The Lancashire villages of Hesketh Bank, Becconsall & Tarleton

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LETTERS: NEWS & CURRENT AFFAIRS




REAF UPDATE

Dear Editor,

Angela Croppers letter of 7th November gave an excellent summary of the public meeting at the Catholic Church. This meeting was held after intense lobbying by members of REAF (Ribble Estuary Against Fracking) and local people, raising concerns over the impact of Shale Gas Drilling and Extraction (also known as 'Fracking').

The meeting certainly demonstrated the grave concerns of all who attended. Many people left the meeting after voicing their frustrations that they did not get their chance to be heard, due to the time restrictions on the event and were asking what happens now.

There is a lot happening!!

In Lancashire, there are now sites at:
Preesall Weeton - Well drilled and fracked, this caused 2 earthquakes!!
Grange road Singleton - Well drilled
Anna's Road Westby - Work to improve access road completed
Inskip Road Wharles - No work started as yet
Marsh Road Banks - A rig is now drilling this site, fracking is imminent!!

Cuadrilla Resources (shale gas company) have have obtained planning permission for these 5 sites in the Lancashire area so far but their licence covers a 500 square mile area of the coast line from north of Fleetwood down to Formby and inland as far as Chorley.

This includes, Fleetwood, Thornton, Clevelys and the Fylde coastal areas, Garstang, Bispham, Blackpool, Lytham, St Annes, Wrea Green, Kirkham, Warton, Freckleton, Preston, Leyland, Chorley, Standish, Apply bridge, Parbold, burscough, Ainsdale, Birkdale, Southport, Blowick, Scarisbrick, Marshside, Crossens, Banks, Mere Brow, Hesketh Bank, Tarleton, Rufford, Mawdesley, Sollom, Croston, Much Hoole, Walmer Bridge, Longton, Penwortham and so on.

Since the meeting, members of REAF have continued to object, carry out research and inform wherever possible. A rundown of the recent activities :
Weekly REAF meetings held to discuss feedback and future events. To Become invloved contact; ribestafg@gmail.com
On 23rd November, members of REAF attended a lobbying session at Westminster with MP's along with representatives from the OP-OP group.
John Craven from the BBC's Countryfile interviewed and filmed members of REAF on Tuesday 22nd November in an extensive interview. This will be broadcast on Countryfile on BBC1 on Sunday 4th December.
Reaf members were interviewed by BBC Raido 4 on 23rd November for the Country Tracks programme.
REAF members were interviewed by Bloomberg news on 23rd November available on Sky.
REAF members have been interviewed live on Radio Lancashire.
REAF members have appeared several times on BBC Northwest News.
FOE regularly attend REAF meetings to plan actions and give information and feedback.
The actress Glenda Jackson rang a REAF member to discuss conserns about fracking.
Caroline Lucas MP of the green party has contacted and met up with REAF members.
REAF members were table hosts held at the CO - OP information evening at the Hilton Hotel in Blackpool which was packed to capacity.
REAF members attended the Cuadrilla information evening held in the Hilton Hotel in Blackpool.
REAF members gave a presentation to concerned residents in Bleasdale with over 50 people in attendance.
REAF members attended a lecture on Shale Gas Exploration on 23rd November at Liverpool university.
REAF have commissioned a CD about Fracking by the band "The End" called "When will they ever learn" available on release imminently.
REAF members will be attending a discussion meeting held by CROP (Concerned residents of Poulton) in Poulton-le-fylde Church Hall on Monday 28th November at 7.pm. Open to the public.
REAF will be attending a discussion meeting in Parbold Village Hall at 7.30pm on Tuesday 29th November. Open to the public.
REAF work with Lancashire police ongoing.

This is here, this is now, the threat is very real. This industry could have as big an impact on our communities and our way of life as the coal mining industry did!

We are Local and we are concerned. See http://reafg.blogspot.com/ for more information

Gail Hodson. 28th November 2011


Cuadrilla Public Meetings

Further to Angela Cropper's letter of the 7th November 2011, could I ask the following questions? 

Are transcripts of these meetings being kept?
If so by whom?
If not why not?

Is there any intention to publish these transcripts?
If not why not?

Will they be routinely forwarded to this site's Editor
If not why not?

Will those residents not able to put their questions at the recent meeting have another opportunity to do so?
If not why not?

Regards,
Bob Robinson. 9th November 2011


Cuadrilla Public Meeting

On Friday night along with approx 200 other resident of the Northern parishes I attended the Public Meeting on ‘Shale Gas Drilling and Extraction’ at the Catholic Church Hall in Tarleton. On arrival at 6.15pm I was shocked to find the hall was already full and all seats taken even though the question and answer session wasn’t starting till 7.00pm. I was informed that members of the public had been queuing to get in since 5.30pm.

The event had been arranged by Councillor Paul Blane on behalf of the Northern Parishes of North Meols, Hesketh Bank and Tarleton to enable residents and other members of the public to take the opportunity to ask questions of Cuadrilla Resources who are currently engaged in controversial shale gas exploration at their drill site on Marsh Road, Banks. Cuadrilla executives Mark Miller, Eric Vaughan and Peter Turner attended the meeting alongside Independent Industry expert Simon Glover Vice-President Europe of Altus Well Experts Inc and Professor John Broderick from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change.

I must admit that I did think originally that it was just an expensive PR opportunity for Cuadrilla paid for by us, the residents of the Northern Parishes, especially when I was made aware that David Guest was being paid to Chair/Host it. But I was wrong, it was a well run, organised, informative evening hosted by David Guest. I would like to thank Councillor Paul Blane and the Northern Parishes for arranging the public meeting and giving local residents the opportunity to ask questions and voice their concerns.

David did an excellent job of ensuring that members of the audience who wanted to ask questions had the opportunity too and that Cuadrilla and others asked questions of, answered the questions and did not change the subject by talking about their own agendas, to the extent that at one point he even told MP Lorraine Fullbrook that if she wasn’t going to answer the question she’d been asked then he was going to move on and walked away from her.

Many concerns were raised, from water pollution to the number of lorrys/tankers using our roads but one subject that seemed to concern people the most was the possibility of earthquakes being triggered during the fracking process. This was also of concern to residents’ who lived near the Preese Hall site who assured Mark Miller and the audience that they had felt the tremors earlier this year.

The report on these seismic activities was released on Thursday ‘The company sought to play down the impact of its activities, saying that it had probably triggered "a number of minor seismic events”. But when the ‘Independent’  interviewed Stefan Baisch, one of the report's authors, he admitted that the actual number was 50.’

Many of the questions and their answers I am sure eased the public’s worries but I feel others left people with many concerns. I know members of the public sat near me were shocked to hear the fact that some horizontal wells in the USA extended to lengths of 6 miles.

The meeting over ran its 8.00pm finish with many residents still waiting for the opportunity to ask their questions.

Angela Cropper, 7th November 2011


JOIN THE DOTS.....

Dear Editor,

So its great news all round, it seems we are to have Shale Gas extraction (cheap gas for everyone for ever), earthquakes and all and also we are to get the Green Lane Link.

I wonder where the funding for it is to come from? Anyone any ideas? Perhaps our locally elected members can tell us something?

Yours Sincerely,
Cllr.J.E.Hodson. 18th October 2011


NON DISCLOSURE?

Dear Editor,

Cllr Hodson may well be rightly concerned about workings of the Parish Council but perhaps a more important aspect of the statement was the non disclosure of the potential size of the revenue windfall for local councils.

Perhaps now that Cuadrilla have made public the sum they anticipate handing over [See News 21st September 2011] the same words on the Council notice read to me quite differently...

"The Parish Council recognise Cuadrilla as a legitimate company, carrying out exploratory drilling and testing for hydro-carbons, operating under a Government Licence and with Planning Consent from Lancashire County Council." I bet they do!

Today's New Joke:
Q How much grease does a gas fracking rig need?
A £120M

Yours Sincerely,
J. Ball. 21st September 2011


UNDEMOCRATIC MOVES?

Dear Editor,

With regard to the alleged 'theft' of Hesketh with Becconsall Parish Council notices and leaflets containing information gleaned from them [See NEWS 16/09/11] (has anyone actually seen any?), I am somewhat puzzled as to the identity of the person who published the accusation on the HwBPC website.

As far as I am aware there has been no meeting of the Parish Council since the begining of September and therefore no opportunity for the Council to authorise any publication of such a nature? This can only mean that an individual or individuals have taken it upon themselves to make a public accusation without Corporated decision.

In order for a Parish Council to make a statement it has to give power to do so following a formal resolution to that effect in order to be lawfull and this can only be done by calling a meeting of the Parish Council giving three clear days notice with an appropriate Agenda item relating to the issue.

Perhaps we could have some clarification from the Clerk to the Council?

Yours Sincerely,
Cllr. J.E.Hodson. 21st September 2011


CAMP FRACK

Anyone concerned about the planned Fracking at Hesketh Bank might be interested in the following website: www.campaigncc.org/fracking

Barbara Cardinal. 26th August 2011


HESK FEST

This village is really getting interesting – after the inexplicable acronym as an event co-host, we now have the split personality event, Hesk Fest.

The first Hesk Fest comes featured as an event on this website as a Beer Festival, with added activities and music but apparently no food, running the Friday, Saturday, Sunday of the late August Bank Holiday weekend, in The Locker Room.

Now we get a flyer through the door, also promoting a Hesk Fesk at August Bank Holiday weekend, that mentions various activities but seems to be promoting a low key pop festival in Boots Barred, Friday and Saturday only – and still no mention of food.

Worse, no indication whatsoever of which beers and ciders will be available. Worse still, mention of Theakstons and Bulmers as sponsors, who are both subsidiaries of large national companies – which suggests that there will be no beer or cider from independent brewers and cider makers at all which is the whole point of a Beer Festival.

So what is happening? A Beer Festival? A pop festival? Two competing festivals, one with the music on this website and independent brews, one with that on the flyer with boring national brands, in neighbouring rooms? A family event? – few serious beer drinkers go on bouncy castles ... And, apparently, all on an empty stomach.

