Monthly Archives: June 2021

Parish Outrage At High Court Planning Decision

The Court of Appeal has rejected an attempt by Abbotskerswell Parish Council to block Teignbridge District Council’s plan for a 1,500 homes development at Wolborough Barton.

Although the judgment is not yet available, the district said in a statement “All arguments put forward by Abbotskerswell for a review have been rejected by the court which concluded ‘there is no discernible error and no other compelling reason for an appeal to be heard’”.

Teignbridge said this ended a dispute that started in 2014 and “which has seen significant public funding spent reviewing this application through every possible planning and legal process”.

It said the Court of Appeal ruling showed Teignbridge followed “the correct planning processes and gave sound professional advice on planning, ecological and environmental issues”.

A statement on the parish website said “This is a travesty of justice because it means that piecemeal developments can now be progressed with no overall control of the environmental protections that are needed to ensure sustainable security for biodiversity and climate change issues”.

The Implications Of This Judgement Are Of National Importance

“In the High Court the Judge has said, despite the law saying that environmental matters need to be dealt with at the earliest possible date, that such matters can be delayed and should be dealt with in reserved matters at a later date.  In effect further delaying all environmental surveys until the very last minute. 

“The decision to persistently delay or avoid being presented with key environmental information and protection is alarming. We believe that the lack of firm environmental protections is unacceptable”.

West Lancashire In New Wave Of Coronavirus Infections

The Ormskirk & Southport NHS Trust hospitals have advised us 26 new people had a confirmed positive coronavirus test result reported on 17th June 2021.

Between 11th June 2021 and 17th June 2021, 149 people had a confirmed positive test result. This shows an increase of 91.0% compared to the previous 7 days.

There were 0 deaths within 28 days of a positive test for coronavirus reported on 17th June 2021.

Between 11th June 2021 and 17th June 2021, there has been 1 death within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test. 

75,763 people had been given a first vaccine dose by the end of 16th June 2021. And 61,462 people had been given a second dose by the end of 16th June 2021.

Working For, And Leaving, West Lancashire Borough Council

The official public statement and account for West Lancashire Borough Council today tells us of an exciting opportunity to join “Environmental Services as a Clean and Green Team Leader on a permanent Full Time basis”, and another opportunity for a highly motivated, customer focused “Customer Services Team Leader to assist in managing our busy Customer Services team”.

We read of these employment opportunities with interest and realise there is turnover of staff, and we hope WLBC will forgive the impertinence of our intrusion, but shouldn’t we, the taxpayers of West Lancashire, be given a public “balance sheet” of a) the precise number of employees b) the number of leavers, and c) the number of recruits, month on month, so that we know who we are employing, at the beginning and end of each month? It is after all our council tax that pays for all staff?

It shouldn’t be too difficult, there will be a computerised spreadsheet held in a personnel department, or whatever it’s called these days. But if there is a reason why public transparency doesn’t apply to employment, let’s hear it.

Rishi Sunak Backs Pension Triple Lock

But insists “I’m conservative with money”.

Pensioners could see their incomes rise by about 8 per cent this autumn, Rishi Sunak suggested yesterday, despite pressures on other areas of public sector spending.

In an interview the chancellor confirmed that the government planned to abide by the triple lock which ensures that the state pension rises every year by whichever is the highest of average wage growth, inflation or 2.5 per cent.

However, this year’s wage growth at 8.4 per cent in the 12 months to April has been artificially inflated by the Covid-19 pandemic as millions return to work from furlough, boosting take-home pay.

West Lancashire Coronavirus Report

The Ormskirk & Southport NHS Trust hospitals have advised us 18 new people had a confirmed positive coronavirus test result reported on 16th June 2021.

Between 10th June 2021 and 16th June 2021, 143 people had a confirmed positive test result. This shows an increase of 101.4% compared to the previous 7 days.

West Lancashire has recorded 9,213 infections, that’s now 8,059.9 per 100,000 of our population.

There were 0 deaths recorded within 28 days of a positive test for coronavirus reported on 16th June 2021.

Sleeping Not So Rough?

In April having asked WLBC “Would you be kind enough to arrange for me to receive precise details of how and why WLBC spent the following amounts? With reference to the WLBC Over £500 Spending Report July/August 2020 Other Service Items, a list of Subsistence and Expenses shows WLBC paid “02/07/2020 Mercure Atlantic Tower Hotel Liverpool

– Subsistence £4,033.96 Expenses, £5,527.55 Expenses, £535.62 Expenses, 06/07/2020  – Subsistence £4,196.26 Expenses £4,786.45 Expenses. 16/07/2020 –Subsistence £2,098.06, £3,122.45. 28/07/2020 Subsistence £1,389.22, £600.00, £2,033.15. Expenses 29/07/2020 Subsistence £700.00, £1,741.00, £1,130.79 Expenses. 05/08/2020 Subsistence £1,517.45 Expenses = £33,411.96”.

WLBC told us “On the 26 March 2020, the Government instructed local Councils to provide temporary accommodation to anyone who was rough sleeping or at imminent risk of rough sleeping, a scheme called Everyone In. This position was taken to ensure everyone had the opportunity to comply with the stay at home message to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19 and because people who are homeless were at higher risk of contracting Covid-19.

