Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 15, 2017

Who Speaks For You When The Seat At The Council Is Empty?

In a briefing, Our West Lancashire reminds us they moved a council motion last year  after which “West Lancashire finally caught up with many other councils and started publishing councillor attendance records.

“Now after 12 months, we’ve brought together those councillor attendance records. Most have good attendances, but for others they’d likely be in serious hot water if they were a school pupil or employee. One councillor has attended only 21% of the meetings scheduled. Is your councillor pulling their weight? Who represents you and your concerns if your councillors are absent You can see the councillor attendance records here  [click to enlarge].

“We took the figures directly from the council website. If you are concerned with your Councillor’s attendance, write to them or better still join Our West Lancashire  and stand for election yourself”.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 14, 2017

Potty Pothole Policy Changed?

Our West Lancashire  claims success with its February story when Ian Davis and Gordon Johnson called for an end to the daft system where one pothole was repaired and another one a few yards away on the same road was ignored, a wasteful system.

“Once again, it looks like we’ve struck a chord. Tomorrow the county council cabinet are set to approve £1million “to allow operatives to repair any other potholes they may find in their zone of work on site, to address the situation of one pothole being fixed and another being left” .

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 13, 2017

Is It Sour Grapes?

From Sam Currie on twitter “My thoughts on @rosie4westlancs latest betrayal of leave voting #westlancs

Local Tory Councillor [and defeated Tory general election candidate] Sam Currie has slammed Rosie Cooper for voting against the EU repeal bill. Currie has popped up again on QLocal . Seen as the second hurdle for leaving the European Union, the bill passed with cross party support on the night of 11th September.

“After all the rhetoric MP Cooper has thrown out about respecting the will of the people with regards to the EU, she has now shown herself to be the phoney we all suspected she was. She campaigned for remain and then tried to sit on the fence and say she would go along with the will of her residents when her side lost the referendum. The fact is, she was whipped into voting this way and she put party before people. This is wholly unacceptable and I urge her to explain these actions to the good people of West Lancashire who deserve to know why she has pulled the wool over their eyes”.

We must all wait for what our MP has to say about her vote. But Currie’s “sour grapes” reference to her being whipped is a bit silly after the description ex-Tory now Independent LCC Cllr Greenall gave of being accosted in the LCC gents toilets by the Tory county whip prior to Cllr Greenall’s departure to the Independent benches?

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 13, 2017

Our Politics Is In Need Of Fundamental Reform

Says Independent LCC Cllr Paul Greenall in his letter to The Champion here… [click to read]

There is an issue not just of a need for reform but a need for transparency. While Cllr Greenall was a WLBC elected member for Derby ward he was a member of the Conservative Party that chose Wyre Councillor Moon to take a second seat in May 2016, in a safe Conservative West Lancashire seat at Hesketh-with-Becconsall. Moon was immediately paid over £9,000 for what in effect were two part-time jobs, as his record at West Lancashire was soon at 60% attendance. Moon would not face the electorate again until 2019 in Wyre and in 2020 in West Lancashire.

So what else could the electorate do? It was Cllr Greenall’s party that remained silent until the exposure of Moon’s position. Cllr Greenall held various senior posts in his constituency party. Now, LCC Cllr Greenall asks two questions you can read in his letter. Here are two pertinent questions for Cllr Greenall. When did you become so concerned about reducing councillor expenses? Why did you remain silent with the remainder of your then Conservative party when Moon was selected, elected, and on two council payrolls?

If we receive answers perhaps we might learn more about the shoddy hidden candidate selection processes and the fundamental root and branch reform Cllr Greenall wants might start?

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 13, 2017

The Stench Of Political Opportunism And Hypocrisy

How ironic it is to read about Cllr Sam Curry telling us about the stink of political opportunism by Labour when it exists in his own local Conservative party? Did Cllr Curry look back to 2010 for the St Helens North general election Tory candidate? Perhaps not!