Ian Wells 17th August 2011


WEBSITE GOBBLEDEGOOK

David Bellamy coming 'in association with' HBALGA?
Who? What? Unkown to Google.
Ah, trying to decode ...
HB = Hesketh Bank
A=allotment/s
L=??
G=???Gardens/Gardening.
A=Association

Please can we have village announcements in clear English, not code or gobbledegook.

Ian Wells. 15th August 2011


CONCERN OVER FOTHCOMING DRILLING

I am writing to express my concern over the forthcoming movement of equipment to the Banks site and the start of operations on August 15th. Several people have expressed their concerns and are interested in holding a meeting. Please email me jeanne1927@live.com if you would like to participate.

Lesley Graham. 1st August 2011


Shale Gas Drilling

I hope that others will join me in supporting Lesley Graham's initiative in proposing her meeting. Local people with serious concerns over this gas drilling development will want now to consider, collectively, our best course of action in all the circumstances.

Trevor Roberts. 19th June 2011


Shale Gas Drilling

Dear Editor,

Trevor Roberts, Chris Stringfellow, Cllr.J.E.Hodson and interested readers, I found this Hesketh Bank website after surfing the web for information on fracking after reading the article in the Visiter about the meeting in Hesketh Bank with Caudrilla.

I am wondering if there is a group of people who would be interested in meeting to discuss the forthcoming fracking at Bonny Barn Farm.

Every day there is new information about the dangers of fracking around the world and Lloyds Insurance Company see fracking as an emerging risk in an article written by one of their team:
http://www.lloydsoflondon.co.uk/News-and-Insight/Lloyds-Blog/Exposure-Management/Neil-Smith/2011/The-side-effects-of-fracking

In this article responsability is taken by a gas drilling company for contaminants found in the drinking water
http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2011/04/19/gas-drilling-industry-makes-stunning-admission/

and this article expresses concerns about fracking and its environmental consequences http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/mps-call-for-inquiry-into-shale-gas-drilling-after-earthquakes-2294389.html

This week there has been a call for a moratorium on shale gas projects in the UK until a report on the impact of this drilling has been done:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jun/13/labour-government-fracking-shale-gas

This fracking could have environmental impact on the area for up to 50 years ... Is this want you want for your grandchildren and future generations???

Please email me at jeanne1927 (at) live.com if you are interested in discussing fracking and opposing this local drilling.

Lesley Graham. 17th June 2011


Shale Gas Drilling

The Chief Executive of Cuadrilla Resources writes in his letter today that the company 'have written to all relevant local representatives offering a site visit and meeting, including parish councils in the area'. Why did these bodies fail to initiate immediate and appropriate public consultation on such a key issue? Isn't public consultation high on their agenda, to obtain broader-based views when important matters arise?

Apart from the misgivings that many people have on shale drilling, this project beside the Ribble Estuary could destroy the Regional Park vision of economic development, and risk a disaster on the outmarsh : a designated Special Protection Area (SPA) and a site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) internationally renowned for waterfowl and migrant birds. Only recently, extensive public funding went into the purchase and development of the new RSPB wetland reserve; and work and money put into coastline conservation management could also be wasted.

We don't need to jump at things, or to take so much on trust with Cuadrilla. They're unlikely to know of local matters; and the CEO still assumes his Company are drilling in Becconsall!

Trevor Roberts, 4th June 2011


Cuadrilla Update

Sir,

Following the seismic activity in Poulton le Fylde, Cuadrilla took the decision to postpone its hydraulic fracturing (fracing) programme at its Weeton site. This precautionary measure has been taken to fully understand the cause of the seismic event and to determine whether there is a link to fracing. During this time, we will continue to work closely with our regulators, including the Department for Energy and Climate Change, along with the British Geological Survey and other relevant experts.

We expect that this analysis and subsequent consultation will take a number of weeks to conclude and will decide with regulators on the appropriate actions after that.

We are disappointed that some readers have perceived the composition of our fracing fluid to be‘shrouded in secrecy’. Since our website was set up in February, the fracing fluid composition has been available to view.

It is puzzling that Cllr J.E. Hodson has queried ‘where are our elected representatives in this?’ as we have written to all relevant local representatives offering a site visit and meeting, including parish councils in the area.

In recent months, we have gone to great lengths to ensure that the public, particularly communities surrounding our sites, are informed about our operations. We have taken a number of local and national journalists from print and broadcast media around our sites, which has resulted in coverage from BBC News and Granada Reports amongst others.

Alongside issuing newsletters to locals informing them about our activity, residents can ask any
questions they may have through our dedicated Community Information Line and email address, which many have already done.

In Singleton, we have taken over 40 local residents on site visits around the Grange Hill site to explain in detail our operations. When the Becconsall site is fully operational, we’d be more than happy to make the same offer to North Meols, Hesketh Bank, and Tarleton residents.

That said, we are keen to do more with the local community and welcome any suggestions in terms of providing this information.

As publicised on this website, we will be holding a Public Information Day on 6th June from 4:00pm-8:00pm. Far from being a ‘carefully PR controlled affair’, myself and Eric Vaughan (Chief Operating Officer) will be on-hand to explain the company’s operations and answer in detail residents’ questions.

We are committed to being a good neighbour in the local communities we operate in, and keeping locals informed about our activities is one of the many vital ways of demonstrating this.

www.cuadrillaresources.co.uk
Community Information Line: 0800 170 1115

Mark Miller, CEO of Cuadrilla Resources, 4th June 2011


Shale Gas Drilling

Dear Sir,

Further to the recent leaflet drop by Cuadrilla, the reports of seismic activity on the Fylde and the recent letters to this site, I felt a little research on the internet regarding the ‘fracking’ process was in order.  This took a quick Google and a visit to Wikipedia to find the information detailed below.  As the largest proportion of ‘fracking’ activities is undertaken in the US, the information detailed is garnered from US sources, however one assumes the process, chemicals involved and potential problems are the same the whole world over.  My apologies for the length of this but I felt the information is something which should be shared by local residents.

Environmental and health effects
Environmental and human health concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing include the contamination of ground water, risks to air quality, the migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, and the potential mishandling of waste.  The potential costs associated with possible environmental clean-up processes, loss of land value and human and animal health concerns are undetermined.  A 2010 EPA study discovered contaminants in drinking water including: arsenic, copper, vanadium, and adamantanes adjacent to drilling operations.

Arguments against hydraulic fracturing centre around the extent to which fracturing fluid used far below the earth's surface might pollute fresh water zones, contaminate surface or near-surface water supplies, impact the rock shelf causing seismic events or lead to surface subsidence.  However, well casing failures and failures of the well grouting systems may have been responsible for gas migration into drinking water aquifers in Dimock, Pennsylvania.  The transport, handling, storage and use of chemicals and chemical-laden water can also cause accidents that release materials into the environment, though this does not occur during the hydraulic fracturing process itself.

Chemicals used in fracturing fluid
A number of chemicals identified in fracturing fluid are hazardous chemicals that may cause health risks that range from rashes to cancer.  Some chemicals are identified as carcinogens.  Some chemicals found injected into the earth identify as endocrine disruptors, which interrupts hormones and glands in the body that control development, growth, reproduction and behaviour in animals and humans.

Energy in Depth, an oil and gas industry organisation has published a list of chemicals in a "typical solution used in hydraulic fracturing," but notes "The specific compounds used in a given fracturing operation will vary."

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has published a list of chemicals used in fracturing fluids.

Some Chemical Constituents used in fracturing fluids
Chemical Constituent
Benzisothiazolin-2-one / 1,2-benzisothiazolin-3-one
trimethylbenzene
Dioxane
eicosene
hexadecene
octadecene
tetradecene
Dibromo-3-nitrilopropionamide, a biocide
azobis-{2-(imidazlin-2-yl)propane}-dihydrochloride
Dobromomalonamide
Acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulphonic acid sodium salt polymer
acryloyloxyethyl(benzyl)dimethylammonium chloride
Bromo-2-nitro-1,3-propanediol
Butoxy ethanol
Dibromo-3-Nitriloprionamide (2-Monobromo-3-nitriilopropionamide)
Ethyl Hexanol
Propanol / Isopropyl Alcohol / Isopropanol / Propanol
Propen-1-aminium, N,N-dimethyl-N-2-propenyl-chloride, homopolymer
propenoic acid, homopolymer, ammonium salt
Propenoic acid, polymer with 2 p-propenamide, sodium salt / Copolymer of acrylamide and sodium acrylate
Propenoic acid, polymer with sodium phosphinate (1:1)
propenoic acid, telomer with sodium hydrogen sulfite
Propyn-1-ol / Propargyl alcohol
Triaza-1-azoniatricyclo[3.3.1.13,7]decane, 1-(3-chloro-2-propenyl)-chloride,
methyl-1-butyn-3-ol
Nonylphenol Polyethylene Glycol Ether Branched / Nonylphenol ethoxylated / Oxyalkylated Phenol
Acetic acid
Acetic acid, hydroxy-, reaction products with triethanolamine
Acetic Anhydride
Acetone
Acrylamide

Well blowouts and spills of fracturing fluids
A well blowout in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania on June 3, 2010, sent more than 35,000 gallons of hydraulic fracturing fluids into the air and onto the surrounding landscape in a forested area.  Campers were evacuated and the company EOG Resources and the well completion company C.C. Forbes have been ordered to cease all operations in the state of Pennsylvania pending investigation. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has called this a "serious incident".

Natural gas drilling and seismic events
Injection of fluid into subsurface geological structures, such as faults and fractures, reduces the effective normal stress acting across these structures.  If sufficient shear stress is present, the structure may slip in shear and generate seismic events over a range of magnitudes; it is believed that natural gas drilling may have caused earthquakes in North Texas; Cleburne never had earthquakes in its recorded history until extensive fracking came into the area.

