as chips?

Who is the local potter? As yet we haven’t found one in Aughton, not a pottery in sight! You can imagine the excitement if they find some Civil War musket balls, as have been found in the area including nearby Parrs Lane which was the site of the Battle Of Aughton Moss Aughton Moor sometime around 1644, now of course the site of the Battle of Redrow and Wainhomes.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | June 23, 2017

Police Cash For Community Projects

Do you recall being told that “Mr Grunshaw has promised that any increase in council tax will be directed to local policing to maintain teams” when the Police and Crime Commissioner wanted more money?  Having  taken an increase it seems that it wasn’t all directed to local policing but £80,000 of it was given to groups and organisations for Community Action. Read the Champion report of it here

By chance, also reported in the Champion, the Big Lottery Fund handed out huge sums of money to local community groups. Read the Champion report here  [click to read both].

Doesn’t it seem odd that while the PCC is given increases year on year from direct taxation but doesn’t spend it all on policing, the Big Lottery Fund gives money from people voluntarily gambling on the National Lottery and it goes to the same type of community schemes? How many SPIDs to help make dangerous roads safer would £80,000 buy?

 

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | June 22, 2017

Aughton Parish Council Accounts Meeting

 AN EXTRAORDINARY MEETING OF THE PARISH COUNCIL WILL BE HELD ON WEDNESDAY, 28 JUNE 2017, IN AUGHTON VILLAGE HALL ANNEXE, COMMENCING AT 8PM TO CONSIDER AND APPROVE THE ACCOUNTS FOR YEAR ENDING 31 MARCH 2017

AGENDA
1. APOLOGIES – to receive
2. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – to receive and note Dispensations
3. BALANCED RECEIPTS & PAYMENTS ACCOUNT FOR YEAR ENDING 31 MARCH 2017 – to receive and approve
4. ANALYSIS OF ACCOUNTS – to receive and approve
5. INCOME & EXPENDITURE ACCOUNT – to receive and approve
6. BALANCE SHEET FOR YEAR ENDING 31 MARCH 2017 – to receive and approve
7. SUPPORTING STATEMENT – to receive and approve
8. ANNUAL RETURN FOR YEAR ENDING 31 MARCH 2017: SECTION 1 – ANNUAL GOVERNANCE STATEMENT 2016/17 – to receive and approve
9. ANNUAL RETURN FOR YEAR ENDING 31 MARCH 2017: SECTION 2 – ACCOUNTING STATEMENTS 2016/17 – to receive and approve

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | June 21, 2017

Champion Letter

This week’s top Champion letter includes subjects galore on the state of our borough, ranging from the number of councillors, their allowances, the state of the roads and towns, and bus services or lack of them. The writer Barrie French has campaigned for a long time about the weight safety of the Derby Street Bridge and may have become the nemesis of County Councillor John Fillis in so doing.  [click to enlarge] Mr French does raise the issue of pride in our towns. Is there any? Perhaps the highly paid WLBC Chief Executive might include these matters in her internal group meetings? Or do officers see the borough through rose coloured spectacles?

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | June 21, 2017

Derby Ward By-Election Hots Up

Vote for OWL Ian Davis for Derby Ward and you’ve voted for a Tory In Disguise, or alternatively you’ve voted Labour. Either way, it seems OWL has terrified the life out of our two main parties, and it’s all down to one man. Adrian Owens, by the published admission of the Tory candidate, split the Tory vote and let Labour win seats on the County and Borough councils. Or, according to Labour “…now we need to take Derby ward off the turmoil Torys and keep the Tory OWL party from getting another TID (Tory in Disguise) on West Lancs Borough Council”.

According to the WallyCons “Voting Our West Lancashire is a vote for Labour”  [click pics to enlarge]. Is the Conservative Party led by Wally frightened of a “protest group [of one!] intent on grabbing a newspaper headline”?

Houlgrave, beaten out of sight in Up Holland in 2016, is now a retread for Derby ward. Just as Stephenson, beaten in Halsall in 2016, was a retread for Aughton Park. Is there no new talent in the WallyCons as they slide away into oblivion?

Readers of the WallyCons leaflet will see reference to scrapping Labour’s unfair Green Bin Tax. We can surmise they didn’t consult two hatted Wyre and WLBC Cllr Moon who voted both ways on green bin taxes and probably understands more about personal member allowances than much else.

Houlgrave, home address at Croasdale House, Croasdale Drive, Parbold, makes much of wanting “Derby ward to be an even better place in which to live and raise a family” . Her personal details show she declared sponsorship and “election expeses [sic]”  from South Ribble Conservative Association. How much might the Derby ward electorate see of this WallyCon if she is elected? About as much as Aughton ever saw of the Westleyphants and Ms Bailey, not much.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | June 20, 2017

Salus Populi Suprema Lex

When you read a statement that a council Chief Executive chose her career “for the difference councils can make to the quality of life in an area, and for the value of local democracy”, you might be forgiven for thinking this couldn’t be West Lancashire.

