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".

DIY Pensioner Averts Flood Disaster And LCC Treats Him With Disdain

Who could forget the story of the Burscough DIY pensioner who saves his neighbours from flood misery?

by Kenny Parker in the August 2019 edition. “When pensioner Bernie Webster’s Burscough home was flooded for a third time in the Boxing Day floods of 2015, prompting a serious asthma attack, he decided it was time to do something about the problem. Convinced that the issue was not high on the authorities’ list of priorities he set about protecting his possessions, and his health, by taking drastic action.

Picture – Bernie Webster (centre) with neighbours Peter Curl and Pat Simpson next to Bernie’s pump.)

“As well as digging up the length of his garden in Crabtree Lane to install drainage pipes, he set up three automatic electronic pumps to move flood waters away from his property into a neighbouring field, with the farmer’s agreement, and installed a larger, manually-controlled diesel engine-powered six-inch water pump.


“And this week his efforts paid off by rescuing him and his neighbours from more flooding misery during the recent torrential downpours. However neighbours’ say it is shameful that they have to rely on the 65-year-old’s do-it-yourself efforts to avert flood damage.

“Since installing the pumps, Bernie says he and his neighbours have been saved from having their homes flooded twice, the most recent being during the early hours of last Wednesday (July 31 2019) when water flooded into Crabtree Lane from neighbouring Orrell Lane.

“But although his DIY anti-flooding equipment offers some peace of mind, Bernie says having to pump out the water himself is still a traumatic experience. He said “It was hugely stressful wandering around in the pitch black in the middle of the night when it’s still raining and you can’t see through your glasses because they are wet and steamed up!”

“And he said he would rather not have the responsibility of having to protect the property, which he has lived in for 34 years, from flood damage. “My life has been dominated for the last three-and-a-half years by drainage and flooding. It has overtaken my life. I have not been able to enjoy my home because of it”.

“Meanwhile neighbour Peter Curl said that Bernie’s efforts had saved the day but it was ridiculous that they were having to rely on a pensioner to sort the problem while the authorities appeared to be doing nothing. There have been lots of meetings and lots of talking has taken place but I can’t see any evidence of any action taking place” he said.

“My neighbour Mr Webster, who is an old age pensioner and who has a chronic respiratory condition, took the initiative and invested in a huge, diesel-driven water pump, dug up around 300 feet of his lawn and installed two drainage pipes.

“Fortunately for all of us here, his system worked well and saved at least four houses from being flooded. I think it is absolutely shameful that whilst the authorities sit around talking endlessly, that an old age pensioner with asthma is the only one who saved us. When are the authorities going to focus on preserving established homes and communities rather than finding ways to make more money with more and more development?”

“Flooding issues at Crabtree Lane are believed to be the responsibility of a number of authorities, including West Lancs Council, Lancashire County Council, United Utilities and Network Rail. All have been contacted for comment but at the time of going to press had not responded”.

4 years on from the 2015 floods, and Mr Webster is treated with disdain and deception when, as we reported a couple of weeks ago that LCC stated “We will now be working with partners and the Burscough community to progress the action identified in the study to reduce the risk of flooding to the village in future and ensure people are better equipped to protect their properties if the need arises”.

This “Burscough community” is presumably the same one that LCC and a Councillor  insulted by leaving its own meeting with a community representative simply because he had notified them he would be expressing his legal right to record the meeting”. 

He was right on the money though, wasn’t he, because LCC was ignoring its own edict that “Lancashire County Council has never restricted reporting or recording meetings”. Section 40 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 gave the Secretary of State power, by regulations, to make provision for allowing persons to film, photograph or make sound recordings of proceedings of meetings of certain local government bodies; for allowing those not present at meetings to see and hear the proceedings; and for allowing reporting and commentating on the proceedings. These provision were introduced through the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014. In short, these regulations required that Local Authorities make appropriate arrangements to allow meetings of the authority to be recorded (either video or sound) and for members of the press and public to be able to use social media to report on meetings”.

“Lancashire County Council has never restricted reporting or recording meetings”?  Well, Mr Webster is proof it has, it did, and that claim is deception, pure and simple! LCC openness? Bullshit!

 

 

 

How The LCC Tried, Tested, And “Effective” Flood Management System Has Failed Burscough

A community flood action group is a tried, tested and effective way of tackling issues that the community has in the area, apparently.