Air and Health
A potential hazard that is commonly overlooked is the venting of bulk sand silos directly to atmosphere. When they are being filled, or emptied during the fracture, a fine cloud of silica particulate will be vented directly into atmosphere.  This dust has the potential to travel many miles on the wind directly into populated areas.  While the immediate personnel are wearing personal protective equipment, other people in the area of a well fracture can potentially be exposed.  Many particulates and chemicals can be released into the atmosphere, such as sulphuric Oxide, nitrous oxides, volatile organic compounds (VOC), benzene, toluene, diesel fuel, hydrogen sulphide which can have serious health implications.

Chris Stringfellow, 3rd June 2011


Shale Gas 'Fracking'

Dear Sir,

It is with profound unease that I read the well documented reports on the process of Shale Gas extraction known as 'fracking'. We seem to be following a familiar trajectory with recent events: A report last month by the Energy and Climate Change Committee of the House of Commons found that there was no evidence that the technique of fracking was unsafe. The committee's chairman, Tim Yeo MP, dismissed fears as "hot air", insisting there was no danger to underground drinking supplies – which he said was the chief cause of concern amongst critics. He said there was no case for a moratorium despite growing concerns overseas. The next we hear is that 'fracking' may be the cause of recent earth tremors in the vicinity, no doubt the next phase will be scientific evidence (produced by or on behalf of ) the extraction Company which 'proves' it will/did not cause any undue negative effects.

Similar operations elsewhere have been shrouded in secrecy with regard to the actual chemical composition of the fluids being injected under pressure into the shale beds, due to 'commercial sensitivity' This cannot be acceptable especially in an area which is also commercially sensitive to anything which may effect its reputation as an important growing area supplying major retailers. Also what about any potential structural damage to properties? we all have to live here with any residual side effects after the Contractors have long gone with their profits.

Sadly, the question I have to ask yet again, is where are our elected representatives in this? We need robust action at all levels immediately. We also need a public meeting to air our concerns rather than the carefully PR controlled affair being laid on by Cuadrilla.

At the very least we need Lancashire County Council to place a Moratorium on the process immediately.

Yours Sincerely,

Cllr.J.E.Hodson. 2nd June 2011


Shale Gas Drilling

Sir,

Controversy over shale gas drilling should now be the subject of careful study and informed debate in our community. Earlier this year I witnessed the public outcry which similar coal seam drilling was causing in Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. There were particular worries in the Hunter Valley wine growing region. Licence had been given to a company which had discharged underground water that flooded and killed an adjoining pasture. Houeholders had great health concerns over the potential risk to water supplies and alleged secrecy over chemicals used in the fracking process; also some farmers were giving up after finding that bore water on which they were reliant had been lost as a result of deep drilling around the Great Artesian Basin. There was much TV publicity and demonstrations outside the firm's headquarters. We simply don't know what risks - including earthquakes - are being taken.

The legal firm CMS Cameron McKenna has an excellent feature entitled : "Shale Gas Drilling Begins Amid Environmental Concerns in the UK"

An article in today's Independent refers to the recent impact of a powerful documentary entitled 'Gasland' in the US. It gave evidence of water contamination sickness resulting from the process.

Whilst this website in it's 'News' introduction gives a very balanced view of the issues. But our food production land should get an independant assessment of damage risk from surface water pollution. Also we need our MP's advice on when the shale gas drilling sector will be made subject to specialist regulatory control, particulary at a time when Health and Safety inspectors are being made redundant.

Whatever stance is taken in respect of Cuadrilla Resources' commercial venture that firm will put pressure on these very inadequate roads, services, and infrastucture and it will maximise its own commercial profit. We should therefore ensure that a case is made for the community to recover appropriate funding for our isolated and neglected corner of rural West Lancashire if things go further.

Trevor Roberts, 1st June 2011


World's Largest Philosophy Website

Dear Editor,

It may be a surprise to many local people that the world's largest philosophy website The Athenaeum Library of Philosophy, which is non-commercial, has its home in Hesketh Bank.

The ten year old repository of philosophical writings and literature has links with many of the world's leading universities, colleges and educational establishments and has an incredible daily visitor rate.

It was created and is maintained by Jud Evans of Sidney Avenue who lives with his wife Susan and their three boys Cameron, Connor and Marius all of whom attend local schools. Both parents are graduates of The University of Central Lancashire in Preston.

Those curious about the site in particular, or philosophy in general, can access the web site here

Yours faithfully,
Jud Evans, 27th March 2011


SAVE THE BECC

One way The Becc could possibly survive would be to be useful to the main industry in this area which traditionally has been and hopefully always will in the future be, farming.

Some other country's governments provide staff who deal with things like administration, european grants, share of equipment and marketing strategies.

Trading as the Ribble estuary farmers union environmental centre, The Becc could be a powerful force to increase farmers profits, that is if the government is interested in the environment, and doesn't just want to break farmers backs with taxes.

Bruce McLaren, 4th February 2011


LOCKED GATES

I hope you might find the following useful in response to a letter on your site about locked gates: The source is the Public Rights of Way section Lancashire County Council:

I have looked into this problem in previous years the footpath at this location is not on the definitive map the landowner is quite happy for people to walk he does however lock the gate once a year on Christmas day to prevent the route being claimed as a public right of way.

Neil Leadbetter, Tarleton Parish Clerk, 17th January 2011


LOCKED GATES

I just wanted to ask why now and again someone is allowed to close and padlock the gates along the river between Riverview and Tarleton.

I wanted to go for a walk with my dogs away from the main road and had to go all the way back and start our walk again. Sometimes they are unlocked sometimes not, i thought it was a public footpath is it not. Has anyone else found this an inconvienience I wonder?

J. Burke, 25th December 2010


POWER OUTAGE

Total power outage in Sidney Avenue and near roads at just before 5pm - almost immediately restored. Untied Utilities said no-one else had reported it. If it happened to you, please let them know. We suffered many repetitive cuts a little while ago - hope it's not the start of a repeat sequence. Unlike Shore Road recently, no obvious digging up going on neaby.

Ian Wells 24th November 2010


WLLR SANTA SPECIALS

Dear old Bean,
No, of course, I am not jealous, bitter and twisted just because you have been asked by those splendid fellows at the West Lancashire Light Railway to stand in readiness as an emergency Santa Claus - just in the case the real one gets delayed by frozen points in Iceland or leaves on the line in Lapland during the running of their “Santa Special” weekends [See News 23rd Nov for more info and booking form].

The shouting and banging noises described by the Memsahib were not “one of his usual tantrums”. I merely went down to the shed at the bottom of my garden and accidently stubbed my toe on my workbench, several times. I did not use vocabulary liable to bring a ruddy blush to the cheeks of a tomato, let alone a tomato grower. I was merely expressing a sudden twinge of surprise and pain, for several minutes.

You know as well as I do, the old dear, although she still has a mind like a coiled spring, does occasionally get the wrong end of the stick. Bye the bye, as requested, I returned the copy, you borrowed of, Jeremy Clarksperson’s, “Real men drive big green tractors and Real women can’t park properly” back to the mobile library. I told the book lady that you did not really care for his brand of colour-blind, laddish arrogance – (especially as you have only got a red tractor and a little one at that).

Still I digress, as you have been selected as the emergency reserve understudy for Santa, you’ll need to know what to do and, as you correctly suspected, I do. Long ago, when I lived in little village in Derbyshire that did steep hills in the same way Hesketh Bank does flat – lots , I was approached by the local vicar to stand in for the real Santa Claus at a Church Christmas Fayre. (It’s not me – it’s well known they can’t spell in Derbyshire.). The Memsahib thought it was a good idea because I was already, as she said, the right shape. Santa’s spare costume arrived, the day came, and I rode to the Church Hall on a traction engine. And before you think an ageist thought – it was a magnificently restored and well preserved traction engine, just a bit clanky and cranky here and there – rather like the Memsahib. The real Santa apparently didn’t feel that his reindeer were suitable for novices to drive. Although I fitted snugly into the costume, you might have to bulk out a bit to look the part.

Fortunately, I have asked that ever obliging Mr Pickering at the Top Shop News shop to order a copy of Jamie’s latest, “Pukkah Pumpkin – 1,138 ways to use a 1,138 lb Pumpkin.” If you start at the beginning with Pumpkin bread, Pumpkin pie, Pumpkin Cupcakes, Pumpkin Surprise, Pumpkin Meringue Pie, Pumpkin Lasagne, Hot Pumpkin Soup, Chilled Pumpkin Soup and go on right the way through to Pumpkin and Zucchini tempura, you’ll find yourself filling Santa’s trousers without difficulty. Just like the flamingos at Chester Zoo eat shrimps and turn pink, you’ll find eating oodles of Pumpkin will give you that “David Dickenson” suntanned look that will contrast nicely with Santa’s white beard. It will also take years off your flowing grey locks – don’t be surprised when you find yourself going prematurely ginger.

You do, of course, have to be good with children to be Santa, even though you are only a pretend one. You will find there are three sorts of children who come and visit Santa. The first group will, when you say,”Ho, ho, ho. What would you like for Christmas?” shuffle from foot to foot look at the ground and refuse to talk to you. Hopefully, Mum or Granny at this point will say something like, “Tell Santa, you’d like a (insert gift name here) for Christmas”. The second group of children come prepared with an extensive list. Don’t be fazed if they use proprietary names. One little boy asked me for a transformer for Christmas. “Is that for your train set or your Scalectrix” I asked? No it turned it was a truck that turned into a robot. I think the little boy felt Santa was out of touch with modern toys and modern children. His confidence in Santa was shaken.

