Category Archives: Uncategorized

Urgent Action Needed By Royal Mail Bosses In Ormskirk

Press Release – Councillor Adrian Owens

“Royal Mail bosses need to get a grip of the situation at the local Ormskirk office says a councillor for the town.  He was speaking after residents contacted him about the Covid outbreak in the office and the resulting lack of post deliveries.

Councillor Adrian Owens said “My first thoughts are for the staff who have come down with Covid-19 at the Ormskirk Royal Mail office and for their families; also for their colleagues who have had to self-isolate as a result.  Several numbers have been mentioned to me, but whatever the precise figure, it seems that a very large percentage of the mail staff at the office are now off work as a result of this cruel virus. 

“Bosses need to ask how so many staff had to self-isolate after the first cases were announced.  Other Royal Mail offices haven’t seen the same disruption.  Management are supposed to ensure controls are in place so that staff are kept apart as much as possible.  They have a duty to their staff to keep them safe.

Councillor Owens then turned to the impact on mail deliveries, saying “Now, though the knock-on effect is that residents are contacting me expressing concern that they haven’t received any post for 10 days.  Not everyone uses email or looks at social media.  Many older people in particular could have critical mail relating to health matters held up in the post.  It’s time the local management at Ormskirk Royal Mail employed additional temporary staff to clear the backlog.  It’s not fair on those staff still at work or returning shortly from illness or isolation to shoulder the whole burden and residents need to receive a half-decent service”.

“I have written to complain to the Royal Mail.  I understand some residents have also complained to our MP and I trust that she will investigate fully what is going on and get Royal Mail to get their act together” he concluded.

Coincidentally, readers may be aware the Leader of the West Lancashire Borough Council Ian Moran

is the CWU Political Officer North West No1 Branch, who Joined Royal Mail as a postman in 1991 where he is still a full time Postman, a member of the Communication Workers Union since 1991 and a Union Rep since 1996. He’s probably a reliable source for the facts as they affect post deliveries in Ormskirk?

Coronavirus Infections And Deaths Increase In West Lancashire

The West Lancashire Ormskirk & Southport NHS Trust hospitals have reported 79 new coronavirus infections today, that’s now 7,162 cases since the pandemic began. The rate is 6,265.6 per 100,000 of our community.

Sadly five patients have died at Ormskirk & Southport Hospitals. This includes three on January 18th and two on January 19th. There have been 312 deaths in our community.

Rosie Cooper MP Challenges The PM On Flood Defence Funding

Following a week blighted by flooding across West Lancashire, Rosie Cooper MP at Prime Minister’s Questions challenged Boris Johnson to deliver much needed funding for flood defences, particularly Crossens Pumping Station.

At PMQs today, Rosie highlighted the need to protect our food production as well as defending West Lancashire homes and businesses from the awful misery of flooding. One of the key problems we have is this Government’s decision to cut funding to the Environment Agency, the body tasked with managing the flood pumps protecting the area. This funding cut has led to the EA serving notice that they will cease to operate these pumps beyond March 2021. 

Rosie called on the Prime Minister to deliver funding both to keep the Alt Crossens pumps operational and to maintain the watercourses, which will be vital in defending the rich food producing lands of West Lancashire.

The constituency has long suffered from continuous flooding of farmland and residential areas alike. Despite repeatedly raising these matters with Ministers, the Government have continuously reduced funding. At a residents meeting on flooding with the Shadow Environment Secretary in late 2020, local farmers and constituents were clear that they live in fear of flooding and feel the Government have no intention to protect them.

Rosie commented “The Prime Minister cannot continue to ignore this issue. Now Britain has left the EU, farms like those in West Lancashire are going to be relied upon if the country is going to be food secure and self-sufficient, yet the Government continues to turn its back.

“The PM’s response to me was to quote the amount that has previously been given for flood defences. This is clearly not enough! In the past week I have been contacted by many of my West Lancashire constituents who are struggling with flooding of their homes, gardens and land. When will the Government finally listen to them?!

“Local Authorities and the Environment Agency are doing what they can, but without proper and adequate funding they are fighting a losing battle. For the sake of my constituents’ land, homes and businesses, I hope the Prime Minister finally takes notice and provides the funding and help we urgently need!”

No doubt the pictures will emerge soon of horrific flooding where developers have built homes and profits, as expected!

How Exciting Can It Be To Become A WLBC Debt Collector?

“We are hiring! We have an exciting opportunity for someone with an interest in social housing to join our income collection team as an “Income Management Assistant” [Debt collector]. For details and to apply online, click the link below:

“This is an exciting opportunity for someone with an interest in social housing to join our busy income [Debt] collection team. We are looking for someone who can make a difference and have effective conversations so that we can collect rent payments.

“You will be an excellent negotiator and secure [Debt] payments, make payment agreements and payment plans and recover rent and housing debts owed to the Council. You will be someone who is able to take a proactive approach to minimise debts and maintain regular contact with customers in rent arrears.

“As an Income Management Assistant [Debt Collector] you will provide a high quality customer focused service, having a firm but fair approach and be motivated to contribute to team targets and performance. We are looking for someone keen to understand our customer’s and to have an interest in or knowledge of Universal credit and welfare benefits and be someone who would offer our customers the best advice and support they can if they face financial difficulties.

