Category Archives: Flood Watch

Multi Million £CIL Income Rules WLBC, OK?

In 2018/19 the total WLBC CIL receipts for the reported year were £2,150,247

from which we might all deduce that CIL rules the WLBC treasury. In the same period the total CIL expenditure was a meagre £61,105. Total CIL allocated during the reported year (2018/19) for use 2019-2021 was £91,000, leaving WLBC with £1,998,142 cash in hand. The meaningful proportion of CIL paid out should be 15%. Does Ebenezer Scrooge

described as a “squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!” run the WLBC treasury?

Burscough Flooding Group responds re Pines Estate Flooding. Gavin Rattray reports on mixed official messages about flooding in the borough, and particularly Burscough, (Crabtree Lane/Higgins Lane).

“In response to “Rosie Cooper MP tackles flooding concerns at Pines Estate” I suggest that while it is heartening to see politicians and council take an interest in new residents with flooding problems near Burscough, West Lancashire Borough Council through its Leader Cllr Ian Moran hasn’t yet been prepared to meet the patiently waiting Burscough Flooding Group or investigate the mismanagement of the recent Jacobs Report on Burscough’s flooding problems, which the Pines Development in Ormskirk, along with the Yew Tree Farm development and other developments in Burscough are contributing to.

“It didn’t have to be like this because WLBC repeatedly promised that Grove Farm and Yew Tree Farm wouldn’t make flooding worse in Burscough and could make it better. As part of that reassurance United Utilities said they were very likely to get approval from OFWAT for the approximately £20M of funding needed to solve Burscough’s sewer capacity problems in 2015. It was just unfortunate for Burscough, that the Planning Inspector at the 2012 Local Plan Inspection in Public missed his opportunity to stop the developments until the infrastructure was fixed. Because WLBC had deceived him and residents by knowingly promising something they couldn’t deliver, that WLBC could build a massive housing estate of 1000+ homes in one of the lowest lying areas with the worst sewers and not cause additional flooding.

“We know UU didn’t get the £20M funding in 2015 and now wonder whether they ever tried and whether they deliberately deceived the Planning Inspector? Because UU isn’t trying to get funding now!

“The recent Jacobs report on Burscough’s surface water flooding problems was another missed opportunity. This time the vested interests of Lancashire County Council, WLBC, and UU took over completely, setting a scope excluding almost of their own problems, then editing the report in private. All whilst we believe our Borough and County Councillors and MP Rosie apparently did nothing to stop that happening, and in one shameful instance helped it to happen. The resulting report is a whitewash and a waste of public money.

“Our borough council and politicians have flooding concerns themselves that the new housing estates, which are adding to Burscough’s severe flooding problems, shouldn’t be blighted by flooding, because they want the huge amounts of new housing bonus and CIL monies that Grove Farm and Yew Tree Farm and other estates in Burscough are generating for WLBC to continue. They have no other real concerns about flooding.

“Burscough Flooding Group”.

“A reminder that on 4th February, 2019, the very concerned West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said “It has taken far too long for this Jacobs flood report to come forward from Lancashire County Council, it’s been a year and a half since I was offered a copy of it at the Flood Forum meeting I held in Christ Church. All the county can tell us now is that the recommendations are too expensive to carry out, but very little about what they have been doing for the past two years to make any progress.

“This was taxpayers’ money used to fund a very high level and detailed report and the immediate reaction suggests it was all a waste of time and money. I have written to Lancashire County Council and to DEFRA to ask what they plan to do now to protect my constituents from the threat of further flooding, many constituents who have already had their lives devastated through flooding in 2012 or 2015”.

The Burscough Parish (now Town) Council reported having received CIL of £6,098 for 2017/18 and £113,471 for 2018/19. But the West Lancashire Borough Council CIl Report For The Financial Year 2018/19 June 2019 includes… As at 1st April 2019 For Burscough the CIL receipts collected by parish area were £1,188,583; Administration portion (5%) £59,429; Meaningful proportion (15%) passed to parish £178,060; WLBC Strategic portion (80%) £951,094.

This staggering CIL income stream into WLBC coffers, £1,188,583 from Burscough alone, indicates that revenue is prioritised over expenditure, over flooding relief, and it’s wrong!

More Developers Failing The Flood Tests?

Rosie Cooper MP tackles flooding concerns at Pines Estate

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has raised residents’ concerns with High Grove Park developers Taylor Wimpey and agencies following flooding concerns raised with her by residents of the Pines Estate.

During the recent flooding incidents, standing water on the green areas and paths in the Pines Estate was exacerbated, and caused worry for residents, some believing that the development at the adjacent High Grove Park development was contributing with water runoff.

Residents were further concerned by the apparent failure of a new ditch which was dug out to assist with waterflows, but instead appeared to simply hold surface water and not drain to any watercourse or culvert.

Rosie has written to local authorities including West Lancashire Borough Council and Lancashire County Council, as well as to the developers Taylor Wimpey seeking urgent investigations.  “While the storms have brought more rainfall than normal, this has brought to the fore the areas that need flood risk attention.

