Above And Below Ground in West Lancashire

As building work started on the new Skelmersdale town centre development, January 2020, the official photo-opportunists were there, sharp spade at the ready for the historic press pictures, cutting the first sod!

Councillor Ian Moran, Leader of West Lancashire Borough Council and portfolio holder for Regeneration, said “This is a special day for the people of Skelmersdale as building work begins to make our new town centre a reality. Over the coming months the town centre development will take shape and we can all look forward to the day when we start shopping in these stores and our children are enjoying the play area.

“I want to thank everyone at West Lancashire Borough Council, St. Modwen, Homes England and all our other partners who have helped make this happen. The scheme proves how ambitious the Council is for the economy of Skelmersdale and West Lancashire as a whole”.

Pictured at the site with the developers were Rosie Cooper MP; Councillor Ian Moran, West Lancashire Borough Council Leader; and Jacqui Sinnott-Lacey, West Lancashire Borough Council Chief Operating Officer.

But below ground

are the inadequate sewers and drains in the flooded areas of the borough. Nobody turns up for photographs, just the flooded-out victims of the appalling “so what” borough flooding policies, victims who collect the evidence of their damaged homes. It’s all to no avail. The Burscough Flooding Group seems to aggravate West Lancashire Borough Council merely by being flooded and complaining about it.

In a recent exchange the Secretary of the Burscough Flooding Group wrote in response to a long council denial of secrecy and lack of transparency in the Council “Only WLBC as our Local Planning Authority, has a specific duty to prevent development driven surface and groundwater water flooding onsite and downstream in Burscough from increasing indefinitely.

“As 2019/1182/ARM and 2020/0293/CON are a fait accompli, can you at least reassure residents now expecting increased flooding, that WLBC will discard its hard hats and rigger boots long enough to undertake the investigations requested into the serious issues raised in May 2020?”

The short answer is, and always will be, no. As with the County Council, United Utilities, and the Burscough developers, repairing the drains and sewers and stopping flooding of parts of Burscough, not to mention Ormskirk and Halsall, costs money. Developing Skelmersdale, Burscough, Halsall and green-belt land for housing produces council tax, revenue. That’s what the election manifestos will show next May. It’s disgraceful.


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