Hosted by Poulton & Carleton Residents’ Association
Monday 6th February 2017 – Methodist Church, Queensway, Poulton
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 22nd Forum meeting.
Attendees: Approximately 95 members of the public plus Wyre Councillors Roger Berry, Simon Bridge, Peter Gibson, 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 Councillors Barry Birch, Colette Birch, Ron Greenhough and Michael Vincent.
There is approximately £140 in the Association’s bank account and consequently donations to help meet administration costs were not being sought on this occasion.
3. Rail Service Disruption
Jonathan Cooke, Mick Butler, Matthew Broderick and Alison Rowley from Network Rail gave a presentation on the electrification and upgrade project. Details are also available about the Poulton works here.
Overhead lines and new signalling are to be installed between Blackpool North and Preston and in the Poulton area tracks are being replaced and realigned and drainage upgraded. Work will be done on the platforms and canopies at the station and this will entail removing the flower beds but they will be fully restored when work is finished. Work began 3 weekends ago and will continue until May 2018. Initially work is being done at night and weekends but the line will be closed for 19 weeks between November 2017 and March 2018. One reason for such a lengthy closure is the need to allow engineering trains to access Blackpool North and Kirkham & Wesham stations both of which are being significantly re-modelled. There will be a bus replacement service for the duration of the closure and also a train service to Blackpool South from January 2018. There will be a mixture of express and stopping bus services and the timetable should be available from September. Carleton level crossing is to be upgraded and this will entail some 3 – 4 closures during the 19 week period with consequent diversions for road traffic.
In response to questions it was confirmed that the upgraded Holts Lane footbridge will be Disability Discrimination Act compliant. It was also confirmed that Network Rail has objected to the proposed housing development at Holts Lane because of its proximity to the railway. Work is being done to remove vegetation near the tracks so that required clearance standards are met. This included the Burn Naze spur where signalling equipment is being removed and there has been discussion with Wyre Railway Society about the possible impact on a Fleetwood Line, although that line is not within the scope of the current project. Passenger capacity will be increased as the result of more services and new rolling stock introduced and therefore there is no requirement to include platform lengthening in the project scope. It is understood that Virgin are considering an 11-car Pendolino service between Blackpool and Euston which would not stop at Poulton and a 6-car service between Blackpool and Queens Park. The current Blackpool/London service will resume after the line closure. New lifts are being installed at Kirkham as part of the upgrade and it was noted that the Poulton lift, which is not being replaced, does not operate when the station is unmanned and is unreliable when it should be working. This is a Northern Rail matter and they are reportedly looking into it. There will inevitably be some disruption from noise and lights while this work is underway. Network Rail will continue to keep residents informed and if there are particular problems e.g. from lights shining into properties, residents should contact them – on 03457 114141 or at www.networkrail.co.uk/blackpool.
4. Tracing Your Family Tree
Mike Coyle, Chairman of Lancashire Family History and Heraldry Society (LFHHS), gave a presentation about researching family history. He described six initial research stages – talking to family members; checking Birth, Marriage, Death certificates – being wary of transcription errors that inevitably occur on websites and obtaining actual documents to verify data; checking Parish records; searching census records – available online from 1841 to 1911; searching newspapers – in Blackpool Central Library the Haynes Index is an index of all the names that have been published in The Gazette up to about 1930; checking graveyards and cemeteries. These first steps will then lead on to further sources such as the National Archive and Medal and Military records. With all research there are some common issues – accuracy, authenticity and context. The latter can include local knowledge and contemporary social history which are things with which the LFHHS might be able to help. The aims of the Society are to promote, publish, preserve, collaborate and inform. It has two resource centres and holds a range of events and activities. There are 13 branches in Lancashire and 1 based in London .The Fylde Branch meets at St Martin & St Hilda’s Church Hall, Carleton on the 2nd Wednesday of every month at 7.30pm. Membership costs £14 per annum (£15 family, £12 pensioners/students). Information about the society can be found at www.lfhhs.org.uk and about Fylde branch meetings on 01253 858058.