“This area of the Pines Estate next to High Grove Park is just one area that has caused concerns for residents. West Lancashire Borough Council have undertaken an assessment of the area and informed me that Taylor Wimpey would have needed to obtain an Environmental Permit from the Environment Agency before flow from a newly excavated ditch is allowed to enter Abbey Brook, and that the Council’s Planning Enforcement Officers are investigating.  Lancashire County Council have also committed to conduct further investigations to determine the cause and what remedial action may be necessary.

“Taylor Wimpey have indicated the ditch does have connectivity to Abbey Brook, but given the photographs supplied to me by residents I have written to them asking that they look again and clarify this position, and I also await the results of the councils’ investigations”.

This news has shades of Burscough, Jacobs, and the incompetence and denial by LCC of what the Burscough community suffers from.  Imagine it, “that a developer should obtain an Environmental Permit from the Environment Agency before flow from a newly excavated ditch is allowed to enter Abbey Brook, and that the Council’s Planning Enforcement Officers are investigating”. Who’d of thought it!

LCC Plans Action To Tackle Flooding In Burscough

Residents of Burscough affected by flooded homes will wonder how the County Council could issue a statement re the Jacobs report to the press

promising “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 one that LCC 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. We’ve been reporting on the Burscough floods for about ten years, and this Jacobs report gives “high priority” to 8 actions, 7 of which were regarding works on Redcat Lane and Crabtree Lane, which require the protection of properties ahead of any capital funded scheme. That’s what we heard ten years ago and waiting! Don’t hold your breath!

We’ll report any apology from LCC to the Burscough Flooding Group as soon as we hear about it!


The Saga Of Jacobs, LCC, WLBC, And Burscough Flooding Group

Reporting from our new “Old Fogies avoiding the coronavirus” bunker

We bring you the latest report from Burscough in its fight for a just engagement with Lancashire County Council and other protagonists so as to secure a flooding policy and a comprehensive flood management strategy that totally mitigates for the safety of people and property in Burscough. LCC continues the saga of what can only be a county tantrum.

Gavin Rattray

the Secretary of Burscough Flooding Group Wrote

“Dear Rachel Crompton, Lancashire County Council

“As you know we have attempted to contact LCC, with some urgency, in order to discuss the Jacobs report since both Councillor Pope and yourself left your your own meeting about the report (20th Feb), with Burscough Flooding Group, after Councillor Pope stated that Council Officers were unable to talk when a recording device was operating, causing it to end.

“Obviously the single Council Officer who remained (but would not have the meeting) was aware that it was perfectly normal and a legal provision that the public be allowed to record meetings with Lancashire County Council covertly; and that Burscough Flooding Group (BFG) were simply being polite, open and honest, in informing LCC that it wished to openly record the meeting, first by email in advance (9th Feb) and then again in the meeting (20th Feb) when it started recording.

“You must realise that residents will inevitably perceive that it is very odd for LCC to first refuse to share the draft Jacob’s report with the BFG and Burscough Parish Council, and then, by leaving their own meeting, fail to take any of their views into account when finalising it. Especially as, without the agreement and assistance of both BFG and Burscough Parish Council, the current Jacob’s report would have not have been produced.

“It is deeply unfair that only the parties, LCC, West Lancashire Borough Council (WLBC) and United Utilities (UU), with large vested financial interests, have shaped and approved the publicly funded report on Burscough’s flooding problems, whilst they simultaneously prevented public oversight of its production. Because of the lack of public oversight, the final Jacobs report has basic errors including understating the responsibilities of LCC, WLBC and UU, and being almost entirely uncritical of them. Therefore, there is a certain inevitability that the public will perceive that the report is a whitewash.

“We are available for telephone conference or a skype meeting”.

Surely it can’t be too long before the BFG considers if it and its members are being treated unfairly and think it may be a human rights issue for them. The Human Rights Act applies to the individual or organisation causing the problem, and applies to all public authorities and all other bodies, whether public or private, performing public functions. The public authorities include local authorities and those that carry out public functions, for example privatised utilities like water companies (UU). 

It’s to be hoped that those who work in a public authority, LCC and WLBC, know their responsibilities under the Human Rights Act and are not abusing them in the case of Burscough and the BFG?

Flooding – In The House Of Commons-Rosie Votes Aye

Luke Pollard (Labour) I beg to move,

That this House notes the damage caused by Storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge and expresses thanks to workers from the Environment Agency, emergency services, local councils and volunteers; and calls for Ministers to set up an independent review into the floods, including the Government’s response, the adequacy of the funding provided for flood defences and prevention, difficulties facing homes and businesses with getting insurance and what lessons need to be learnt in light of the climate emergency and the increased likelihood of flooding in the future.

