Meeting held 15th February 2016
Summary of main points discussed, decisions and actions agreed
1. Welcome and Introductions
Lesley Middleton introduced herself and Bill Waller (Residents’ Association Chair and Vice-Chair respectively) and welcomed those present to the 18th Forum meeting.
Attendees: Approximately 120 members of the public plus Wyre Councillors Barry Birch, Colette Birch, Simon Bridge, Peter Gibson, Ron Greenhough, David Henderson, Lesley McKay, and Poulton’s Lancashire County Councillor, Alf Clempson. Apologies for absence received from some members of the public and from Councillors Roger Berry and Michael Vincent.
There is approximately £158 in the Association’s bank account and consequently donations were not being sought to help meet the administration costs at present. Lesley thanked the Methodist Church for making their venue available at no cost and mentioned the Church’s coffee shop which is open Mon – Fri, 9.30 – 1.30.
3. The Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire
Lesley introduced Lord Shuttleworth who is the 5th Baron Shuttleworth and also a Knight of St. John and Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.
He was a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, a Director of Abbey National until 2004, is a patron of the Veterans’ Association and was appointed Lord Lieutenant on 13th January 1997. His family seat was Gawthorpe Hall, which is now run by the National Trust, and he lives in Kirby Lonsdale.
Lord Shuttleworth explained that the Lord Lieutenant is the monarch’s personal representative and that there are 98 of them, one for each County in the UK. The Lord Lieutenant is appointed by the Monarch, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister who is in turn advised by his Appointments Secretary who identifies candidates through consultation across the County. Lord Shuttleworth has 50 deputies who are drawn from across the County and all sections of the community. All the post-holders are apolitical volunteers, appointed rather than elected, to represent all the people.
Historically the Lord Lieutenant was responsible for organising the County’s militia and Lord Shuttleworth quoted from Queen Mary Tudor’s commission in 1554 of one of Lancashire’s earliest incumbents, Edward Stanley, 3rd Earl of Derby. Nowadays the role mirrors the twin functions of the Monarch as Head of State and as Head of the Nation. Under the former, the Lord Lieutenant will present medals and honours to recipients who do not attend Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle. He will also present Queen’s Awards – for Enterprise, to companies for example for innovation or export achievement, and for Voluntary Service to voluntary groups. He will organise local events for national occasions – as with the County Service to be held in Blackburn Cathedral to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday; attend military events such as medal presentation ceremonies and Armed Forces Week; and initiate and organise Royal visits. For all these events he is expected to wear the official Lord Lieutenant’s uniform which is based on a General’s uniform complete with peaked cap, sword and spurs. (There is no uniform for the female incumbents of Lord Lieutenant positions – and mixed views as to whether there should be.)
Mirroring the Queen’s Head of Nation role, the Lord Lieutenant will make official visits to support the voluntary sector, educational establishments, NHS and Police. He chairs the committee responsible for recruiting magistrates and dealing with complaints. He will help compile the list of guests for Royal Garden Parties and help with the recommendation process for Honours – and encourages the public at large to nominate deserving candidates.
In response to questions, Lord Shuttleworth said that he used to sit in the Lords when Hereditary Peers were able to do so; the ‘Lord’ in the Lieutenant’s title simply reflects the fact that in history the post-holders did tend to be Lords. On another personal note, Gawthorpe Hall which the National Trust runs, is also leased in part to LCC and houses a major textile collection. (www.nationaltrust.org.uk/gawthorpe-hall) He confirmed that the County Palatine falls within the ambit of Liverpool and Manchester Lieutenants as well as Lancashire and all three work together. On the subject of celebrating the Queen’s 90th Birthday he hoped that Local and County authorities would be supportive of local events and mentioned the “Clean for the Queen” initiative being held over the weekend commencing 6th March.
4. The Work of the Salvation Army
Stuart Gray gave a talk about the work of the Salvation Army. Founded in London in 1865 by William Booth, it operates in 127 countries, using 175 different languages and working with people of all Faiths and none. It also provides ad hoc relief in emergency situations and works with the Armed Forces. Until 20 years ago there was also a Salvation Navy which worked with sailors and fishermen. The Army was not always welcome – in the early days it was opposed by some brewers, magistrates and big businesses and its work was disrupted.
The organisation’s objectives are to help men, women and children with problems – be they physical, mental or financial. It provided one of the first domestic violence support teams, the first Safety Match factory, and tea and support in the front-line trenches during WW1.
Stuart described the work he does for the Salvation Army and also the work he does personally supporting an orphanage and schools in Africa. There are two local Salvation Army operations – on Dorset Street, Blackpool South and at the Blackpool Citadel on Raikes Parade. There is also a hostel in Fleetwood. (www.salvationarmy.org.uk/blackpool-citadel) In response to a question Stuart suggested that anyone wishing to help with Christmas lunch should contact them two months before (01253 626114).
5. Wyre Care and Repair
Christine Bennison from Wyre Council gave a presentation on the work of Care & Repair (Wyre and Fylde) which operates as a not for profit Home Improvement Agency commissioned by LCC, Fylde BC and Wyre. This organisation can provide help to homeowners who are either aged 60 and over or are disabled and aged 18 or over – clients do NOT have to be in receipt of benefits to use this service.