In recent years Lancashire has been subject to both flood and fire. Events that used to be described as 1 in 100 year events to many residents now seem to be regular events. But the Lancashire County Council flood management system is beset with ineptitude, muddle, and deception, as seen through the eyes of community flood action groups.

We are advised “Through these grassroots groups, communities are able to have a voice as to the future flood risk of their community through consultation, and as one group wrote “It feels so empowering to have formed our own flood action group with you and to be taking firm positive steps forward”.

Unless, that is, you live in Burscough and your flood risk management is the responsibility of Lancashire County Council. This article in no way seeks to demean the flood risk management of LCC, it manages to do that on its own behalf far better than any outsider could. 

Following the introduction of the Flood and Water Management Act Lancashire County Council has been designated as a Lead Local Flood Authority.  The county council is now responsible for managing flood risk from all local sources; surface water, ground water and ordinary watercourse.  As part of its role as a Lead Local Flood Authority, “Lancashire County Council is required to produce a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy which explains how we will manage local flood risk in our area”. to that end a LCC Flood Risk Manager wrote

“Dear FLAGS and friends, I attended a meeting in Whalley yesterday with members of the local Flood Action Group, which brought it home to me (again) what a powerful impact the FLAGs in Lancashire can have during and after floods. The support you give to your communities and neighbours at these times is priceless. You will find targeted information and advice on the North West Flood Hub which may be of use.

“The following message may also be of interest, particularly if any communities at risk of flooding could use extra help from their local Neighbourhood Watch groups. Please continue to encourage flooded people to report their property details (homes, businesses, land etc) if they haven’t already, to a drainage authority such as the water company, city/district council or to Lancashire County Council by email to highways@lancashire.gov.uk or telephone during working hours to 0300-123-6780. Without their details, we don’t have evidence of the scale and impact of the recent floods and we may all miss out on government grants to assist in recovery and for resilience measures to reduce the impact of future flooding events.

“My team is grateful for any reports from the Flood Action Groups too, as these will often give us a commentary that helps define the flooding mechanisms”.

And another from the same Flood Risk manager “Dear FLAGS and friends, I’m sure today’s regional weather forecast from the Met Office regional advisor (below) will be welcomed as we all have other important issues to consider at the moment. If any community group needs help through the coronavirus crisis, for example to offer resources or to receive special attention from public services, you will find advice on our website here: https://www.lancashire.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/your-health-and-wellbeing/coronavirus/

“The county council’s flood risk management team is still working on our normal business through the crisis. Team members are now all working from home around their individual domestic complications including nosy pets, lively children and/or other adults also trying to deliver their own work from home.

“Our normal meetings and site visits are currently suspended as we avoid making journeys by car and public transport. However we are achieving more desk-work including progressing various reports and written communications, and we are well-equipped with telephone/video conferencing facilities which are in use most days.

“You are still welcome to send in reports relating to recent flooding incidents to our support team by email to highways@lancashire.gov.uk , and we will continue to respond as quickly as possible”.

You may well wonder at the use of some phraseology above, such as them being sent to “friends”, not a word seen as appertaining to  Burscough and the Burscough Flood group, which we will study in upcoming articles.

Coronavirus Deaths At Southport And Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust

It is with great sadness we report that thirteen patients have now died at Southport and Ormskirk hospitals. 


The latest five deaths recorded across the Southport and Ormskirk Trust were included in today’s NHS England figures, but occurred between March 30-April 2. All of the families of the deceased have been informed.

The data does not make clear which hospitals the deaths occurred at. The Trust covers Southport and Formby District General Hospital and Ormskirk District General Hospital.

Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals NHS Trust declined to comment on the figures.

Compost Your Cardboard?

WLBC asks “Please help us keep refuse and recycling collections running smoothly.

“Residents can help us to keep refuse and recycling collections running smoothly during the Coronavirus Pandemic. With many of us spending more time at home this can often mean there is more waste to be collected from households.

“To help Council staff to get round to everybody here are a few things we are asking you all to do. Please continue to recycle and put the right waste items in the right bins. You can find out all you need to know about this on our What goes in my bins, bags and boxes page. You can also help us by only putting out your recycling wheelie bins for collection if the bin is more than half full so we can get through the rounds as easily as possible. We are sorry if this causes any inconvenience, but we would hope that you could help us in this way at this difficult time.

