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Local News Archive - 2006


Police remind Partygoers about Drink Drive Campaign in run up to Christmas

As people in Lancashire get ready for the Christmas holidays and attend their Christmas parties this week, police in Southern Division are reminding partygoers not to drink and drive this Christmas.

Despite the fact that figures released in Southern Division half way through the Drink Drive campaign, would indicate that the majority of people are taking head of the warning, there are still a minority that don’t. Out of the 222 breath tests that have been carried out on drivers so far 11 of these have proved positive.

Sgt Steve Moon who is in charge of the ANPR team that are involved in the campaign commented,” The figures would indicate that so far people seem to be acting responsibly and taking head of the warning, however, with Christmas and New Year fast approaching the probability of a drink related accident either this week or next is quite high.

This year’s campaign is acting mainly on intelligence received from members of the public and we would like them to continue passing this information on to us. If they see something happening that would cause immediate danger i.e. someone getting into a car to drive who is not in a fit state to do so they should ring 999. If they have information about a person that drinks and drives or drive’s the morning after they should ring this information into Southern Communications Centre on 0845 1 25 35 45. Within a maximum of 4 hours this information will have been input onto police databases so it can be acted upon. There is also the Crimestoppers number on 0800 555 111 – which people can report information on totally anonymously.”

This activity is all part of the forcewide Christmas Campaign Operation Shepherd, a crime reduction and community reassurance campaign that aims to tackle and prevent alcohol related crime and anti-social behaviour."

"Enjoy your Christmas but make sure it is a safe and happy one."



West Lancashire District Council Planning Committee have postponed consideration of the Guide Road Planning Application until the January Meeting.



CRIME PREVENTION WARNING: Members of the public are receiving cards through the post from PARCEL DELIVERY SERVICE PDS with a contact number of 0906 6611911. This is a premium rate number message and will cost you £15. This is a scam run from BELIZE. DO NOT CALL this number.



Hesketh with Becconsall Parish Council Planning Committee unanimously confirmed that they had no objections to the Planning Application to convert premises at 1A Guide Road Hesketh Bank to a home for the residential care of up to six autistic children.

The decision was given following assurances from Positive Childcare Limited, that no staff parking would be permitted on the highway and that the home would only be used for autistic children.

The Parish Council sub-committee held the public meeting after a revised planning application was received at West Lancs. A proposal from Orange to install a new telephone mast down Moss Lane was also discussed. In sharp contrast to the 200+ who turned out for the first residents meeting about the care home proposal (see news archive 17/10/06), only 20 members of the public attended the Parish Council meeting.



The growing public backlash at the Government’s NHS cuts took a new turn this week as it was revealed that Labour Ministers are actively involved in planning the cuts and managing the media fallout locally.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, the Department of Health has been forced to publish ‘heat maps’, showing the 77 NHS services on the Government’s hitlist - where media interest on cutbacks and closures is focused now and ‘in the future’. Ministers and Labour Party officials have been holding meetings to work out ways of closing hospitals and minimise the negative media coverage in order to avoid losing marginal Parliamentary seats at the next general election.

The maps highlight the NHS organisations most at risk of cutbacks and closure, and where media attention is highest as a result. The documents reveal that the some of the sites of the Southport & Ormskirk NHS Trust face closure.

Lorraine Fullbrook, the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Tarleton, Banks and Hesketh Bank commented: “These leaked papers expose the fact that Labour Ministers have a sinister hospital closure plan, and are conspiring with Labour Party officials to minimise the political fallout. Labour Ministers’ obsession with spin and and managing the media tells us that ministers are not interested in the long-term interests of local residents, but are obsessed with saving their own political skin."

“Whilst NHS staff are concerned about how they can treat their patients, the Department of Health is more interested in how the media report Gordon Brown’s NHS cuts.”

Click here to view the disclosed NHS HEAT MAPS



Police across Southern Division are issuing a double warning to members of the public – keep your personal property safe but don’t think you can get away with false reporting!

The advice comes after police have received reports recently of people having phones and ipods stolen from them by offenders that have approached them in the street. One incident happened in Chorley recently when the offender, approached the 17 year old victim who was on his phone and grabbed him. During the struggle the offender tried to steal the V3 Razr mobile phone that the victim was talking on, but this was smashed during the scuffle.