The aim of their assistance is to enable homeowners to continue to live in their own property. On a practical front they have a technical expert who can answer questions or they can make a home visit to assess repairs and adaptations needed and also check for things like potential tripping hazards, ineffective fire alarms, etc. They can refer clients to NHS Occupational Therapists for specialist equipment. Their Handyperson service team can, for a small charge, do minor jobs such as light bulb replacement, fitting grab rails, installing key safes, fitting door chains, etc.
For larger tasks they have lists of contractors who have been vetted and have Public Liability insurance – and if the client wishes, they will deal with all aspects of employing a contractor. On a financial front, the team can sometimes access funds from Charities and also advise on any current projects that might provide grants to fund the work; they can refer clients to the Pension Service for benefit checks and can help with completing claim forms e.g. for AA and DLA.
The team’s opening hours are 9.00 – 5.00, Monday – Friday and they can be contacted in writing at the Civic Centre, Breck Road, Poulton Le Fylde FY6 7PU; by phone – 01253 887569; by fax – 01253 887568; and by email – firstname.lastname@example.org .
6. Policing in Wyre
Inspector Jonathan Smith, Wyre Geographic Inspector, spoke about current priorities. Crime figures are low and keeping them so in the face of a £96m budget reduction by 2020 requires changes in how services are delivered. His focus is on trying to protect front-line provision and targeting resources using all available intelligence sources, addressing the issues that most concern residents, including looking at prevention, while at the same time tackling major challenges such as terrorism and recent events such as the flooding.
He believes they have good local partnerships and is keen to encourage the public to talk to the police – face to face, by phone, email or social media. In response to questions Inspector Smith confirmed that the Community Payback Scheme does still exist and is the responsibility of the Probation Service; Lancashire police are not turning a blind eye to drug taking offences; parking on the pavement is an offence and the police will act, especially when wheelchairs and prams cannot get through; enforcement of speed limits is problematic because of staffing implications but they attempt to use technology (laser guns/yellow vans) where possible and work with LCC on the provision of speed cameras; selling the Poulton-le-Fylde police station premises is a matter for the Constabulary’s Estates team but he confirmed that a police presence would continue at the Civic Centre Bungalow.
7. Planning Updates
Peter Gibson confirmed the following:
7.1. Carr Head Lane: disappointingly, permission has been granted on appeal
7.2. Moorland Road: application refused by the Planning Committee but appeal due to be heard 7th June at 10 .a.m. in the Civic Centre. The public can attend.This application includes provision for a mini-roundabout at the junction of Breck Road and Moorland to which both WC and LCC object.
Objections should be sent to email@example.com quoting APP/U2370/W/15/3141166
7.3. Garstang Road East: Listed for the March Planning Committee meeting (but may not appear). This land has already been allocated for housing but Peter will argue that the proposed 519 dwellings is too many. Alf Clempson added that LCC have listed 16 Highways conditions that the developer would be required to meet.
7.4. Retail developments: applications for an Aldi Store on Ball Street and a Lidl store on the former Moorland Motors site have been approved; both expect to be on site soon.
7.5. Breck Lodge Nursing Home: application for an extension will be going to the Committee.
7.6. Station Road: McCarthy & Stone still say they expect to start construction in February.
7.7. Lockwood Surgery: will be moving to the Civic Centre in April. Peter and Alf will pursue a request for a pedestrian crossing to enable patients to reach the bus stop on Breck Road.
8. Other Updates since Last Meeting
8.1. Council Tax: Peter reported that, after a five year freeze, WC is proposing a 1.75% increase (equivalent to about £3.15 p.a. on a Band D property), while LCC plan a 4% rise and the Police Authority 1.99%. He also confirmed that the Council will be writing to residents to explain why a garden waste recycling charge is planned and how it will work.
8.2. Chapel Street air quality – following the road layout changes the position is looking better; air quality measurements are being sent to the Department of the Environment who will issue a formal report after 12 months monitoring.
8.3. The new road through the Hardhorn Road car park requires a name. Residents are invited to submit suggestions via the website (www.wyre.gov.uk) by 11th March.
8.4. Teanlowe 60+ Community Centre: no decision yet taken and the rumour of imminent closure is untrue; WC is meeting the Trustees in March and will then consider all options.
8.5. New Road Layout: Alf advised that the safety audit was still awaited. He thanked residents for the feedback he had received and reported that he had already asked for signage towards the car park exit warning of the pedestrian crossing immediately to the left and for directional arrows to be painted on the both sides of the road outside the Library.
8.6. LCC budget cuts: the budget agreed by LCC last week means that bus subsidies are stopping, five Lancashire Museums are to close, including Fleetwood, and 40 Libraries are under threat, including Poulton.
8.6.1. A small sum is available to keep some bus services going – Alf needs urgent feedback on which bus routes residents consider essential
8.6.2. There is a consultation exercise underway on the museum closures – http://www3.lancashire.gov.uk/corporate/consultation/responses/response.asp?ID=291
8.6.3. Look out for a survey in the library shortly.
(Alf’s contact details are: email firstname.lastname@example.org , Mobile – 07983335630, and at his informal surgery in the New Penny Cafe between 10.00 and 12.00 on Saturdays.)
9. Any Other Business
9.1. Gala Ball: takes place 5th March at the Hilton; see www.poultongala.org.uk for details; tickets available from the Breck Club and Tinderbox Cafe.
9.2. 23rd April – Fun Day in the Park on St George’s Day.
10. Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be on Monday 9th May 2016 in St Chads Church.