Author Archives: westlancashirerecord

About westlancashirerecord

I am a pensioner. I was a strong supporter of the rights of elderly and disabled residents of West Lancashire to receive equal treatment from the old Tory WLBC that unfortunately did not agree, leading to the social exclusion of some immobile disabled residents. My personal suggestion of honouring the County Regiment led to us having probably the proudest day ever in West Lancashire, with the help of Cllr Adrian Owens who wrote "You will be pleased to learn that this evening the motion passed unanimously. Colonel Amlot from the Regiment was accorded a standing ovation and we look forward to a parade and march through Ormskirk next year. Thank you". After the Parade I wrote to Cllr Owens "I was reading through the emails we exchanged after I made the suggestion to honour our County Regiment. As you said today, we got there in the end, and what an end? This celebration of our Regiment was quite simply, as my original mail said, the greatest honour of all. To see all these young people who risk their lives for us was so moving. Little did I know what Council could do and how our residents would react to it all. Well, we should all be so proud of this great day. I know I am".

When We, Taxpayers, Paid To Keep Absent Councillors

Readers may recall, about a year ago, WLBC paying Counsel £800 for legal advice to keep an absent councillor in office. Allowances paid! And WLBC employs solicitors!

Now, have you read about a pensioner, 91, being kicked off a parish council after 50 years for failing to attend zoom meetings during lockdown because he doesn’t have a computer?

Strensall Parish Council, in North Yorkshire, has disqualified Dennis Baxter and another elderly member, Raymond Maher, because they do not attend video-conference meetings.

Cllr Baxter, 91, who has served on the council for more than 50 years, says he does not have a computer and so has been unable to join any meetings held online.  Chairman Tony Fisher said Strensall Parish Council had no choice but to disqualify Cllr Baxter under national rules relating to attendance at meetings.

Rules state that councillors who do not attend meetings for six months must be removed from their posts. Mr Maher, has also been disqualified because he doesn’t do Zoom. “If we had not disqualified the two councillors, every decision the parish council then made that they participated in would have been unlawful”   

Following the decision, Cllr Baxter said “I haven’t got a computer. There’s a playing field here and I have been picking litter up every morning”.

One resident of Strensall told the York Press “Before lockdown, Mr Baxter was regularly seen litter picking on the playing field in front of the village hall and regularly attended their meetings”.

Readers may suspect 91 year old Dennis Baxter sets an example we would find hard to find in our WLBC elected members?

Corruption, And Best/Worst Value?

Look forward with this view, below, across Skelmersdale and West Lancashire towards the allegedly corrupt City of Liverpool, from Beacon Park (Image by James Maloney).

Now look behind it and see the views of the landfill-corrupted Beacon Park Golf Course, courtesy of WLBC, Serco Leisure Operating Ltd, Oakland Golf & Leisure Ltd. Eight years and counting, from this

to this now “Worst Value” golf leisure function below

.

 As is well known, Part 1 of the Local Government Act 1999 (“LGA 1999”) relates to “Best Value”.  Section 3 imposes the general duty.  Section 3(1) provides that a “best value authority” must make arrangements to secure continuous improvement in the way in which its functions are exercised, having regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness.  As Underhill LJ observed in R (Nash) v Barnet LBC  [2013] EWHC 1067 (Admin), [2013] LGR 515, at paragraph 69(1), the core subject matter of the substantive best value duty is “the way in which” the authority’s functions are exercised; and that is “very general language” which connotes high-level choices about how, as a matter of principle and approach, the authority goes about performing its functions.

Sections 10-15 inclusive of LGA 1999 relate to best value inspections.  Section 10(1) authorises the Secretary of State (“the SoS”) to appoint a person to carry out an inspection of a specified best value authority’s “compliance” with the requirements of Part 1 of LGA 1999 in relation to specified functions.  Section 11 sets out the Inspector’s powers and duties.  Section 13 relates to Reports.  Section 15 gives the SoS further powers.