A similar incident also too place on Cop Lane in Penwortham when 4 male students aged 15/16 were approached by offenders who demanded their mobile phones. Three mobiles were stolen during the incident.

However, police have recently issued two £80 fixed penalty tickets, to individuals that have falsely reported having items stolen from them. On the 2/11 a male from Leyland reported that he had been the victim of a robbery. After being questioned further the male admitted that he had made the story up in order to obtain financial assistance from the Benefits Agency. The male was issued an £80 ticket for wasting police time after two officers had been out searching the area for over an hour. Another false claim was made on the 13/11 by a male from the Penwortham area who said he had had his bicycle stolen off him at knifepoint. Good enquiries by local officers and footage of CCTV proved a false claim and the man was issued with an £80 ticket.

Sergeant Colin Bosanquet of Leyland Police commented,” We strongly urge members of the public to be aware of their own personal safety and not to put themselves in vulnerable situations such as walking down the street talking on a mobile phone, especially when it is dark. However we also want to enforce the message that those people who do try and report false claims will be found out. Police Officers investigate incidents very thoroughly and when false claims have been made the evidence soon comes to light. Sometimes officers may have spent a lot of time investigating these claims when they could have been responding to a genuine offence.”



Please make all vulnerable and elderly residents aware that there has been three incidents of bogus officials in the Parbold and Burscough areas, but could well occurr in any part of West Lancashire.

The Offenders have targetted elderly persons living alone, with the excuses of looking for a lost dog and trying to gain entry into the house by stating they where from United Utilities. Once inside the house they have searched rooms and stolen any cash they can find.

They are described as three white males one taller than the other two. One male is in his thirties not further described. The taller of the three is of stocky build and has short blonde hair, wearing on these occassions a long sleeved pink and red striped shirt and pale blue denim jeans. The third male was wearing a dark coat. The vehicle they where in was a silver Ford Transit type vehicle with a W registration. If there are any sightings of similar described persons or vehicle acting suspiciously or you have information regarding them, please contact the Police on 0845 1253545 or Crimestoppers on 0800111555.



Hesketh-with-Becconsall Parish Council last night voted to offer the Station Road Centenary Sports Ground as a prefered site for a new O2 mobile phone mast.

O2 have identified the need for a mast and associated cabinet to be sited somewhere in between the old railway bridge and Becconsall Lane. The proposed mast would be 12.5 meters high and does not require planning permission. Similar masts located in Southport regularly spark protests from residents which are often seen in the local press.

The Parish Council believe that whilst being just outside the ideal geographic area identified, siting the mast on the sports ground would mean that O2 would reduce possible objections from nearby residential properties. The Council anticipate an income of approximately £40,000 over a 10 year period should the proposal be acceptable to O2.



“It was only a matter of time” this was the comment being made by a police Sergeant today after a careless motorist had their car stolen.

Police across Southern Division are warning car owners to take more care over their car security, in an attempt to cut down on any further incidents of auto-crime over the winter months as the frosty mornings set in.

The incident that happened this morning took place at approx 7.40am at Vicarage Close in Adlington when the offender stole a black Mitsubishi warrior valued at £20,000. The aggrieved had left their car unattended with the engine switched on as it was defrosting.

Each year the police issue advice but are disappointed to see motorists making the same mistakes despite their warnings. This year they are again stressing the following messages to motorists across the division:-

  • On frosty mornings don’t leave insecure cars unattended whilst defrosting. Many motorists will start their car and leave it running with the fan turned on to help the defrosting process whilst they go inside. If you cannot garage your car overnight, either stay with it whilst the windscreen clears or cover it with a protective sheet so that the windscreen does not get frosted up.
  • Leaving the engine running whilst out of the car on a public highway is an offence known as “quitting” and this gives criminals the opportunity to take the vehicle. Quite a few people do this whilst calling into a newsagents first thing in the morning but will also leave their keys in a switched off vehicle when filling up with petrol – an open invitation to an opportunist thief.
  • Insurance companies request details of auto crimes from the police to assess each individual’s claim. These details help to establish whether the aggrieved has been contributory to the loss and ultimately whether the insurance company will pay out.
  • In the run up to Christmas do not leave valuables on display in your car and avoid leaving bags of presents on view. This also applies not only to Christmas presents but other items such as laptops and bags – if you don’t need it don’t leave it in your car.
  • Ensure your car is safe, secure and properly alarmed at all times. Leaving high powered and valuable vehicles on driveways attracts attention and incidents have happened where thieves have broken into insecure properties and stolen the keys to vehicles – these crimes have not just happened overnight. Keep your property secure and your car keys out of sight.

