Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 2, 2016

WLBC Chief Executive’s Mainly Meetings Update

webber212 Over the last two weeks, the emphasis has been on some key strategic projects, preparations for the next meeting of Council on Wednesday 14 December, and hellos and goodbyes. On Monday 21 November I attended the Lancashire Chief Executives’ (Combined Authority) meeting, and following this accompanied the Leader of the Council to the Shadow Combined Authority Meeting. Talk was of progress on the creation of a Combined Authority for Lancashire, and the options that may be available in relation to a future devolution deal. I will keep people updated over the next few months, with any developments.

On Tuesday 22 November I chaired an internal winter preparations meeting, and my thanks go to Dave Tilleray, Director of Leisure and Wellbeing; Andrew Hill, Environmental Protection and Community Safety Manager; and Jenny Jones, Emergency Planning Officer, together with representatives from services, for the work they have done in updating our plans and procedures in the event of extreme weather events. The information provided to the public has also been reviewed and updated in keeping with Lancashire Resilience Forum advice. Please visit the winter pages of the West Lancashire Borough Council website to see the information.

On Wednesday 23 November, I was delighted to attend and speak at the first meeting of the Skelmersdale Ambassadors. There was a high attendance at this event, with 80 individuals and businesses taking part, and a series of really interesting speakers including Mellors Catering Services, Fairbanks Environmental Limited and Growth Lancashire. The event was sponsored by the Council and compered by Tony Rankin of Hotter Shoes, and it was a fantastic opportunity to network with local businesses. I am grateful to Paula Huber, Economic Regeneration Manager, and her team for organising it so successfully. Skelmersdale Ambassadors is one of the Place initiatives for Skelmersdale arising out of the Council’s Economic Development Strategy. Designed to raise the profile of Skelmersdale as a place of opportunity and growth, participants were asked to tweet #Skelmersdale is great. For further information please contact Tracey Shaw on 01695 712555. 

Also on Wednesday 23 November, Dave Tilleray and I held our periodic catch up meeting with Keith Ashcroft, Area Manager for Cumbria & Lancashire; Ruth Forrester, Senior Advisor – Land Drainage Futures; and Dale Gibbons (who will be taking over from Ruth temporarily) from the Environment Agency. It was useful to touch base on the key areas of interest and the Tawd Valley Project which we are jointly involved in.

On Friday 25 November it was lovely to see Ormskirk town centre looking so beautiful for the lights switch on. The additional Christmas market events and attractions proved very popular and it was good to see such a large turnout. Thanks go to those involved from the Leisure, Regeneration and Technical Services teams.

On Thursday 1 December, I was pleased to chair the first meeting of the newly formed Lancashire Economic Development Officers Group. Key items included the refresh of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Single Economic Plan, and opportunities for joint working and project development.

On Friday 2 December I had a meeting with Martin Kelly, Director of Economic Development at LCC, and Michele Lawty-Jones, Director of the Lancashire Skills Hub – Lancashire LEP, to talk about work going on in Lancashire in relation to skills. This was a really informative session and very helpful to me as Chair of the Lancashire Economic Development Officers Group.   Finally on Friday 2 December, we said goodbye to Bob Livermore, Director of Housing and Inclusion, after 15 years of service at West Lancs. It was emotional to say goodbye to Bob, a much valued and trusted colleague, and it was lovely to see so many people at his presentation to celebrate his many achievements over the years. We wish him well on his retirement, and every happiness for the future with Elaine and his family. Bob is pictured with me bobwebber

Pending the new Director of Housing and Inclusion taking up their role, from Monday 5 December, John Harrison, Director of Development and Regeneration, will deputise for me in my absence, alongside Dave Tilleray, Director of Leisure and Wellbeing, and Shaun Walsh will take over the role of Director of Housing and Inclusion on an interim basis. Shaun will be supported by Phil Holland, as Deputy Director of Housing and Inclusion [Property] (Interim), Leigh McFarlane, as Deputy Director of Housing and Inclusion [Operations] (Interim), and Steve Jones, as Borough Transformation Manager (Interim). Phil Samosa continues in his role of Director of Street Scene (Interim).


  1. Winter Preparations Meeting? What preparation do you need never to respond to severe weather events? May I remind the CEO of Boxing day 2015?

    • They think having “meetings bloody meetings” justifies the salaries they are paid. But it’s actions that speak louder then words. What I’m always surprised by is the appearance of politicians at these floods, like Boxing Day last year, but hardly a senior officer in sight!

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