Minutes of the meeting of Poulton Forum 13 August 2018, hosted by Poulton & Carleton Residents’ Association.
PUBLIC FORUM – Summary of main points discussed, decisions and actions agreed
The next meeting will be in February 2019 at St Martin’s & St Hilda’s Church Hall, Carleton – date to be confirmed.
Poulton Forum 13 August 2018
- Welcome and Introductions
Lesley Middleton introduced herself and Bill Waller (Residents’ Association Chair and Vice-Chair respectively) and welcomed those present to the 27th Forum meeting.
Attendees: Approximately 75 members of the public and Wyre Councillors Roger Berry, Barry Birch, Colette Birch, Simon Bridge, Ron Greenhough, David Henderson, Lesley McKay and Michael Vincent plus Lancashire County Councillor Alf Clempson. Apologies for absence had been received from some members of the public and Councillor Alan Vincent.
Lesley reported that, after this meeting there would be approximately £35 in the Association’s bank account. Various costs will be incurred shortly, including website fees and purchase of a Remembrance Day wreath, and consequently donations were being sought to help meet these and other administration costs. Residents in attendance confirmed there were no objections to Lesley issuing an email to the full Forum mailing list asking whether addressees wished to remain on the list and also whether those who did not routinely attend the meetings would be willing to contribute to the costs.
- The North West Air Ambulance
Les Fragle, a volunteer with the North West Air Ambulance Charity, gave a presentation about the organisation. He confirmed that it is a charity and reliant on raising some £8 – 8.5 million per year to keep going. They do work with the NHS but are not part of it and so do not ordinarily receive any government funding. The charity was founded in 1999 with one helicopter operating 5 days per week. It now has 3 helicopters that operate 365 days a year. CAA rules mean the helicopters cannot fly at night or in bad weather and this year a BMW 5X Response Unit (RU) was added to the vehicle fleet to help bridge that gap. The RU and two helicopters are based at Barton and one helicopter at Blackpool. They are manned by A&E experienced Doctors, paramedics who have at least 3 years experience with the NW Ambulance Service and then have a 2 year secondment to the Air Ambulance. They are also trained to act as navigators and pilots, many of whom are ex-forces. The Air Ambulance team’s role is to give immediate pre-hospital treatment. If the patient cannot then be transported by conventional ambulance, the helicopter will take them to the hospital that is the best place for the particular type of treatment needed – not necessarily the nearest one but with the helicopter flying at 160mph, distance is less of an issue. All things being equal, a helicopter can be scrambled within 3 – 4 minutes of the dispatcher’s call and once airborne it has priority over all other traffic – what is called their ‘blue light in the sky’. They have primary landing sites i.e. major trauma hospitals with their own heli-pad and also secondary sites which are pre-agreed locations, such as the playing fields near the De Vere for Blackpool Victoria. In the 3 months from April 2018 some 756 missions were undertaken. In the month of June there were 295 missions of which about one third related to road traffic accidents. Raising funds is an ongoing activity. The North West team spends about £40k per month on fuel; £9 per mile. A flying helmet costs £1,500. There are various ways in which residents can help – as volunteers and by fundraising. The Charity’s 10 shops, it’s lottery, personal donations and legacies are some of the ways money is raised and more information can be found in their fundraising pack – available from www.nwaa.net or 0800 587 4570.
- Poulton Town Crier
Poulton’s Town Crier, Mike Middleton, gave a presentation about his role. Before the 19th Century most of the population were illiterate and Town Criers were employed mainly for the essential task of disseminating information. All kinds of public announcements would be made on behalf of the authorities – royal proclamations and edicts, byelaws, dates of market days and news: the appearance of cases of plague, military victories overseas and royal births for example. The Town Crier might also be responsible for escorting people to the workhouse, putting minor criminals in the stocks, administering floggings and announcing the reasons someone was to be hanged – and helping cut them down afterwards. Sometimes the news being reported was bad or even, in some recorded cases, fake and the Town Criers were protected by law. They were acting in the name of the Monarch and to harm them would be treason.
With the coming of the Age of Enlightenment and widespread literacy, the Town Crier was replaced by the newspaper. These days Town Criers have been appointed by many Councils to enhance the traditional character of their town and to promote tourism. Mike was appointed by the Poulton Partnership, a group who organise a variety of events in the town. Dressed in full regalia and bell in hand, he is available for all kinds of public and private functions as a service to the community. His presence can make an event more formal or more special, as well as injecting some fun. Mike gives his time for free, is supportive of fundraising for local good causes and can be contacted at email@example.com
- Vicarage Park Community Centre
After nearly 4 years and just short of £150,000 spent, the former St Chads Church Hall is on the verge of re-opening as the Vicarage Park Community Centre (VPCC).