5. Crime in Poulton and Carleton
Pc Graeme Cheetham and colleague attended and gave an update on latest figures. There were 300 reported crimes in the last six months of 2016. House break-ins accounted for 5%, other property break-ins 7% and theft from a motor vehicle 5%. There were no particular spikes in the profile over time and no location pattern. Of the house burglaries there were four types of modus operandi – sneak in i.e. through an open door or window; jemmy a rear door or window; smash window to reach in and take a patio door key – the most popular M.O. In the wider area; kick in front door – very rare, only 2 episodes. Some 75% of the other break-ins were residential i.e. sheds and garages and the main thing taken was bicycles. Some 60% of owners admitted that their sheds etc were not secure. Theft from vehicles appeared random and the most common things taken were cash and small electronic items. Some 58% of owners admitted that their vehicle was not secure. Poulton & Carleton remain safe places to live but common sense precautions should be taken – remove the patio door key, lock the shed/garage and chain your bike or tool box to the building, and double check that the car door has locked. Many of the domestic crimes were targeted at older residents and neighbours could perhaps help check their security. Wyre Council’s Care & Repair service may also help (01253 891000).
6. Planning and Other Updates
6.1. Peter Gibson thanked Councillor Bridge and the local police for their efforts which had seen the Uber night club closed before Christmas and its licence suspended. The owners are expected to appeal.
6.2. On the planning front, Peter reported that the application to build 130 properties at Holts Lane had been refused and the public can attend the appeal hearing to be held on 19th April at the Civic Centre. A re-submitted application is awaited for 38 homes in Hardhorn Village. A replacement planning application is expected for 12 apartments at the Royal Oak site. The existing building is to be demolished but the frontage of the new build will have the same design as the current one. No application has as yet been received for the former HSBC bank site and no indication of the future for the soon to be former Nat West bank.
6.3. The new Lidl supermarket was expected to open on 16th February. (Now changed to 23rd.)
6.4. Peter advised residents that it will soon be budget setting time. Wyre’s priorities remain to protect front line services and keep Council Tax as low as possible. The Council has made significant efficiency savings but its grant from central government will have been cut by 70%. Wyre will be seeking a Council Tax increase of £5 per annum. LCC are expected to seek significantly more. It is worth noting that of the Council Tax residents’ pay, 75% goes to LCC and a further 11% to Police and Fire authorities.
6.5. Alf Clempson added some further information pertinent to train situation. He said that Network Rail had been very helpful in listening to, and acting on concerns raised. Wyre, LCC and the local MPs were all determined to get a London service stopping at Poulton. The station parking problem needs a proper solution and he will continue to pursue this.
6.6. Alf had received both positive and negative feedback about the new street lighting. The white LED lamps are brighter than the old yellow Sodium ones but they do not disperse light as widely. Budget constraints have meant lamp posts only being replaced where they are no longer fit for purpose and the result has been some instances where lighting along a street is perceived as inadequate. Alf is following these up and also some instances where the pavement repair was inadequate.
6.7. Road safety issues – Alf has met with officials from Hodgson and Baines schools to discuss concerns and the need for a barrier across the end of the footpath that links Hodgson to Station Road is being followed up. Alf continues his efforts to get resident parking, especially in the Normoss area. He is also still battling for lighting and speed limits near all pedestrian crossings, including that outside the Bull. The programme of road re-surfacing continues and Alf is also focusing on particular pavement problems; Mossbourne Road is an example where a complete re-covering of pavements would be ideal but constraints mean a patch approach being taken. Alf acknowledged that parking for school pick-ups on Carr Head Lane will be an even greater problem when the new housing estate is occupied. Finally, Alf wished to thank the Police who have been very helpful when he has gone to them with local parking, speeding and other problems.
(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. NB There will be no surgery on 18th Feb.)
7. Any Other Business
7.1. Poulton Gala: Volunteers are needed to help the Gala Committee. Names to Lesley please if you can help. email@example.com
7.2. Carleton-Poulton Bus Link: Thanks were conveyed to Councillors Shedwick and Clempson and local resident John Hitchon whose efforts had resulted in the Catch 22 Bus Company introducing a service (No. 23) which links the two.
7.3. Friends of Jean Stansfield Park: will be holding a St George’s day event in the park on 23rd April. They have also been successful in getting a grant of £5,000 from the Tesco Bags of Help scheme which will be used to help buy new equipment.
7.4. Chaddeans: are holding a Beetle Drive in Staining Village Hall on Saturday 11th February at 7.30; tickets £10 include a Lasagne supper and glass of wine. They will also be putting on “Thoroughly Modern Musicals” in Staining on 16/17/18 March. For tickets call 01253 884073.
7.5. Combined Authorities: There was a request to include on the next Forum agenda an explanation as to why Wyre has opted out of the Combined Authorities initiative.
8. Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be on Monday 8th May 2017 in St Chads Church, Poulton.