Monthly Archives: August 2020

Boris Johnson Sacks Most Senior Education Official

Boris Johnson has sacked the most senior civil servant at the Department for Education in the growing fallout from the exams fiasco and the U-turn over masks in schools.
Jonathan Slater has been told by Sir Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, that he is to leave his position by the end of the week. He is expected to be in line for a six-figure pay-out, believed to be £200,000. But he was due to leave next spring anyway!

Surely he could have been put in charge of the paper-clip department for just a few months more, or is he under oath NOT to tell us how bad things really are at Education? And of course the OBE will follow, you be sure of it!

West Lancashire Coronavirus News

In what seems to have been an incorrect recording of coronavirus infections in the West Lancashire Ormskirk & Southport NHS Trust hospitals, the total number of infections has been reduced to 789.

Public Health England has reported 49 confirmed coronavirus infections cases across Lancashire today. Three more coronavirus patients have died in Lancashire hospitals, according to NHS England. East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust recorded all three of the latest fatalities.

While Rosie Cooper MP Seeks Assurances On Flood Pumps Future

While West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has sought assurances from the Environment Agency and Government about the future of local flood pumps “local pictures tell a thousand words”.

There remains concern about the five flood pumps in the Alt Crossens catchment which serve and protect the West Lancashire area from flooding. The EA gave notice of its intention to cease operating these pumps back in 2015, but this notice has been extended pending resolution of legislative problems which prevent the formation of a local water management board. The latest extension runs until 31 March 2021.

With flooding incidents continuing in West Lancashire while the pumps remain in operation, Rosie has raised concern that there may still be intention to cease operation which could only exacerbate the current situation. She has said 24th August, 2020 “We’ve seen again parts of West Lancashire and particularly Burscough flooding in recent weeks and that is even with the continued operation of the five flood pumps.

“I and many residents fear that should the notice for the Environment Agency to cease operation of these pumps be followed through on that homes, businesses and agricultural farmland could all be subject to increased flooding.

“I have received an interim update from the EA to say they will continue to operate the pumps until legislation is passed allowing for the formation of a local water management board, but would then seek to transfer ownership and operation to the newly formed body.

“I have written to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs seeking a detailed update on the flood pump situation here in West Lancashire and asking what progress has been made to bring through the required legislation. Failure to address the future drainage and water management arrangements, will mean that when those pumps are turned off, agricultural land and residents’ homes in the Alt Crossens area is at the mercy of the weather.

“We can’t have food producing land waterlogged again, more homes at risk and homes that have been flooded facing increased risk and incidents. There needs to be some progress”.





County Highways Teams Are Ready For Storm Francis

Lancashire County Council is fully prepared to keep the county moving and respond to any impacts as a result of Storm Francis.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for high winds and heavy rain from this afternoon (Tuesday) until Wednesday morning. The storm brings the potential for disruption to travel as a result of debris and surface water flooding on roads.

The county council’s highway teams are on standby to deal with whatever the weather brings, whether there’s a need to remove downed trees, or minimise the impact of floods by diverting traffic and removing storm debris from drains. Highways teams have already been inspecting and clearing trash screens from drainage systems which are most vulnerable to flooding in readiness for the storm.

External contractors are also available to be called upon to add to the council’s manpower should they be needed. People should report any urgent problems on the roads caused by the storm which do not require an emergency response to local police by calling 101, so they can pass any issues onto highway teams as necessary.

John Davies, head of highways, said “Parts of Lancashire have already suffered flooding this month due to the unsettled summer weather, and we’re as well prepared as we can be for whatever Storm Francis brings. We hope that Lancashire won’t be too badly affected, but nevertheless our highway teams are ready to deal with incidents such as blocked roads, as well as any other urgent repairs and maintenance that may be needed.

“Unfortunately these heavy rainfall events are becoming part of our new normal as the UK climate changes, bringing weather patterns which our drainage networks were never designed to cope with. The county council is working with the region’s water companies, our city and district councils and the Environment Agency to identify where investing in public drainage infrastructure will be beneficial and bid for funds to mitigate future flooding wherever we can develop viable projects. [UU makes vast profits from domestic users who are flooded, why do they need “bids” for funds?]

“I’d ask people to report any issues with flooding so that we can gather as much information as possible to assist with our investigations and inform any future funding bids. You can also find advice on our website about what to do before, during, and after a flood”. You can find more information and advice at lancashire.gov.uk/flooding.