Giving an update on the progress of the Phase 1 refurbishment project, Alastair Thomas, Chairman of the VPCC Trustees, first of all thanked the charity’s Associate Members and the very many local residents and businesses whose support – in time, cash and kind – had been essential. With a new back wall, restored tower and refurbished weather-vane in place, the exterior has been finished with a new coat of paint. The next two weeks should see the completion of a totally refurbished kitchen, a brand new suite of ladies, gents and disabled toilet facilities, three small meeting rooms one of which will be equipped with a bar, and a restored, newly lit and curtained stage. The interior has been decorated throughout and the famous sprung wooden floor has been restored to its former mahogany glory.
The Trustees are hopeful that in time sufficient income will be generated to sustain the Community Centre. They also intend to continue raising funds for further enhancements in Phase 2 of the project. For now, bookings are already being taken from clubs, groups and individuals who wish to hire the venue from 1st September onwards and slots are filling fast. Anyone planning a party, reception or club event should check out the website and use the online booking facility as soon as possible – www.vpcc-hall.org.uk
- Planning Updates
Councillors Henderson and Bridge gave the following updates:-
6.1. Royal Oak: the former pub has been demolished and the site cleared. The planning permission previously granted has expired and a new application, for the same block of flats, will be going to the Planning Committee in September. It is understood however that another developer may also be interested in the site.
6.2. Holts Lane: Wyre lost its appeal against giving permission for 130 dwellings but the developer has since said that it cannot proceed with the requirement to make 30% of the properties affordable housing. This is being challenged rigorously.
6.3. Hardhorn Road/Longhouse Lane: confusion was caused by the developer submitting an appeal before the planning decision. Permission has now been granted and the appeal withdrawn.
- Other Updates since last Forum
LCC Councillor Alf Clempson reported the following:-
7.1. He is continuing his efforts on a catalogue of parking, speeding and road safety issues. Some small successes have been achieved and the fight goes on. He had the road work lights on Garstang Road moved to reduce queues and the traffic controls on Station Road made hand-held and so only in operation when workmen are on site. He will look into the problem with yellow lines on Avenue Road being illegible though in his view yellow lines alone are often insufficient to deter parking.
7.2. Responding to questions, Alf invited residents’ views on the Holt Lane footbridge about which discussion is still ongoing with Network Rail. He will also remind Booths of their promise to look at how the Queensway entrance to their car park might be improved. On the matter of pedestrian crossings, a push button crossing is to be installed near Crocus Court and he is continuing to press for action on the crossing outside the Bull which he sees as particularly dangerous because of traffic switching lanes as it is approached. The possibility of traffic calming measures on Wheatsheaf Way is also being considered. He will look again at whether the time allowed on the existing push button crossings is sufficient for all pedestrians.
(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.)
- Any Other Business
8.1. Jean Stansfield Vicarage Park (JSVP): Lesley confirmed that £7,200 had been raised at The Big Gig in July. Councillor Bridge praised the work of the Friends of the Park not only in raising funds but also successfully securing a £30k grant, and a sum from Wyre Council – money that is being used to kit out the playing area. Lesley reported that JSVP is hoping to secure a grant from Tesco. This requires residents to vote for them – when shopping ask at the till for a blue token and then drop this in the relevant box, up to 31 Aug.
8.2. Brian House: Slav Baran, a regular Forum attendee, has recently completed a cycle ride from Manchester to Blackpool. This was in preparation for the London to Paris bike-ride that will take place on 18-24 September from which he hopes to raise money for Brian House. To make a donation, see www.justgiving.com/fundraising/slav-baran or contact Lesley for non-internet payment options – email@example.com
8.3. Number 24 Bus Service: Councillor Greenhough confirmed that the company running this service is currently appealing against the decision to revoke their licence. If they lose, Blackpool Transport has indicated that they will look into providing a replacement service. Preston Bus, which runs the Number 75 from Preston to Fleetwood via Poulton and Cleveleys, has declined to re-route that service via Carlton.
8.4. Hedge Trimming: Alf confirmed that pedestrians who find the pavement overhung with hedges etc should, in the first instance, ask the property owner to trim the offending greenery. If that is unsuccessful, the matter should be reported to Alf. LCC is empowered to have the trimming work done and then invoice the property owner.
8.5. Nat West Bank: This building is in the Conservation Area and a complaint was raised about the quality of the brickwork put in place when the ATM and signage were removed. Councillor Henderson agreed to investigate. He also confirmed that a premises licence has been granted for this building although the question of planning permission has yet to be addressed. Responding to general observations about the number of bars and restaurants in Poulton, he re-iterated the points made at the last Forum about the Council’s influence being limited by Government Legislation. There have been indications of a recent minor breakthrough with Lancashire Police agreeing to consider ‘Saturation Policy’ in Poulton i.e. considering the cumulative impact of the number of licensed premises on disorder and anti-social behaviour. It is very important that residents make known their views when new alcohol licence applications are made – look for the A4 size blue notice which must be prominently displayed at the premises in question for 28 days and contact the Council.
- Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be in February 2019 at St Martin’s & St Hilda’s Church Hall, Carleton – date to be confirmed.
(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.)
Notes of previous meetings and local events are in this section
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