From Our West Lancashire
“2020 has been a year like no other and our hopes for further election success in May were put on ice with the elections cancelled as so much of normal life was put on hold during this pandemic. Nevertheless, Our West Lancashire has continued to work consistently to put the interests of local residents first and foremost and had some notable successes as this report details.
“Thank you to you, our supporters, for standing with us in 2020. 2021 will be a crucial year for us and we would very much appreciate your continued support.
“Please consider joining OWL and also consider approaching one friend who lives locally (perhaps sharing this annual report as a conversation starter) to let them know of Our West Lancashire, as with greater support we can achieve more.
“However, in the meantime, we always welcome comments, ideas and suggestions from our supporters and we are there to support you in campaigning and making your local neighbourhood cleaner, greener and safer, so please do get in touch”.
Setting the Agenda
“Once again in 2020 we’ve set the agenda and tabled concerns that have been ignored or overlooked by the main parties. 110 jobs for local young people In July, deeply worried by the impact of the lockdown on job prospects for young people, we tabled a council motion calling for action. This won cross-party support and the development of the West Lancashire Kickstart programme. This will provide job opportunities for young people struggling to find employment in the current economy.
“By December this had drawn in support from 38 local employers and promises 110 openings including 25 with the Borough Council itself. We understand few, if any, other local councils have pursued such an initiative in spite of Government financial support—a clear indication of the positive impact OWL has in our area of West Lancashire”.
Putting Residents First and Foremost
In March, our research revealed that West Lancashire had the worst maintained roads in Lancashire. In the 3 months to the end of January more highways defects were reported in West Lancashire than in any other Lancashire Borough. In total 860 highways defects were reported in the period. The next worst Borough reported less than 500 and the best only 261 . This was a similar picture to 4 years previously.
Since then, our perception is that things have a improved a little, perhaps due to the attention this story received. We will be researching the data again in coming months because it’s essential that West Lancashire gets a fair deal from the Preston-run county council.
In April, our petition called on the county council to reopen its waste and recycling centres which had closed in lockdown. Flytipping increased during the closures. Our voice helped to secure the waste centres’ reopening but only after a petulant County Council Leader said he had “dispatched to the bin” the petition. This has led to a formal complaint about the actions of Lancashire’s Council leader. It’s another example of the poor two-party culture that afflicts Lancashire and which OWL battle against. Take a look at the Changing Council Culture page on our website for numerous further examples.
Long suffering residents in Burscough turned to OWL for help over flooding after a lack of engagement from councillors and others in elected office. We focused on two or three elements and got matters moving. Our interest has stimulated the MP to finally drive some action.
OWL’s GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT IN 2020 MEMBERSHIP – UP 14% SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWERS—UP 32% WEBPAGE VISITS—UP 42%