Hosted by POULTON AND CARLETON RESIDENTS’ ASSOCIATION
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 20th Forum meeting.
Attendees: Approximately 130 members of the public plus 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.
There is approximately £70 in the Association’s bank account and donations were being sought to help meet administration costs such as hall hire, speaker fees and publicity.
A585 Windy Harbour to Skippool Improvement Scheme
Lesley introduced Chris Hardy, Tristram Bardrick and their team from Highways England who had come to speak about the potential A585 bypass. They explained that their organisation is responsible for the strategic network of major roads and that there are some 112 different schemes under consideration and due to start by 2020 and be implemented in the ensuing 3-4 years.
The background to this project was of a very busy road that, because of traffic volumes, residents struggled to get out into, pedestrians and cyclists avoided, needed frequent repairs and suffered severe delays. The objectives of the improvement scheme were to reduce bottlenecks, speed journeys, improve access for pedestrians and cyclists and open the area for investment e.g. by companies wanting to locate here. The scheme would have to take account of any environmental impact and improve matters or mitigate any adverse effect.
Thus far the project team had done traffic surveys along the A585, the roads feeding off it and the wider area. They had also done initial environmental studies, looking for example at the impact on the Morecambe Bay bird population that use the area as feeding/resting ground during migration and assessing the impact on the flood zone. The timetable from this point assumes formal public consultation starting September 2016, the Development Consent Order (DCO) Process between 2017 and 2019 and work commencing 2020.
Three alternative options have been developed. The Northern Bypass has been discounted on the basis that it has greater costs, worse environmental impacts and less overall benefits. The Southern Bypass is the preferred option and has two variants within the proposal on which views would be particularly welcome. A third option, involving minor junction improvements and a one-way system in Singleton, is not favoured but will be consulted on as an alternative to the recommended option.
As part of the next steps, landowners directly affected will be getting a letter in the next few days. A brochure and questionnaire will be sent to the 3,000 properties closest to the development and a flyer to a further 17,000 properties in the area. These will publicise the website and distribution points for leaflets that will provide more information. Three consultation events will be held – at Singleton Hall on Friday 16th September from 2 pm to 8 pm and on Saturday 17th September from 10 am to 5 pm and at Wyre Civic Centre on Wednesday 21st September from 4 pm to 8 pm. n.b. these times are approximate only at present. Although the later DCO process includes public consultation opportunities, the team would encourage input at the earlier stage because there is more chance to influence thinking. To sign up for updates visit www.highways.gov.uk/a585windyharbour-skippool
In response to questions it was confirmed that approximately 30 hectares of farm land would be lost. The overall cost will be considerably more than the £40-50 million that the Government has committed to allocate. In going back for more money, the team is confident that this particular scheme is more attractive than others because of its higher cost: benefit ratio. The new road will be a dual carriage way and not therefore used by pedestrians or cyclists who would instead be able to use the much less busy A585. Ideally, junctions are best avoided on a dual carriageway but that restricts access so a balance needs to be struck and a decision has yet to be made on the best combination of traffic lights and roundabouts – an issue on which views would be welcome. It was confirmed that anticipated changes – for example from the new housing developments being planned and the growth of the Thornton Enterprise Zone – are built into the statistical modelling and that +/- sensitivity testing is done. It is hoped the scheme would have indirect benefits, for example by reducing rat-running through central Poulton. Conversely it is recognised that the development could create pinch-points elsewhere, for example on the road from Windy Harbour to the M55. With a limited amount of funding, focus must initially be on what is needed most but such consequential impacts are being looked at for the future.
Re-Furb (Wyre & Fylde)
Guy Hay, project manager for Re-Furb (Wyre & Fylde) described the services offered by his team. Re-Furb was initially established in 2002 by community associations in Fleetwood in order to make second hand household items available to local people at an affordable price and, at the same time, reduce waste and provide training and work opportunities for volunteers. The scheme now covers Wyre, Fylde and Blackpool and employs 6 full-time and 2 part-time staff plus 30 volunteers. They continue to make free collections of unwanted furniture, electrical items and miscellaneous household goods that can be re-used – in one year they collected 35 tons and re-distributed 30 tons of goods. They do undertake minor repairs where necessary but not major ones and some items must meet certain standards e.g. 1988 fire labels on suites and BS7177 labels on beds. The goods are sold, at an economic rate, from the project’s warehouse in Fleetwood. They are made available, using a referral system, to people in receipt of means-tested benefits, state pension or tax credits.
Re-Furb offers an affordable Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) service to local companies, shops, hotels and landlords. The team also runs a Community Re-Paint scheme which collects unwanted paint from various sources, sorts and re-labels tins and sells them at prices from 50p a litre to anyone wishing to buy – also from the Fleetwood warehouse. Also available to any member of the public is the “Bits’n’Bobs” re-use shop on the Claughton Industrial Estate. This shop sells a wide range of pre-used items, offers a variety of re-cycling facilities and also accepts donations. Re-Furb contact details are 01253 873371, firstname.lastname@example.org and www.refurbproject.org
Planning and Other Updates
Peter Gibson reported the following:
5.1. Aldi is scheduled to open November 2016. Concerns were voiced that the single access point to Aldi’s car park would increase traffic through the town centre. Peter acknowledged that this important issue seemed to have been overlooked and he and Councillor Henderson would monitor the situation closely and consider what action might be taken.