“In order to comply with this instruction, the Council had to procure additional temporary accommodation. The Mercure Hotel was procured to enable temporary accommodation to be provided to single homeless people during the national lockdown. The expenditure reported represents the cost of block booking the hotel rooms plus an amount for the provision of 3 meals per day”.

We then asked WLBC “How many people living rough or at risk of sleeping rough were accommodated under the Everyone In scheme? How long did the accommodation last for each Everyone In person? Was all of the procured temporary accommodation used? Was there any refund paid back to WLBC for any unused accommodation? Will WLBC publish a full public account of this Government requirement?

WLBC has now responded “Rooms in the hotel were procured on a block booking basis. The room charge was £63 per night which included 3 meals per day. Between 26 March 2020 & 30 April 2021, 80 people were accommodated. 60 of those were accommodated in a hotel. Towards the end, everyone in programme, some rooms were not used as demand decreased. The rooms are procured on a block booking basis and are charged irrespective of whether they are used. This is due to them being held for use meaning the hotel cannot sell them to another party”.

By May 2021 Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced that councils will receive £203m Rough Sleeping Initiative funding to help people off the streets – an 81% increase from the £112m provided last year.

Do You Know Where Your Child Was This Weekend?

Or any weekend, or evening?

“This weekend we saw hundreds of young people putting their lives at risk as shown by this photo we took.

We know the nice weather makes it appealing to cool down in the quarry but are they aware of the dangers?

“There is industrial piping and other equipment hidden beneath the water, the temperature change of jumping into cold water when your body is hot initiates a gasp response which can cause you to drown within seconds of entering the water, plus drinking alcohol (as some of these young people were) not only dehydrates you but causes your reactions to be delayed.

“We know young people want to enjoy themselves, but we are appealing to parents because we care. We don’t want to be the officers calling at your address to pass on the awful news that something terrible as happened to your child”.

Spending £800,000? A Snip?

Easy come, easy go, as OWLs claim “Only Labour could spend £800,000 on Ormskirk Council offices and then propose closing them”.

Just before the elections, Labour approved an accommodation strategy with the clear aim of closing Ormskirk’s council offices within 5 years and shifting staff to Skelmersdale.

Some questioning from OWL revealed that as well as a new roof less than 10 years ago, the council have spent almost £800,000 in the past two years refurbishing the Ormskirk offices, improving fire safety and fitting a new boiler. Why therefore propose to potentially close and bulldoze the Ormskirk council office site for re-development? 

Thankfully, OWLs have helped to ensure that any future changes to the location of council offices must be agreed by the Full Council where Labour no longer has a majority.

A Tale Of Two Benches

A “yob” is by definition a rude, noisy, aggressive, loutish, uncultured, young person, often seen in groups going about noisy, aggressive and loutish behaviour, often alcohol and drug induced, as in Town Green, Aughton.

The epicentre of this yobbishness is the Co-Op store, whose owners kindly provided a bench for the weary and infirm to rest a while.

But by some strange logic it’s been condemned as a cause of the gatherings and hence should be removed.

And that suggestion was condemned by LCC/WLBC Cllr David O’Toole, himself a likely bench person as he might rest before strolling up Granville Park with his shopping. No capitulation to yobbishness from him!

Whereas LCC Cllr Nikki Hennessy, attending as a private local resident, spoke up for the yobs. Cllr Nikki has had personal experience when some time ago a yob put a brick through a window of her home. All sorted without recourse to the other bench, a Magistrates bench, where an appearance would see yobbishness receive its due reward. Alas the Ormskirk Magistrates court

is no more, due to cutting the cost of crime retribution.

Police officers attended the Aughton Parish Council Meeting. The Anti Social Behaviour situation was discussed at length together with dispersal orders, the Co-op store, and parking issues outside the shops on Town Green Lane.

According to the police the recent names taken of youths they had spoken to indicated they were local, not from outside the area, as it had been in previous times. They said that parents of the youths spoken to had been contacted.

A resident criticised senior police officers who had previously and regularly visited parish meetings with little to show for it. As he put it, it’s on the record and he’s unimpressed by police mission statements on youth disorder.

It seems from hearsay a somewhat heated exchange took place between the APC Chairman and Cllr O’Toole regarding communications with constituents. Cllr O’Toole is reported to have hurriedly left the meeting whilst these matters were still being discussed but returned a little later.

Perhaps he was merely going to check if the Co-Op bench was still in place?

West Lancashire Suffers A Loss From Coronavirus

The Ormskirk & Southport NHS Trust hospitals have advised us 19 new people had a confirmed positive coronavirus test result reported on 15th June 2021.

Between 9th June 2021 and 15th June 2021, 141 people had a confirmed positive test result. This shows an increase of 147.4% compared to the previous 7 days.

Sadly there was 1 death within 28 days of a positive test for coronavirus reported on 15th June 2021.

Between 9th June 2021 and 15th June 2021, there has been 1 death within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.