While council tax payers see less service for more tax it seems that some of our elected members prefer to fight like rats in a sack over matters of less interest to us. In October 2016 we reported on the Conservative Councillor Paul Moon who has seats on two councils, represents one party, and has three declared homes. He declared his Wyre Council home to be at 42 Grasmere Road, Knott End, FY60DW OR at 314 Park Lane, Preesall. But for the West Lancashire seat he declared his home to be Titmouse Cottage, 3 The Brow, Hesketh Bank. Moon has received an annual allowance of £4,219.16 [now £4,276] from Wyre and will receive an annual allowance of £4,842 from West Lancashire.

The excellent QLocal  website reports that “West Lancashire Conservative Councillor Sam Currie has called on Cllr Liz Savage to ‘make her mind up’ as to where she wishes to represent. Yesterday he told QLocal “While Cllr Savage, who lives within the South Ribble constituency, jumps on every bandwagon going in Southport, she is in real danger of neglecting the West Lancashire residents who pay her allowances! If she wishes to represent Southport, then she would be well advised to stand down from her position on West Lancashire Borough Council allowing somebody who wants to see a better West Lancashire take her place. Her actions stink of political opportunism” Cllr Currie said.

And Cllr Savage, who has lost the last two general elections in Southport, was accused of bringing West Lancashire council into disrepute by Conservative leader Councillor David Westley. “What does this say to the people of West Lancashire and perhaps more importantly, the people of Ashurst in Skem. who she supposedly represents? If I was a Labour voter within West Lancashire I would be feeling very short changed seeing someone happily taking my tax money but spending more time in Southport. I call on Labour leader Cllr Moran to take decisive action and force Cllr Savage into deciding which area she wishes to represent.”

Perhaps Westley is equally short changed by Moon spending more time in Wyre? Might Moon be also asked by Westley which area HE wishes to represent? Or is Moon exempt from criticism as Westley leads his party into oblivion? Perhaps we might leave the last word with LCC and former Tory Cllr Paul Greenall who at the 2010 General Election was the Conservative candidate for St Helens North while being a WLBC Derby ward councillor. Cllr David Westley, Conservative leader of West Lancashire Borough Council, has said that “Having worked closely with Paul, I know how diligent and committed he is”. That was before he introduced “snide” into our political vocabulary !

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 13, 2017

The Granville Park Road Lines Saga Is Beyond Parody

Are we nearing the end of the farce being played out on Granville Park in Aughton? Last Saturday there were double yellow lines at and near the Town Green Lane junction “Co-op corner”. Last Sunday there were no lines there, all blasted away. Yesterday the double lines were back  But they are of different width. Was the cock-up that the lines were not of regulation width? Who knows?

Do I detect a lighter shade of yellow ? Officially, in environmentally sensitive areas, a pale shadow of yellow may be used and the width of the lines may be reduced, see here . Perhaps LCC employs an officer with a fondness for Procol Harum and “whiter shades of pale”?

The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions

11. – (1) Subject to the provisions of these Regulations, a sign for conveying information or a warning, requirement, restriction, prohibition or speed limit of the description specified under a diagram in Schedules 1 to 7, Part II of Schedule 10 and Schedule 12 to traffic on roads shall be of the size, colour and type shown in the diagram . [click all pics to enlarge] It all makes work for the working man to do!

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 12, 2017

Grotty Aughton

The Aughton Parish Council (APC) received a barrage of criticism last night, about the appalling state of the parish, from members of the public who attended the monthly meeting. Poor and or non- existent attention to roads and verges, weeds growing in gullies, no sweeping, all raised as matters of neglect. In a hapless response Cllr Stephenson referred to the Tory party only recently having taken control of LCC. So what, as she was quickly stopped in her tracks .

And even worse were the comparisons made with other areas of West Lancashire, especially “beautiful Burscough” with its flowers. The Burscough Parish Council takes its parish appearance seriously and issues a Newsletter and in January 2017 it stated “Precept. During November and December the Parish Council examine the finances and consider budget proposals for the coming year. The final decision will be made by the Parish Council in February and proposals include: Street Scene budget (street cleaning, bus shelters, floral displays and planting, street furniture etc) be increased to £25,000 [from £18,000] because people generally tell us that they want the area to look nice and to be well cared for.