What you won’t hear about is the use of the “Floating Pump” which is a unique equipment, with unmatched applications and capabilities: – Complete integrated operative unit – Designed for continuous operations – Quick installation and start up – It can be installed and placed in operation, without the need to make civil constructions – Easy relocation and transportation for different pumping areas – Sizes from 16″ Q: 500 lts/sec up to 48″ Q: 5.0 m3/sec.

Looks ideal for Crabtree Lane in Burscough? 

Wally Writes

Hullo, it’s me again.

“It’s a while since I wrote. The coronavirus has affected us all, but here I am in Halsall Towers bearing up under the strain, like all the plebs out there.

“I’m reminded about being out in the fresh air, and playing golf. Not at that land-filled dump of a course at the Beacon Park, but at my own course,

where strangely enough I “Cllr Westley declared a pecuniary interest in respect of planning application 2012/1161/FUL in relation to Hurlston Hall Golf and Country Club, Hurlston Lane, Scarisbrick as he is a member of Hurlston Hall Golf Club and therefore left the Chamber during consideration of this item. Planning Committee Held 7 February 2013”.

“Hurlston Hall isn’t just a golf course it’s a country club too, why else would we join? The golf course was designed by Donald Steel and opened in 1994. It is set in 135 acres of beautiful parkland just a few miles from Southport. Pre-round warm-ups are catered for with a 15-bay powertee equipped driving range and putting green, while pro shop staff are always on hand to help you with any items you may need to re-stock before your round.

“Strangely enough Donald Steel designed the Beacon Park Golf Course. The first round was played at Beacon Park Golf & Country Club in the summer of 1982 when the course was opened by Sir Michael Bonallack and renowned designer Steel himself, but we allowed Serco to wreck it!

“I was of course the portfolio holder when Serco got the leisure contract in 2004.

“My handicap? Oh, that’s easy, it’s my local Tory party! I’m its leader, but there’s nothing to lead, just a rabble really and that’s all for today”.


Rural Crime Watch-Satellite Guidance System Theft Prevention

From Paddy the Rural Policeman

We have seen a sharp rise in thefts of Starfire Receivers locally and nationally across the UK during the last few weeks. It is also possible and has occurred that thieves could target other brands of navigation equipment.

Please review your security NOW and take action before thieves strike at your premises.

Due to the value of these systems they have become a target for rural criminals with screens and receivers being stolen and damage caused to tractors in order to access the cabs to steal these machines. Follow these simple steps to secure your equipment;
• Speak your local dealer who will be able to advise you on any protection methods available for your individual systems.
• Remove all GPS guidance receivers, aerials or antenna globe when not in use and keep them locked away in secure locked place when possible.
• Consider fitting security tethers to devices to stop them being removed.
• Setup a pin code to protect your system should it have this facility.
• Consider marking these with UV pen or engraving your postcode or forensic marking such as Datatag are all options to consider. Machines fitted and registered with certain security markings are 4 times less likely to be stolen and our 6 times more likely to be recovered if they are stolen.
• Store machinery inside locked barns if possible.
• Where locking machines away isn’t an option consider fitting mains or battery operated alarms to outbuildings or around the perimeter of areas where machines are stored.
• If you are considering fitting CCTV then please fit this as well as alarms as part of a wider system. CCTV cannot be relied on fully as this won’t alert you at the time that you have intruders.

• Do you receive alerts from West Lancashire Rural Watch? If you don’t and would like to sign up please visit In The Know -Lancashire http://www.stayintheknow.co.uk – where we can keep you up to date on emerging crime trends.
• CCTV and intruder alarms will deter most thieves but make sure they are checked regularly to ensure they will work when you need them and they are placed in a position that won’t be triggered by animals or foliage moving in the wind.
• Record machinery serial numbers and photographs for reference. This will help police should they be stolen with press releases and social media appeals furthering the chances of the items being recovered.
• Let employees know the security arrangements that are expected of them while working on the farm and ensure they are consistently adhered to.
• Encourage farm staff to be vigilant and report any suspicious behavior or vehicles to the police. We don’t know unless you tell us!

