Hosted by Poulton & Carleton Residents’ Association
Meeting held 7th November 2016
Summary of main points discussed, decisions and actions agreed
Welcome and Introductions
Lesley Middleton introduced herself and Bill Waller (Residents’ Association Chair and Vice-Chair respectively) and welcomed those present to the 21st Forum meeting.
Attendees: Approximately 90 members of the public plus police Inspector Jonathan Smith and Poulton PC Craig Brown, and Wyre Councillors Roger Berry, 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 had been received from some members of the public and Councillor Michael Vincent.
There is approximately £150 in the Association’s bank account and consequently donations to help meet administration costs were not being sought on this occasion. Lesley reported she had agreed that the Residents’ Association purchase a wreath which Bill Waller will lay at the Armistice Day memorial ceremony.
Scam/Internet Fraud Awareness
Lois Pell gave a talk about protecting oneself and elderly relatives and friends from scams and internet fraud. Lois works for Home Instead Senior Care, a private company that provides older people with companionship and care in their own homes (www.homeinstead.co.uk/fyldeandwyre). They work with the national Trading Standard’s scams team (www.tradingstandards.gov.uk) and with the charity Think Jessica (www.thinkjessica.com) to raise awareness about this increasingly common crime. Anyone can be a target but the elderly are particularly vulnerable – they are often asset rich, may have declining cognitive function, could have health issues that mean their property is not well maintained and could be isolated and thus susceptible to cold callers.
Some of the most common types of scam include phone calls from people variously claiming to be from Microsoft, from the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) asking for registration payment, from your bank explaining that a courier needs to call and collect your compromised bank card and from a solicitor about an inheritance. Letters and emails, often very professional in appearance and carefully personalised, may come from bogus lotteries, fake charities, catalogue sellers, clairvoyants and more.
Golden rules to follow include – join the TPS and Mail Preference Service (MPS) – both are free and worthwhile even though they can’t stop all fraudsters; keep your computer secure by using suitable protection software; never give out personal information in the course of a phone call that you did not initiate; if you want to give to a charity, pick one yourself; never throw important paperwork away without shredding it first; use LCC’s Safe Trader scheme to find a workman; never tell anyone your PIN – no bank or building society will ever ask for it; and finally “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.
Anyone who thinks they may have been scammed can talk to Citizens Advice, Trading Standards, the local police or the Think Jessica charity.
Wyre Council’s Local Plan
Peter Gibson explained that he wished to take the opportunity to correct some misinformation about the purpose of the Local Plan which is currently being developed for publication in 2017. Local Authorities are required by law to produce a Local Plan, the purpose of which is to help guide the delivery of the sustainable development that their area needs. The plan should set out how the borough will develop physically over a 15 year period to meet the needs of the community and businesses. It identifies land for developments such as housing and employment and also designates areas where development is controlled e.g. green belt. Once adopted the plan is used to determine planning applications. One of the key planning assumptions is the number of new dwellings likely to be needed and the Council has accepted a figure of 479 per annum. However, the actual number that the Local Plan can deliver may be lower than this depending on constraints such as highway capacity and flood risk. As part of the process the Council has to allocate i.e. identify sufficient land to meet 5 years’ housing needs. If the Plan does not do this then planning permission may be granted to build on other, unallocated land.
Peter has some personal concerns about the process, notably the accuracy of population forecasts, the cost of the exercise and the extent of external influence but work continues and the Plan will be ready for 2017. More information can be found on the Wyre Council website (www.wyre.gov.uk) e.g. in the Wyre Local Plan Briefing published August 2016.
Boundary Commission Proposals
Alf Clempson explained that there is a consultation exercise under way about the Boundary Commission’s initial proposals to change Parliamentary Constituency boundaries. The number of constituencies in the North West is to reduce from 75 to 68, each of the new constituencies must have between 71,031 and 78,507 electors and Lancashire will lose 2 MPs. After the initial consultation which ends on 5th December, there will be a further exercise in 2017 about possibly revised plans with final recommendations made by September 2018 and, if agreed, the new boundaries coming into effect for the 2020 General Election. Poulton/Carleton is currently part of the Wyre & North Preston constituency. Under the initial proposals most of that area will become part of a new North Lancashire constituency but Poulton/Carleton will become part of the Fylde constituency. Alf’s view is that Poulton/Carleton should preferably be part of North Lancashire but the electoral numbers would breach the maximum limit. He does not favour the option of managing this by splitting Poulton/Carleton between two constituencies. Alf wishes to encourage residents to participate in the consultation and issued copies of boundary maps. (See www.bce2018.org.uk).