What “Best Value” is seen on the Beacon Park Golf Course? Was the “Best Value” the amount of royalties realised and distributed to those who were involved in it? Who among them can demonstrate “substantive best value duty” and “high level performance of leisure functions”?

We should be told. A public inquiry would tell us?

To quote the West Lancashire Borough Council 2015 “West Lancashire Community Leisure has recently closed its driving range at Beacon Park due to a lack of demand/income but has plans to develop the leisure offer at the site and these include a new 9 hole par 3 course and junior facilities. The golf course at Beacon Park is available for members and non members offering pay and play rates, together with competitions and club tournament events. The Course is to a Donald Steel layout and provides good competition play with enough character and features for a variety of playing ability. The inclusion of a new 9 hole par 3 course will provide additional facilities for both senior and junior development of the game”.    

“Lack of demand/income”? Sorted out by 2 years of landfill royalties, destination unknown apart from a “pittance” admitted to by Serco, although huge cash movements are recorded via Oakland Golf & Leisure Ltd associated companies.

And not forgetting WLBC planning permissions approved the whole rotten edifice!

Ignorance On Drainage?

To quote Westley “It is Neil Campbell who is displaying his ignorance on drainage”. 

This

Is hardly ignorance of drainage, of flooding, just fact. What can’t speak can’t lie? When floods come to Cross Lane in Halsall Westley will have his comeuppance! Meanwhile he should practice a bit of shutuppance?

West Lancashire Coronavirus News

Our West Lancashire Ormskirk & Southport NHS Trust hospitals have announced three new people had a confirmed positive test result reported today, 22nd April 2021.

Between 16th April 2021 and 22nd April 2021, 20 people had a confirmed positive test result. This shows no change compared to the previous 7 days.

There were no deaths within 28 days of a positive test for coronavirus reported on 22nd April 2021.

Between 16th April 2021 and 22 April 2021, there have been no deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test. This shows no change compared to the previous 7 days.

Merseyrail Profits Turn To Pie In The Sky

The massively subsidised Merseyrail has slumped into the red, after making profits of almost £20m in 2019, because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Its profits are shared between Serco and Abellio.

It has revealed its passenger numbers plummeted by up to 90% during the lockdowns imposed across Merseyside in 2020 which also forced the company’s turnover to fall by more than £25m.

New documents filed with Companies House show the business posted a pre-tax loss of £2.5m for the 12 months to January 9, 2021, compared to a £18.1m profit in the prior year. Its turnover also declined from £175.1m to £150m over the same period.

Before the pandemic, Merseyrail operated more than 600 train services from Monday to Saturday and 340 on Sundays. A total of 110,000 passenger journeys were made each weekday and 30m every year. Because of Covid-19 restrictions, passenger journeys dropped up to 90% during lockdowns and  Merseyrail reduced the number of trains per day to about 350.

A statement signed by the board said “Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the directors have closely monitored the results of the group and the impact the pandemic has had on UK public transport and the wider economy. Whilst the impact of Covid-19 evolves we continued to consider several scenarios and the impacts on passenger revenue, costs, profits and cash flow.

“Since the start of the first national lockdown for the UK, passenger revenue has fallen dramatically. This had started to recover slightly from mid-2020 with the easing of the national lockdown, however, passenger revenue was much lower than what it was in 2019 and the directors continue to monitor passenger revenue on a daily basis. The fall in passenger revenue has had a significant impact on the results of 2020”.

Perhaps this monopoly might issue some cheap services to and from Ormskirk and Liverpool after the pandemic? It’s our taxes that assist this Serco company to make its regular profits? Free off peak travel for West Lancashire pensioners is regularly denied by Serco, and no West Lancashire Labour councillor bothers to seek parity. It’s discrimination!

You Really Couldn’t Make It Up?