How could it be, as we reflect on the inequality of life faced by many of us, exposed from the appalling 2010 Audit Commission report on housing and its ‘poor’, zero-star rating. “The inspection covered areas of the services including repair and improvement of homes; rent collection; dealing with anti-social behaviour; tenant involvement; dealing with empty homes; value for money and sheltered housing. West Lancashire Borough Council is providing a ‘poor’ housing management service which has “uncertain’ prospects for improvement”. There were faulty gas boilers in council homes.

It cost us “£500,000 up front from existing budgets to support the work already undertaken to meet the Improvement Plan, including procurement of the new housing computer system”. And it cost an estimated further £220,000 to be invested in delivering the “Improvement Plan” and sustaining the level of improvements required by the TSA regulatory regime.

In a quite remarkable statement by the WLBC Chief Executive she has invoked the Borough Council’s Latin Motto “Salus Populi Suprema Lex”  which she explains translates as “The Wellbeing of the People, the Supreme Law”.

We know what it means. We wrote about it and described how in August 2014 WLBC was “The council that stole our old age”. In 2011 we reminded people how useless we thought Wally was even then, by him stating in 2009 “In order to help balance the budget we are taking money from reserves…”. In January 2011 WLBC was proposing taking away the travel concession from a large group of the council tax payers whose money was used to build up those massive reserves, elderly and disabled council tax payers. Social exclusion, discrimination, replaced the Wellbeing of the People. The Supreme Law never existed for us as it did for others.

So our Chief Executive has stated that “Several times a year, together with Heads of Service, I meet with Senior Managers to discuss topical issues. Typically these sessions involve an update from me, and presentations/workshops led by Services, and on this occasion we had an external speaker Dawn Yates-Obe from Effective Training [NB at what cost to council tax payers, we might ask?].

“In my update this time I focussed on why I chose a career in local government: for the difference that Councils can make to the quality of life in an area; and the value of local democracy. I spoke about the vision for the Borough, and how, as officers of the Council, we support the Council and Councillors in delivering the Council’s priorities and statutory responsibilities.

“The Council’s Latin motto is as relevant today as it was when it was first conceived: “The Wellbeing of the People: The Supreme Law”. [NB The district was formed in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, as a merger of Ormskirk and Skelmersdale and Holland urban districts, along with part of West Lancashire Rural District and part of the former Wigan Rural District]. I spoke about the importance of the effective and efficient use of resources, of drawing on best practice and research as to what works, of striving for outstanding customer service; remaining ‘current’, whilst recognising that not all residents are tech-savvy. I spoke of the need for excellent processes, policies and procedures to guide our work; of being inclusive and consistent, and the importance of partnership and advocacy, in meeting the needs of our communities.

“I updated Managers on some of the key developments and achievements across Services, over the last 6 – 12 months, and spoke about the issues and priorities for Councils going forward.

“I concluded by thanking Managers and their teams for really good progress over the last year, as demonstrated by performance figures. It is important to continue to maintain this effort, and also to look for improvements wherever possible, notwithstanding the budget challenge facing the Council, alongside other Councils. Managers also took away some questions for discussion in teams for feedback by 24 July. Please do get involved in the discussions”.

So does this “really good progress” include the state of the Beacon Park Golf Course landfill development and the private profits created on this public asset ? Does it include the leisure policies that gave Serco Leisure Services an extended contract that protects it from the cuts just about every other service is being hammered by? Does it include the flooding issues in Burscough where raw sewage appears in some streets there on a regular basis? Is that a priority “going forward”, or probably not? What about the “top of the league table” of member allowances  for 54 members when some members have already admitted that number should be cut to 36?

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | June 19, 2017

Will OWLs Clean Up The Derby Ward Election?

In what is sure to be a close contest for the Derby ward by-election OWLs  are showing they can clean up what others neglect. They took their cleaning equipment to a filthy bus shelter  in the ward and left it in pristine condition . Now, can they mop up the seat? They think so as they claim…”West Lancashire Borough Council made a surplus on its Revenue Account of £391,000 in the last financial year equivalent to 5% on council tax.

money

“Now, Our West Lancashire is calling for a reversal of recent changes saying they are not necessary. Councillor Adrian Owens, who served as the Council’s Finance Portfolio Holder for six years said “The council have been saying they are having to making cuts to balance the books, but these figures showing a large cash surplus for the last financial year show this isn’t the full picture. There was no need to introduce a charge for garden waste collection or the damaging cut to the funding of the Wellbeing Centre for Older People in Ormskirk. They should be reversed.”

He concluded “Currently our streets and verges look unkempt and uncared for. The council should spend some of this surplus, which is residents’ money after all, on providing the services that matter to residents”.

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