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SAVE THE BECCONSALL CAMPAIGN

Save The Becconsall Hotel

SAVE THE BECCONSALL
The Campaign to save Hesketh Bank's Becconsall Hotel

Update 28th February 2012
Photos of the demolition of the Becconsall Hotel
Update 25rd February 2012

Dear Village Friends,

Today Saturday 25th Feb 2012 it’s over – The Becconsall Hotel no longer exists in this world and is reduced to several piles of rubble now in darkness in Hesketh Bank. This final thing to be go, were the metal shutters nailed to the front of the large bay window in Mums lounge bar. Ironically, “SAVE ME” was the last thing to be seen as the machine lifted them away, high through the air. Very poignant.

Many people turned up this morning before 8am to witness the end of an era for this village, which is now growing into a little town. Today we witnessed local history being destroyed and local history also being created. It is time to turn to a fresh page and the next chapter of Hesketh Banks growth.

Today amongst the dust, the dirt and the sights and sounds of destruction, some amazing things happened too. The team of Demolition men could not have been more kind, helpful, considerate, professional and respectful of the job they were charged to carry out. I witnessed them being very honouring of local feeling and the history of The Becconsall Hotel. For this I am very grateful to them, to Rowlands builders and to Hollins for showing this consideration and respect to the community.

To my own surprise and amazement, I went from feeling a mixture of shocked, upset and sad at the reality, to feeling admiration, gratitude and respect for the skill of these chaps who operated the machines of destruction. Like huge dinosaurs with big gaping jaws, they could  deftly reach into the centre of the building, pick up a piece of something quite delicately, transport it high through the air, then place it onto one of the “neat” piles at the side of the site. Incredible.

What this means to me now is, The Becconsall, this old friend to so many, was raised to the ground with respect, care and dignity. It wasn’t just roughly smashed to smitherines before our sad eyes! Right now I feel both privileged to have witnessed this and grateful to the Demolition Team, especially Alan and Jimmy for being so understanding and supportive of everyone watching in the crowd. They even called to get me this morning before they started their demolition of The Bec – thank you.

When my brother Sean arrived from Derbyshire to bear witness, he was stunned at what he saw!  As he says, he came with the building. Mum was pregnant with Sean when we moved into The Bec years ago. He grew up there for 25 years and lived overlooking The Bec for many more years too. Poor Sean, he was very, very shocked and upset as 25 years since we left, the heart of the building was now wide open to the world when he arrived. Again, both Alun and Jimmy were very kind to him, they gave him a hard hat and yellow jacket too, then patiently listened as he told them his story of The Bec and what it meant to him. Again, thank you both, I am grateful.

Dad was in many peoples thoughts today too as villagers spoke to us on site. Dad and Mum were certainly in mine and Seans hearts and minds as the building came down in front of us. In fact, thank you to everyone who came over to have a chat and speak so fondly of all the family, Mum, Dad, my beautiful sister Fionuala, my late brother Bernard, Sean and myself.

I know that my Dad would have been devastated today to witness the end of The Bec ...he would also have been standing with his friend Peter Watkinson, fascinated and in admiration of the skill and respect shown by the Demolition Team during the process. Though today saw the death, funeral and final resting place of the building which closed The Becconsall Hotel Chapter forever, today has also the opened The New Becconsall Development Chapter. This will be written before our eyes this year by Hollins and Rowlands.

Save The Bec campaign has ongoing involvement in the quality development planned for this site. This now mixed development, also meets some local social needs for local elderly downsizing near to the shops, locals with disability, first time buyers and for family homes. The style pays respect to The Bec. We have also secured some bricks from The Bec to create a raised flowerbed in front of the New Becconsall apartment building. We will give some to the Parish Council for the flowerbed at Booths too if they wish. Together, we can create something special to be proud of on the New Becconsall Site. Time to look to the future...

We wish you all well and cheers!

With warmth and respect on this emotional rollercoaster of a day,

Mrs Mc, Sean, Beryl & Úna McBride

Update 23rd February 2012

Dear Village Friends,

It the final countdown for The Bec...

Today I went into the Becconsall building and drew my breath to see it gutted and stripped of all its treasures. The beautiful solid oak, the floorboards, the bars,  the ornate plasterwork of hand painted vines around the ceilings, the leaded glass windows broken and torn. How sad, how very, very sad.

It is the final D Day for The Becconsall on Saturday 25th February 2012 when the actual building will be demolished. The demolition will begin at 8am and it will all be rubble by 2pm. How sad.

I keep meeting people in the village who all say the same thing, “How sad. I remember such good times at The Bec...I remember my first pint there and my youth in The Bec...I remember...I remember...I remember...”

