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 25th Forum meeting. For the benefit of new attendees, Lesley explained that the Association is an apolitical organisation with no affiliations and run entirely by volunteers who make no claims for personal expenses.
Attendees: Approximately 80 members of the public and Wyre Councillors Roger Berry, Barry Birch, Colette Birch, Simon Bridge, Peter Gibson, Ron Greenhough, David Henderson, Pete Murphy plus Lancashire County Councillors, Alf Clempson and Alan Vincent. Apologies for absence had been received from some members of the public and Councillors Lesley McKay and Michael Vincent.
Recent and unanticipated expenditure includes the costs of renewing the Domain Name used to issue the bulk emails that Lesley sends to residents and of purchasing a Remembrance Day wreath. These, plus the usual printing and stationery costs, mean that there is approximately £5 in the Association’s bank account. Consequently, donations were being sought to help meet administration costs.
3. World Horse Welfare
John Cunningham, North West & Cumbria Field Officer gave a presentation about World Horse Welfare which is an international charity that improves the lives of horses in the UK and around the world through education, campaigning and hands-on care. In the UK the charity has a network of 16 Field Officers who investigate and resolve reports of horses in distress received by their Welfare Line (08000 480 180). This may simply involve giving owners advice, and there is an advice line and a range of information booklets etc available. Where necessary horses can be taken into care and, after rehabilitation, be re-homed – in 2015 they re-homed 300 horses.
There are four Rescue and Re-homing centres including one at Penny Farm near Blackpool. This is open to the public on Wednesdays, Bank Holidays and weekends with a variety of activities, a cafe and special events – such as the upcoming Christmas Fair on Sunday 3rd December.
On the international front, the charity works with partner organisations and in 2015 for example ran 15 projects in 13 countries. They provide training for owners and for service providers such as farriers, primary veterinary care and emergency relief in disaster situations. Among the campaigns they support are calls for equine ID, CCTV in abattoirs, an end to long-distance transport of horses to slaughter across Europe and the proper enforcement of import/export laws.
There are a number of ways the public can support the charity and details, together with more information about their work, can be found at www.worldhorsewelfare.org
4. Gas Storage
Lesley explained that the Residents’ Association had been invited to attend a Community Liaison Panel meeting with Halite Energy Services. Chris Caswell had attended on her behalf and provided the following feedback.
Halite is a local company based in Kirkham who were granted permission in July 2015 to create 19 caverns for gas storage in Preesall. As part of the deal, Halite also has responsibility for the repair and maintenance of the existing 104 caverns created by ICI. The new caverns are needed because the Rough gas storage facility, 18 miles off the east coast of Yorkshire, where 70% of the UK’s stored gas is currently held, is coming to the end of its life.
Gas has been stored in salt caverns for more than 50 years and there have been no cases of gas leakage. The 19 Preesall caverns will each be about 100m in diameter, 50-200m tall and located at least 300m below ground. (The existing ICI caverns are 100m below ground.) For the initial 9, there will be two phases involving the creation, washing and preparation of five and then a further four caverns with the first expected to be on line by December 2020 and the last by 2025. Development of the remaining 10 caverns will be driven by market conditions.
The project will start in January 2018 with the building of an access road off the A588 followed by the building of a pipeline under the estuary to pump water from Fleetwood Docks for washing out the caverns. Washing is expected to start in November 2018 and will take approximately 12-18 months for each cavern. Further pipes are planned to carry the resulting waste ‘brine’ to be pumped out to sea. However, Halite is also exploring other options to use the brine – such as in the fracking process, to maintain the existing caverns and to produce chlorine. Gas pipes will be built under Pilling to link to the main gas connection at Nateby. All pipes will be 3-6m deep.
5. Planning Updates
5.1. Application received for a gas-fired energy reserve facility to be built on Aldon Road. Although on the Poulton Industrial Estate, it would be near some domestic residences on Holts Lane. Councillor Berry reported that this facility is intended to produce electricity when the National Grid cannot meet demand and it is hoped this will mean it only operates in daylight hours. Planning officers are already thoroughly investigating issues including noise and emissions and have obtained expert advice on the latter. The applicants are proposing an acoustic wall to contain the noise. Consideration is still ongoing and Councillor Berry stated that residents’ interests will be fully protected.
5.2. Councillor Greenhough reported that both an application from Baxters for 35 homes on Tithebarn Street and a drink licence application for the former Co-op Travel premises in the Market Square were being considered. Councillor McKay had asked that both be referred to full Committee if officials were minded to approve.
5.3. Royal Oak – Councillor Greenhough confirmed the permission already granted is due to expire in February 2018. Councillor Henderson added that he had today issued a notice to the developer requiring him to tidy the site, demolish the structure or start development work.
5.4. McCarthy & Stone development – it has been confirmed that although a brick wall is currently being constructed on the site perimeter, the stone wall that was a condition of permission being granted will be retained.