Sgt Warren Atkinson, Geographic Co-ordinator for the Chorley area commented, “We are in our first real cold snap of the winter and it amazed me how many people leave their vehicles running and unattended when they are defrosting. It doesn’t matter whether you leave your car for 30 seconds or 3 minutes, we have offenders that travel over from Manchester and Liverpool to specifically commit these crimes and they don’t need long to do it.

Please don't think that they won't visit your area - thieves travel everywhere to carry out these types of offences and unfortunately they are usually successful in finding what they are looking for. It is far easier for them to steal a vehicle with keys than without."

Crime Prevention advice and leaflets on vehicle security can be obtained from your local Police Station



Lorraine Fullbrook, the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for the South Ribble Constituency, has this week urged action to safeguard her areas remaining Post Offices and protect vital community facilities. The call comes after 1,000 sub-postmasters marched on Parliament on 18 October protesting at Post Office closures, and as a Government Minister asserted in response that there are “too many offices”.

Lorraine said "Post Office branches across the country face threats from the cancellation of the rural Post Office subsidy in 2008; the direct payment of benefits; DVLA moves to renew car tax online and the opening of new regional Passport Offices.

Royal Mail bosses have also suggested that the Post Office network could be reduced to just 4,000 branches. Since 1999, South Ribble Constituency has already lost 6 branches. Further cuts on that scale could potentially mean that up to 15 more could shut their doors."

In response, Conservatives have launched an Action Plan to save local Post Offices:

Lorrain Fullbrook outside the Tarleton Post Office

  • Giving Sub-Post Offices greater freedoms to offer a wider range of commercial products.
  • Pushing for more Post Offices to be ‘one stop shops’ for central government services.
  • Campaigning to save the Post Office Card Account from being axed.
  • Encouraging local councils to consider opening ‘council counters’ in local branches.

Lorraine explained, “Post offices are the lifeblood of our local community. But their future is now under real threat. The Government needs to understand the importance of their valuable social role and Labour must end the damaging uncertainty over the future of the network. “I want to add my support to the Action Plan unveiled by David Cameron, to give sub-Post Offices greater freedoms to diversify, to provide more central and local government services through branches, and to campaign to save the Post Office Card Account.“I hope this will put pressure on the Government to develop a clear long-term strategy for Post Office, to help support our local branches and preserve these vital community institutions.”



Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Competition

The up-side of a very poor growing year was that the 2006 Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Competition was one of the closest competitions ever held.

Dave Turley of Dune FM compered the weigh-in which this year was held in aid of the NSPCC. Spectators were treated to a nail biting contest which was left undecided until the very last pumpkin had been on the scales.

In the end it was James Houghton of Scarisbrick who beat off all the competition to win the NFU Mutual Insurance All England Shield and the Mere Brow and District Shield with a 541lb whopper.



In response to a flyer that had been circulated, local residents turned out in force to hear more about a controversial planning application for a Residential home on Guide Road in Hesketh Bank. Such was the demand for more information about the 'Change Of Use' application, the organiser's were forced to urgently relocate the meeting in order to allow the 200+ crowd to be accommodated.

The meeting heard the concerns of those people neighbouring the proposed development and the background of events and planning timescales which led to them to distribute the immotive leaflet around the village and set up a public meeting.

Rumours circulating around the village over the last few days had suggested the home would be a secure unit for young offenders but a spokesman from the Positive Childcare Ltd allayed many fears by confirming that the proposed home would be to cater for six autistic children aged between 10-15 years old.

