And on the Labour facebook
Graham Clarkson wrote “Good luck to them. Can I ask who will have responsibility for dealing with the planning/flood management fiasco that is ongoing in Burscough? Although a lifelong Labour supporter and voter, this situation is a shambles and you guys don’t appear to want to be transparent or helpful regarding your input into this. Thoughts please….Good luck to all of the cabinet!”
Labour West Lancashire replied to Graham Clarkson “Flooding is primarily the responsibility of Lancashire County Council as the statutory/designated Local Lead Flood Authority (LLFA) but locally this would continue to fall under the Portfolio Holder for Planning who can be contacted directly on firstname.lastname@example.org”
We suggest that the past is imperfect and the present is crap!
As we all know “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” or, as “The flooding by raw sewage and surface water of some parts of Burscough offends those affected by it”. Readers might find that a reasonable response. WLBC doesn’t.
WLBC states, 11 June 2020 “I do not consider that there has been any lack of transparency regarding the Council’s handling of the planning applications you referred to in your earlier correspondence, namely applications 2019/1182/ARM and 2020/0293/CON.
“As I advised in my previous e-mail, the applications have been dealt with in accordance with the Council’s Constitution, the Council’s procedures for dealing with planning applications and both local and national planning policies”.
We could have a problem here, because the Council has failed disastrously by its Constitutional disregard of due diligence, proven for the Beacon Park Golf Course Serco/Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd development, whereas the WLBC owned Tawd Valley Developments Ltd is required “To ensure due diligence and compliance with procurement rules when engaging contractors to carry out work for TVD”.
Why trust WLBC on planning? It states “Planning conditions are often imposed on the advice of statutory consultees and are related to technical matters such as archaeology, highways or drainage”. But Burscough Flooding Group far excels these “statutory consultees” by its evidence.
No records available
By use of the jobsworth methodology of no records being available WLBC admits “Whilst officers have discussed the Burscough Flooding Group representations verbally internally, and with external bodies for clarification, no specific meetings have been held, and therefore no records are available”. The representations you have submitted relate to flood risk and drainage and the Council has taken advice from the relevant statutory consultees, United Utilities and the Lead local Flood Authority in this regard who have raised no objections.
“Having reviewed the application I am satisfied that officers are following due process and that comments of the Burscough Flooding Group have been included in the report. With regards to previous applications that you have cited in your email of 28 May, these applications have already been determined and were open to challenge at the time through the Judicial Review process. Unfortunately, the timescale for this has now lapsed and therefore these applications remain granted with no recourse to change them. It is for this reason that I will not be instigating an investigation”. No historic investigation then?
“I have, however, noted your comments and dissatisfaction with the service that you have received. For information the Planning Service is due to be reviewed by the council this year and independent consultants will be involved in this process. This will provide an opportunity for us to consider your comments further and make changes to improve the service for the future”.
Burscough Flooding Group responds that “We are aware that there is something seriously wrong within WLBC and, like a lot residents, we know that we aren’t getting the service we expect. We believe that there is an almost complete lack of consideration of residents, Burscough Town Council and BFG views and evidence within the planning consultations. It could be institutional bias, but whatever the cause, it is having a negative effect on the planning process, and development is the main cause in the increasing flooding and drainage issues which Burscough suffers from.
Therefore: a) Will you undertake an investigation in line with your anti-fraud and corruption policies? And if not why not? b) Will you appoint an independent investigator, which is necessary as the problem might be institutional bias? c) What is the scope of your investigation, because you could consider all of the BFG emails and evidence to WLBC dealing with planning issues around YTF, Booths, the 6 homes next to Lordsgate Lane, Victoria Park and the A59 nursing home (BFG can provide you with copies if needed)?
Note: I take your point, “regards to previous applications that you have cited in your email of 28 May, these applications have already been determined and were open to challenge at the time through the Judicial Review process. Unfortunately, the timescale for this has now lapsed and therefore these applications remain granted with no recourse to change them. It is for this reason that I will not be instigating an investigation”. But having no recourse to change them isn’t a sound reason for not investigating recent past planning problems, it is necessary for WLBC to investigate its past mistakes, how else can it learn and improve!”
And “Chief amongst my concerns was that Burscough Flooding Group’s (BFG) representations can’t be meaningfully considered, because the decision makers, United Utilities (UU), West Lancashire Borough Council (WLBC) and Lancashire County (LCC), have all publicly stated that they will not accept drainage/flooding evidence from BFG?”