“It would be a big help to us as well if, as always, all bins can be put out for collection by 7am on the day they are due to be collected, and please park responsibly so our crews can get down your street to collect your bins. This will help reduce the number of bins that are missed.

Councillor Kev Wilkie, whose Cabinet responsibilities include Refuse and Recycling and waste management, said “Please help us to help as we work to keep collecting your waste through these difficult times. Please don’t burn waste, compost instead. With many of us currently spending more time at home we may have more food waste and garden waste to deal with, particularly those keen gardeners amongst us.

“Composting is a great way of disposing of garden waste and some food items that you would normally dispose of in your grey bin, such as raw fruit and vegetable scraps, even paper and cardboard. It also saves money on fertiliser. Please don’t burn rubbish at home. If the fire gets out of hand it could endanger yourself and others.


Find out more about home composting, including where you can get a bin, by visiting http://www.westlancs.gov.uk/homecomposting. Councillor Wilkie said “Home composting helps the garden and is one of the most environmentally friendly ways of recycling. Please don’t be tempted to start a fire to burn rubbish at home. As a firefighter I know only too well how easily fires can get out of hand and the terrible consequences this can have”.

Now cast your minds back ten years when WLBC hit the nationals with the story of  Albert Stewart,

who wanted to help householders keep their streets looking clean and clear of clutter. “But the binman has been removed from the round he has worked for 33 years – for picking up too much rubbish. The 60-year-old took away extra  bin bags left beside overflowing wheelie bins, which council bosses say is against strict refuse rules.

“Householders caught leaving rubbish outside wheelie bins could be fined up to £1,000. Albert was issued with a written warning by officers from West Lancashire Borough Council and moved from his route in Aughton to another one eight miles away. Mr Stewart, a married grandfather-of-six from Ormskirk, Lancashire, accused the council of ‘spying’ on its own binmen and said bosses were motivated by money. 

‘I’m really annoyed and upset about this,’ he said. ‘I’ve been on the same round for 33 years – I’ve seen babies born, go to school, grow up and have babies themselves. They weren’t just people I took rubbish from – they were my friends too. I’ve had lots of people coming up to me saying they miss me”. Dylan Sharpe, campaign director of Big Brother Watch, said ‘This case is a sad indictment of Britain”. More of an indictment of WLBC?

A Letter To Serco About Beacon Park Golf Course

Dear Mark [Snaylam]/Rupert [Soames] at Serco

“I am [we are] writing to you on behalf of ALL the members of Beacon Park Golf Club. It is with great sadness and some confusion that you have ceased daily maintenance of the course at BPGC. 

“There has been a directive from English Golf to say that it is OK for greenkeepers to continue to work providing they keep to ‘Social Distancing’ regulations. Some courses DID ‘Lay Off’ green keeping staff for a short period but since the directive from English Golf (which has received Government approval) all courses in the area have allowed them to return.

“SERCO’s current directive NOT to allow greenkeepers to carry out daily and essential maintenance at BPGC is unique. It will also prove damaging to the course in the long term.

“Local greenkeepers are relishing an opportunity to carry out pre-season work without the interruption of Golfers. Gathurst, Sherdley Park, Dean Wood, Houghwood, Kirkby, Allerton, Golf Clubs are all allowing greenkeepers to work and are taking advantage of the situation. This, below, is a picture of one green keeper working at Sherdley Park today. [On his own, nobody to infect or be infected].

“If your current policy of non-maintenance were to continue for any lengthy period of time it would be impossible to play golf at BPGC when the ‘Lock Down’ is finished. Surely this is not good economics!! [Unlike the landfill royalties/VAT “economics” still shrouded in mystery as to their whereabouts!]

“The membership asks would you please reverse your current policy for Beacon Park and allow the green keepers to continue working. I can assure you that as soon the Corona Virus has finished there will be many people rushing to return. If Beacon is not fit to play then many members will leave and go and play elsewhere.

“Many Thanks, Mal Hayman (Club Captain)  below right, Mike Stokes (Seniors Captain), Tommy Jackson (Club President), below left, inspecting the creative golf course construction left by Serco/Oakland Golf & Leisure Ltd”.

For the record, WLBC allows Clean and Green Operatives to work on the “Upkeep of green spaces across the borough such as highway grass verges, roundabouts and open spaces.  The government has declared council staff, unlike private businesses, as key workers and therefore with the resources available these services will continue to maintain highway safety”.But they could come within 2 metres of the public while undertaking those duties.