Locals went on to voice many concerns about the location and overall suitability of the building which is on the corner of Guide Rd and Shore Rd, the lack of on site parking, the impact to traffic flow and danger posed by the considerable amount of HGV and farm traffic that uses both roads. A request was also made to better understand Lancashire County Councils role in the proposed residential and respite home and, if due process was of such paramount concern to the Council and applicant, why had work already begun on the property.

In a comprehensive letter submitted to this website, Positive Childcare Ltd claimed to have addressed many of the concerns raised but confirmed they would organise a further public meeting in the near future at which any further questions could be tabled.

The meeting organiser's expressed their dismay about the lack of action and support from the Parish Council, West Lancashire District Council (Planning) and Lancashire County Council (Traffic) in response to their meeting but, although uninvited, Cllr Martin Forshaw (WLDC Hesketh-with-Becconsall) attended and articulated the current status of the planning application, the likely procedural course it would take and advice as how best to make representation to the District Council.

When made available, we will post the minutes of the meeting on this website and notify residents of the date and location of the Public Meeting that Positive Childcare Ltd intend to hold.


WLDC Planning Application 2006/1104



After many months of consultation and negotiation about 170 hectares of land on the south bank of the Ribble has been bought with a view to creating a wetland habitat. The £2.5m project at Hesketh Out Marsh is believed to be the largest project of this kind in Europe.

Saline lagoons and muddy creeks will be created by breaching embankments and letting in the sea, reducing pressure on primary defences along the coast. The RSPB said the saltmarsh would improve habitats for birds including redshanks, skylarks, knots, dunlins and shelducks and would eventually form a part of the proposed Ribble Estuary Regional Park.

Tony Baker, the RSPB's Ribble sites manger, said the wetland would make a major contribution to national targets for coastal saltmarsh creation. "The new reserve, which will restore the coastal landscape to how it used to be a quarter of a century ago, will also provide a new, inspiring recreational asset for the local community," he added.

Money for purchasing the land has been provided by the Environment Agency, Northwest Regional Development Agency and Lancaster City Council.

Work on the project is expected to begin in March 2007.




Over the course of the forthcoming weeks Lancashire Constabulary and Merseyside Police will be joining forces to tackle cross border car crime in the Ormskirk, Sefton and outlying areas.

This will involve the use of both uniform and plain clothes resources from both forces working alongside each other to ensure the cross flow of intelligence and provide geographical knowledge of hotspot areas through joint patrolling.In addition decoy cars fitted with state of the art satellite tracking technology and in car video and audio recording equipment will be deployed on both sides of the border to trap unsuspecting thieves. Lancashire Police have access to a fleet of cars that will be changed on a regular basis and placed in hot spot areas for car crime. This initiative follows a recent rise in the number of portable satellite navigation systems being stolen as owners leave them in cars.

Inspector Smith, Geographic Commander for Ormskirk and Burscough sent out a warning to criminals "Criminals don't adhere to the invisible boundaries between policing areas and by working closely with Merseyside Police we can ensure that we jointly tackle this problem. The message is clear - we are determined to catch you and reduce car crime. You are being watched and we will proactively target you. Just remember any car that you target could easily be a police decoy vehicle."

Inspector Smith added "We need the assistance of the public to reduce car crime by ensuring that you don't leave any items on display in the vehicle as criminals like to window shop and if possible remove valuables altogether as criminals look in glove boxes and under seats. Passing thieves will break in to your car for things of little value and even if they take nothing think of the inconvenience and cost to you to repair the damage."

"Ormskirk and the surrounding towns are safe and friendly and people tend to take a more relaxed view in relation to vehicle security. What they leave in cars here they would never dream of doing when visiting major cities. The message to the public is please think security and remove all valuables as whilst these are safe towns don't make it easy for criminals"

If you have any information about car crime please contact either Ormskirk Police Station on 01695 566430 or alternatively you can ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.