6. Wyre’s Local Plan
Councillor Pete Murphy reported that, after extensive consultation, Wyre’s Local Plan for the period up to 2031 has been completed and will be submitted to central Government in December. Production of such a plan is now a requirement and it has to be based on certain given assumptions – notably that some 411 new dwellings will be built per annum (negotiated down from an original figure of 479 but still more than double the average 200 of the last 16 years). He was able to confirm that building was being proposed on less that 1% of available land and that there are no plans to change Green Belt areas, other than the proposed change within the Poulton/Carleton belt which is already shown within the plan. Councillor Murphy also suggested that the availability or otherwise of a Local Plan did not necessarily impact the level of building applications received; market forces were more likely to be a determinant as can be seen in Garstang where a development has been stopped due to lack of sales.
7. Other Updates
LCC Councillor Alf Clempson reported the following:-
7.1. On road and pavement surfaces, Queensway has been patched, he is hopeful Derby Road will be done while the station is closed, Moorland Road will be patched (but large pavement-to-pavement patches not individual potholes) and Rutland Avenue pavement is in the 2017/18 programme.
7.2. Alf has persuaded LCC to change their strategy on dealing with highway gully flooding. They will now undertake regular gully cleans but Alf would appreciate residents informing him of any flooding problems.
7.3. LCC is to widen the corner of Blackpool Old Road to allow a better view. Alf is also discussing with them the idea of a filter on the traffic lights from Queensway onto Tithebarn. He is also still pursuing Booths about their plans to widen the Teanlowe car park entrance on Queensway. Alf confirmed that he is pursuing his request for a pedestrian crossing between Holts Lane and the Tesco store and agreed to follow up the idea that adjusting the timing of the two sets of traffic lights on Garstang Road might help.
7.4. On the subject of trains, the Blackpool North – Preston line is now closed until 26 March 2018. Alf continues to press Network Rail to compensate the owner of the station coffee bar. He has been advised that Carleton crossing will be shut from 23.00 on 15/11 to 06.00 on 22/11 and again from 9/12 to 11/12.
7.5. Finally, Alf encouraged residents to take part in the Library consultation exercise which ends 25 November. He also reported that a utility company had recently been refused permission to extend a road closure period after he followed up a report from a resident that the site had been left inactive. Alf also made available some leaflets from Trading Standards about common scams.
7.6. In response to other questions, Wyre councillors agreed to feed back complaints about refuse collectors leaving wheelie bins in the middle of pavements rather than returning them to property boundaries.
It was confirmed that plans for the A585 bypass were believed to be going through.
It was also confirmed that Section 106 monies are being set aside to help fund the expansion of school capacity consequent on house building and that, although neither Wyre not LCC have powers over the NHS, they are keeping them informed about increasing resident numbers.
Alf encourages residents to contact him about their concerns at any time. His contact details are:
– email firstname.lastname@example.org
– Mobile – 07983 335630
– and at his informal surgery in the New Penny Cafe between 10.00 and 12.00 on Saturdays.
8. Any Other Business
8.1. Boundary Changes: The latest proposed boundary changes will split Poulton between two MP constituencies – one part with Blackpool North and Fleetwood and the other with Blackpool South and Carleton. Wyre Council has reiterated their request not to split the town and encourage residents to make their views known before 11th Dec – www.bce.2018.org.uk
8.2. Christmas Festival: Roger Critchley gave details of the Festival which takes place on Friday 1st December in the Market Square. There will be stalls and children’s rides all day, the lighting of the crib at approximately 4:00pm, arrival of Father Christmas at 5:30 and a sing-along with Santa courtesy of Blackpool Sixth form Rock Bands. The children’s rides will continue on Saturday.
8.3. Transport Issues: Recent problems with cars parking on zigzags outside schools have been drawn to the attention of the police and they will be on the look-out. Blackpool Transport has withdrawn the No 2 bus service from Poulton to Cleveleys, leaving just No 24 to serve Arundel Drive and still no service past the Castle Gardens. (Councillor Greenhough will investigate a rumoured route change for the Preston Bus 75/75A Preston-Fleetwood service which currently runs via Poulton but may be adding Cleveleys to its route next month.)
8.4. St John’s Church : will be illuminated in red on 22nd November and there will be a vigil at 12.00 noon – both in support of people being persecuted for their faith.
8.5. Vicarage Park Community Centre: Alastair Thomas reported that some £120k has now been raised/pledged and work has started on refurbishing the former St Chads Church Hall. The tower is being reinforced so that it will not have to be demolished and scaffolding is in place ready to re-build the back wall. It is hoped to re-open in Spring 2018.
9. Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be on TUESDAY 13th February 2018 in St Martin’s & St Hilda’s Church Hall, Carleton commencing 7.00pm.
As previously announced, in the absence of offers to help run them, Forum meetings are being reduced to two meetings a year, in February and August. It will always be possible to set up an ad hoc meeting if a significant issue crops up and Lesley will continue to send the various updates and other information to her email distribution list.