Monthly Archives: September 2020

BBC Bosses Pay Extravaganza

The Taxpayers Alliance has exposed the pay of BBC executives at the expense of public pensioner licences.

The BBC made public the sky-high salaries paid to corporation execs and ‘stars’ this week. Presenters such as Zoe Ball, Graham Norton, and Fiona Bruce all received bumper pay rises despite the Beeb stripping millions of over-75s of their free TV licences.

But BBC bosses are also cashing in. Our BBC Rich List revealed that mega-salaries for senior executives cost licence fee payers a total of £37.5 million in 2019-20. The median salary of a BBC employee is 83 per cent higher compared to the rest of the country.

The Beeb must put an end to golden pay packets for loaded luvvies which are paid for by pensioners and hard-pressed taxpayers.

Brits are fed up of forking out for the licence fee under pain of imprisonment. It’s high time we axed the TV tax, introduced a subscription service and stopped taxpayers’ money going to these media millionaires.

Lancashire, The Backsliding County

It’s not just Lancashire’s dereliction of duty to flooded-out residents of Burscough that reveals its backsliding.

It’s about people who ramble there and in particular from the Manchester bound platform of Burscough Bridge station, at the gate signed to Martin Mere.

You are following a narrow path alongside the railway line. But soon you reach Crabtree Lane, and then after a short walk along the lane (which is always very quiet) you are onto fields.

Which leads us to the furore that got Network Rail off its backside and into some positive action relating to flooding there. Historically this area was once the bottom of the biggest lake in the UK and so it is all very flat!. The lake was drained to produce farmland in around the 18th century.

Our intrepid Crabtree Lane flood victim described his part in highlighting the neglect of his local footpath. “After spending most of the last five and a half weeks on my hands and knees cleaning the mud from my home following the flood on August 11th, I thought I would have a break. They say a change is as good as a rest, so today I diverted my attention to another of our authority’s neglected responsibilities, our over-grown footpaths in Burscough.

“Last year following many complaints from passing ramblers and local walkers about the over grown footpath from Burscough Station through to Crabtree Lane, I started trying to encourage LCC to come and clear it as I believe it is their responsibility.

“I logged a complaint on their website for footpaths, having noted there had already been one complaint. Once my complaint was logged, the other complaint disappeared from the site, so it appears, no matter how many people complain, they will only get to see the previous complaint and never get to find out just how many complaints they have already ignored. Genius, I bet someone got a promotion for thinking that one up, keeping the facts and the truth from the public.

“Anyway, after banging my head against a brick wall and getting nowhere, I cleared it myself. It took eight and a half hours of hard graft. The next day, 2 unrelated people called at my home to shake my hand, they were so grateful. It is good to feel appreciated. LCC should try it!
“For the rest of the year, I don’t believe anyone else maintained this path, so come early summer this year, it was overgrown again. I cut it back then and did it again today. It is tough work, today took five and a half hours as it measures just short of a kilometre by 2 meters wide.

“To the best of my knowledge, Lancashire County Council has not maintained this footpath for at least 5 years. So, here are some questions. Why is Burscough so neglected when it comes to maintenance of the footpaths, the maintenance of the drainage systems including the watercourses that are not kept in the way they were designed to function. The sewers that regularly overflow on the main road through Burscough spraying pedestrians with raw sewage when there is heavy rain as cars pass by.

“Why, when our council tax is increasing, are our public services being constantly run down to the point of failure? The authorities complain about staff reductions and shortages, so this should mean a reduced payroll, so where is all that extra money going?

“Burscough has the greatest amount of development which brings in £millions, not only to the council, but it has to be said United Utilities benefits handsomely from the development as well, yet they can’t bring themselves to spend this money in Burscough. It seems we only exist to be exploited. Burscough is seen as a place to make money but give nothing back.

“Well, this is our home, and some within the authorities cannot be shamed into doing what they are paid for because their number one priority is protecting their budget. Many of us who live here care about our environment and take pride in where we live. It is a shame the authorities have no pride in Burscough”.

“Approx 1km of footpath cleared. No help from Lancashire County Council”.

It shames LCC, It’s now becoming the norm. 

Coronavirus Infections Surge Continues In West Lancashire

The Ormskirk & Southport NHS Trust Hospitals reported 19 new coronavirus infections today. There have now been 927 infections, that’s 811 per 100,000 of the population.

No deaths from coronavirus were reported in the county, but there have been 282 new cases of coronavirus infections confirmed in Lancashire in the last 24 hours, according to new data from Public Health England. The R number, representing the number of people an infected person will pass the virus to, has risen to between 1.1 and 1.4, meaning cases could rise very quickly.