Paddy Stewart – Rural and Wildlife Crime Officer

Protection Of Roman Fort In Burscough

Rosie Cooper reports on having secured commitment from both Historic England and West Lancashire Borough Council for the protection of the Roman Fort in Burscough. Following concerns raised with her she wrote to both agencies and the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to report the discovery of a site in Burscough.
The site is now registered as a Scheduled Monument and has been recognised by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as of ‘national importance’.
Residents were concerned by the potential for irreversible damage at the site and potential harm that may be caused from use of the land as a campsite. This scheduling does not automatically rule out all development but does ensure that no damage takes place to nationally important archaeology, or that if damage can be justified by the public benefits of the proposal it is kept to a minimum and it is properly records by professional archaeologists.

Rosie said “This is fantastic news for Burscough and West Lancashire that the site of a Roman Fort has been found and is now registered for special protection as a site of national importance.

“Future archaeological digs could find out lots of valuable and historic information about the origins of the fort and the wider area. The excitement around this could lead to a tourism boost for Burscough and West Lancashire so I am pleased that the council, Historic England and the Department all recognise the site and will work to ensure its long term protection.

“Historic England tell me that Roman sites being very rare here, and this site is of significant importance as this multi-phase fort fills a gap in understanding of the military occupation of north-west England”.

It’s to be hoped the site doesn’t fall under the curse of “Burscough-under-Water” through neglect of drainage systems in the area by some of the old fossils who seem to represent Burscough on the various “responsible” county and borough?

 

Local Building Wishes

Civic Voice wrote to the government “Covid-19 has demonstrated the incredible spirit of communities uniting to support each other and fight this deadly virus.

“It should be they who drive the national recovery, with the power and voice to shape their local area so that it is a place in which they are proud to live, work and enjoy their time, and where everyone has an opportunity to reach their full potential.

“People want their local area to have high-quality, affordable homes built in the right places, supported by the right infrastructure, providing enough schools, promoting greener travel and tackling climate change.

“This can only be achieved through a local planning system with public participation at its heart, enabling councils to make places resilient, prosperous and capable of meeting the needs of their communities. It means beautiful areas and better homes. We urge the UK Government to keep planning in England local.

“Any suggestion that planning is a barrier to house-building is a myth. Nine in 10 planning applications are approved by councils, while more than a million homes given planning permission in the last decade have not yet been built. Developer land banking?

“Taking further planning powers away from communities and councils will only deprive them of the ability to define the area they live in and know best. It risks giving developers the freedom to ride roughshod over local areas. 

“If the country is to come back stronger from Covid-19 then local communities must be at the heart of the recovery”.

The letter was signed by Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all in the planning world, Local Government Association, Town and Country Planning Association, Royal Institute of British Architects, District Councils’ Network, National Association of Local Councils, Planning Officers Society, the CPRE. Prepare for it to be ignored in pursuit of developers, their profits, and council tax booty, all in the name of the “community”.

Burscough-in-the-Water?

It’s rumoured that residents of Burscough are considering making an application to the Burscough Town Council to change the name of the town to Burscough-in-the-Water to suit the seemingly permanent flooded conditions many people have to live in.

Residents refer to recent and regular appalling floods that ruined homes on the A59 [being like a river], Crabtree Lane, Gowers Gardens, homes backing onto Yew Tree Farm, Mill Lane, Junction Lane and Square Lane, and much of the rest of Burscough.

And now a picture, below, credited to Mark Lund

has emerged on the “The Real Burscough Community Forum” as “Burscough FC the new pond”.

The Planning Application 2018/0837/FUL for 52 houses included a statement “to establish the principles of a future drainage scheme in line with the drainage hierarchy and to ease concerns of local residents”.

Pictures “flooded in” as residents heard about the pond.

    
As the Burscough Residents Flooding Group has stated “There is a separate albeit connected flooding problem in the town, due to the lack of network capacity in the foul and combined sewers caused by building on inadequate United Utility sewers. It has existed for over 10 years and was first identified by UU’s own engineers, but has now got so bad that there are surcharges almost everywhere in heavy rainfall and all the effluent/rainwater cannot get to the Waste Water Treatment Works”.

 Burscough-in-the-Water team have applied to use the pool.  The strongest rumour we have heard is that Serco Leisure, contracted to WLBC for all the borough swimming facilities, wants to keep the new pond as an outdoor swimming experience if they can have it for an annual £1 lease, which is what they pay for the Beacon Park Golf Course. Watch this space!