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LETTERS: NEWS & CURRENT AFFAIRS
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:
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 :
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?
Is there any intention to publish these transcripts?
Will they be routinely forwarded to this site's Editor
Will those residents not able to put their questions at the recent meeting have another opportunity to do so?
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.....
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?
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:
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?
Anyone concerned about the planned Fracking at Hesketh Bank might be interested in the following website: www.campaigncc.org/fracking
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.
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
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
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
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?
John Hodson, 1st February 2008
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
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
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Cllr. J.E.Hodson. 27th February 2007
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
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.
Bob Robinson, 8th September 2006
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?
Bob Robinson B.Sc. F.C.A., 7th September 2006
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?
Arthur Wright, 6th September 2006
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.
Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for South Ribble
17th July, 2006
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.
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.
Mr. M Bodill, 8th May 2006
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
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.
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
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.
Arthur Wright, 17th June 2005
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
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
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
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.
Dave Rydings, 23rd November, 2004