West Lancashire Coronavirus Big Spike

The West Lancashire Ormskirk & Southport NHS Hospitals have reported 23 new coronavirus infections today, and the total has reached 908, that’s 794.4 cases per 100,000 of the population.

West Lancashire is reported to be split somewhat evenly, with nine areas seeing low rises of coronavirus. They are in Hesketh Bank & Tarleton; Scarisbrick, Halsall & Haskayne; Bickerstaffe & Newburgh; Ormskirk North & West; Ormskirk Town & East; Up Holland; Skelmersdale Ashurst; Skelmersdale South East; and Skelmersdale West.

432 new cases of coronavirus infections have been reported across Lancashire in the last 24 hours. Apparently it is the largest daily increase on record. It’s thought to be because of far more people being tested than ever. Sadly one death from coronavirus in Lancashire is reported today.

West Lancashire Borough Council states

Like other areas in the county special measures have been introduced in West Lancashire due to a rise in coronavirus cases. The new local rules will start on 22 September across West Lancashire to stop the disease spreading.

Please share the following regulations with family and friends so we can all keep safe: We cannot have visitors inside our home or in our garden or visit anyone else at their home or garden, unless they are in our support bubble; The food and drink hospitality sector is limited to table service only; Pubs, clubs and other night time attractions must close between 10pm and 5am

 The government is also advising us all to only use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work and to avoid attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators.

Councillor Ian Moran, Leader of West Lancashire Borough Council, said “It’s really sad that these new measures have had to be introduced which have been imposed on us without consultation by national government. I would urge everyone in West Lancashire to stick to the new rules so we can beat coronavirus together. If we don’t we could face further restrictions or even a full local lockdown.”

“All other national guidelines are still in place, and we are still being advised to wash our hands regularly, keep our distance from others, wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces and on public transport (unless we are exempt), and get tested if we have symptoms of coronavirus.

“We can travel to work and go on holiday with our household members but you should only do this with people you live with (or have formed a support bubble with). We need to follow any rules in the area we visit and be aware of the self-isolation rules when travelling to and from certain countries. The measures will be monitored closely and reviewed on a weekly basis. The next steps will depend on the impact these measures have”.

 

Cold Callers Update And Advice From Police

We were made aware yesterday that two males, claiming to be ex offenders, were selling goods door to door in your area. PC Austin has attended and checked the males, neither had pedlars certificates, one was arrested on an unconnected warrant and the other male was removed from West Lancashire.

We would advise residents not to buy from anyone cold calling at your address and if you have any concerns about people who come to your door please contact Police. If they are genuine they will not mind us checking up on them.

Sgt Darren

Flooding Institutional Inertia Overcome By OWLs

Hopes rise for flood affected area after Network Rail “come to the table” with OWLs.

Hopes for progress to alleviate flood risk for long-suffering residents living in Crabtree Lane in Burscough have risen. Network Rail drainage experts have confirmed drainage investigation works are underway and they will be meeting with Lancashire County Council on Monday.

Despairing residents in the area approached OWL Councillor Adrian Owens

for assistance after the floods of the 11th August which saw properties once again flooded. Residents have suffered repeated flooding damage over recent years.

After spending 90 minutes outside their properties and listening to their concerns first hand, Cllr Owens took up a number of matters on their behalf. “A camera survey of the pipework system under Crabtree Lane has now taken place and today Network Rail (the rail line runs across the affected area) have confirmed their investigations are underway”.

Cllr Owens said “It was clear that residents were meeting institutional inertia in having their voice heard and that there was a lack of coordination between agencies. I’m pleased that agencies now appear to be pulling in the same direction and I hope that out of this will come meaningful and effective proposals to alleviate the flooding risk in this part of Burscough”.

Email to Rick Hellings Senior Asset Engineer Drainage & Off Track – NW&C Region (North) 11 September 2020 from Cllr Adrian Owens “Dear Mr Hellings, I am a West Lancashire Borough Councillor and I have very kindly been given your contact details by our council Drainage officer, David Owens. I am assisting residents in the area. I am writing in connection with the Drainage System in part of Burscough, West Lancashire close to Crabtree Lane which crosses beneath the Manchester to Southport train Line.

“I understand that Network Rail have been contacted regarding this previously, the reference number is Network Rail – Service Request Notification 200114-000419. The primary intention of this email is that discussion and communication can be opened up with yourselves, the Local Lead Flood Authority; other agencies and local residents in order to explore the possibility of considering works which could ultimately lead to reducing flooding locally with funding being made available from other sources than Network Rail’s alone.

