West Lancs Conservative – Manifesto. Flooding and Drainage – Infrastructure Investment.
Councillor David “Wally” Westley, Leader of the Conservative Group on West Lancs Borough Council, has a credibility problem with anyone whose home has been flooded. He launched two new “Conservative Policy Initiatives”. “Both Initiatives will help tackle West Lancashire’s long-standing flooding and drainage issues”. But nobody believes it. Ask “Flooded of Burscough”?
“The first is the establishment of an Internal Drainage Board and the first step was taken in 2019 when a Conservative Motion was approved by WLBC to set up a cross party Flooding and Drainage Working Group. After an initial delay due to Covid19, good progress has been made with a remarkable degree of cross-party consensus. A programme of meetings has been arranged and to date these have included discussions with the Environment Agency and the Association of Drainage Authorities. Further meetings are planned with representatives of local Flood Groups, agricultural and other interested parties. The Working Group will make a set of proposals that will then be considered by the Cabinet.
“The second element proposes changes to the use of the money raised by WLBC from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) which developers pay on new housing. At present up to 25% of the Levy is spent in the local area and the remainder goes into the WLBC Strategic Fund that can be spent anywhere in the Borough.
“West Lancs Conservatives want to (a) change the rules so that much more of the funding is spent in the area where it is raised, for the benefit of local residents and (b) widen the current restriction on how it can be used to include improvements to the local drainage network and roads. This would allow the CIL to be used as matched funding for joint projects with United Utilities and Lancashire County Council, the highway authority, to achieve much needed infrastructure investment”.
This was election bullshittery, pure and simple. WLBC has no flood policy credibility, the Burscough Residents Flooding Group stated “In the interests of balance BFG has to say that Crabtree Lane flood scheme has received zero help from any Conservative, Labour or OWL borough or county councillors and no interest at all from anyone but OWL”.