Monthly Archives: September 2020

The Life And Times Of A Golf Course Head Greenkeeper

Life must be tough for the Head Greenkeeper at the Beacon Park Golf Course, with its aura of landfill desecration and neglect. Billy Merritt is Head Greenkeeper, and he has a fine reputation, regularly involved as voluntary greenkeeper at Open tournaments.

In a “What Am I Really Thinking” article he remarked on “When I See Unrepaired Pitch Marks! We get lots of pitch marks on our course with it being a pay and play and, to be honest, we have people practising all the time. They’re the type of people who don’t repair their pitch marks. In general, a lot of our golfers don’t. I think their attitude is ‘oh that’s the greenkeeper’s job’. Nobody likes pitch marks on the green, and divots are even worse, but we have a problem with both. Here, we just assume that people won’t repair them and that we need to do it, whether it’s pitch marks or whatever. BM

“When I See A Bunker That Hasn’t Been Raked! You can imagine what we’re like up here. We have, the same as everybody else, rakes in the bunkers and you have footmarks around the rakes. Again, we experience the same attitude; ‘it’s the greenkeeper’s job’ and we have to live with that. We’re pay and play so the course gets abused quite a lot anyway. It’s just the mentality of a pay and play golf course. BM

“We’ve got people that have little go-karts and they go under the ropes. One of the lads went over and gave them a bit of a talking to and they said ‘well, my tyres are special tyres’. It doesn’t matter how special the tyres are, there’s a reason it’s roped off. BM

“When I See A Divot That Hasn’t Been Replaced? A lot of the time they (golfers) do replace them but the birds, magpies and crows lift them up. At my previous course, we had to go round re-seeding and replacing all the divots but, in general, I think they put them back. We just accept it’s going to happen. BM

“When Golfers Expect The Greens To Be Great All Year ROUND. If you live in this country and expect that, you must be crazy. It’s just unrealistic expectations. Our climate is one of the worst things to deal with, especially in winter. The biggest stress of any greenkeeper is the weather. Our whole life revolves around the weather. If it changes, we’ve got to try and deal with it. The golf course is our baby. We look after it and we don’t like to see any abuse – no matter what it might be. We take it personally. BM”

The Beacon Park Golf Course is lucky to have the highly skilled Billy Merritt, whose loyalty throughout the landfill debacle is outstanding. He can be found at The Lodge, Beacon Park Golf Club, Beacon Lane, Dalton.

NHS Coronavirus Testing Failing As West Lancashire Surge Continues

The West Lancashire Ormskirk & Southport NHS Trust hospitals have reported 27 new coronavirus infections today, The cumulative number is now 1,029, that’s 900.2 per 100,000 of the population.

There have been 335 new coronavirus cases recorded across Lancashire, new figures reveal.  Two Lancashire hospital trusts earlier announced more coronavirus related deaths. All 14 local county authorities registered new positive tests in the last 24 hours.

Results of coronavirus tests carried out in an NHS hospital or Public Health England lab cannot be linked with the newly-launched NHS Covid-19 app, officials have admitted.

Tax Funded Council Benefits From Public Taxes

In an apparent  blatant hijack of taxpayers’ money, West Lancashire Borough Council has grabbed another £755,000 of my, and your, income taxes on top of the annual council tax amount for ‘average’ Band D properties (excluding parish council precepts) of £1,891.02. You might be paying more.

They’ve grabbed it and relish the fact of Historic England receiving £87.1 million in grant-in-aid from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport that’s funded from income and other taxes.

“Our Management Agreement with Government provides the context and framework for our work and sets out our key activities for the money we receive. “£755,000 Funding Success For West Lancashire”

“We are pleased to announce that £755,000 match funding has been secured from Historic England to deliver the High Street Heritage Action Zone programme in Ormskirk.

“West Lancashire Borough Council and Lancashire County Council will also be contributing significant amounts of funding which has previously been allocated, to deliver a number of projects within the HAZ programme, which will be delivered over the next four years. Some of the match funding allocated includes improvements to the bus station and further improving the public realm in Moor Street and other parts of the town centre.

“Councillor Ian Moran, Leader of West Lancashire Borough Council, said “We are laughing all the way to our bank [we think that’s what he’s thinking!] which holds £25,728,000 in useable reserves. This is great news and will help us build on the proud heritage Ormskirk has.

“This scheme was for historic town centres and high streets, which is why the Council bid for Ormskirk. We are ambitious for the whole of West Lancashire and constantly looking for external funding schemes that might be used to enhance different areas. Prior to the pandemic construction work had begun on the Skelmersdale town centre regeneration scheme and we have been in discussions with the owners of the Concourse Shopping Centre on possible future phases of development.”

“The High Street Heritage Action Zone is an initiative from Historic England to use a place’s heritage to create economic growth and improve quality of life to help revive our high streets.

“Working with local people, partners and Historic England, We are helping to breathe new life into [half-dead] Ormskirk town centre which is rich in heritage and full of promise. The programme will unlock Ormskirk’s potential and make the area more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors. The programme will be delivered through joint-working, grant funding and sharing the skills of experts at Historic England.