It’s always a good idea to watch Mum or Granny very closely whilst the list is being recited. Watch for that slick flicker of panic when something that hitherto might not been on the Christmas List gets mentioned. I always find that if you beam benignly and say things like, “What a big list, I’ll see if I can fit in all on my sleigh.” it helps. The third group of children are the most difficult. These are the ones who want to whisper to Santa because their present list is a secret. As they whisper in your ear, you need to pretend to be somewhat deaf. The Memsahib says that I have that sort of pretending off to a fine T. Keeping a close eye on Mum and/or Granny, repeat slowly and clearly, “Let me see if I have got that right? You want a hamster/pony/grand piano/gerbil/motor scooter and micro-pig for Christmas”. Be prepared for Mum and/or Granny to faint at this point. It might be handy if you could produce your bottle of crushed pumpkin aroma therapy oil and wave it under their noses.

Now when children and their parents come to the West Lancashire Light Railway Santa Specials – they will find two locos in steam and they will ride on the train down to you at Toyland where the children will meet you and receive a present, before having drinks, soup, and hot dogs etc. You need to be careful with the present. You might remember when you and I were mere chips off the old pumpkin that little boys wore short trousers, grey twill shirts, grey jumpers, grey socks and black boy’s shoes. We had gabardine macs and a school cap. Girls wore frocks and cardys and socks and girly coats and sissy shoes. Well these days it’s all different – everybody will probably turn up in long trousers, spangly trainers, usually made by Kelly from Lelly or something like that, and warm coats with hoods. If it is cold, as it might be, they will have their hoods up which makes it very difficult to distinguish little boys from little girls. I well remember being confronted by an accusing Granny saying “Father Christmas – you gave Sandra a little boys present and she is a little girl.” To avoid embarrassment always use the old “Ho, Ho, Ho – Do you want a little boy’s present or a little girl’s present? – Ho. Ho. Ho.” trick. The child will always laugh and tell you.

The last thing to be careful about is the helpers. I remember one kind lady coming up saying, “Father Christmas, you must be getting thirsty and hungry. Here is a cup of tea and a mince pie.” It is important to remember that you are not the real Santa Claus and that his white beard is real whereas yours is not. It is impossible to eat a mince pie through a false beard and as for the cup of tea – well better not attempted really, old bean. Not in front of the children – as they say.

So if and when the call comes to be the man himself, you should be able to pull on your costume, leap on to your tractor, which now tastefully matches your suit, and proceed through the village to the railway which located just behind Altys on Station Road, Hesketh Bath. I do know that your little tractor doesn’t go very fast but don’t worry about the queue of traffic building up behind. People round here know all about driving slowly behind tractors – although usually big green ones driven by Jeremy Clarksperson’s loyal readership. In fact, I think the local commuters would miss the, twice-daily week-day, “Cardi-Gras” processions down Station Road and Hesketh Lane, so much is this tradition part of the local scene.

Of course, at the end of the day, you might feel a taj peckish and the chaps at the railway may well offer you the traditional engine drivers’ all day breakfast. Having scalded their firing shovel with hot steam, it is possible to cook up delicious eggs and bacon in the engine’s fire box on the shovel. Of course you might not get to eat it, if the real Santa is not delayed and you are not required to step into the breach. Don’t despair, you and I can always go and see the trains before repairing for a nourishing all-day breakfast at Booths – it will, no doubt, make a pleasant change for you from pumpkin.

Now about your kind offer to the Village panto – the Producer is grateful but they are not doing Ali Baba and the forty pumpkins this year. But, don’t, worry next year, who knows, it might be Snow White and the seven pumpkins?

Your chum forever
Spoofy 24th November 2010


TREES AT THE BECCONSALL

The cutting down of the trees at the Becc [see news 10th November] bears all the hallmarks of a pre-emptive strike by person or persons unknown concerned that either a Tree Preservation Order was to be imposed on the site or that as an integral part of the planning permission that certain trees would have to be retained thereby reducing the available land for development and making the construction management programme on the site more complex. It will be interesting to note if the eventual developers of the site are prepared to confirm on deny my suggestion.

It may be, of course, that having received a qualified tree surgeon’s report that the trees were either diseased or dangerous that their removal was necessary.In which case no doubt the Parish or District Council might in due course ask to see a copy, assuming that they were not already consulted.

Either way the damage is now done, and direct replacement is impossible but some form of remediation may still occur. Again no doubt the Parish Council and the West Lancashire planners may have some ideas as to how this can be best achieved which any applicant would be well advised to heed in the interests of a smooth and timely development process.

It would probably never have been possible to retain all of the trees on the site – having a mature tree in your garden is rather like keeping a baby elephant there at times – sticky bud cases in the spring, conkers determined to strike roots as soon as they hit the ground and the drifts of big leaves and hard to pick up stalks in the autumn, in the case of my horse-chestnuts. Now my trees may have to go in the future as a result of the fungal weeping disease spreading across the country but I will be saddened when that day happens. It is always a joy to see the wildlife in the trees, the children from the local nursery and their unfailing fascination with conkers, which they helpfully insist on taking home to show Daddy.

If as might be the case this is an act of cavalier vandalism then the Parish Council and West Lancashire should be put on then guard as to other aspects of this development process. There is an old axiom the authorities should bear in mind – if you can’t trust people with small stuff – don’t trust them with big stuff.

It is time for a few searching questions.

Bob Robinson 15th November 2010


BOOTHS & BROADBAND

What ho, old bean (or perhaps as this is Tarleton and Hesketh Bank – What ho, old lettuce)

I am writing because I have/had a problem and rumour hath it that you understand all about the gubbins of this computer jiggery-pokery lark and might know the answer.
Thursday was a fraptious day as Booth’s , purveyors of provender to the gentry since Captain Birdseye was a mere midshipman, opened their new store in Hesketh Bank – whilst there might not have been Morris dancing in the streets there certainly was that other traditional pass time queuing for the car park. I called in during the evening to pick up some small  necessities and was charmed by the new store. I could not help but notice that most of the staff looked young enough to be one’s great granddaughter or grandson. Apparently forty to sixty people work in the store which will be a great boost to the local economy. The Memsahib, who still after all these years has a mind like a coiled spring, had quickly worked out that the new store is conveniently located for me to call at the same time I patronised the Golden Harvest but gave one strict instructions to go Booths first. And a jolly good thing too because, the only fly in my gateau, came as I came to pay at the checkout. I put my plastic thing in that pin board machine and tapped in the numbers, (carefully written on the back of my hand by the said Memsahib) and then waited. I smiled at the pretty young slip of a thing who had previously enquired if I needed help with my packing. I had responded in the negative but thought if she was up to a little light leaf sweeping and seasonal pruning at chez nous, she would be more than welcome in the garden. But I digress. Ah yes, I smiled at her and waited, and waited, and smiled and waited, and smiled. By the time the gubbins did its stuff one’s smile was stuck in a rictus across one’s chops. The young lady apologised politely saying that the link had been working very slowly but that it was hoped that one of those chaps, who play about happily for hours in that little green box at the end of Fulwood Avenue would be fixing the same, toute suite. Luckily I had gone to Booth’s first. Had I not done so my excellent fish and chip repast would have been cold and reproachful by the time I got home. That night as you might recall the wind blew all the way from Captain Birdseye’s boy hood home in Cape Cod.
Upon rising in the morning I found that my telephone line was somewhat crackly and that my interwebby thing was working very slowly. Which brings me to the point of this missive. Is it the overwhelming success of Booths opening such that is overloading the village exchange gubbins or is it the bad weather making the wires go soggy?
You might perhaps like to explain it to me over breakfast at Booths. I should, as ever, be happy to accept your hospitality. I understand that they serve a fine breakfast. I have not seen the menu yet but I do enjoy a good kedgeree.

Your chum forever.
'Spoofy' 14th November 2010


"FREE" LCC SERVICES

Dear Sir,

Your News page currently conveys the ever increasing 'free' services being made available to us from Lancashire County Council.

In just the last two weeks we have been invited to participate in:

  • Free Learner Driver Support Training
  • Free Fire Safety Checks
  • Free Electric Blanket Checks

Whilst many may agree the above schemes are meritous, it is getting to be quite frustrating to repeatedly see Lancashire County Council employees promote their "Free" offerings.

These services are not free - they cost a considerable amount of our money. There may well be no further charge made to the individuals who take up these services but we have all collectively paid for them (up front) in our rates.

That being said, I would very much welcome the announcement of a "Free Moss Lane resurfacing service".

Yours sincerely,
J. Ball, 20th August 2010


Selling off reservoirs

Dear Sir,

I read with dismay your report regarding the impending sale of a reservoir by United Utilities in the Accrington area [Letters J Ball 8th July] . The link you gave Plantation Mill Service Reservoirs, Numbers 1 & 2 now shows that this site has been withdrawn from auction. Who on earth made the decision within United Utilities to dispose of this reservoir when another decision was made by the same company to impose a hosepipe ban in the North West? It beggars belief.

Yours sincerely,
Dave Rydings, 12th July 2010


Selling reservoirs during a Hosepipe Ban

Dear Editor,

It was somewhat inevitable that within months of the wettest years on record United Utilities would need to introduce a hosepipe ban. Many will (quite rightly) moan about the ridiculous loss of massive volumes of water that escape through poor infrastructure but perhaps not so many people will know that the Company has been selling off its reservoirs.

It can't be the brightest move in customer relations to sell reservoirs within the same week as implimenting a hosepipe ban but, just so long as the shareholders are happy, crass indiference is the order of the day: The next two 'redundant' reservoirs (Plantation Mill Service Reservoirs, Numbers 1 & 2) are scheduled to be auctioned off by Pugh on the 15th July. Incredible but true.

Questions really should be asked in the House. Perhaps Mrs Fullbrook would oblige.

Yours faithfully,
J. Ball, 8th July 2010


"Save The Becconsall" Visit

I strongly commend the visit to the community effort at Heskett Newmarket [See Events 13th March 2010]. The pub, beers and food are all well worth a visit.

One word of warning: that is a genuine village, with a physical centre and a real sense of community, not the smeared out collection of commuter housing that Hesketh Bank has been for at least the past two decades. We're mostly now a suburb to a collection of different 'urbs.'

