Posted by: westlancashirerecord | February 14, 2017

Valentines Day Report On The Kissing Gate

Is the County Council in the dark about the Aughton Grotspot? It seems appropriate to report on our kissing gate on Valentines Day so here below are the exchanges so far.

Me 23 January-To Cllr O’Toole “I am writing with some urgency to advise you of the serious deterioration of the concrete post and wooden fencing at the Junction of Footpath 25 and The Serpentine. This matter has been raised by me on several occasions, to warn councillors that the concrete post is being forced over by roots of a nearby large tree. I have reported that this footpath is used by parents who park their cars in The Serpentine and walk their children to Town Green School via Prescot Road. Today the concrete post has tilted to an even more dangerous angle, taking some of the wooden fencing with it. I hope I am still not having to remind you of this problem with the serious consequences of an accident to a child if it is ignored any longer. I attach pictures taken a few minutes ago” footpathpics-002 footpathpics-001.

Same day-From Cllr O’Toole “I have reported your concerns to the appropriate LCC dept”. David O’Toole Conservative Whip LCC

From Cllr O’Toole 25 January- “Further to my acknowledgement of your earlier email I have now received a reply from LCC. Please note below I have spoken to a colleague who says there are works planned for improving the surface of footpath Aughton 25 and removing a kissing gate that inhibits access. Although the fence post is not on a public right of way (it is on the unrecorded cut-through that joins it) and is the responsibility of the adjacent landowner it seems that a practical solution is for our contractor to remove it whilst on site”. David O’Toole

Me 6 Feb To Cllr O’Toole- “A week ago, on 26th January, a contractor believed to be from LCC was observed pulling out shrubs on the pavement area discussed below. Local residents assumed the entire pavement section from the kissing gate to 278 Prescot Road would be attended to, so as to have full use of that pavement. It is so narrow because the owners of property there have fenced inside their hedges, leaving the hedges to grow untended. Health and safety matters for all pavement users, be they pedestrians, wheelchair users, babies in prams, ought to be paramount. So the shrubs pulled out, we thought, was a start, the wider space becoming available. Sadly it was the end, apparently, as a few days later the same shrubs were re-planted without the rubbish that had lain beneath them having been removed. What is worse, the shrubs have been re-planted without pruning and are intruding across the pavement yet again. I attach a picture aughtgrot0402-002.

I can only describe this as one of the most ridiculous of responses to a problem. It must also be costly too, as the original work was done on a Sunday, possible attracting double time work rates. As for the offending dangerous leaning concrete post, it remains as dangerous as it was without any attention to it. We residents have wondered why notices drawing attention to the danger have not appeared there. One wheelchair user is unfortunately forced to take the longer route now and is consequently discriminated against. Might you be able to raise this matter yet again on our behalf, possibly to obtain some official timetable for the works? You might suggest the parish councillors for Town Green, Mr Walne and Ms Woolgar, could join you in a site visit with an LCC officer? While I am writing I also draw your attention to one sodium light in the car park of Town Green School left on day and night, and one highway light at the corner of Parrs Lane and Prescot Road also left on day and night”.

From Cllr O’Toole 8 Feb- “However I am assured by senior LCC officers that the contractor hasn’t started work yet. In fact LCC say “they no idea who Mr Lenton is referring to”.

8 Feb to Cllr O’Toole- “There is an old saying that “what can’t speak can’t lie” and that is why I am enclosing a picture aughtgrot-003 taken at the scene of the “situation I refer to” and I can provide others, that a contractor HAD started work. From memory the plastic barriers might have the name “Hughes” on them, but I am not certain even from a close-up. Your LCC assurance therefore seems to be a fallacy? I can provide a witness statement if it is required. As for any other opinion quoted by an Aughton resident that is a matter of individual choice? My response as written on 6 February is reasonable, makes suggestions for warnings of risks from the concrete post, and helpfully draws attention to financial waste caused by permanent lighting”.

8 Feb to Cllr O’Toole- “Further to my earlier reply I attach another picture aughtgrot-006 which is rather more proof that work on clearing the overgrown shrubs was being undertaken. I believe the company involved was “DT Hughes Contractors” and its website states they “are a family run Private Limited Company employing over 70 permanent members of staff from our Headquarters in Liverpool. We have established ourselves as one of the North West’s key service providers to the civil engineering and utility construction sector. The company’s core activities cover utility works, project management, domestic building construction and grab wagon hire. For all enquiries please contact us by phone on 0151 525 0527 “.

Update? There is no update, no more footpath Aughton 25 work done hence the danger remains, although the school light is off but the public highway light remains in energy waste mode. Almost opposite the pavement in question there is a CCTV facility paid for by Aughton taxpayers. It might occur to Cllr O’Toole to have it examined just in case the images prove him right, that no work has been done. In which case what can’t speak will have lied?

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