WLBC stated “In answer to your specific queries a) what maintenance work is being undertaken at the BPGC.  The course is closed and as per the governments advice all non essential work has ceased, this includes all maintenance work at the Beacon, other than statutory compliance works. b) are the green keepers working normally? The health, safety and welfare of the community, our staff and customers is our main concern – therefore in line with government advice the greenkeepers are not working. c ) are the greens, fairways and roughs being cut and professionally maintained. As stated previously all non-essential work has ceased.

And there you have it. WLBC declared in writing that the Beacon Park Golf Course greens, fairways and roughs that should be maintained are all non-essential work. You might draw the conclusion that the desecration of Beacon Park that started with massive and ultimately illegal landfill, all bungled under the banner of greed and ” un-monitored planning permission” will be completed within the next few months. 

And who is making these decisions? Highly paid WLBC executives with no knowledge of golf course standards. Well they would, wouldn’t they? And dare we mention the unmentionable, that WLBC wants the BPGC to close? Probably!

Exciting Seasonal Work With WLBC

WLBC has 2 Seasonal Clean and Green Operative vacancies

The salary will be £18,795 to £19,171 per annum, Fixed Term, Full Time, but the closing date is  23.59 hours BST on Friday 03 April 2020, Reference: HR-0012-20-R.

“We are currently seeking to appoint two Seasonal Clean and Green Operatives (Scale 3) to join our Clean and Green service within Street Scene Services based at the Robert Hodge Centre in Skelmersdale between 1st April 2020 and 31st October 2020. This is an exciting opportunity to join a team who are focused on making a difference to our local areas.

“As a Clean and Green Operative you will work as part of a team to provide a high quality environmental maintenance service, including both planned and reactive work for all aspects of street cleansing and grounds maintenance functions. You will drive a range of Council owned vehicles including vans, tipper vans and link tips in addition to towing trailers commensurate with licence certification and appropriate training. You will also use a full range of handheld plant with walk behind plant and machinery including pedestrian mowers, strimmers, hedge trimmers, again commensurate with certification and/or successful completion of appropriate training.

“You will hold a full UK Driving licence (Licence B and B1), have experience of working as part of a manual operational service and the ability to undertake tasks as directed to a high standard and be committed to health and safety and adherence to policy and procedures. Ideally you will have experience of operating commercial handheld grounds maintenance and street cleansing equipment e.g mowers, strimmer, hedge trimmers and blowers, however this is not essential as training will be given”.

Hullo From Wally, Isolated In Halsall

Hullo, it’s me again

from Halsall Towers, on behalf of the Tory “Halsall Cohort” ie me, Doreen, and Marilyn, that “represents” and I use the term loosely, Aughton & Downholland and Aughton Park. I expect you have missed my musings?

“In case you are unaware of our status, it appears that we are “furloughed councillors” or “on gardening leave” the scheme for which we understand the government will pay up to 80% of councillors’ allowances. So far WLBC hasn’t told us our exact status but we are self isolating and cannot attend Council. It’s curious how the 80/20 ratio has crept into our lives.

“Of course, you will realise one of our number, Sam Currie, has benefited from 100% allowances for being absent from 80% and attending only 20% of meetings at WLBC, and is, we are told, working in London, so we can reasonably say he does not enjoy the benefit of being party whipped.

“I was very surprised to read that Sam tweeted “I’ve got @rickygervais tickets for October and if this pandemic isn’t over by then or the fat prick gets it and cancels his show then 2020 is a complete write off”, because that is barrack-room language, unlike when I referred to people, Aughtonians, as liars, telling lies door to door!

“Sam has also tweeted “20% drop in pay is difficult at best of times. For people on commission it’s much more Even with commission inc it can be closer to 65% when you take the max 2500k p/m For the (taxable) commission not to count many are taking a pay cut of 80%(!!) #furloughleave pay must change”. From which we might assume Sam is besotted with that ratio of 80% to 20%. 

“As you know I was a “senior” bank clerk, and If you’ve studied business or economics, you’re well familiar with the power of the Pareto Principle, namely that 80% of results will come from 20% of the action, or 20% of your work drives 80% of your outcomes! Simple! Perhaps Sam is smarter than I ever thought?

Anyway, enough of this theory, I must press on with my Tory manifesto for 2080…whoops, there I go again, 2021, in hopes of winning the delayed elections.