Ian Wells, 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


Low Water Pressure

It really must be summer – the water pressure is absolutely appalling, reduced to a trickle from the shower some mornings. Anyone else having this experience?

Lesley Standish-Gore, 1st July 2009


Council Grounds Keeping

As a local resident I am appalled at the state of the gardens at the old folks place on Gorse lane, Oak Gate Close, and Latham Crescent , the grass is over grown and the hedges on Gorse Lane are over grown onto the footpaths. I am sure that as the weather is so nice at the moment the residents would like to be able to sit outside for a while, but if this was my garden I would be put off by the state of the garden.

I have spoken to someone at West Lancs district council and the person who I spoke to said he did not feel the gardens would be over grown by much as they are cut about once every three weeks, as I explained to the person this was not the case he did say that the teams are on their way round at the moment starting in Burscough then Rufford, so how much longer will the grass be before they get to Tarleton?

Ann Stringfellow, 1st June 2009


Diary Dates

Not everyone seems to feed this website with current local event details. Does anyone know if there will be a November or December Tarleton Farmers Market? And was the Hesketh Bank X-factor a 2007 one-off or is it happening again this year?

Ian Wells, 4th November 2008


Hesketh Bank Village Show

Congratulations to Barry Dawson and Mark Walsh for reintroducing the Hesketh Bank Village Show to the annual events calendar.

What a fantastic day it was, and for once the weather played it's part. I was there manning the Community Facilities Action Group stand and it was wonderful to see so many residents pouring in through the gates. The atmosphere was happy and friendly with groups of people sitting on the lawn enjoying afternoon tea or sampling the many activities on offer.

One small plug - come on all you photographers who were out in force with your cameras - why not enter one or two of your pictures in the Hesketh Bank Photograph competition and perhaps see your picture in print on the annual full color Hesketh Bank events calendar. CLOSING DATE IS TUESDAY 30TH SEPTEMBER - just drop your entry off at either of the Post Offices or Top Shop before 5.00pm. Once again congatulations and thank you to Barry and Mark and their team of helpers for a wonderful Village event.

Maureen Baldwin, Parish Councillor. 29th September 2008


PACT MEETING REPORTS

Dear Sir,

The latest Minutes from the Pact Meetings appearing on the Web site are February 2008. I understand that Meetings are held monthly so when may we expect to see the minutes between March and July?

J Johnston, 8th July 2008


LOCAL MEP WEDDING EXPENSES ROW

Sir,

I wonder if any other readers have happened across the response of Sir Robert, published on his own website:

VISIT TO THE USA, NOVEMBER 2006

The “Sunday Times” has published a report which is tendentious and misleading, implying as it does that I have broken the rules and abused taxpayers’ money. I reject this absolutely and have abided by the European Parliament’s procedures at all times.

I was invited to the USA by Republican Party representatives some time before the mid-term elections. The suggestion came originally from the then US Ambassador to the EU.

Having accepted this, I consulted the European Parliamentary authorities and was given clearance to use the relevant allowance, which is for just such a purpose. Subsequently, I claimed about £2000 as a contribution to the cost of my flights, hotel and internal travel. I paid the balance myself.

Upon my return, I submitted the relevant receipts to the Parliamentary authorities, which were accepted as entirely proper.

Whilst in the USA, I attended my son’s wedding and, of course, was accompanied by my wife. As would be expected, my own expenses for the wedding were paid from my own pocket, as were all my wife’s throughout the trip.”

Now the original Times article did make me angry but Sir Roberts response on this matter made my blood boil. The Sunday Times piece was very clear that the rules had not been broken – and this, to me, was the crux of the article!

Sir Robert is (perhaps deliberately) missing the point. The outcry is not about the technicalities of MEP allowances, it is the absolute disregard for the taxpayer and the crass indifference of our MEPs & MPs when challenged on the moral justification of their expenses. Unlike our MEP, the average person on the street does not conclude that it is necessarily acceptable just because it is potentially allowable.

Leaving the impeccable timing and convenience of the invitation aside, why would Sir Robert ask the taxpayer to fund any part of the international air fare when it is patently obvious that he would be in the USA at that time for the wedding of his son. If I am asked by a neighbour to pick up a loaf whilst I am in Tarleton should I bill her half the bus fare?

Regardless of all the above, there is a very easy way in which Sir Robert could clear up this matter. Even the Sunday Times failed delve too deep on why the invitation (other than the obvious) was accepted. I presume even MEP's cannot just accept any and every invitation that comes across their desk and that justification for the expenditure was submitted. It will thus be easy to tell all us all about the purpose of the visit, the itinerary of the trip and and how we have all since reaped the rewards of his enhanced knowledge of the workings of the Republican Party. If, as would be the case in the real world, he can demonstrate how we got, say, £4k of benefit from the £2k of cost I am sure all the noise will go away.

Finally, I have a criticism to make about this website. Your article [see NEWS 08/06/08] about our MEP and his use of taxpayers’ money to go to the wedding of his own son makes no reference to him being a Conservative MEP. It is important; Labour MEP's have chosen to have their allowances paid through an independent auditor since 2000.

J. Ball, 11th June 2008


Crime in the villages

With the latest series of burglaries / break-ins once again our villages make the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

So much for Phil Corrigan's assurances 15/01/08 that 'extra police patrols are planned' and 'we have dedicated neighbourhood and geographical cover 24/7'. Do these guys not have any responsibility at all for the hard-earned money we are all paying out?

Richard Hodson, 29th February 2008


Fight For Village Services

Probably right, John Hodson, we have a mutual great-grandfather, from Middle Meanygate,who went to Preston market with horse and cart to bring money into 'our villages' as did many others. Such a shame that you seem hell -bent on destroying the services that generations have worked hard to provide.

You are also right about Dame Shirley,heiress to trillions of Tesco money who made the unforgivable political mistake of 'getting found out'.

What I as a political neutral don't understand is why you Labour supporters keep on blaming the Tories for everything that is wrong in our Health, Education, Immigration, Transport, Lack of Police, Soaring Crime Rate etc. Also interesting to note the online improvements for Road Tax, Passports etc. How do you get the actual documents then?

Richard Hodson, 3rd February 2008


Post Office Closures

Dear Editor,

With regard to some of the comments on this subject, I feel that some objectivity is called for. Mr. R. Hodson (distant relation?!) seeks to link post office closures with Sainsbury's Supermarket which doesn't quite scan. If you follow the logic, the most successful Supermarket has got to be Tesco's by any way of measuring. Tesco was formed by Dame Shirley Porter's family if I'm not mistaken and she ended up in some gerrymandering difficulty following her term as Tory leader of a Council - so you can draw whatever reference to that you wish!

The real reason that the Post Offices are in difficulty is the same reason that Sainsbury's/Tesco etc are as successful as they are, simply the fact that we operate in a free market economy and people spend their money in these outlets rather than others. Anyone who has used the internet to renew their Road Tax, renew their Passport or any other service which is also provided in our Post Office will quickly realise the difficulties facing the traditional format of the Post Office where you have to traipse in with all your documentation (which HAS to be in order) and queue to have it processed. Online it can be done in less time than it will take you to read this bulletin!

Of course not every one currently has access to the internet but you can clearly see which direction the trend is going in. Once upon a time only one or two people 'in our villages' had a motor car as opposed to horse drawn transport and no doubt that there was resistance to the introduction of them at the time. But they came all the same.

So Mrs. Fulbrooke, in her latest opportunistic way, attempts to jump on the Post Office bandwagon in order to raise her profile in time for the next Election, but what is she suggesting? endless subsidisation of a loss making service? How does that fit in with her philosophy of survival of the fittest?

Yours Sincerely,
John Hodson, 1st February 2008


Proposed Closures of Post Offices

With 'Lord' Sainsbury and his Supermarket buddies pumping ever-increasing sums of money into the Labour party it is only a matter of time before all the Post Offices, Chemists, Petrol Pumps, GP's, Opticians, Newsagents and all other facilities that we took for granted as part of our village life are in their deep pockets.

How long before all pensioners are wheeled in, given a few food vouchers and a few quid for the bingo, I wonder J.Johnston ? We should all be fighting for our village services.

Richard Hodson, 1st February 2008


No Ifs.... No Buts...

The lion that is the Standards Committee has purred into life and decided that the debt to society for an [Derek Conway] MP "diverting" over £50,000 of public funds should be 10 days off work and a repayment of 30% of the money. Presumably this means that the guilty party is allowed to keep the remaining 70% of his ill-gotten gains.

If this is the verdict of the body that is responsible for promoting high ethical standards then may God help us all.

Despite all the measures that have supposedly been put in place to safeguard our interests it seems that the continuous stream of cross party "administration oversights" only ever come to light when the papers get involved. It seems safe to assume that our political leaders have no respect for the law or their electorate and their internal policemen are as ineffectual as the plastic plods they deploy on our streets.

Tough on crime? No Sleaze? Transparency? No ifs... No buts... Don't make me laugh! - there is not even the faintest hint of embarrassment about such discoveries. Our politicians are above the law and rotten to the core.

J. B. , 30th January 2008


Proposed Closures of Post Offices

With reference to the proposed Post Office closures I can fully sympathise with those who oppose this. We have been used to local Post Offices providing a range of services for members of local communities for many years. Unfortunately that service has to be profitable as after all it is a business.

Most businesses run to make a profit for their owners. When circumstances alter and the profit turns into a loss then the business would cease to trade. Why should this be any different for Post Offices?

Times have changed and we can no longer accept that all conveniences such as GP, Dentist etc remain within walking distance of our homes.

Many years ago few people had cars, direct debits were not readily available but life has moved on. Whilst I accept that the older members of our society may no longer drive and may prefer to pay bills locally I cannot see the justification on continuing to run Post Offices at a great loss. It was reported on television recently that some have no more that 1 customer each day and at what cost to all of us?

The issue of the "Stand Alone Post Office" remaining a viable service can be overcome by incorporating it into a larger store such as occurred in Tarleton a few years ago.