“The High Street Heritage Action Zone programme will include physical improvements and cultural activities to help to regenerate Ormskirk town centre. We will be working with local partners to develop and deliver this by implementing projects that draw upon and enhance the town’s historic character.

“Projects included within the programme are the improvements to public realm areas, enhanced connectivity to access the town centre by walking, cycling and public transport and visual improvements to alleyways and public realm, to better highlight the town’s heritage. An associated cultural programme focussed on working with communities and local cultural organisations in developing site-specific events will also be designed to encourage local people to engage with the heritage on their high street”.

What a load of old bollocks, if you will pardon the expression. It’s a heist from the public money-go-round. Let us know the last time you thought about “public realm” or engaged with the heritage, as you strolled through Burscough, Skelmersdale, and Ormskirk, so we all know what it means! We must all cherish this “culture” paid for unknowingly by us all!

Drains Clearly Not Finally Draining!

Unfortunate Champion headline?

Finally…adverb, as “the last in a series of related events”...which is clearly not the case with flooding events in Crabtree Lane Burscough.

Burscough Flooding Group issue raised with LCC in Jacobs Report. “The surface water sewer network would become surcharged during the 20% AEP event, with water also leaving the sewer network’. Does this mean that Sewage is allowed to spill onto Footpaths and the Road. Does this then make it’s way down to Orrell Lane, and is it likely to contribute to the smell of sewage experienced during flooding events at Orrell Lane and Crabtree Lane? Yes, under storm conditions when such spills are highly diluted by storm water.

And ‘Spills from the storm tanks drain to the Boathouse Sluice Drain which flows to the north of the treatment works’. Does this mean that untreated sewage can spill directly into the boathouse Sluice? Yes, under storm conditions when such spills are highly diluted by storm water.

To the Champion Editor.

Lancashire County Council admit Raw Sewage is allowed to contaminate our Streets and Farmland.

“Thank you for the article in the Champion this week about the Flooding in Burscough, it is good to have your support in highlighting the problems here. I appreciate the information you publish is provided by persons in authority who the public should trust. The information that has been published appears ‘carefully worded’, and does not accurately represent the full facts.

“If the drain had been “clear” on 11th August, properties would still be threatened with flood because the field downstream (pictured below)

was flooded and nothing from the drains on Crabtree Lane could flow because of it. As I have said many times to the Authorities “It doesn’t matter how many times you clean the bath, if you don’t pull the plug out it won’t empty”. The picture you see is likely to contain “Raw Sewage”. Lancashire County Council admit this in their response to the issues highlighted in the Jacobs’ Report.

“The Jacobs’ Report states, in relation to flooding upstream at Hesketh Rd and Furnival Drive “The surface water sewer network would become surcharged during the 20% AEP event, with water also leaving the sewer network”.

“I have asked “Does this mean that sewage is allowed to spill onto Footpaths and the Road. Does this then make its way down to Orrell Lane, and is it likely to contribute to the smell of sewage experienced during flooding events at Orrell Lane and Crabtree Lane”?

LCC reply “Yes, under storm conditions when such spills are highly diluted by stormwater“. So from this you can assume that the fields in this area are regularly flooded with raw sewage. Would you feed the produce from these fields to your family?

“There are 2 significant factors LCC have failed to mention; upstream development, which feeds into the failed system just mentioned, and the inadequate drainage beneath the Railway.

“Rosie Cooper has been asking Network Rail to address this problems for years, I have copies of several of her requests, but until now Network Rail have been unsympathetic. In January, I asked them (NR) about drains which had fallen into disrepair, but they couldn’t find them despite the fact I have provided a map of them.

“Councillor Adrian Owens (Our West Lancashire) has been a great help too He has come in person to speak with all the residents and also asked Network Rail to open up a line of contact for discussions, which now appears to have happened after providing them with hard evidence that the drains they could not previously find actually do exist.

“My sincere thanks to Rosie and Adrian Owens for their help. I hope in providing a ‘fair balance’ of the facts, that the Champion could give equal prominence to this other side of the story. Whilst the authorities are trying to convince the public there is little to be concerned about, our homes remain under threat. I am still cleaning and repairing after the flood of 11th August, and will be for some time.

“Yours, Bernie Webster”.

There is nothing final about this saga. As Rosie Cooper admits “I accept that this one drain won’t resolve all the flooding issues across Burscough or even across all the properties on Crabtree Lane…”…but she then adds “affording some homes protection some of the time, or at least buy residents time to enact their flood defence measures”. We don’t suppose the upper echelons of Network Rail, United Utilities, and Lancashire County Council will be bothered by having to enact flood defence measures, it’s just people like Bernie Webster and his neighbours who dread the pounding of rain into inadequate drains and the consequences for the homes they build from hard work.


West Lancashire Coronavirus Infections Continue Surge To Over 1,000 Cases

West Lancashire Ormskirk & Southport NHS Trust hospitals reported 26 new coronavirus infections today, that takes the cumulative total to 1,002, that’s 876.6 infections per 100,000 of the population.

The county reported 414 new infections. The Office for National Statistics stated the number of people with active coronavirus cases in England almost doubled in a week.