What is lovely for me, is that so many people recount their happy stories of their time spent enjoying a pint at The Bec with Dad and my Mum, who was 95 two weeks ago, though she says she is 59! They remember happy times with our family and with Peter & Jean too. These memories are photographs for the soul.

So, I invite each of you to gather all your happy memories together wherever you may be, and on Friday evening at 8pm please join with us and together let’s raise a glass to The Becconsall as it used to be in its glory days. Let’s say “Thank you and Cheers!” to this old friend for all the happy times and memories. For all the friends you met there, the lovers you courted, the 18ths and 21sts, the engagements, the weddings you celebrated, the babies you christened, the Christmas’s you enjoyed, the New Years Eve Parties, all the fun and all the milestones you marked in your lives, hosted there, at The Becconsall Hotel Hesketh Bank.

Friday night will really be “last orders” for The Bec and “Time Gentlemen Please”.

We wish you well,  let us now create something new to be proud of as a community.

With warmth and respect,

Mrs Mc, Sean, Beryl, Úna and Save the Bec Action Team

Update 22nd February 2012

Hello Everyone,

A very sad update for you.

The demolition of The Becconsall Hotel, sadly, is about to start.

Though we have all known for some time that The Becconsall building would be demolished, the reality is now here. It is D Day for The Bec. Given the sad state of the building, which was neglected for years, has been broken into several times now and is in a sorry state of repair, it is probably better that this happens now, we can say goodbye forever and it is over soon.

The developers, Hollins Strategic Land had to wait for the last piece of paper from the planning department in order to progress their project. They got this just before Christmas and had planned to demolish in the autumn.

It has now been possible for the builders to move things forward earlier than expected.

Hollins Strategic Land have gone into partnership with Rowlands, a local reputable builders to complete The Becconsall project. Hollins have also been approached by big National Building companies to buy the site and develop it. They have refused.

Hollins want to honour their commitment to the Hesketh Bank community via Save The Bec campaign, to deliver a quality development of housing, which also meets some local social needs, pays respect to The Bec architecture and delivers their plans as shown and made available to all the community early in 2011. These plans were passed by the planning committee later last year. Rather than sell out to Nationals, Hollins want to work with local reputable builders. They have partnered with Rowlands of Chorley.

Unfortunately, there has been an error on the part of Rowlands the builders in communicating with Hollins and the community as to the dates set to demolish The Becconsall. Andrew Brown of Rowlands has apologised that he did not communicate the correct dates to Hollins and to the community.

It is as it is.

At present, there is a team of demolition men employed by Rowlands Builders of Chorley who have now started to rip out the once beautiful solid oak interior of The Bec. Even the demolition man was impressed by the quality of the oak bar. This interior removal will continue this week with the building demolition to follow.

The demolition people will give me a schedule for the ongoing stages of what to expect tomorrow and I will update you when I have this information.

I have not been able to stop thinking about my Dad today. I am so glad that he is not alive to witness this destruction and that my Mum is not sitting here now watching this happen either. It is the end of an era for this village and a very sad end to The Becconsall Hotel. This once beautiful building was the beating heart of Hesketh Bank and it is the building the village grew up around. It has hosted a lifetime of so many happy memories for so many local people and beyond. Nothing can demolish our happy memories. Time to move on...

We wish you all well.

Cheers! And... very sad,

Mrs Mc, Sean, Beryl, Úna and Save The Bec  Action Team

Update 9th September 2011

Dear Village Friends,

I attended the planning committee meeting with Carl Robinson, Maureen Baldwin and Mike Perkins of Save The Bec Action Team and am writing to confirm that outline planning approval has been given by West Lancs for the development of The Becconsall Hotel site.

Sadly, this means that the iconic Becconsall Hotel will be demolished, the last green space in the centre of our village will go and housing will be built on the site. As yet, I cannot confirm the timescale for demolition and will update you all as soon as we know.

Maureen Baldwin did a great job speaking about concerns for the loss of our only pub as a local amenity, concerns about added strain on the water pressure and also rare bluebells on the site. The council did show some concerns that United Utilities both assess the site and then provide the service. At our Lat Public Meeting for Save The Bec, Councillor Ian Ashcroft had committed to investigating residents complaints about low water pressure along Station Road, Rankin and Sydney Ave. I suggest to anyone affected by low water pressure, write to United Utilities and Ian Ashcroft re this and support him, to support you, to get their attention.

The developers have promised us to do everything to make sure the housing scheme is really good. The outline plans which have been approved, include dwellings for locals retiring, elderly downsizing, local disabled residents, first time buyers and some family houses. The quality of materials have been specified. Provided that Hollins deliver on all that is promised, the style of the development, pays respect to The Bec and will hopefully create an atheistically pleasing view, set back from Station Road Bridge. This is the best that could be achieved in a very difficult situation.