Unfortunately nothing can stay the same forever and we must be prepared to adapt to changing circumstances.

J Johnston, 28th January 2008


Dear editor,

I was disappointed to see some of the comments from Chris Stringfellow about the 'lack of local news' organisations covering Tarleton and Hesketh Bank.

The Southport Visiter is very keen to cover any news in this area, whether it is celebrating people's good news, raising local issues or highlighting local events.

In the Southport Visiter currently on sale for example we feature a story and photos about the sewage problems suffered by residents in Hesketh Bank, and will keep on top of this issue in the hope of securing a resolution. News about progress on the new Booth's supermarket will also feature soon, hopefully this Friday.

Yes, we could publish more stories from Tarleton and Hesketh Bank - and we would be delighted to do so! If anybody would like any issues raising in the Southport Visiter or Midweek Visiter, please let me know!!

My direct phone number is 01704 398271, e-mail me at: visiternews@southportvisiter.co.uk or call into the Visiter office on Tulketh Street, Southport (just off Chapel Street) and say hello. At weekends, we always have a Visiter reporter available on 07919 112582.

We are far from ignorant of this area here at the Visiter - my fiancee hails from Hesketh Bank and is a former pupil of Tarleton High and Tarleton primary, and I recently enjoyed the Christmas period in Hesketh Bank with my prospective in-laws. I am a regular visitor - it's a lovely part of the world. One of my colleagues lives in Rufford, which is not a million miles away (she is a big fan of the shops in Tarleton!)

Thank you for raising the issue of the recent spate of crimes at the weekend, it's been a rough few weeks for people at the hands of burglars, and we will be delighted to once again raise the issue of whether there should be a police station in Tarleton? Please let us know your thoughts!

Finally, I would like to congratulate the adminstrators and users of this excellent website. Sharing information is the most important way of maintaining any thriving community.

Kind regards,
Andrew Brown, Deputy editor Southport Visiter, 15th January 2008


Well as I mentioned in my last letter, in November [see Letters - Tarleton Parish Council], I am starting on local policing again. I don't know how many of you are aware of the spate of burglaries which took place at local business premises in Tarleton over the weekend. From the rumours circulating (it can only be rumours round here now, as we have no local newspaper anymore, unless you consider the Ormksirk/Skem or Southport biased rubbish that claims to be local) a large number of premises were broken into in the early morning. By lunchtime, I had actually seen two police vehicles in the village, that's more than I saw for the whole of last year.

If we had a police presence, we wouldn't be getting these continual criminal excursion trips into our village, however the people who managed to drive the proposed police station out of the village must be really happy, it's obvious the thieves are. Has anyone noticed that since the police station was driven out, Lancashire Constabulary never come near Tarleton.

It's time our local politicians demanded some answers from the police to questions such as "Where the hell are you" and "What are you doing about crime in Tarleton".

Chris Stringfellow, 14th January 2008


PACT MEETINGS

I have been unable to trace minutes from the above Meetings after February 2007. The Meetings are still being advertised so may I enquire whether Minutes are taken at the Meetings and where might the Minutes be displayed? It would be good to have a later update.

J Johnston, 27th December 2007


Speed Measurement on Moss Lane

Speeding on Moss Lane measured twice, and quite recently, by Hesketh-with-Becconsall Parish Council, produced the following results :

6% of vehicles doing over 30 mph with 1% over 40mph

The "Confidential"' figures from a SPIRD Speed Recorder undergoing trials - released presumably by the Clerk - now show entirely different results:

27% of vehicles doing over 35 mph with 12% over 40 mph

The presentation and validity of this data is unacceptable. At the very time of a controversial planning application requiring traffic calming on Moss Lane to obtain permission a SPIRD visual recorder is placed in Moss Lane immediately adjacent to the site in question.

What could possibly have produced such a major statistical shift? Is there a means by which results can be distorted? Or are we seriously to believe that driving behaviour went daft over that 4-day test period?

It would be disgraceful if highways and planning decisions were prejudiced by misinformation.

Trevor Roberts, 25th October 2007


PUMPKINS EVERYWHERE

Well done to all the entrants and winners of the Competition.

I notice that Mr O'Hanlon Snr is trying to outdo his son James who together with Liam Cupit won the Competition 2 years ago. Perhaps you need to ask James and Liam their secrets if you want to have any hope of winning next year.

What becomes of the Pumpkins after the event? Are the whole population of Tarleton and surrounding areas tucking into Pumpkin Soup. Will we have any female contestants next year? It is always good to see local happenings on this Website

Joyce Rydings, 21st October 2007


GENERAL ELECTION

I am glad that the PM has decided not to call an Election. I was informed last week that one of the National Newspapers estimated the cost of an Election at more than 1 Million Pounds.

Is it not time to call Elections every 4 or 5 years and to stick by this agreement?

J Johnston, 7th October 2007


PACT BOXES

I understand that a Pact Box was delivered to Spar in Tarleton about 10 days ago. I am told that the Village Police Officer will be calling at Spar to place it in a suitable position. I noticed in today's local paper there is a mention of Tarleton Beat Bobby Lee Wallbank. Are we now fortunate in having 2 local Police Officers in Tarleton?

Joyce Rydings, 17th August 2007


PACT BOXES

How good it was to see the recent photographs of Tarleton High Students in the local news carrying out various tasks for Quest Week. It was stated that the PACT BOXES would be placed in prominent areas on the Community for people to leave comment slips for the Police and Community Together Team.

I would be interested to know where the "prominent areas" are. Can someone enlighten me please?

J Johnston, 7th August 2007


Hesketh Bank Scarecrow Festival

It’s that time of year again and Hesketh Banks’s SCARECROW FESTIVAL is just around the corner.

The dates are JULY 2th – 7th and I’m told that this year’s quote is, “IT’S GOING TO BE AN EYE OPENER!”

There’s something for everyone and its fun. So come on, get those dapper togs out of the wardrobe, dust them down, get frocked up, strut your stuff and show off.

You all know what it’s about, you don’t need me to tell you. But…… if you have had a new neighbour next door then you will need to spread the news. Who knows if you’ve not spoken to them yet, it could be a good way of breaking the ice. Let’s face it, this is all about COMMUNITY SPIRIT.

Now if you’re struggling with a lack of imagination DO NOT FRET. I’m told that that the competition will have two categories, “Traditional” and “Anything Goes”.. So, if you favour my traditional “WORZEL GUMMIDGE” look then this is for you. The more “Scarecrow like” you look, the better. But let’s remember the competition is secondary, the main objective is that as many of us as possible are out there putting on a show.

THE PUBLIC WANTS TO SEE US.

Let’s face it, they will come from miles just for that privilege so don’t let us disappoint them.

The entry form will be available to all households both within and outside the village (even parts of Tarleton).

The entry form can be downloaded here or collected from Top Shop or Spar. So have a read, follow the instructions and get those forms back PROMPT. In the meantime come on visitors get your thinking caps on!

PUT THE DATES IN YOUR DIARY JULY 2nd – 7th. LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU ALL SOON.

Best regards to all,
W.G. W. Gummage III, 24th June 2007


Moss Road Network

Dear Editor,

It must be election time again as the old chestnut of the 'Green Lane Link' is wheeled out yet again. [see Local News 26/02/2007]

This project has been promised to the electorate by the Local Conservatives at each election without any hope of it getting off the ground, sinking without trace (excuse the pun) immediately after said Counciilors are (safely) elected for another 4 years before it is dusted off ready just in time for the next round. Just how gullible do these people think the electorate are?

The report Cllr Baron refers to was published in 1999 and was kept very quiet at the time by our County Councillor, presumably because it did not fit in with election promises at the time. The report offererd three different alternatives in terms of construction design and did state that a minumum cost of £1M would at that time be an estimated starting point- notwithstanding the need for land aquisition and only allowed for excavation of up to 1 metre! A Civil Engineering Estimating Manager colleague told me at the time that a realistic starting price would be in the order of £5M: the proposed length of road was only a quarter of a mile long but passes over peat moss soil which can be as deep as 30 feet in places.

For the project to proceed, external funding is required - the big question is where will this funding come from? A few points readers may wish to know are :

1. This proposal has been talked about since 1995 where the very reasons why it has not been built were explained by Lancs County Council at the time.

2. What contribution is to be made by the large Supermarket chains who would be the main beneficiaries of greater access to the Moss?

3. If funding were to be found for the 'Green Lane Link', ( 1/4 mile long) who would fund the rest of the Moss Road network i.e. miles and miles of substandard road ?

4. Precisely where does this proposal sit in terms of priority within LCC's road building program?

All I ask is a degree of political honesty on the subject, whilst our elected members dine out on this promise every four years, the cost of any scheme spirals even further out of reach and the rest of our road network is forgotten about.

Yours Sincerely,
Cllr. J.E.Hodson. 27th February 2007


Re: WLDC Ban Smoking Breaks

Good news. We will be able to walk past the Council Offices without worrying about getting smoke in our eyes.I hope other businesses will follow.

The Hospitals decided that the whole site should be completely Smoke Free from February 2006. I have noticed no difference when entering both Ormskirk and Southport Hospitals and when asked why this was being allowed to continue I was told that it will take time. Even staff disobey the rules and stand in front of the No Smoking Signs where the patients and visitors alike are required to pass to enter the Hospitals.

If people want to kill themselves by smoking please do not inflict this dreadful unhealthy habit on those of us whose health it affects.

J Johnston, 16th November 2006


Pavements on Hesketh Lane following Surface Dressing

Further to my recent note on the state of the pavements following the recent surface dressing with tar and feathers, sorry chippings. A very nice lady at West Lancashire District Council put me through to another very nice lady at Lancashire County Council who is sending a Highways Inspector round. Hopefully it will be sorted out soon - in the meantime mind how you go.

Regards,
Bob Robinson, 8th September 2006


Hesketh Lane Surface Dressing

The Highway's department has just gone through the regular replacement of the wearing course on Hesketh Lane with tar and chippings. Since then there has been a couple of early morning visits by a road sweeper to clear up loose chippings. However in the meantime many loose chippings have been pinged on to the pavement by passing traffic leaving the pavement littered with sharp chippings.