Planning and Other Updates
6.1. Peter Gibson reported that Aldi’s target opening date is 24th November 2016.
6.2. The 60+ Community Centre (in the Teanlowe Centre) will be formally opened by The Mayor at 11.00 am on 14th November and Councillor Birch encouraged residents to support the centre. Peter Gibson confirmed that discussions are ongoing with Senior’s about the possibility of opening a Fish & Chip shop in the other half of the premises.
6.3. Re-surfacing – Alf confirmed that the resurfacing programme is continuing with Compley Avenue scheduled to be done 15-22 November; Moorland Road, which is sinking, is his next priority.
6.4. Pavements & Crossings – Alf is also focusing on getting LCC to improve the condition of pavements. His request for additional safety features on the new crossings (lights, railings, special surface) has been refused but he will continue to argue the case.
6.5. Speeding – safety assessments and options for calming measures are to be considered for Blackpool Old Road, Breck Road, Lower/Higher Green, Hardhorn Road and others. Lancashire Constabulary will assist. Alf has managed to get some SIDs (smiley face type Speed Indicator Signs) to be deployed but is still trying to get agreement to speed limit road markings.
6.6. Parking – Blackpool has introduced Residents’ Parking and as a result drivers are now parking in the Normoss area. Alf is continuing his fight to get Residents’ Parking in Poulton. He is also working with local schools/colleges about student parking. He has been assured by the Manager of the Tesco Express on Garstang Road that wagons will only be allowed to load/unload in the bay provided.
6.7. Bus Services – Blackpool Transport has declined to run a late night bus back to Poulton. An announcement is expected shortly from Catch 22 about a service from Carleton to Poulton which is expected to start in mid December.
6.8. Stannah Park – Councillor Henderson has established that the footpaths have several owners including Wyre Council. Wyre Rangers will be seeking to make improvements but the investment needed remains an ongoing issue.
(Alf encourages residents to contact him about their concerns at any time. His 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.)
Poulton Christmas Festival
Lesley McKay confirmed that the festival will take place on Friday 2nd December with stalls in the town centre, children’s rides, crib lighting at 4.00 pm and Father Christmas travelling from Poulton Station to the Market Square at 4.45 pm. Weather permitting, the stalls will also be in the Square on Saturday 3rd December and residents are asked to support the event.
Any Other Business
8.1. Poulton in Bloom: Carol Woolley thanked all the volunteers, supporters and sponsors who had been involved in a very successful effort. Winners this year included: neighbourhood awards for the VPCC community garden, Poulton Rotary Garden and Cottam Hall Community Garden; gold for Poulton station which was also a category winner in the Station Section; silver-gilt to Wyre Council for the Jean Stansfield Memorial Garden; and, in the Young Wyre in Bloom section, awards for Breck School, St Johns Catholic Primary, St Chads Primary, St Chads Nursery and Carr Head Primary. These winners together with the RHS assessment of the various other beds, planters, and baskets around the town resulted in Poulton itself receiving a GOLD AWARD.
8.2. Avenue Road, Normoss: A question was raised about what had been happening to a parcel of land off Avenue Road where is was said that there had been wanton destruction of habitat, attempted alteration to public footpaths, and use of unknown fertiliser, unsafe equipment and unapproved processes. Councillor Birch confirmed that Wyre rangers had been monitoring the situation and noted that the trees removed by the developer had been replaced. There are three tracks that are public rights of way but otherwise the land is privately owned. Alf Clempson confirmed that he had lost his fight to preserve some other footpaths.
8.3. Virgin Media: are planning to extend their network and residents can be kept up to date by registering at https://cablemystreet.virginmedia.com. Apparently, the more people who register the better the chances of an area getting cabled.
i) Concern was raised about the layout of the Booths/Teanlowe car park which is not seen as conducive to easy parking. It was suggested that this could be raised on the Dear Booths Website (http://dearbooths.co.uk) and also that Alf had some information about planned changes to the car park access.
ii) A new memorial bench has been placed in the Market Square opposite the War Memorial and a complaint was made that Royale Estate Agents were persistently parking a company car in front of it. Alf agreed to follow up.
8.5. Lancashire Day: takes place on 27th November and there will be a Proclamation reading in the Market Place at 12.00 noon by our town crier which residents are asked to support.
8.6. Volunteers: Lesley made a plea for volunteers to help with running the forum meetings; at registration, with the radio mics or to occasionally chair. Names to Lesley please if you can help (email@example.com).
Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be on Monday 6th February 2017 in the Methodist Church, Queensway, Poulton.