They have a “Best Landscaping or Garden Competition” and as part of its expanding “Bloomin’ Burscough” Competition, the Parish Council introduced a business section. The competition is open to businesses of all kinds and covers both landscaping and garden areas/hanging baskets. There is no need for businesses to nominate themselves, but the council is pleased to hear from businesses that would like to be included.

Poor old Aughton Parish Council only has reserves of circa £109,000  [click to read] which apparently remains sacrosanct while the parish would win any “Parish Grotspot” competition. Those who did attend the APC last night would surely beg for our area to match nice and well cared for Burscough?

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 12, 2017

Rosie Cooper Vote

Rosie Cooper MP  voted AGAINST the second reading of the EU withdrawal bill last night. Only seven Labour MPs – Ronnie Campbell, Frank Field, Kate Hoey, Kelvin Hopkins, John Mann, Dennis Skinner and Graham Stringer- defied the Labour whip and supported the Government. The majority for the Brexit bill was 36.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 11, 2017

Aughton Parish Council Meeting Report

A month ago we reported that “During the recent meeting Cllr Grant mentioned the absence of any of the WLBC/LCC Councillors at APC meetings. It was decided that APC will write to the Councillors suggesting that they should create a rota to ensure that at least one of them attends each APC meeting. Why bother? As we regularly comment, only one of five local Tory WLBC members’ lives in the parish, the others being three from Halsall and one from Haskayne. If the political party they represent dumps candidates on us what else do we expect other than to be ignored?”

So whatever happened they turned up mob-handed tonight, the Westlephants and Doreen Stephenson, the Halsall Tory residents, and Sam Currie, Downholland Tory resident . Also in attendance was Independent Cnty Cllr Paul Greenall, noticeably not sitting with his former Tory councillors, but why would he be associated with them? We like his recent pic, a delicate coloured sketch .

While nine members of the public attended too, the Tory APC Chairman gave priority to the paid councillors over the public at question time, with Cllr Greenall having a later meeting to attend about some local highways issues. Also introduced were new APC councillors Dr David Gallagher  and John Pendleton .

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 11, 2017

The Unending Saga Of Footpath 25

23 January 2017. To Cnty Cllr O’Toole in whose county division lies Footpath 25…”I am writing with some urgency to advise you of the serious deterioration of the concrete post and wooden fencing at the Junction of Footpath 25 and The Serpentine. This matter has been raised by me on several occasions, to warn councillors that the concrete post is being forced over by roots of a nearby large tree. I have reported that this footpath is used by parents who park their cars in The Serpentine and walk their children to Town Green School via Prescot Road. Today the concrete post has tilted to an even more dangerous angle, taking some of the wooden fencing with it. I hope I am still not having to remind you of this problem with the serious consequences of an accident to a child if it is ignored any longer. I attach pictures  taken a few minutes ago”.

Same day from Cllr O’Toole… I have reported your concerns to the appropriate LCC dept. David O’Toole Conservative Whip LCC.

We move on over a period of months, during which the connection of Footpath 25 and its junction with The Serpentine is ignored and denied as a LCC responsibility, including a statement by them of it NOT being on a public right of way. We had an “unknown” contractor at the Prescot Road end of Footpath 25 doing some remedial work to bushes there, denied as being authorised by LCC. But that is NOT where the dangerous post is anyway.

Having asked Cllr O’Toole for a site visit…”You might suggest the parish councillors for Town Green, Mr Walne and Ms Woolgar, could join you in a site visit with an LCC officer?” this was ignored.