5.2. Lidl is scheduled to open on Garstang Road in January/February 2017.
5.3. Royal Oak – the permission granted for 12 apartments expires 2018 and in the meantime the developer has been asked to get all the windows properly boarded up.
5.4. Station Road – Redrow (39 units) has started and McCarthy & Stone (50 units) have yet to start construction. Alf Clempson added that he is continuing to pursue the matter of likely parking difficulties there with LCC and will be monitoring the situation.
5.5. No. 5 Lockwood Avenue – an application has been received for permission to build five apartments and Peter apologised for the deadline initially set for local residents to comment. This has now been extended to 21st August.
5.6. Holts Lane – LCC’s response to this application is still awaited but it is expected that they will object. Alf confirmed that they have a long list of challenges against the developer’s traffic assessment report.
5.7. Wyre Barrage – the venture capital company funding this project has pulled out. Natural Energy Wyre is looking for alternative financing.
5.8. Stannah Park – Peter asked for clarification about the issues raised at the last Forum concerning the cafe and pathways so that he could investigate further.
Feedback from Meeting with Booth’s Manager
Prior to her meeting with Richard Sykes, Lesley had invited residents to let her have comments. The biggest single complaint was that the car park is always full. Among the other most common complaints were the confusing, illogical layout, the poor quality of signage, the small size of the meat and deli counters and inadequate covers on the open counters such as pastries, and shortage of newspapers. On the plus side, the staff had been praised even though tills were slow.
Richard had responded that, on the car park, Booths installed CCTV and a number-plate recognition system and has applied for retrospective planning permission which, if granted, will allow parking rules to be enforced by the Teanlowe Management team. There are plans to install new interior signage before Christmas and some items will be re-located. The meat counter is actually bigger than the former one and the deli counter is half as big again while covers on open counters are industry standard. There have been problems with their newspaper supplier but these should now be resolved. The tills are to be upgraded which should speed throughput and staff are under instructions to summon help when till queues reach three customers. Booths welcome comments and questions – in person, in writing handed in at the store and on line at http://dearbooths.co.uk Lesley will be meeting Richard again in the New Year to check progress.
Other Updates since Last Meeting
Alf Clempson reported the following:
7.1. Weight Limits – Alf wants a 7.5ton weight limit throughout Poulton and is writing to the main businesses to ask that they use smaller delivery vehicles where necessary. He has challenged LCC and is awaiting a response.
7.2. New road layout – traffic experts have advised that the pedestrian crossing between the Hardhorn car park and library cannot be moved. A sign warning of the crossing has been installed and arrows painted on the road and Alf has now asked for flashing crossing lights. Drivers are speeding along Wheatsheaf Way (the new road across the car park) and he has asked LCC to consider traffic calming measurers. He would welcome residents’ views on options such as speed bumps.
7.3. Re-surfacing - the major resurfacing programme encompassing Queensway, Tithebarn Street, Chapel Street and Breck Road has begun and Alf is monitoring progress. Carr Head Lane is likely to be next. There is more to do but at least a start has been made and residents should continue to report to Alf any potholes that reach a 40mm depth.
7.4. Pavements – the poor condition of some pavements is becoming a bigger issue and again, problems should be reported to Alf. On the specific question of the pavement at the back of the churchyard, this is un-adopted and its upkeep is the responsibility of the businesses located there. Alf has challenged LCC’s refusal to act on the basis that they have a duty of care and should, at the very least, inform the business owners of the situation.
7.5. Travellers – their appeal has been upheld and permission granted for 6 pitches in Hardhorn. Alf is waiting for Fylde’s Chief Executive to contact him and will then be discussing the matter with Ben Wallace MP.
(Alf encourages residents to contact him about their concerns at any time. His contact details are: email email@example.com , 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. Vicarage Park Community Centre (VPCC): The Charity that has leased St Chads Church Hall has set a target of £300,000 to get the hall repaired and re-opened and two fundraising events are being held in August. The Chaddeans are holding a ‘dancethon’ in the Market Square lasting 19 hours and 25 minutes. (The Hall was first opened in 1925.) It starts at 3.00 am on Saturday 13th August and finishes at 10.25 pm. On Bank Holiday Monday, 29th August the annual celebration event will take place in Vicarage Road Park. Support for both events would be much appreciated.
8.2. Another Housing Development: Local residents had received news of a possible housing development on land between Holts Lane and Carr Head Lane. Councillor Berry confirmed that a developer is consulting local residents and councillors and that he had attended a meeting where the developer was advised that the local roads were inadequate and the development unsuitable. It remains to be seen if an application is actually submitted.
8.3. Bus Services: Concerns have been raised about the lack of bus services in Carlton. John Shedwick, LCC Councillor for Carleton, is in discussion with Catch 22 about the possibility of re-instating a service that would run down Fleetwood Road and turn left to Poulton. Alf had passed on a complaint that the design of the bus stop shelters at the back of the Teanlowe was so inadequate as to provide no shelter at all. LCC had refused to take any action and he was waiting to hear if Booths would offer any help.
Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be on Monday 7th November 2016 in St Chads Church.
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