14. Poulton Forum 9 February 2015


Hosted by Poulton & Carleton Residents’ Association

Meeting held 9th February 2015

Summary of main points discussed, decisions and actions agreed

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1. Welcome and Introductions

Lesley Middleton introduced herself and Bill Waller (Residents’ Association Chair and Vice-Chair respectively) and welcomed those present to the 14th Forum meeting.

Attendees: Approximately 110 members of the public plus Wyre Councillors David Bannister, Roger Berry, Barry Birch, Colette Birch, Simon Bridge, Ramesh Gandhi, Peter Gibson, Lesley McKay, Peter Murphy, and Poulton’s Lancashire County Councillor, Alf Clempson. Apologies for absence received from some members of the public and from Wyre Councillor May Gandhi.

Lesley reminded new attendees to leave their contact details. Her email contact list is used to pass on Forum information and other communications, for example from Lancashire and Wyre Councils. Residents not online get Forum papers delivered to their postal address.

2. Finances

There is approximately £160 in the Association’s bank account and donations would therefore not be sought on this occasion.

3. Our Ambulance Service

Graham Curry, NW Ambulance Service Regional Manager, gave a short presentation. When he joined the service 40 years ago they received approximately 2 – 3 calls per day. The NW Service now receives an average 3 calls per minute. Poulton’s nearest ambulance station is in Thornton with 2 ambulances, then Fleetwood with one and a further three ambulances and one rapid response car located between Poulton and Blackpool. Calls have to be prioritised which can be a cause of concern. Priorities are decided based on questions the dispatcher asks, such as whether the patient is breathing. The service has a target to reach 75% of life-threatening cases within 8 minutes of the call being received and this was achieved last year. This year the number of calls has increased by a third and the 8 minute target has been met in about 70% of cases. In a non life-threatening situation, such as a fall at home, it could take up to 4 hours for an ambulance to arrive.

Ambulances are staffed by highly skilled paramedics. It takes 3 years to train them and the NW service has 40 training places at UCLan. Paramedics are trained to treat on the spot and also to identify the best clinical pathway – which is not necessarily A&E. The paramedic might organise access to an out of hours GP service or pharmacist or give advice on self care at home. If hospital is warranted then Royal Preston Hospital is the designated trauma centre for the Poulton area. Arriving by ambulance does not mean that treatment will be received any quicker – all arrivals go through the same triage process. The Rapid Response car provides the same service as an ambulance but cannot take stretcher cases to hospital.

An ambulance should be called if someone is seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk but in other cases telephoning 111 might be a better option. In the NW this advice and information service is run by the Ambulance Service from a call centre in Bolton. If they think it necessary these operators can arrange for an ambulance – of the 12,000 calls they receive each day some 12% result in an ambulance being dispatched. They also provide general advice such as where to find a dentist or pharmacist.

Graham had brought a defibrillator to the Forum and briefly explained how these work. In response to questions, Graham confirmed that the NW Air Ambulance Service is a Charity. The NHS pays for the paramedics on board but the Charity funds the three helicopters, their fuel and their pilots. He also confirmed that the service owns its ambulance stations and that if a plan to sell them and relocate the vehicles in the community goes ahead, the proceeds of the sale would be re-invested in the service. Finally Graham offered to answer any further questions which could be emailed to him via Lesley (lesleymiddleton84@gmail.com).

4. Age UK Lancashire – Local Services

Anne Oliver, Age UK’s Community Engagement Manager for Lancashire, gave a brief presentation on the services available. Age UK Lancashire is a federal organisation – it keeps all the monies raised locally. It is affiliated to the National organisation – and receives some funding from it and promotes national campaigns. Some of the local services provided are free. Currently these include telephone and face-to-face befriending; Walking Football at Pool Foot Farm; Coping Alone bereavement support and Friends After Bereavement (FAB) social group; Hambleton Ramblers walking group; a range of services including hospital discharge, falls assessment and advice, occupational therapy referral and benefits information and advice for over 65s; and Life Books – records kept on line or in local shops of important information that a friend or relative might need in an emergency.

Because central and local government funding is being reduced, an increasing number of local services have to be paid for. Currently these include a number of lunch clubs and friendship groups which charge a fee to meet venue hire costs; a home help – cleaning/ shopping/laundry @ £13 per hour; fitness, healthy eating, exercise groups; and a foot and hand care home visit service. The organisation also has a number of commercial trading arms – insurance, energy supply, will writing etc – the profits from which help fund the free services.