No further news until 5 July 2017, writing to Aughton Parish Council (APC) “Work began this week on the Footpath and the entire Kissing Gate has been removed and a sand/grit surface laid along the footpath. There is also a very poorly laid heap of tarmac at the Prescot Road entrance to the footpath. Today, all the machinery has gone, together with the Danger No Entry signs. But the dangerous leaning concrete post is still in situ. If this means the job is completed it seems the practical solution mentioned about has been ignored. The pavement on Prescot Road near the footpath entrance is also disgraceful too. Might you be able to assess the situation to check if there is more work to be done and if so obtain a progress report from the LCC Officer in charge of the work?”

17 July letter from LCC via the APC “Outcome of problem…Resolution; The surface of the public footpath has been improved by the Public Rights of Way Team, the kissing gate has been removed to improve low mobility access. The failing fence post will be removed in the coming days. Your report has now been closed”.

20 July 2017 From APC clerk “In respect of my enquiry to the Lancashire PROW re the above, I have received the following: i) the leaning concrete post should have been removed during the initial works and the contractor would be returning to complete this asap (I have checked this morning and the post has gone) ii) the tarmac at the junction of the public footpath and the Prescot Road footway was laid in an effort to prevent water from flowing down the footpath but this hasn’t worked as well as expected and the contractor would be returning to improve this (it appears some remedial work has been carried out) iii) the kissing gate has been removed as this made access difficult for lower mobility users. The landowners were consulted prior to the removal of the gate”. [The gate was on Footpath 25, owned by LCC!]

20 July to APC “I have just returned home through Aughton Footpath 25 and the leaning concrete post is still in situ. So I’m confused about which concrete post you, Cllr O’Toole, and the LCC have corresponded about. For the avoidance of doubt it is the post at the corner of the footpath leading directly to The Serpentine, and is directly affected by the roots of the huge tree adjacent to it. I attach a picture taken 10 minutes ago”.

20 July from APC now clearly in blunder land! “The concrete post, which was leaning considerably more than the one you are referring to, was on the first stretch of path between Prescot Road and the junction where the contractors have tried to deal with the surface/flooding/kissing gate etc. I will take a look at the other stretch asap”.

20 July to APC “The post I am referring to remains of great concern to parents walking children to and from school after they park in The Serpentine. It is at risk because of the tree roots moving it, to the extent it has already done so. It is not loose but the scale of its angle suggests it will continue its movement especially when the surrounding area is wet. I would be grateful for another assessment of it by LCC. As a parish we should apply a risk assessment to it for the safety of our children”.

21 July 2017 from APC “I have revisited the site and once again, I have put an enquiry to the LCC Department responsible and will update you in due course. I wonder if it has been a landowner’s old gatepost.Thank you for the photo which I have passed on to my contact”.

21 July 2017 to APC “I can assure you that according to locals the long fence across the end of The Serpentine was erected by our local council so as to stop cars and other vehicles driving across and into Walley Drive. They attend to it when it needs repair. And when the grass is mown on the Walley Drive greens the council also mows the land up to the Serpentine fence. So historically that is public land but maps might help with that? I doubt there has ever been a gate there, certainly not in my 35 years living here. When it was straight, that concrete post held the fence securely in place but you will have seen how much of the fence has been damaged. The tree is huge, as you will have observed, with massive root growth and it is that which has forced the concrete post over at such a dangerous angle. Perhaps a site visit with parish, council officers, and locals is necessary?” NB Second request for a site visit!

27 July 2017 from APC “In respect of my enquiry to the Lancashire PROW regarding the above, I have been informed that the contractor will be going back on site to remove this second post you referred to, on the right-hand side of the photo. Also, the tarmac hump at the Prescot Road end of the path will be removed and replaced with something more suitable”. [NB I have only ever referred to ONE concrete post, the one on Footpath 25. If a post WAS removed it was NOT on Footpath 25]

End of dialogue. No further contact. No news of any council officer or elected member making an official visit to see the danger. Children are back at school and the risk of harm remains serious, as these latest pictures today  show . Almost two months after the “report has now been closed” and there is NO resolution. But painting parking lines on Granville Park and then removing them is LCC priority!

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