Mike Perkins of CAMRA kindly took the trouble to come the planning meeting. I would like to thank Mike and CAMRA for their ongoing support to “Save The Bec” and so many other hostelries as our traditional pub culture comes under threat throughout the UK. One day, people will look around and wonder how the UK let this happen throughout the land. It’s a sad result, but in Hesketh Bank, we know we have all done our best to “Save The Bec” and our village heritage for the community. Events have run their course and there will now be a different flavour to Hesketh Bank.

We wish you well and will update you when we know more.

With warmth and respect,
Una & Mrs Mc & Save The Bec Campaign Action Group

Update 27th August 2011

Dear Village Friends,

We hope you are all well and enjoying the summer holidays.

Two years ago, Mrs Mc at 92, had the courage to launch a campaign to Save The Becconsall for the Hesketh Bank village community and I am writing to update you on the current situation.

As you know, an outline planning application from the developers Hollins Strategic Land went to the council some months ago. We held another public meeting to consult with the village in April, update everyone and explain that though we have systematically gone down every avenue to Save The Bec we are now onto Plan E.

Sadly, it seems that whether we want it or not, National government directs that our local area must absorb some housing and The Becconsall site is now ticking all the boxes for housing whether we like it or not. Rock and hard place spring to mind.

Save The Bec Campaigners have done our best to positively influence the plans. Everyone has had the opportunity to object in writing to the council and the planning meeting is now set for: Thursday 1 Sept 2011 at 7.30pm WLBC Offices, Derby Street, Ormskirk. All are welcome to attend.

Sadly, though The Becconsall is now in a terrible state of disrepair and no one wants it to continue as it is, as a community, I believe we are witnessing the end of an era for Hesketh Bank. Your children will no longer have their first pint with Dad, at The Becc, the heart of the village where so many happy memories were made by you, the community. Hesketh Bank is no longer a village, we are becoming a little town, the centre of which is now a very nice supermarket. How sad though for the generations of the future.

Please remember, that as a community, we did try very hard and we have pulled a significant Rabbit out of the Hat as a result of our intervention, by positively influencing the developers plans.

To remind you: We set off with a difficult starting price ticket set by Twirl International offers C£2million for The Bec and no money. Undaunted, we had public meetings, local consultation and have systematically investigated all the avenues possible for the community:

Plan A : Find an existing Pub / Hotel group / Individual, to buy it and restore as a pub / hotel – Found a family brewery who were interested until the trees and bowling green were destroyed. Price too high.

Plan B: Launch a Community Interest Company to buy The Bec and the village to own it and restore the building as a multi functional community asset. Possible, though price too high.

Plan C: The developers to investigate restoring the building to former glory to function as apartments. Developers did have structural survey done and costs of renovation prohibitive.

Plan D: The developers to investigate saving the facade of the building and build new build apartments at the rear of the facade. Again, costs prohibitive.

Plan E: To positively influence whatever development may happen on the site and answer some local social needs for the benefit of the whole community. Developers changed their plans to benefit local social needs, quality and style of archetcture. The original plans were for 30 x 4 bed detached family houses in rows.

Save The Bec opened up communication with the developers and because of our community intervention, we negotiated with them to redo their plans and change them to a mixed development which answers several local social needs. As a result of our negotiations, they have changed their plans to create a mixed development which pays respect to The Bec and local style of archetcture. They have included a large building to echo The Bec and dwellings for locals downsizing, retired, disabled, elderly. They have mews houses for first time buyers, the other houses are 3 bed semis and 3 and 4 bed detached. The whole facade of the development will now be set back , facing Station Road. It will be tree lined with green spaces and gardens facing the bridge.

Provided that they stick to these detailed plans in the quality materials agreed, though The Becc will be gone, when driving over the Bridge, the resulting development should also be a pleasant view again for everyone to benefit from.

I met with the MP who said it was remarkable that we got the developers to speak with us, 2, that they listened and 3, that they changed anything...this is as good as it gets. Two councillors at the last public meeting both said it was unusual for a community to have successfully opened up negotiations with developers. The chair of the HBPC planning group, congratulated us on the work we have done for the good of the whole community.

Sadly, even though The Bec is now in such a state of disrepair, it looks a sad mess and is too costly to save, at least we each know we have done everything we could to try to Save The Bec! It will be a sad day when the bulldozers arrive, but things have run their course.

Well done to you all for playing your part to try to Save The Bec and our village history.

