Posted by: westlancashirerecord | August 9, 2016

Aughton Parish Council Short Meeting Took Too Long

I attended the APC last night aughtweb, which was, as Chairman Ian Grant told us, the “short meeting” it being August and all. So 9 Parish Councillors, 1 Parish Clerk, and 6 members of the public presumably licked their lips at thoughts of a quick return for a pint of Guinness or something similar. Just shows you how wrong you can be!

The good news started with who wasn’t there. No local ward borough councillors attended to hear our thoughts on “Meeting the [Borough] Budget Challenge 2016”, probably because they might be damned by pre-determination? I jest of course, do they know what that means? So no O’Toolery, no Sailor Sam, no Westleyphants, and is there ever a Bailey?

The main proposals for the Borough Budget Challenge are: Introducing an annual charge of £30 to collect garden waste; Ceasing garden waste collections during the winter; Modest reductions in the number of CCTV cameras in areas with lower crime rates and in live monitoring in off peak periods; A review of street cleaning work; A new approach to public toilets provision. Of these, all of which were thrown open to the public for views, there was downright opposition to the £30 although might it be on ability to pay, acceptance of a winter break in green collections, opposition to any reduction in CCTV services, and what would a review of street cleaning work mean other than we watch our blocked gullies cause street flooding? The Aughton approach to public toilet provision is not to be caught short!

Formal question time included references to Long Lane speeding, crime posters relating to criminal drug activity, the condition of the Town Greens, and an appreciation that a recently vandalised Parish notice board was repaired. There have been five crimes in Aughton this month, including the attempted theft of a cycle, damage to car doors, an attempted burglary thwarted by a resident, one daytime burglary in Butchers Lane, and criminal damage to a tree. We also suffered from 11 episodes of anti-social behaviour, now including young people on bikes out late at night when they should be in the charge of their parents!

As for our concerns about speeding on Long Lane, a subject raised at virtually every parish council meeting, spending of parish funds on a SPID is making no progress. As the Chairman said last night, it and any other spending needs must be discussed at a parish finance committee. So with circa £102,000 in investments and earning the Treasury rate of interest, or virtually bugger all, we residents can go cap in hand to ask for our money to be spent and the short answer is no but we will talk about it and then say no!

Notwithstanding this being an intended short meeting, I left at 8.50 before the end. It can make you lose the will to attend such meetings, and I probably have lost mine. Mentally I awarded the parish councillors an honorary MA from the University of Life, Master of Avoidance, unioflife or how not to respond to those who they apparently serve.

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