You will be an excellent communicator [Pay up or else] and will refer our tenants to relevant agencies, for advice and support when needed. If you feel you have the appropriate skills, or are keen to start a career in social housing and are looking for opportunities to progress then we would love to hear from you! We will pay you a salary of£20,092 to £21,748 per annum”.

Video Puts State Of Golf Course Back In Spotlight

YouTube channel Golf Mates has released a video showing the poor condition Beacon Park Golf Course in Up Holland is in, by Andrew Nowell of the Wigan Today newspaper.

 “Members and campaigners have been involved in a bitter fight for years with Serco and West Lancashire Borough Council (WLBC) over huge quantities of landfill waste which have been dumped at the site, causing the course to deteriorate dramatically. 

Only a handful of members now remain at the once-thriving club. Last year matters came to a head when members were stunned to receive a scathing email from Serco chairman Rupert Soames dismissing their concerns. The video by Golf Mates has already been viewed thousands of times, [55,607]. putting attention back on the course.

Local campaigner Alan Lenton said “This has been going on for seven years now. The first landfill was dumped there in 2013. Here we are in 2020 [2021] and if you turn right at the clubhouse and walk 50 yards all you see is slippage. You have to walk through all that to get to the first tee. You can see on the video them playing with streams of water rushing down. That is what they have created in all this time.

“Things are not getting any better and it’s terribly sad. Most of the golfers have gone. A few are trying to form a new club but with the condition of the course I can’t see that happening. The loyal members who have paid their fees for years have been robbed”.

Campaigners have been demanding financial transparency over the landfill operations at Beacon Park for some time. Serco was also previously rapped by the local authority and given a breach of conditions notice over the mountains of waste.

Matters appeared to be progressing after a planning application was submitted for footgolf, green and tee changes and landscaping work. Remodelling allowed the course to be passed for league play once more in 2019.

However, last year golfers again said the course had been badly neglected during the row with Mr Soames and Mr Lenton said this has got worse. He said “nature has reclaimed” the area intended for a nine-hole junior academy golf course.

WLBC, though, said it was still optimistic planned works at the course would improve the situation. A spokesperson said “The council has enforced the need for the re-profiling work at Beacon Country Park to be undertaken to design an improved facility for the public.

“The work has been subject to delays due to bad weather and the national Covid pandemic. However, the council anticipates that the new facilities will be available in summer 2021. and “The golf course members have received a 50 per cent reduction in membership fees”.

Is the WLBC serious? Has there been bad weather and Covid for seven years since 2013? Golf Club members have paid membership fees annually in advance for years for this course to become rubbish. They should be paid to play on it, and covered by insurance against injury too. You can believe it took Serco seven years and counting to get to what you see below!

The Relentless Rise In Coronavirus Infections Continues In West Lancashire

The West Lancashire Ormskirk & Southport NHS Trust hospitals have reported 73 new coronavirus infections today. The cumulative total is now 7,083 infections, that’s  6,196.5 per 100,000 of our population. It records a drop of 0.4% over the previous week.

NHS England has not reported any deaths in West Lancashire today. Our community losses remain 303.

And continue to

Fight Fly Tipping Blight With CCCTV Says Our West Lancashire

The Borough Council should be using mobile CCTV equipment at flytipping hotspots say Council Independents, Our West Lancashire.  “Councils across the country use CCTV to deter flytippers and to gather evidence to prosecute offenders.  West Lancashire residents deserve the same service” said Blair Piggin, Scott ward spokesman for Our West Lancashire.  

“My ward colleague, Councillor Jane Thompson is repeatedly reporting flytipping on one lane in our ward but it’s a problem across West Lancashire and the chances of getting caught are just not high enough.  That’s why we need to do more.”

Our West Lancashire say they have received more complaints of flytipping in recent months, adding that the bans on depositing inert waste at the County Council waste sites at Burscough and Skelmersdale have not helped.  Blair Piggin said “We’ve written to the Head of Waste at the county council and we would like to see inert waste being accepted again as it is in Sefton and other council areas.  However, nothing justifies fly tipping.  The cost to the Borough Council and private landowners in clear-ups is money that could instead be spent on something of benefit”.

The Scott ward community activist concluded “This is not about Big Brother.  It’s about using mobile cameras in a targeted way in specific flytip hotspots.  Just the warning signage and the knowledge that cameras are present will act as a deterrent.  Anyone who continues and flytips in those circumstances will deserve the full force of the law to be applied”.

This is a no-brainer, isn’t it? We have regular changes of Tory and Labour majorities to run the council. But nothing changes. Independents should have a chance to change council policy into “You don’t tip rubbish, but if you do you will be recorded and convicted? And pay for removal of the rubbish!”. Meanwhile the head of waste at LCC is a waste of his wages all on his own

Aughton Couple Dig Deep To Do The County Council’s Work

Roger Blaxall of QLocal wrote “Many folk take it easy on a Sunday morning with a coffee, gentle stroll or by reading the weighty Sunday papers. Not this couple though.