Kind regards
Una & Mrs Mc

Update 13th April 2011
We are at the start of the final stages of this outline planning application moving forward through channels. If you want to witness or to speak out, the details are below:

The Parish Council Planning meeting is Monday 18th April at 7:30pm in The Village Institute (Front Building) Station Road, Hesketh Bank.

Members of the public can speak for up to a period of 3 minutes prior to the start of the meeting (as in ordinary council meetings) but must advise the clerk before 12 noon on the day by telephone 01704 778005 or e-mail Clerk@HwBPC.org.uk. They may be allocated time to speak on a first come first served basis.

Update 7th April 2011

Hollins Strategic Land have kindly given permission for us to reproduce the Becconsall Hotel Survey Report and Photographs which they recently commissioned. They are both big files so be patient.... Click here to download the survey and click here for the survey photographs.

Please don't forget the Save The Becc public meeting to be held this evening at 7:30pm

Update 30th March 2011

Public Meeting
The Becconsall site &
Outline Planning Application
Thursday 7th April 7.30pm
Hesketh Bank Village Hall (Back)
All Welcome


Update 28th March 2011

Dear Village Friends,

It is with great sadness that I am writing to report to you on the latest developments re The Becconsall Hotel site and the last green space at the heart of our village.

An outline planning application has been submitted to West Lancs CC by the property developers Hollins Strategic Land who are based in the Manchester area. They have applied to build 35 dwellings on the 2 acre site. This will require demolition of the iconic Becconsall Hotel building, which Save The Bec Action Group have been fighting to save for the community, to restore to its former glory as the jewel in the crown of Hesketh Bank and an asset to all.

It seems now, without a wealthy “White Knight” to step in, with sufficient funds and vision to take over this big project, DDay may be approaching for The iconic Becconsall building. Once The Bec is gone, it’s gone forever and all the history, fun, romances and memory building will be lost, for future generations to enjoy.

Though we may not have won the war, to date we have won several battles along the way. Even though The Bec is marked for demolition rather than restoration, Save The Bec campaigners, have been able to positively influence the new plans drawn up by the developers for the site.

Sadly, with the demise of The Bec, I believe, we are also witnessing the end of an era, not just for our village, but the end of an era for our UK culture. With 40 pubs a week closing and Punch Taverns putting a large number of their pub stock onto the market this week, we face the prospect of communities across the land dying a little bit every day, as the heart goes out of their villages. What is happening to community spirit everywhere? Soon your children and grandchildren, may never have the opportunity to experience, or understand, what it feels like to have a local hostelry to meet, mix and mingle in, rubbing shoulders with all generations and all walks of society as equals.

There is nothing to replace it. Meeting in the supermarket, on Facebook, phone, text and email, does not have quite the same feel. All this in the name of progress, how very, very sad for us all.

To remind you, of some events along the way to date:

  • June 2009, The Becconsall closed and was put onto the market for sale as a potential development opportunity.
  • July 2009, I went to see the Parish Council to ask what they were planning to do to Save The Becconsall and the last green space in the centre of the village.
  • July 2009, Mrs McBride launched Save The Bec for the community campaign with a petition. 700+ signatures showed the community wanted to Save The Bec, restor  to former glory as a family pub and did not want more houses.
  • CAMRA – Campaign for Real Ale, a national body with influence in government, backed Save The Bec Campaign
  • 3 Public meetings have been held in support of Save The Bec. Any developers were invited to attend via the selling agents.
  • Save The Bec Action Groups worked to contact breweries, hotel chains etc try to interest them in The Bec without success.
  • An unknown developer bought the option to buy The Bec subject to planning permission being granted for the site. This blocked other interested parties.
  • An entrepreneur in partnership with a brewery contacted us re their interest in The Bec to restore as a pub. They were unable to gain access and unwilling to consider at £1.5million
  • November 2010, several workmen in unmarked heavy machinery and vehicles , arrived early one Saturday morning, in 30mins the mature trees around the Bowling Green were destroyed. All roots and stumps were then removed and the site cleared.
  • Until November 2010, the developers were unknown. Our only way of contacting them was via the selling agents. Since July 2009, I had extended several invitations to them via the selling agents, to meet Save The Bec Action Group. I received no reply.
  • November 2010 a Notice of Application to Demolish The Bec on 23rd December 2010, was placed on The Bec. We had many conversations with the council planning and Martin Forshaw to see what could be done. Lorraine Fullbrook MP gave her advice. Nothing could be done to block an application to demolish. For the first time, we knew who the developers were. I extended another invitation and the developer phoned me in December 2010. I asked him if he would be willing to meet up to discuss possibilities of finding a “Win Win” solution to the situation. He said, “Yes and as a result of this conversation with you, I give you my word we will not demolish The Becconsall straight away.” He was unwilling to attend a public meeting, but agreed to meet with a small group of Save The Bec campaigners. To date he has kept his word and shown interest in the community views.
  • December 2010, the developer and a colleague came to Hesketh Bank to meet with Maureen Baldwin, Peter Watkinson, John Hodson, John Broadley and myself, to discuss possibilities to find a “Win Win” solution. The developers brief is from Twirl International, who own the site and have no interest in community issues. They were clear that Twirl have no interest the building as a pub, an hotel, or community building. Their plans were to demolish The Bec, clear the whole site and build 20 – 30 family houses as soon as possible. Outline plans had already been drawn up. They can demolish any time they choose and the site appears to meet current planning policy.
  • December 2010, as a result of our meeting, they are now interested in the community view. Save The Bec campaigners have now influenced their plans for this development. The developers agreed to hold their plans and have an independent Structural Survey done on the Becconsall building, to assess the viability of saving the actual Becconsall building, restoring it to former glory and turning it into apartments instead of destroying it. We also discussed the possibility, that if housing has to happen on the rest of the site, that they aim to create a quality development, which looks fantastic and adds aesthetic value to the whole village. That it is in keeping and echoes the architecture and style of The Bec in some way and is environmentally friendly. That the housing also meets some local social needs, in particular, housing for retired locals downsizing, local people with disability requirements, local first time buyers. That they consider there may also be a smaller pub, or multifunctional community building on the site. They agreed to review all plans and that we would have another meeting after the structural survey report.
  • They instructed their architects to revise their plans to be more in keeping with our requests. The resulting plans are the ones now put forward to the council.
  • Sort of Films...Ltd from Sheffield contacted us interested in making a social documentary including Save The Bec Campaign.
  • January 2011, the entrepreneur and brewery are not interested in The Bec without the Bowling Green even if the developer was willing to sell just the building and the price is too high for them.
  •  February 2011, Peter Watkinson attended when they did the survey. The result of the survey shows that the building is in a worse structural state than expected. There is about 3 feet of water in the cellar and water damage is seeping upwards through the structure. There is considerable mold and the roof is open in parts. The building is not irreparable, however, the costs make it prohibitive for the developer’s purpose. .*** Please see attached
  • February 2011 The developers view is the whole building is too expensive to be saved and restored. We discussed the possibility of saving the facade and building new build to the rear. We are told this is too expensive too.
  • March 2011 Sort of Films...Ltd spent a day in Hesketh Bank interviewing and filming local people re happy times at The Bec and how people feel about the impact of the demise of their local pub on the community. They plan to return in April.
  • March 2011 a revised outline planning application for 35 dwellings was submitted to WLCC.
  • We invite you to view all the information attached and decide how you feel. Any letters of objection, to be received by the planning office before April 13th 2011March 2011
  • Next steps: Meeting date to be agreed with Save The Bec action group as before and developers. Agree a date to hold a public meeting [Thursday 7th April 7.30pm at Hesketh Bank Village Back Hall] to update everyone following this developers meeting. The developer is unwilling to attend a public meeting. However, the developers have agreed to attend an open afternoon for individual local people, where they can ask questions and discuss their views about the proposed plans with the developers. Date for this to be agreed.
  • These dates will be put onto the website and published in the local press as soon as possible.

Should you wish to object to the planning application as it stands, please ensure that your letter of objection gets to the planning office by April 13th 2011. [Click Here to view and submit comments to WLBC about this application]

A sad day for The Bec.

We wish you well and will update again soon.

With warmth and respect,
Una, Mrs Mc & Save The Bec Campaign Action Group

Update 23rd March 2011

West Lancashire Borough Council has received an application (2011/0311/OUT) for outline planning permission to demolish the Becconsall Hotel and build 35 houses on the site.

To view a plan of the proposed layout click here

Update 10th March 2011

Dear Village Friends,

I hope that you are well and enjoying the sunshine wherever you may be. As you may know, Save The Bec has attracted some interest from a Film Company – Sort of Films...Ltd who are Sheffield based and want to feature our campaign in a documentary they are making. To remind you, the starting point for their interest is a scientific study which proves that there is a chemical released into the body which gives a feeling of wellbeing when people have face to face interaction. This type of interaction happened particularly in pubs where people met and mingled as a community. This chemical reaction is does not happen as a result of telephone communication, email communication or Face Book.

This study shows that the demise of pubs in our society is having a negative impact on communities in more ways than one, as there is nothing to replicate, or replace the pub as the hub of communities. Post Offices are also closing and this again reduces the opportunity especially for older members of the community to meet up and have this positive face to face interaction.