As a pedestrian I and my dogs find the going somewhat hard on the feet. Who is responsible for sweeping the paths after this sort of maintenance - the Council or the Contractor?

Regards,
Bob Robinson B.Sc. F.C.A., 7th September 2006


Southport Pleasureland

The Closure of Southport Pleasureland should really come as no surprise, Southport is difficult to get both to & from, in the past few years planners have preferred to spend a huge amount of money on the [Admittedly] beautiful suspension bridge, Bridging [only] the Marine Lake!!

Had the same amount been spent on a bridge across the Ribble linking Southport to Lytham, St. Annes & the rest of the Fylde Coast it would have made much more sense. [and had massive benefits to both communities] [It would have made traffic congestion in Preston & Penwortham much less and made Fleetwood "Freeport" more accessible.]

Instead Southport's "Centre of Gravity" [If it has one] is focussed South into Sefton, especially Bootle with which it has little in common.

The present coast road was laid on rubbish / hardcore tipped by residents in the sixties, if this had then been branched to continue towards Lytham "Tantalising Close" in plain view across the Ribble Estuary, but many miles away by road via Penwortham & Preston, All these northwest Coastal towns would benefit, including from traffic congestion.

The more direct Railway links have gone, so let's have the imagination for such a road link, this also offers an opportunity to usefully dispose of hardcore rubble instead of landfill and could make recently expanded places like Banks & Tarleton more accessible.

Congestion on the road links between the Southport / Ormskirk Hospitals accident & emergency departments might improve.

Both Blackpool lights and Southport Flower Show would greatly benefit from larger ACCESSIBLE Catchments.

If Pleasureland has gone, has the monies spent/being spent on the nearby Southport swimming baths called into question?

Kind Regards,
Arthur Wright, 6th September 2006


Dear Sir,

I am delighted that at last, the truth has emerged about the proposals to merge Lancashire and Cumbria Police Forces, and that the idea has now been abandoned.

As residents of South Ribble will be aware, I have spent the last six months challenging the Police Authority chairman to accept that the merger was a mistake for local people and their policing needs, serving police officers, police civilian workers and council-tax payers in Lancashire.

I consistently put the case that this ill-conceived merger would result in:

- the £23million start-up costs being diverted from the existing budget to pay for it – which incidentally rose from £16m to £20m to £23m within weeks

- a 13% increase in the police precept part of the council tax for Lancastrians (but not for Cumbrians, please note), just for the privilege of having a merged force.

- no guarantee that Hutton would remain the headquarters of the merged force and would result in a massive building plot for developers.

- a damaging reduction in performance, a collapse in neighbourhood policing, and a significant loss of accountability.

- redundancies of serving police officers and civilians. This was stated to me publicly by a Police Authority representative, saying, “inevitably there will be redundancies”

Whilst the u-turn is great news, I am amazed the Police Authority are claiming they are surprised and feel “let down” by the Government’s decision not to offer extra funds to pay for the massive costs a merger would have entailed.

As a result of the Police Authority’s naive approach, vast sums of our taxpayer’s money have already been wasted preparing for a merger that should never have been volunteered for, and many valuable hours of police time that could have been spent tackling crime have now been thrown away.

The local officers carrying out local people’s policing needs do a superb job in Lancashire, but I believe that they have been very badly let down by politicians and bureaucrats.

The former Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, attempted to railroad the merging of Britain’s forty three police forces into just twelve regional forces for reasons that had little to do with operational effectiveness and everything to do with John Prescott’s’ plans to break up our country into regions of Europe.

This is another glaring example of “Regionalisation by Stealth”.

As the Conservative Party Spokesman for the South Ribble Constituency, I think that most people know that I have been fighting this merger from the start. I viewed this proposal for our police in the same way I view the rationalisations of our Fire Service, our Ambulance Service and increasingly our Hospitals. It is being done for totally the wrong reasons.

I am delighted that this battle has been won, I am just sad that so much time, money and effort has been wasted, when every penny is desperately needed in the ongoing fight against crime.

Lorraine Fullbrook
Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for South Ribble
17th July, 2006


Dear Sir,

Any dictionary will tell you that the word 'reform' means 'to improve', 'to save from evil'. But when Tony Blair says he wants to 'reform' the public services, he means 'sell-out'. He inherited one of the greatest creations of the post-war Labour government : the National Health Service. But he is determined to undermine it by encouraging profit-obsessed health corporations to take over the structure of the NHS.

The Department of Health has asked multi-national companies to manage health services worth up to £64 billion by purchasing healthcare for millions of NHS patients. Of course Mr Blair and his obedient ministers pretend that the service will not change; it will continue to be free at the point of use. But these corporations have only one motivation : money; and the money which they syphon out of the health service will go into the pockets of international investors, not into improved healthcare. This is what privatisation means. Even Margaret Thatcher didn't dare to touch the NHS. We are talking about the obscene sight of a Labour government – a LABOUR government – handing the NHS over to the parasites of the finance world.

The Green Party has expressed shock at the latest step towards NHS Incorporated. A spokesman said, "Labour picked up where the Tories left off and are now ploughing billions of pounds into private companies to provide health-care and hospitals under the NHS brand. This money is taken from NHS health-care provision, reducing the number of NHS nurses and doctors available, while boosting private companies' profits. The NHS is no longer about providing health care for those in need, it is concerned with providing rich pickings for large multinational companies. We should be under no illusion: patients are suffering and dying because of these 'reforms', NHS debt is spiraling and local hospitals are closing.”

Of course the Conservatives will be secretly delighted to see Labour doing the dirty work of privatisation. Labour M.P.s will follow their leader without a murmur; and the few remaining members of the Labour Party sold their souls years ago by swallowing the Blair agenda without question.

So what can the ordinary citizen do to oppose this sell-out ? You could write to your local Labour M.P. You could join a party which is vehemently against privatisation (guess which !). And you could make a donation to the 'Keep Our NHS Public' group at 113 Queens Road, Brighton BN1 3XG. If you don't do it now, it may be too late.

Yours faithfully,
Maurice George David Sheekey John Watt West Lancs Green Party, 4th July 2006


I agree with you Mr Bodhill regarding the location of the polling station on Carr Lane. Unfortunately, as I understand from asking the same question from Jane Smith at WLDC, the portable building on Carr Lane was a last resort. This is the way it was explained to me:-

Tarleton is divided into 3 electoral wards. The Central ward polling station was Holy Trinity school on Church Road. (Mark Square as you suggested, is within the Central ward so could not be used for Hesketh Lane ward).

The Hesketh Lane ward polling station was previously in the Primary school but this was unavailable this year (at last year's General Election it was in the ATC building at the rear of the High school but this was unavailable this year).

The third polling station was in the school in Mere Brow. A polling station has by law to be provided in each ward. Every other suitable building in the Hesketh Lane ward was unavailable this year except one in Moss Lane and this was considered unsuitable.

I was assured that this situation should not arise next year as steps have been taken to secure suitable premises.

Dave Rydings, 9th May 2006


I was disgusted at the placing of the polling station for the local elections on Thursday. Why was a porta cabin in Carr Lane chosen? It is very inconvenient as it is on no bus route, not central to the village and at the end of a cul-de-sac. As a portable option was available why not a position on Mark Square or at the school.

Comments please?

Mr. M Bodill, 8th May 2006


Dear Editor,

As many of those who visit your site already know, I am totally opposed to the proposal to merge Lancashire Police with Cumbria Police.

I am appalled that both the Lancashire Police Authority and Lancashire Constabulary are going along with the Home Secretary’s railroading of local forces into a merger, when they are unable to show any meaningful benefits that would be gained for the local people of Lancashire.

Indeed, the facts demonstrate entirely the opposite.

Last week (24 Feb 2006), the Lancashire Constabulary was the only police force in the country to agree to the merger, while many other police forces throughout the country have opposed the Government’s proposals and are fighting to stop it, as they believe it is not in the best interests of local people and their local policing needs.

I have written to the Chairman of the Lancashire Police Authority to challenge them to re-run their survey and ask local people the simple question, “Given the choice, do you favour leaving Lancashire Police as a stand alone force, or do you favour a merger with Cumbria?”

They have refused.

Instead, the Lancashire Police Authority continue to peddle that 86% of local people want a merger with Cumbria, without ever telling them that the merger will increase the police portion of their local council tax by 13%, for which they will receive nothing.

Add to this the £20 million start-up costs out of the existing police budget (which has gone up by £4 million in the last four weeks), no guarantee that Hutton will remain the Headquarters of any merged force and redundancies throughout Lancashire Police; this is a disaster for local people.

A representative of the Police Authority publicly admitted to me at a recent public meeting that, “inevitably, there will be redundancies”. A great number of serving police officers and civilian workers live locally. Together with local people, they are being badly let down by politicians and bureaucrats.

I have therefore launched my own survey on this issue. It can be found on the internet at www.TellLorraine.com. It asks the straight question that the Lancashire Police Authority refused to, “What is the best way forward for local policing,

a) For Lancashire Police to remain a stand-alone force? OR

b) For Lancashire Police to merge with Cumbria Police?

I urge everyone who shares my view to complete this question, so we can try and fight this together. I will make sure the results are passed to Charles Clark, the Home Secretary, the Lancashire Police Authority, the Lancashire Constabulary and the Labour MP for South Ribble.

Lorraine Fullbrook Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for South Ribble
5th March, 2006

P.S. Anyone without access to the internet can let me know which option they favour by writing to me at PO Box 266, Leyland, Lancs, PR26 7WB


Dear Sir,

Last week I attended a public meeting of the Lancashire Police Authority that was held to discuss policing in Lancashire. I did so because I am concerned at what I believe will be the consequences of the proposed merger of Lancashire police with Cumbria and possibly Merseyside forces. The local officers carrying out the peoples policing needs do a superb job in Lancashire, but I believe that they are being let down by politicians and bureaucrats.