“Carl and Mandy of Aughton Park Drive were so sick and tired of waiting for LCC contractors to clear blocked grids they rolled up their sleeves and did it themselves.

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“In total the hardworking duo cleared four drains of dirt, mud and leaves – work which should be done by contractors CJ Lyon (Drain & Septic Tank Specialists (cj-lyon.co.uk) for LCC.

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“Perhaps [Carl and Mandy] they should bill County Hall for all their hard work…on Sunday 17 January”.

And on 18 January “Highways Teams Are Ready To Respond To Flooding”.18 January 2021 Lancashire County Council News Release PR21/0013, including much bullshit! Because flooding is an afterthought from the county that denies many flooding issues.

The bullshit bulletin includes “Lancashire County Council’s highway teams are preparing to respond to any problems with flooding on the roads ahead of weather warnings for heavy rain.

“Highways staff have already been checking locations which are vulnerable to flooding to ensure that highway drains and trash screens are clear, and extra resources are on standby to help if needed. These include highways staff and contractors who can respond to incidents such as downed trees, or the need to close roads and divert traffic if roads are affected by flooding. Gully wagons are also on stand-by which are often needed during or after flooding to clear debris which gets washed into highway drains.


“People are also being reminded that up to 80% of reports received about problems with drains during severe weather are due to debris sitting over the top of grates, rather than a more serious maintenance issue. If it is safe to do so, clearing the debris which is plugging the grate can often resolve the issue and allow water to enter the drainage system.

“The county council maintains over 300,000 roadside drains with those most at risk of becoming blocked being checked most often. John Davies, head of highways, said “We always respond to reports of flooding as quickly as we can, and whatever the problem our teams will do their best to help.
“Our teams have already been checking culverts and drains which are vulnerable to becoming blocked, and will be on standby to respond to any reports of flooding we receive. During heavy and persistent rain such as has been forecast this week we can expect there to be some surface water flooding, and I would ask people to be very careful on the roads. If you encounter a flooded road, please stop and turn around rather than put yourself at risk.

“As we have seen during past flooding incidents, the sheer volume of water can lead to drainage systems becoming overwhelmed, and it is often the case that the water will only be able to drain away once the storm has subsided and river levels have lowered, so I would also ask people to be patient.

DIY

“If people are worried that a highways drain has become blocked by debris it’s worth being aware that this can often be dealt with by brushing the debris aside and clearing it away. However, please only do this if it’s safe as we would never want anyone to put themselves at risk.

“We do of course respond to all reports of flooding that we receive, but particularly when storms are ongoing we have to prioritise the most serious flooding issues”.

“If you can’t clear a blocked drain yourself, or the problem doesn’t appear to be caused by debris plugging the grate, please report it online at lancashire.gov.uk/roads-parking-and-travel/report-it or by calling 0300 123 6701 and highways staff will attend as soon as they can. You can find more information and advice about what to do before, during and after a flood at lancashire.gov.uk/flooding”. 

CJ Lyon claim “We regularly carry out work for Lancashire and West Lancashire County Councils, Chorley Borough Council and Halton Borough Council offering inspection services, drain clearance, gully emptying etc…”

And of course there is the layer of help between us, council tax payers, and the LCC. The elected members for Aughton Park ward, whose duty it is to represent the public, and if necessary tell the county about problems. Unfortunately both are residents of Halsall, being Doreen Stephenson and Marilyn Westley. Known as the “lesser spotted in Aughton members” they collect around £4,842 each.

As for the county, riches galore, for top officers failing to provide full services to the public.

Send in your bill, Carl and Mandy, based on the hourly rate earned by the Chief Executive, because your work is far more valuable than hers!

Coronavirus Infections Relentless Rise In West Lancashire

NHS England released new figures this afternoon (January 18) confirming no further deaths were recorded at  Ormskirk & Southport and NHS Trust hospitals in the latest data. The sad total remains 303 deaths.

West Lancashire recorded 78 new coronavirus infections today, the total is now 7,010, that’s 6,132.7 per 100,000 of our population.

“What Price Democracy?”

Cllr Azhar Ali the Labour Group Leader at Lancashire County Council is calling for all voters to be sent an early voting postal vote application form with a return envelope now.

“Elections are the foundation of our democracy and people should not have to choose between voting and their health. People have a right to vote safely and early postal voting will enable them to do that. People can already put in for a postal vote, however many people believe this is still on medical grounds or being absent during voting time, which is no longer the case. In order to overcome any confusion every voter should be sent an early voting postal vote form by their local council along with a pre-paid return envelope so they can choose to use a postal vote.”

And “The cost of the extra safeguards that will be required in the election should not fall on local tax payers. The government should step up and provide the extra funding”.

Where do they get these people? So the costs should fall on national tax payers then? Who are probably the same local tax payers!

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And while we are at it, isn’t malpractice a regular feature of our postal voting system? Wasn’t there an election court convened in Birmingham that found five men guilty of large-scale electoral fraud, involving thousands of postal ballots, a few years ago? A case in Bradford? Doesn’t sound like democracy to me. “None of the above” becomes the best option!