On TUESDAY 15th MARCH 2011, Sort of Films...Ltd , are coming over to Hesketh Bank and will be out and about (weather permitting) in the village filming. They want me to have chats with local people on camera and want to look at two main aspects:

1) Happy Memories – stories of good times at The Bec – May be you had your wedding there – 21st – engagement – Hesketh Bank Silver Band practiced there – Christmas Day at The Bec etc etc. They want to hear your stories about your happy times and about how you feel about how The Bec brought the community together and brought life and happiness to people etc

2) How you FEEL about the demise of The Bec, pubs, communities in general? Why do you think this has happened to The Bec and to other communities? What do you think The Bec in it’s hey day added and brought to the community? What do you think is the impact of its closure on the community now? Do you think all villages are becoming “ the same”? Do you think that community / community spirit is breaking down? This is your chance to have your say about how you feel.

Please have a think about these sort of questions and let us know if you, or your friends, neighbours, would like to be part of this film for posterity.

We will be out and about in the village from late morning on Tue 15th March, all are welcome to contribute.

I wish you well!

Kind regards Una McBride & Mrs Mc

Update 1st December

EMERERGENCY PUBLIC MEETING
“STOP D DAY AT THE BEC!”

7.15pm Wed 8th December
Hesketh Bank Village (Back) Hall

Update 30th November

Demolition notice posted on The Becc
[see news 29th Nov 2010]

Dear Village Friends,

As you will know, there is a Notice of Application to Demolish on the Bec.

Below, is a SAMPLE LETTER OF OBJECTION which you may copy, or, use as a guide. Below that is a link where you can download a MS Word version directly.

We invite you to please make your voices heard by objecting in writing to:

John Harrison
Director of Planning
West Lancashire Borough Council,
52 Derby Street
Ormskirk
Lancs L39 2DF

Copy to:
Lorraine Fullbrook,
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA

YOUR FULL ADDRESS
DATE

Dear Sirs,

I wish to object to the proposal to demolish the Becconsall Pub in the strongest possible terms on the following grounds:

NON-CONFORMING/UNNEIGHBOURLY RRN02 :
The proposal would be detrimental to the amenity of the adjoining residential properties and of the area in general.

RRN06 : The proposed development would result in an over-intensification of use of the site leading to loss of amenity to adjacent houses and to the area generally.

VISUAL RRV02 : The proposed development would detract from the character of this residential area.

RRV08 : The proposed development would necessitate an unacceptable loss of trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order to the detriment of the visual amenity of the area. I would also like to raise my concerns with regard to the possible loss of what is regarded by the settlements of Tarleton & Hesketh Bank as a Landmark building and which is highly valued as a part of our joint communities.

The loss of such a significant building would have a detrimental effect on the visual amenity of the area especially when viewed within the context of recent high quality development and street layout adjacent to the new Booths supermarket.

Any major Planning proposal within this area should only be carried out with the utmost attention to design detail with maximum input from the community in terms of quality consultation to allow time for alternative use/schemes to develop.

I wish to exhort West Lancashire Borough Council to do everything within its power in order to protect this landmark building and the site which contains it as a valued asset by the wider community.

Yours Sincerely,

Click Here to download the above as an MS Word file


Update 11th November

WHO DESTROYED ALL THE LOVELY OLD TREES AT THE BECCONSALL?

Tree removal at the Becconsall Hotel site

Shocked residents on Cherry Vale did their best to stop an unidentified gang of workmen, who swept into Hesketh Bank early on Saturday morning 30th October. In just 30 brief minutes, they felled all the beautiful mature trees around the Bowling Green of The Becconsall.

These lovely old trees had graced The Bec grounds for the best part of 100 years, adding beauty to the vista for all and the habitat for many birds and wildlife. Gone forever!

Who is responsible for this wanton environmental destruction in our village? Without warning, notices or safety barriers, big heavy machinery and equipment tore over the grounds surrounding The Bec.

Local people watched aghast as within minutes, workmen with unmarked vehicles, destroyed all the big old trees which are so familiar to all the community of Hesketh Bank. Then they destroyed the Orchard at the back too. As some residents tried in vain to stop the tree carnage, they were ignored by the workers intent on destruction. They tried to find out who was in charge, who was employing them, all without success.

Karen Stringfellow shocked and upset ran to see the site when she heard. She witnessed the second trench of destruction as the big old stumps and all evidence of the trees existence, were speedily ripped up and removed. No workers would say anything, no one would give a name. So who is responsible for this eco vandalism?

Councillor Malcolm Barron dashed to The Bec as soon as he was contacted and called the police. The foreman, removing the stumps, allowed Cnlr Barron to speak to his Boss by mobile, but the invisible, faceless Boss would not give his name.