Don’t leave Satellite Navigation Systems on Display

Police across Southern Division are re-issuing security advice to members of the public after a number of vehicles have been broken into and Satellite Navigation Systems stolen. In the majority of cases these systems have been left on display

Police are advising motorists that if the system is portable take it with you when leaving the car along with the support cradle and suction pads. Motorists are also advised to wipe away any marks that are left by the suction pads as thieves look out for these. Other advice to note is:-

  • Don’t leave the equipment in the glove box as thieves will usually check there first.
  • Mark your sat nav equipment with your postcode, house number or vehicle registration number or any other unique number using special security markers.
  • Make a note of the serial number of the equipment and keep it somewhere safe not in the car.

Police are also using this opportunity to re-emphasise the importance of home security as well as vehicle security. There have been a number of burglaries across the division since August where offenders have entered the premises via insecure doors and windows. By leaving property insecure Members of The Public are making it easy for offenders to commit crime.

Detective Neil Howarth for West Lancashire area commented,” I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to take responsibility for their own security. Leaving Satellite Navigation Systems on show is almost like leaving £150 on you car dashboard and I am sure people would certainly think twice about doing that!!

It is the same with home security as well – members of the public should not underestimate the opportunity an unlocked door or open window can give an opportunist thief. Police do investigate and take seriously these kind of offences, but they would much rather homeowners and car owners took more responsibility for crime prevention so that these crimes could be prevented from happening in the first place.”

Further crime prevention advice is available by calling into your local police station.



Lorraine Fullbrook, the Conservative Party candidate for the South Ribble constituency at the next General Election has launched a survey to discover the views of local people on the issue of a new Bill of Rights. Mrs Fullbrook, who hopes to be the MP for Tarleton, Banks, Hesketh Bank, Rufford, Eccleston and Mawdesley is in the process of delivering the survey to over 40,000 local homes.

Asked why she was doing this , Lorraine said, " In the past two years, I have undertaken a number of surveys on issues such as health, education and Policing. This issue is one I believe that the next Conservative Government MUST address. The Human Rights Act was passed in 1998 and builds the European Convention of Human Rights into British law in its entirety - and therefore with no reservations. David Cameron has argued that current legislation is inadequate and therefore wants to create a new British Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act. This Bill of Rights would be specifically designed to fit British needs and traditions and would set out all the rights every citizen is entitled to and which they can expect to have protected in the courts.

Under the proposals, people would still be able to pursue their claims in the European courts but judges would have a British Bill of Rights to base their rulings upon.

I think this makes total sense and would help to redress the balance that seems to have been lost, where criminals seem able to claim their "Rights " have been abused, whilst it sometimes seems impossible for victims and ordinary citizens to do so.

I want to know what local people think on this fundemental issue so that I can feed their thoughts into to the current process that is determining the Conservative policies upon which I and every Conservative candidate will stand."

Anyone who does not recieve the questionaire through their door can complete it on



Residents of Tarleton need to be aware of the Planning Application to a neighbouring Authority for the siting of an airstrip which may affect the General Amenity of people living in Tarleton. The application contains a map showing flight paths directly over Tarleton. All comments/observations need to be sent to Chorley Borough Council by 22/9/06

This item will be considered by Tarleton Parish Council at its next meeting which will be held on 19/9/06 at Carr Lane Pavillion at 7.30pm.

Cllr. J.E.Hodson
Vice Chair, Tarleton Parish Council



npower today became the latest supplier to increase prices for the majority of its 6.3 million customers, the company’s third price increase since 1st Jan 2006.

Effective from 1st October, npower’s customers will see their gas bills increase by 17.2% or £92, whilst electricity bills will rise by 9.9% or £36, bringing the average npower energy bill up to £1008 per year.

Today’s announcement brings to a close the second major round of energy price rises to be implemented this year by the ‘big 6’, who’ve amassed a staggering thirteen prices hikes between them in 2006 alone.

Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch said “Following today’s price hike, npower will now be the 2nd most expensive supplier in the marketplace, behind British Gas. Whilst it’s clear more needs to be done to protect customers, especially as we begin to move into the colder, winter months, it’s clearer still that until that happens, the onus remains on the customer to reduce their energy bill liability.”

Robinson concluded: “The best way to cut energy bills at present is to switch to an online tariff. These deals traditionally offer the cheapest option for customers as they can be 16% or £153 cheaper than standard tariffs. We do not expect to see any more price increases until the start of 2007 and would urge all consumers to review their bills as a matter of urgency - the savings to be made can be substantial.”

