Posted by: westlancashirerecord | August 22, 2017

It’s All A Question Of Cost

Freedom of Information request to WLBC “I am writing to ask for the annual costs for the past three years to tax payers of the Public Notices published in the local free press, notably the Champion . In recent weeks there have been double pages of Public Notices relating to road works and planning applications covering the entire borough. On 12 July alone there is a half page devoted to the Granville Park Conservation Area in Aughton. By what statute should all council tax payers fund this publicity of a matter local to Aughton, and others relating to local wards across the borough? As for road works, the relevant authority Lancashire County Council publishes its own “Lancashire Roadworks Bulletin” online with a page of it devoted to West Lancashire. Why are they then published by public funding in a newspaper? And what assessment does the WLBC make of the cost effectiveness of its paid press advertising?

WLBC replied “Q1: The annual cost for the past three years are: For public notices relating to planning applications the following expenditure has been incurred: 2015/16 £10,764.76; 2016/17 £ 9,223.50; 2017/18 £ 3275.00. For local Plan public notices the following expenditure: 2015/16 £535.50; 2016/17 £972.40; 2017/18 £200.12.

Q2: The need to provide public notices to advertise changes to Conservation Areas is laid down by statute under the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. Local authorities are required to publish a notice in at least one local newspaper and in the London Gazette   Yes, we tell London about our Conservation Areas! The procedures state that the notice must provide sufficient detail to enable the area and changes to be identified and sample formats are provided to be followed. Failure to follow the procedures could leave the Council open to legal challenge.

Q3: It is cost effective for a single notice to be published in the Champion Newspapers rather than separate notices published in different newspapers covering different parts of the borough. The practice of using different newspapers was ceased some years ago and the Council has seen a reduction in expenditure from £20k pa to approx. £10k pa. Well thank goodness for that!

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