So who is he and who gave permission to destroy healthy old trees? Some locals said they were very upset, frightened and angered by seeing these “old friends” destroyed. It all happened so quickly, people were too stunned to call the police earlier. Residents were shocked at the speed of this clearly well planned assault on the last green space in the centre of our village.

Why did they remove all the trees but leave the fence posts? Do you think it is a coincidence that this well organised, unidentified force, carried out their dark mission early Saturday and Sunday morning, when the council offices are closed?

Councillor Barron has now requested a Tree Preservation Order on the remaining few perimeter trees. He has spoken with the authorities who were unaware of any plans to cut down the trees, as were the selling agents and the planning office.

Unlike Booths, who have done their best to involve the community, whoever these faceless developers are, to date, they have shown no interest in the concerns of local people. The Bec site, once had the WOW Factor, now looks an eyesore with open manholes, as the heavy machinery destroyed the covers.

Whoever did this, appears not to care and this does not bode well for the future of The Bec site.

IS IT TOO LATE? WHAT CAN WE DO?

If you feel upset about this too, please remember, you have more power than you may realise. Let’s fight back against more housing, here is what you can do:

Step 1. Write a letter to Lorraine Fullbrook MP (see sample letter to guide you) or email her at: Lorraine.fullbrook.mp@parliament.uk

Step 2. Please attend our next PUBLIC MEETING (Details TBA)
Step 3. Please prepare to write your letter of objection. We will put a sample letter there to guide you, as soon as the planning applications are submitted.

Update 21st September

Dear Village Friends,

We hope that you are all well and that you have had a fantastic summer! Sorry that I have not updated our site for a while. This is because, Mrs McBride has been very unwell, was rushed to hospital, kept in for many weeks and is now convalescing. She is being nursed back to strength and is making good progress so far. We hope that she will be able to stand up again in time and return to zimming about on her zimmer!

So, Save the Bec has not been updated until now and we hope that you find the positive news uplifting! Firstly, to set the record straight, there are many rumours flying about as rumours always do, so, here are the current facts:

1/ A North West residential property developer has put in a serious offer to buy The Bec.

2/ They have put down an amount of money to show they are serious and this buys them an option to buy The Bec subject to planning approval.

3/ If their planning applications is refused, The Bec site cannot be developed and will no longer be of use to them, they lose this small amount of money

4/ To date, no planning application has been submitted to the planning office for consideration

5/ YOU HAVE A SAY TOO! When the planning application is submitted, it is essential that each adult sends in a letter of objection to the planning office as soon as possible. ONE ADULT = ONE OBJECTION and each one counts. The more letters the stronger the objection. When the time comes, A SAMPLE LETTER OF OBJECTION WILL BE POSTED ON THIS WEB SITE for you to copy if you choose.

6/ Once planning is blocked, this then opens up many other possibilities to the local community for future of The Bec and its green space.

7/ An out of town Entrepeneur and Brewery are interested in The Bec as a pub, and could move forward if planning is blocked

8/ The Village could start their own community social enterprise and Buy-de-Beck as they did with The Old Crown in the village of Heskett Newmarket

Some good news: CAMRA, who are a National Organisation have taken up our cause to Save The Bec for the community and we are currently on the front cover of Ale & Hearty Magazine with a lovely two page article inside. This updates about several significant conversations I have recently had with an “out of town” entrepreneur who is very interested in bringing The Bec back to life as a quality pub.

This Entrepeneur has a successful track record of rejuvenating pubs in another area, he is interested in a bigger project and is in partnership with a well established family brewery. They have been to visit The Bec and have spoken to the selling agents. Currently they are doing their homework on the possibilities for The Bec as a Pub again.

So this is all very hopeful for the village and exciting news for everyone who cares, bar the property developers! CAMRA organised a research trip for us, to visit The Old Crown at Heskett Newmarket, this was very interesting and informative in several ways.

Firstly: It shows a successful existing model of a community pub and maybe I am not completely barmy in suggesting that the community could buy out The Bec themselves and create a social enterprise for the good of the community. The Old Crown is a real, live success story of such, buying The Bec is the same principle, just a bigger project.

Secondly: The Old Crown model works well and everyone involved has had such a buzz from being involved! It has fostered and generated more community spirit and interest from far and wide including Prince Charles who has visited twice.

Thirdly: Because the community are part of the pub, they own it, they support the pub and encourage others from far and wide to support it too.

Fourthly: They have started their own Micro Brewery which has grown and now also has a demand for bottled beer too.