“I understand that in previous correspondence from a resident, enquiries were made regarding Culverts and drains which were believed to pass beneath the Railway but had fallen into disrepair. Network Rail responded indicating that these could not be found. However, as a result of recent work carried out on drainage nearby, one culvert and one drain have now been uncovered and cleared. These are shown on attached images pic 1 and pic 2. As you should be able to see from the pictures, the Culvert allows a considerable amount of water to pass through”. There is more, read it on the OWL website. https://www.ourwestlancashire.com/2020/09/hopes-rise-for-flood-affected-area-after-network-rail-come-to-the-table/

Email from Rick Hellings to Cllr Owens Friday 18 September 2020 “Dear Councillor Owens, Thanks very much for your email and extremely detailed and useful account of the issues. We are undertaking drainage investigations into the area, and this information will help that investigation. I am going on a meeting with Lancashire County Council this coming Monday to discuss this and other local issues regarding flooding. My colleague, Ben Fitzpatrick will endeavour to keep you informed of further developments. Rick Hellings BEng (HONS), IEng MICE Senior Asset Engineer Drainage & Off Track – NW&C Region (North)”.

There is more detail. But the main reason for this development was the total despair of the residents of flooded Crabtree Lane Burscough. We showed this picture of a flood damaged house with its beautiful flooring ruined, enough to break your heart. Who came to help? 

Nobody from the local Labour party, no Labour councillors for Burscough, were evident. Nobody from the Labour Council was evident. But the Independent OWLs  listened and you can read what happened above.

It’s the same in Aughton  parts of the Town Green School and surrounding properties ruined. Where were the local Tory councillors? One lives and works in London but is paid full allowances, two others an equal waste of space. Time was we were told this borough council would be cut to 36 elected members from 54. It can’t come quick enough if Burscough and Aughton are setting the standard for service to taxpayers!

Friday Covid-19 Lockdown For West Lancashire?

Skelmersdale and Ormskirk look set to join the growing lockdown list as Merseyside also prepares for an announcement, according to government sources. Both towns are believed to be on a watchlist and the borough council will be notified today.

The North West is believed to be following the North East with new lockdown measures expected to be announced on Friday. Liverpool is known to be expecting the news.

NB The measures will come in from Tuesday. This has come as a surprise to some who feel that action is needed now to stop infections spreading in our Borough. But the government says the new measures will be brought in from midnight on Tuesday. From Tuesday, residents must not socialise with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens.

Has Rosie Cooper MP Secured Network Rail Funding For Crabtree Lane Drainage Investigation Work?

The long-suffering flooded residents of Crabtree Lane in Burscough

will believe any promise from Network Rail to fund and carry out drainage investigation work on its rail line at Crabtree Lane when they see the colour of their money.

But, apparently, Rosie Cooper has secured Network Rail’s commitment “to fund and carry out drainage investigation work on its rail line at Crabtree Lane where many residents have suffered flooding historically, most recently last month”.
Following the August storms many residents suffered flooding at their properties on Crabtree Lane and contacted Rosie Cooper among others including Adrian Owens for support in getting action from the responsible agencies.

Responding to Rosie and despite not finding any drainage related issues during their initial inspections, and in the light of representations from Rosie and the recent incidents of further flooding, Network Rail has indicated that they will fund an investigation into better understanding how water flows through their land, which could also help unearth unknown culverts and pipes, and they will include partners to try and identify what is causing the problem.
Rosie said “I am very grateful to Network Rail for taking this step to help residents and agencies understand and resolve the flooding problems at Crabtree Lane. Network Rail has taken on board my comments and constituents’ distress and responded with this commitment to investigating how water runs under the rail line.

“This is a great example of partnership working and will provide the funding to better understand how water flows through the area, including Network Rail land and could help unearth unknown culverts and pipes. Network Rail told me they will now be working with Lancashire County Council drainage officers on the study. I look forward to receiving their findings and hearing about the action they will be taking to improve drainage in the area.

“A partnership between Network Rail, Lancashire County Council the local lead flood authority in this area with the support of the Environment Agency, especially if these agencies pool resources on flood management schemes, will mean that everybody benefits, most importantly residents who pay the bills and suffer the awful experience of their properties being flooded.

“I hope this work will move quickly and identify the problem which will be a major step on the way to resolving the flooding issues in this area”.

Sounds like a miracle is on the way! Questions for Rosie. Is that funding in writing? Is the promised investigation in writing? Is the promised partnership in writing? Because residents of Crabtree Lane deserve better than to be the subject of politicking that will undoubtedly occur between the Tory county and the Labour MP. If it is proved to be so, will full compensation follow for the residents? Do United Utilities and WLBC have liabilities?