The Home Secretary has attempted to railroad the merging of Britain’s forty three Police forces into just twelve regional forces for reasons that have little to do with operational effectiveness and everything to do with John Prescott’s’ plans to break up our country into regions of Europe.

Local people may wish to hear the answers I received from to the three questions I raised at the Police Authority meeting. I suspect that for many people the answers will come as a shock and a wake up call.

Future of Hutton
I asked if the future of Hutton could be guaranteed and if the jobs of those employed at Hutton were secure. It was made clear to everyone present that no such guarantee could be given. This raises the prospect of a merged Police Headquarters being sited elsewhere (Penrith, for example) in the region. This would put local jobs at risk and I am concerned that the Hutton site could ultimately be sold to developers. We must not allow this to happen, and fighting the proposed merger is one way of doing this.

Job Cuts
It was also admitted that the proposed merger would cost millions to set up and that this money would have to come from the Lancashire Police’s existing funding. Earlier in the meeting, the Police Authority representative said that due to police authority precept capping, cuts to the budget for 2006/7 would have to be made - to the tune of £2.5m. This is in addition to the £4m cuts that will be required each year for the next four years to recoup the estimated £16m start up cost of a merged force. Yet he continued to insist that the idea was to improve policing! Indeed, the Police Authority representative said, “ We will be making decisions on where the savings will be made, and inevitably, some of that will be in redundancies”.

12% increase in Council Tax Precept
The third issue I raised concerned Council Tax. It was clear at the meeting that if Lancashire enters a merged force local people will see the police precept part of their council tax bill rise to cover day to day running costs. It was admitted that an increase of around 12% would be necessary for the people of Lancashire.

Labour are pushing full steam ahead with the regionalisation of our Police and in Lancashire, those who support the idea are frequently quoting the “fact” that a majority of people support a merger with Cumbria. What no one is being told is that the Police Authority survey never offered the option of Lancashire police remaining as a stand-alone force. As the Conservative Party Spokesman for the South Ribble Constituency, I think that most people know that I am against this merger.

I view this proposal for our police in the same way I view the regionalisation of our Fire Service, our Ambulance Service and increasingly our Hospitals. It is being done for totally the wrong reasons.

Re-run the Survey
I would challenge those who are attempting to push through the merger of our Police Force to re-run the survey. This time they should ask a different question. Indeed I have written today to the Police Authority to suggest that this question be put as follows. “The Government wishes to merge Lancashire Police into a Regional Police Force – this puts the future of Hutton in question; will require cuts in police jobs and service and will see the police precept in your council tax rise by around 12% - are you for or against such a merger?”

In summary, I am amazed that these fundamental questions were not asked, or indeed answered prior to the Lancashire Police Authority submitting their preferred option to the Home Secretary in December – one of only a handful of authorities throughout the country who believe that the merger proposals are in the best interests of local people, serving officers and civilian police employees. 

Lorraine Fullbrook Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for South Ribble
29th January, 2006


Dear Sir,

As the recently re-adopted Conservative Parliamentary Spokesmen for South Ribble and Southport, we are writing to endorse the campaign currently being run against the possible merger of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust with Liverpool Trusts.

We are delighted to see that the campaign is being supported by both Rosie Cooper MP and John Pugh MP.

We are sad that a giant Trust based in Liverpool, could ever be considered a possibility for the local Hospital Trust. The Government have thrown huge sums of money at the Health Service, and yet they have done such a bad job that the Trust is around £15 million in debt. We urge everyone to sign the petition against the possibility of a merger, and we pledge ourselves to work with anyone regardless of their political affiliation in the battle to keep our Health Trust local. The Government seem hell bent on merging everything from our Police Force to our Councils and now our Hospital Trusts. Together we can send a clear signal that local people have had enough.

Lorraine Fullbrook - Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for South Ribble
Mark Bigley - Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for Southport
15th December 2005


The racist graffiti was done by a few mindless people who believe that what they write is the opinion of the majority. To tolerate this is to agree with their naive, bigoted view. I call on the community of Tarleton and Hesketh Bank to stamp this out. If you see anyone doing this vandalism report it to the police. This action would show the perpatrator and the victims what the majority of the community really believe (don't let this racist cancer grow in our community).

Andrew Gautrey, 18th July 2005


Best Kept Village? They must be joking !! Have these people had a look at some of the villages that enter this competition ? A few hanging baskets...is that it ? Just look around the village, the bridge....over grown weeds , a old run down shed, a empty house/shop with tons of rubbish at the side and back. That's only with in a few yards of the village centre never mind the rest of the village. If the Hesketh Bank village group want to enter this...should they first get the village tidy and litter free ??

Paul Morgan, 7th July 2005


Here in the northwest a young man has just been seriously spinally injured after using the trampoline bought from Argos. These are available now increasingly cheaply from numerous other sources as well.

Trampolines are a serious bit of gymnastic kit that should only be used under supervision by a trained instructor.

As a retired nurse who once worked in the Northwest "Spinal Injuries" unit I know from first hand the damage to neck and spinal cord[cervical vertebrae] that can occur, death is not uncommon and many who survive will potentially be permanently injured as seriously as the late Christopher Reeve. [Superman] though his injury was due to an equestrian accident.

Trampolines are one of the largest single sporting causes of serious neck injury and these incidents, often to kids, are currently increasing alarmingly.

Kind Regards,
Arthur Wright, 17th June 2005


Dear friends,

I see from the Hesketh Bank Parish Council Newsletter that the village has entered the “best kept Village” competition. Picture the scene as the judges drive in from Tarleton:

One of the trees that until recently framed the entrance to the village has been simply sawn off just above pavement level – this is the one at the corner of Mill Lane, presumably on the bank’s land. I’m sure that if the tree had been in Ormskirk, it would have had a Tree Protection Order on it.

Next, on the left, the accountant’s building site. Then, on the right, the chain link fence protecting what will be the Booth’s supermarket building site, with an abandoned building and some hard core behind it.

Back on the left, a bit of derelict land by Top Shop, left empty by its owners who went elsewhere, but not made available for use by Top Shop or anyone else.

Back on the right, heaps and piles of building materials in Alty’s. The view then cheers up quite a lot past the pub and church in spite of the rather tired look of the village meeting room and former library, but then you get to the entrance to the football club.

This is festooned with notices of various degrees of age and untidiness, some relating to the club itself and some to the next field, which intermittently hosts both adults playing cowboys and a low key car boot sale.

‘Well kept’ is not the phrase that comes to mind: unkempt or tatty are nearer, cluttered is perhaps the politest phrase, though ‘visually illiterate’ might be most accurate. Of course, the judges may not even get into the village to enjoy these visual treats: twice recently I have unable to get out of Hesketh Lane onto Station Road because of the arrival of a lorry to the accountants’ building site. In both cases, it was quickly taken inside the site, but the tail-back went well beyond the computer shop (former post office to genuine locals.)

For most purposes neither Hesketh Bank nor Tarleton are now real villages. They are suburbs that don’t have an urb to be wrapped round – or rather the ‘urb’ of which we are suburbs is every major Lancashire urban area from Preston to Manchester. But then genuinely rural communities don’t win ‘best kept village’ contests. These are only won by those calendar image villages full of early-retired comers-in who have priced out the locals, and are left with nothing to do but hassle people to be suburbanly tidy and hide all the authentic rural mud, slime, and rusting old farm appliances.

Ian Wells, 14th June 2005


Dear Sir,

I appreciate what Andy Parkinson says in his letter, and I have no objections to a drop in, given the constraints he suggests regarding adult supervision. However to date no one has actually come out of the closet to respond to my original queries, which leads to the conclusion that this idea, like the one in Hesketh Bank, is going to be a half baked notion with no adult supervision or control, which will simply lead to problems in the area where the drop in is located.

Chris Stringfellow, 4th April, 2005


In reply to Chris Stringfellow, the trouble we had with the [Hesketh Bank} shelter was caused by a minority, and to be honest was never fit for purpose. Simply giving the kids somewhere to stand does not cure the root cause of the supposed boredom that drives some to do wrong. I would love to see something as positive as the TYAG in Hesketh Bank and a youth drop in, or any facility that gives them something to do, would be great. I think any facility would have some kind of adult supervision, so the scope for trouble making is less.

Andy Parkinson, 3rd April, 2005


Dear Sir,

I note in the piece published yesterday (See news 31/03/05) that the sponsored bike ride is aiming to raise funds for amongst other things, a proposed Tarleton Youth Drop In. Although a good idea, could any of your readers enlighten me as to a couple of points, namely, when and where was this proposal published, who is the publisher and where is the proposed drop in to be located?
Given the recent problems in Hesketh Bank regarding the youth shelter, some public consultation before creation would be a good idea.

Chris Stringfellow, 1st April, 2005


Dear Sir,

With regards the mystery of the NatWest parking area (see news 20/03/05). If the disabled logo is not painted onto the area, the bank cannot claim it to be a disabled parking space. If as rumour suggests the painter cited the Disability Discrimination Act, he knows more than the Disability Rights Commission, who were involved in the creation of that legislation. I would suggest that the responses to date are nothing but flannel, the bank staf probably have no idea why the yellow lines have been painted.

On another note, has anyone noticed the school sign upto the NatWest bank, it now has a new section, the Get Corrigan Out campaign, anyone got any thoughts on that subject?

Chris Stringfellow, 21st March 2005


The award to Tarleton's DIY shop is rightly deserved [see news 21/11/04]. I will always try there first for hardware and associated items and usually they have it in stock. Prices also are on a par with the big stores - if not then you save on petrol and time.

The staff are always friendly and guess what? - parking is never a problem - most times you can even park right outside and delivery vehicles always park at the rear. The car park next door also means that if the item you are purchasing is bulky you don't have to carry it very far. We should all support this very valuable resource in our village.

Yours faithfully,
Dave Rydings, 23rd November, 2004

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