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!