Finally Anne explained that Age UK Lancashire works closely with local groups. She introduced Claire Upton who is the local Personal Adviser and first point of contact for groups seeking speakers, advice and support. (Contact 01253 774122. For general customer service call 0300 030 1234 or visit www.ageconcernlancs.org.uk).The organisation also works closely with Wyre Council which itself provides help with equipment for the elderly and the Warm Homes Scheme. (Contact 01253 891000 or www.wyre.gov.uk)

5. Planning Updates

5.1. Peter Gibson confirmed the following

i) Carr Head Lane: application refused. The developers have now applied for a Public Enquiry the date of which will be advised when known. Anyone wishing to assist the Carr Head Lane Residents’ Association should email Lesley who will pass details on.
ii) Garstang Road East: the planning application has still not been received.
iii) Royal Oak Pub site: permission granted for 12 apartments.
iv) Lockwood Surgery: permission granted to move the surgery to the Civic Centre. It is hoped make the move by the end of 2015. Preliminary talks have also taken place with Queensway surgery about the possibility of their moving but this will go ahead only if it can deliver better medical facilities for them.
v) Work on the Hardhorn Car Park road should start in June and be complete by the end of September. The junction of Blackpool Old Road and Queensway is still an issue.
vi) No application has been received in connection with the work being done along Garstang Road West between The Collegiate High School and Mossbourne Road. Peter will check.
vii) A change of use application has been received for a hairdresser in Queens Square to become a restaurant or takeaway.
5.2. Peter also reported that he intended to recommend that the Council freeze Council Tax in Wyre next year. He understood however that LCC, the Police and Fire Service were all likely to seek increases.

6. Friends of Jean Stansfield/Vicarage Park

Lesley made an appeal on behalf of the Friends for volunteers to sit on a committee to help organise the annual fund raising event known as The Big Gig. Anyone able to help should give their details to Lesley who will pass them on (lesleymiddleton84@gmail.com). The next meeting of the Friends group is at 7.00pm on 3rd March at the Civic Centre.

7. Updates from Forum on 12th November

7.1. Street/Road/Transport-related issues

Alf Clempson reported that
i) He had successfully got agreement to ban lorries on Moorland Road. He is working with Wyre Council to reduce the red tape but implementation will take time.
ii) A problem with the waiting time on the new pedestrian crossing in Queens Square has been resolved.
iii) The potholes outside the United Reformed Church on Queensway have been repaired and more extensive repairs are to be done later in the year.
iv) Money has been obtained to try and improve the drainage under the paving slabs in Market Place and thereby solve the uneven/shifting surface problems.
v) Some inadequate signs have been removed but the cleaning up of others is still being pursued.
vi) Ownership of the St Chads Church wall has still not been established but surveyors are checking to ensure safety and action will be taken if there is any danger.
vii) Potholes on Chapel Street have been marked ready for repair.
viii) As part of the Booths development pedestrian crossings have been proposed near the Golden Ball, between The Stocks and NatWest Bank and near St Chads School – update to be provided at next meeting.
ix) Efforts to improve parking around the station and more generally to get residents’ parking are ongoing.
x) Problems with parking outside Booths, especially over-ranking taxis, are ongoing and Alf will continue to do what he can.

7.2. Drop-In Centre

Phil Howarth reported that this group is now known as “Teanlowe 60+ Community Centre”. They have been in discussion with Wyre Council about the possibility of their renting the premises. Before doing so they need to appoint new trustees, agree a new constitution and to clarify the ownership of the building and if its use can be changed. In the meantime a VE Day anniversary event at the centre is being planned for 8th May.

8. Any Other Business

8.1. Air Ambulance Scam

Charity collection bags are being distributed in Poulton purportedly from the NW Air Ambulance charity but this is a scam. The bags look genuine – they have the correct charity number and the FRSB ‘give with confidence logo’ but the charity has confirmed that they are not currently issuing bags. Lancashire police are making enquiries and in the meantime residents who have donations to make are advised to go to the charity’s shops in Garstang or Lytham or arrange for collection by ringing the shops or via their website (Tel 01995 602063 or 01253 737999 and website nwaa.net).

8.2. Poulton Gala

A fund raising ball will be held at the De Vere Hotel on 14th March. Details are on the website www.poultongala.org.uk and tickets are available at the Cosy Corner Cafe.

8.3. Poulton in Bloom

Lesley will forward an update when received from Carol Woolley.

8.4. Engaging with the Community

Councillor Lesley McKay reported that Wyre Council is seeking to identify ways it can improve communications with residents and be less distant. There will be a consultation exercise in the Market Square between 10.00 and 12.00 noon on 17th February or residents can contact Lesley direct on 01253 894398 or Lesley.McKay@wyre.gov.uk

8.5. Dog Fouling

Since street cleaning became an in-house responsibility the Council is able to target areas where dog fouling is a problem. Residents can report incidents to their own Councillors, ring the Council on 01253 891000 or report problems on the website (www.wyre.gov.uk ) – the latter identifies hotspots and enables swift action.

8.6 Portacabin Offer

Wainhomes are offering their portacabin that was used as an office on their new housing development at High Cross Park to local community groups. The building is about 25′ long by approx 8′. It is of metal construction, has metal shutters and two opening doors to a large office space. It is in great condition and Wainhomes will transport it to a site. Planning consent would have to considered but the building is portable. Its value is in the region of £2000; a great opportunity for a group meeting place and many other uses. If interested contact Councillor Birch (Barry.Birch@wyre.gov.uk).

8.7. Network Rail

Comment was made about the poor quality of trains on local services. Alf Clempson offered to pass on any comments and to raise the issue with the local MP. (Reminder – Alf’s contact details are: email alf.clempson@lancashire.gov.uk , Mobile – 07983335630, and in person at his informal surgery in the Cosy Corner Cafe between 10.00 and 12.00 on Saturdays.)

9. Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on TUES 12th May 2015 at 7pm in the Methodist Church on Queensway, Poulton.

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