Resolved, That this House notes the damage caused by Storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge and expresses thanks to workers from the Environment Agency, emergency services, local councils and volunteers; acknowledges that following the Pitt Review in 2008, local and national response was significantly improved through the establishment of Local Resilience Forums which have led to partnership working and in addition, the Cross Review in 2018 which led to the publication of new guidance on multi-agency flood plans; further acknowledges that following the National Flood Resilience Review in 2016 there were further improvements through the establishment of the National Flood Response Centre and improved weather and flood forecasting capabilities, but recognises that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and that further investment in flood defence infrastructure will be necessary in the years ahead.

The House divided: Ayes 227, Noes 328. Rosie Cooper voted Aye. Question accordingly negatived. Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 31(2)), That the proposed words be there added. Question agreed to. Main Question, as amended, put and agreed to.


Who Is Your Tory “Burscough And Rufford Champion” Against Flooding?

Whoever that “Champion” is, is bound as are all elected councillors, to the seven principles of selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, and leadership. He’s bound by the maxim of “You are accountable for your decisions to the public and you must co-operate fully with whatever scrutiny is appropriate to your office”. And “You must be as open as possible about your decisions and actions and the decisions and actions of your authority and should be prepared to give reasons for those decisions and actions”. And “You must always treat people with respect, including the organisations and public you engage with and those you work alongside”. And “You must promote and support high standards of conduct when serving in your public post, in particular as characterised by the above requirements, by leadership and example”. [LCC Last Updated – 23 May 2019 by Full Council-Owner – Democratic Services]

The Burscough Flooding Group themselves have operated in the knowledge that if and when they needed the help of elected members of the WLBC and LCC, they could point to those standards and believe they would receive assistance with their endeavours. 

One elected member, Cllr Pope, born in West Lancashire, has lived in Lathom for the last 28 years. He’s employed as an accountant by the University of Central Lancashire. A member of the Alt Crossens Advisory Group, claiming to be a “Staunch supporter of the Green Belt and maintaining essential council services, he seeks to support local business and community by creating a safe, healthy environment, with minimal council charges. Cllr Pope is available to help local people and be a voice for the residents of Newburgh Ward”. He is paid £4,842 by WLBC for his efforts on behalf of Newburgh residents, currently showing 77% attendance.

Cllr Pope became the County Cllr for Burscough and Rufford in May 2017. He chairs the LCC Pension Fund Committee for which he is paid £7,620 towards total allowances of £18,451 by the LCC last year.

But Cllr Pope seems to have had a spat with Burscough Flooding Group (BFG) that represents fed-up flooded out, unsafe, Burscough residents. There is clearly no love lost in the relationship. The residents of Burscough do not like to be flooded, as you can imagine. So Burscough is stuck, unwillingly for many of its residents, with LCC Cllr Pope until 2021. They quite reasonably look at the obligations contained within the opening paragraph above.

Not everyone will be aware that before BFG met Jacobs Engineering and shared their evidence and knowledge of the flooding problems in Burscough, Cllr Pope was thought to have praised the BFG work for the community.

And they may not be aware that Cllr Pope is believed to be requesting a meeting with the Chairman of Burscough Parish Council, in order to complain about BFG doubting LCC’s honesty and BFG delaying the Jacob’s Flood Report for 7 months.

It follows a meeting arranged between two LCC Officers and Cllr Pope with the Vice Chairman of BFG. Very fortunately the BFG Vice Chairman was anticipating that LCC might have deliberately arranged to meet BFG when only one person could attend (because it was a weekday and LCC gave less than 24 hours notice) and that they might either try to bully him into accepting the finalised Jacobs report on Burscough’s Flooding Problems without time to review it, or they might try and shift the blame onto BFG for LCC’s long delay getting Jacobs started on the project. LCC’s further 2-3 month delay editing the report, LCC’s month long delay first arranging a meeting with BFG followed by their cancelling twice.

“In all LCC had delayed the Jacobs flood report for Burscough approximately 7 months; and that is just one reason our Vice Chairman wanted an irrefutable record of the meeting. He’s a retired police officer and so was very open and polite in emailing LCC in advance stating that he wanted an accurate record of the meeting and LCC could record it themselves for both parties which they ignored; and again politely telling LCC again on the day of the meeting as soon as he started recording”.

As the Secretary of the BFG has revealed “I’ve heard the recording and I can tell you it’s 9 minutes long and isn’t very exciting, more a record of what I think is unusual behaviour by a politician, i.e. leaving a room with a microphone on in it and drawing a Council Officer out of the meeting to stop it.

“Obviously, we don’t expect LCC would uphold any complaint from a residents group about LCC’s contempt of residents but we can joke that the sight of a retired police officer armed with questions and a recording device definitely put the wind up LCC and Councillor Pope.

“All joking apart now, LCC’s seemingly deliberate delays, means the Jacobs report is too late to either improve the drainage conditions or stop the second phase of YTF. Yet the first phase has already increased flooding on the A59 and Crabtree Lane;

and the second phase is going to add further to the regular flooding on the A59 and at Langley’s Brook”.

You could be forgiven for thinking it is the residents of Burscough and the BFG who are compliant with all of the standards listed in our first paragraph, and they should have every expectation that any and all people elected to public office can prove to be compliant with them too?