The Liverpool Echo reports on a planning decision made after an hour-long debate at Sefton Council last week has turned out to be invalid thanks to a paperwork error.

Several councillors expressed frustration during a planning meeting last Wednesday (April 14) where they were left with little option but to accept a significantly reduced contribution towards affordable housing from the developers behind a new care home on the site of the former Mayflower Industrial Estate in Formby.

The developers had claimed the project, which is nearly complete, would not be financially viable if they were forced to include the 10 affordable homes that had originally been promised and instead offered £266,000 towards affordable housing elsewhere in Sefton.

But confusion over who the developers actually are means that last week’s decision is no longer valid and the proposal has to be consulted on and debated again at a later date.

The application to reduce the contribution was made in the name of Ascot Property Group as a result of a mistake by the applicant’s agent. Ascot has had no involvement in the site since selling its interest in 2017.

At a planning committee meeting Cllr Bob McCann said “What we are being asked to do is to effectively write off £1.2m and by doing so I think this application has crossed the line”.

The Sefton Council Website declares “Planning & Building Control – Main Functions • Technical Support: • Validation of Planning Applications”.

“Serve Enforcement Notices when required” but not against Sefton Council!Can’t imagine what salary the Chief Planning Officer receives?

How Desperate Is The Local Tory Party To Destroy Independents?

Today we bring you the face of the West Lancashire Tory party as it seeks to damage the independent opposition to it. It’s contained in a Facebook poster, below.

And the party then states “Covid-19 has had a huge impact on Ormskirk Town Centre Rebuilding it needs major collaboration between Government, County and the Borough Councils pulling together. For the sake of Ormskirk, please don’t lose that opportunity by wasting your vote on a fringe protest party”.

No surprise to read comments published and we offer a few below.

“SCUM of the earth Tories picking on independent parties at local elections a bloody disgrace I’m Labour through and through but come on. We all have one thing in common we want the best for our local communities apart from Tory voters”.

“Voting for anybody else ain’t going to rescue OTC from the present crisis. The Tories do sod all locally and that goes for Labour as well. At least OWL cares about what goes on locally”.

“The Conservatives are a pile of egotistical idiots who don’t care one jot for anyone other than themselves and their rich mates. I never have and never will vote Conservative”.

Remain Cautious Of Coronavirus In West Lancashire

The Ormskirk & Southport NHS Trust hospitals have confirmed five new people had a coronavirus positive test result reported on 21st April 2021.

Between 15th April 2021 and 21st April 2021, 17 people had a confirmed positive test result. This shows a decrease of 19.0% compared to the previous 7 days.

West Lancashire has declared 8,916 infections, that’s 7,800.1 per 100,000 of our population.

There were no deaths within 28 days of a positive test for coronavirus reported on 21st April 2021.

Between 15th April 2021 and 21st April 2021, there have been 0 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test. This shows no change compared to the previous 7 days.

Misleading The Public During An Election Period Isn’t On!

When reading about experienced politicians, regardless of party, apparently misleading the public during an election period, is annoying, to put it mildly.

But there’s a lot of it going on. The political “relationship”, if that’s the right word, which indicates that WLBC cares because it engages with residents, voters, when it hasn’t, and doesn’t, is reprehensible.

And shifting blame for flooding away from WLBC and United Utilities won’t help a single flood victim. Instead it will make their misery worse. When found out, writing “We would be happy to make the position clearer in future literature” doesn’t really cut it.

If WLBC’s group is to have any success, it should be separate from any partners and be open, honest and accountable to the community. So the question is “As this group doesn’t propose to challenge WLBC’s past and present mistakes, is it just there to blame all the other partners and filter the outputs from the Flood Action Groups?”

The historical “Appeal Reference: EA/2018/0219, 9th May 2019)” tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” about WLBC. Readers of it will relish Paragraph 32 and its generous references to West Lancashire Record. We can always rely on the Judiciary to conclude that reading the West Lancashire Record is good for West Lancastrians.