No deaths from coronavirus have been reported in Lancashire today.

Not Coming Our Way Soon?

Readers who are unaware that there is a WLBC litter bin policy may read the conclusion of the official ‘Litter Bin Policy’ review with interest.

A review of the ‘Litter Bin Policy’ was carried between 2018 and 2019. The work was undertaken by the Corporate and Environmental Overview and Scrutiny Committee and concluded in October 2019. Below is the bog standard litter bin.

“Apart from what seems to be routine replacement of litter bins depending on condition there was a policy to “Undertake a 4-6 week trial pilot of compaction bins in identified locations”. Below is a compaction bin.

“Trial of compaction bins would be in areas of high footfall such as town centres. Due to the reduction in footfall across town centres nationally and the closure of businesses within West Lancashire, discussions were undertaken with the contractor who advised that data gathered during the COVID-19 situation could not be relied upon to deliver meaningful comparisons to pre-COVID footfall and therefore the recommendation was made to postpone the trial until Spring 2021.

“Targeted educational campaigns will be delivered and embedded as business as usual with an annual calendar of engagement being produced by the Clean & Green Operations Manager who takes up the post in October 2020 and shared with Members”.

For the “costonomists” among us, these compaction bins might be solar powered and cost £4,400 each. They send alerts when they’re full. The old bins cost around £400 each and don’t send messages, they just overflow!

Stark Warning As Coronavirus Surge Returns In West Lancashire

A stark warning about the coronavirus surge was given today. The West Lancashire Ormskirk & Southport NHS Trust hospital reported 21 new coronavirus infections today, bringing the total to 976, that’s 853.8 infections per 100,000 of the population.

A further 249 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been registered across Lancashire today. No coronavirus deaths were recorded.

Professor Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said the rise in new cases provides a “clear” signal and insisted people must follow the stricter measures announced this week in order to help control the virus. She said “This, 6,634 lab-confirmed cases, is the highest number recorded and a stark warning for us all. The signals are clear”.

The Flood Hub Flood Resilience Awareness Week Campaign

Are you aware of the Flood Hub? You should be, it’s full of bullshittery about making us all aware that floods can be devastating! As though we don’t know that from local flooding, Burscough, Crabtree Lane, anyone?

From Monday 21st – Friday 25th September 2020, we are running a Flood Resilience Awareness Week from our social media accounts.

This website has been funded by the North West Regional Flood and Coastal Committee and is a joint initiative developed by the Environment Agency, United Utilities, Newground, and the Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire Strategic Flood Partnerships. Yes, there they are, United Utilities, always there to pontificate, or provide bullshit, on flooding issues!

Millions of people and properties are at risk of flooding across the UK and the impacts can be devastating. We’re holding this campaign to increase awareness of the many ways that people can increase their resilience to flooding, and to encourage more people to take action and make themselves more prepared!

We’d greatly appreciate your support with this campaign on social media by tagging @TheFloodHub and by sharing with any relevant contacts via email or word of mouth.

This campaign also ties in with the #30days30waysUK September Preparedness Month campaign. More information about this can be found on the campaign website.

We didn’t predict that all this public money would be spent on telling people who’ve been flooded how devastating flooding can be. We must be more careful in future to make people aware that when it rains, blocked drains, always blocked due to negligence,  tend to cause floods! And we must always remember that United Utilities could spend its bullshittery statement publicity on just investing in 2020 drainage systems!

West Lancashire Extends Flu Vaccination Programme

GP surgeries and pharmacies across West Lancashire are starting to vaccinate thousands of people against flu, whilst ensuring that coronavirus social distancing measures are followed. This year will be the most comprehensive flu programme in UK history, with more people eligible for the free NHS vaccine than ever. If you are eligible, please do not call your practice, your GP practice will be in touch to let you know the plans for you to get your vaccine.

Those eligible for a free flu vaccination this year are: people who are on the shielded patient list and members of their household; all school year groups up to and including year 7; people aged over 65; pregnant women; those with pre-existing conditions including at-risk under-2-year olds.

Later this year, dependent on supply, people aged 50 to 64 will also be invited to get the flu vaccination. If you are in this age group, please wait for your invitation and do not call for an appointment. Meanwhile, we must get used to protecting each other.

NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) states “Flu should not be underestimated. It is a serious illness and can even be deadly for the most vulnerable of our population. The flu vaccination is the best defence we have against the virus. It is vital that those eligible have the vaccine every year as it protects against different strains of flu which can change and evolve each year.

“Having the vaccine is the single best way to protect against flu and will be an important step in preventing not only you, but your family, friends, and colleagues from getting the virus”.

Wildlife Crime Update PC Paddy Stewart Needs Help

West Lancashire Wildlife Crime Update – “Folks to keep you in the loop, 2 x coursing jobs yesterday, please keep eyes out for a silver Honda CRV Reg SV55XO linked to previous jobs. Vehicle was on that Reg previously but that is a cloned plate from a different vehicle.

If seen contact police. Also a blue Volvo Estate around Tarleton/Banks/ Hesketh Bank/Rufford has been used by dog men (no Reg known). Any issues I’m on duty all week.

Pc 169 Paddy Stewart