Briefly and in simple terms, this is what they did:

1/ In a village of about 250 people, they sold shares to buy their local pub

2/ Share holders are not all local, some live miles away and were inspired by the project and wanted to be part of something fantastic in the village community

3/ Shares were £1500 which is a do able amount for many people. Or, several people as a syndicate could raise £1500 between them and buy one share. Shareholders are all equal, as you can only ever buy one share, which means that no one person is able to dominate as majority shareholder.

4/ They have a lovely couple running their pub on a reasonable lease. This means that the Licensee is not simply a manager on a wage and has a vested interest in the pub doing well. The better the pub does, the more rewards for the licensee too, so everyone is happy. This gives any licensee a real incentive and chance to build the business and stay long term because they are happy and earning a decent living for all their hard work.

Something exciting to consider don’t you think?
More Houses? Bec? More Houses? Bec? More Houses? Buy The Bec? It is certainly a possibility for The Bec’s future, perhaps together we could Buy-de-Beck? Invest in a piece of village History and a piece of the Future too! Lots to consider, please keep checking in with The Bec and CAMRA website.

We wish you well!
Cheers!
Una McBride (& Mrs Mc from her convalescence)

Update 1st March 2010

SAVE THE BECC MICRO BREWERY TRIP

Dear Village Friends,

As promised at our last Public Meeting, Mrs Mc’s Action Group have organised a CHARABANC! A Community Spirited, Research Day Out to visit an existing successful community enterprise Micro Brewery and Pub. The Old Crown at Heskett Newmarket, Cumbria, was bought by the community and has been established as a successful community venture for several years.

We invite you all to join us, for a fun trip to find out how they did it and consider if this model may be something that could be realistic for The Bec too. The owners have kindly agreed to open especially for us on Sat 13th March, to give us a tour of the Micro Brewery and Pub, a talk to explain all they have created, 2 course lunch (at a reduced rate), and answer our questions to support us in our research to Save The Bec for the community. Mike Perkins and Doug, of CAMRA, have kindly sourced all this and a coach is booked. The details are as follows:

Date: Saturday 13th March
Pick up: 10.45am outside The Bec
Time for chats, ideas, fun on the journey
Meet The Old Crown Community, Lunch (menu choice available), Full Tour, Talk, Questions, Farewell
Time for chats, reflections, ideas, fun on the journey
Return: 7pm Drop off outside The Bec
Total Cost: £25.50 per head (£10 non refundable deposit on booking)
Limited Places, Early Booking Recommended

For more details and to book please contact 07968 737278
We wish you well and look forward to speaking with you soon!

With warmth & respect,
Mrs Mc’s Action Group Team, 28th Feb 2010

HISTORY OF THE BECCONSALL HOTEL
Becconsall Hotel Postcard
Becconsall Hotel, Broadway, Hesketh Bank. Date: Unknown

Becconsall Hotel Postcard

Date: 1915. The Southport Brewery Co. Ltd occupied "The Becc" at this time. The hotel consisted a bar, vaults, smokeroom, snug, dining room, tea room, billiard room, 2 kitchens, good cellarage, coffee room, 2 sitting rooms, 13 bedrooms and a bathroom. Outside was a shippon for 2 cows, stabling for 4 horses, a kitchen garden, paddock and bowling green.


CONTACT

Maureen Baldwin

Email:
stb@heskethbank.com

Mobile:
07968 737278

Save the Becconsall Facebook page
BACKGROUND INFO

Last Orders at The Bec
Southport Visiter 1/3/2012

Going, going, gone
LEP 28th Feb 2012

Workmen Start Demolition
21st Feb 2012

Last Orders - 1st September 2011 Southport Champion

Becconsall Heritage Asset Appraisal - Aug 2011

21st April 2011
Ormskirk Advertiser

Becc Survey Photos

Becc Survey

1st April 2011
Lancashire Evening Post

29th March 2011
Champion News

25th March 2011
Southport Visiter

26th February 2011
Lancs Evening Post

1st December 2010
Lancs Evening Post

30th November 2010
CAMRA PRESS RELEASE

16th November
Lancs Evening Post

21st July 2010
Southport Champion

20th July 2010
RedNevs Blog

Summer 2010
Ale & Hearty Cover

Ale & Hearty Article

29th March 2010 -
Letter from David Lonsdale

8th March 2010 -
Lancashire Evening Post

8th February 2010 - Lancashire Evening Post

25th January 2010 -
BBC Radio Lancs

29th January 10 -
Letter from Andrew Lancel

15th January 10 -
Letter to MP

26th December 09 -
Lancashire Evening Post

26th October 09 - Action Group Report

30th September 09 - Public Meeting Report

24th August 09 - Lancashire Evening Post

Sample Letter

Petition

5th July 09 - Mrs Mc’s Letter

 

 
For more local Business, Services and Trades in Tarleton and Hesketh Bank
visit the local directory page