Save money: cut the cost of gas and electric bills by switching to the cheapest supplier. Find out who is the cheapest supplier of gas, electric and home telepone services.



Skemersdale Crime Prevention unit issued the following warning today:-
There have been reports of a company from the Colne area of East Lancashire offering to re tarmac driveways in the West Lancs area.

Once they have offered their services, they immediatley rip up the driveway and then stop before they resurface the driveway. They then demand large amounts of cash, if they do not get paid they leave the site unfinished.

Trading standards are aare of the scam and are investigating the company. Please use good reputable companies for any work done on your home, do not allow anyone to undertake work without having a cooling off period. If you come into contact with such a company, please contact Trading standards at Preston.



A Meeting of the Parish Council will be held on
Monday 4th August 2005 at 7:00pm
in The Village Institute (Old Library Building) Station Road, Hesketh Bank.

Members of the Public and Press are cordially invited to attend

7:00pm Mr Brian Lussey (WLDC) and a member of the Lancashire Constabulary will be present to allow Members to discuss alleged drugs and related problems.
7:30pm An opportunity for potential users to discuss with the Council their perspective in respect of skateboarding facilities.
7:45pm A period of up to fifteen minutes to allow Members of the public to address the Council on matters of concern. Persons requiring answers to queries should write to the Clerk.


1. To Receive apologies
2. To receive as a correct record, the Minutes of the Extra-ordinary Meeting of the Council held on 24th of July 2006.
3. To receive any Declarations of Interest
4. Mandatory Sub Committee Reports
5. Other Reports (For information only)
1. Chairman’s Report
2. Clerk’s Report
3. Parish Plan
4. September Newsletter
6. Financial Matters
7. To receive the Clerk’s report Pursuant to RESOLUTION No. 42/2006 and to Consider a proposal to install Skateboarding Facilities at the Shore Road recreation ground.
8. To Consider a draft “Lancashire Local” protocol for working with Parish Council.
9. To appoint be Resolution two representatives to the LAPTC Annual General Meeting to be held on Saturday, 4th November 2006
10. To receive the professional play equipment reports and consider a Resolution to have the recommended repair works carried out.
11. To Consider a Proposal to arrange a Local Council training event provided by LAPTC/SLCC/County Training Partnership.
12. To Consider the Accountants’ Report on the un-audited accounts of LAPTC
13. Items received since Agenda publication. (for information only)


There is a trip to Alton Towers for young people aged 12 or over on Wednesday 30th August. The cost, including transport, is £15. There are a few remaining places but the consent forms and money need to be in by Friday 25th August at the latest. Transport will pick up from Banks, Hesketh Bank and Tarleton.

Why not take the opportunity to have a fun day out with friends the week before school starts again!

For further details and a consent form please ring 01772 811552



Report and photo by John Nairne
As soon as they blazed into the march ‘Caractacus’ we knew that Tarleton and District Brass had come to play. The concert at Becconsall Old Church was conducted by Gillian Bould and under the watchful eye of Bandmaster Barry Taylor, this fine band turned in excellent performances of the medleys ‘Breezin’ Down Broadway’ and ‘Cliff’, which made even over-familiar Cliff Richard tunes sound fresh, and, as a rousing closer, a selection from ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’. Complementing these were the ‘Radetsky March’, ‘Goldcrest’, a lovely version of Barry Manilow’s ‘One Voice’, ‘Born Free’, a ‘Shepherd’s Song’ perhaps better known as ‘Bailèro’ and ‘Amazing Grace’ complete with bagpipe harmonies.

All that was needed to complete the audience’s enjoyment was a group of soloists to match the band’s ensemble skills, and here Tarleton Brass certainly did not disappoint. Young Tom Pickering produced a delicate, bluesy cornet solo on ‘Lazy Trumpeter’, Amy Stringfellow, Jennifer Bould and Stewart Aspinall (cornets) combined their youthful skills on ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’, Steve Cochrane (cornet) played a delightful version of ‘Misty’, while Alan Bould (horn) floated through ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ and was then joined by Gemma Pickering on flugelhorn for a duet on ‘Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue’.

The concert was very enjoyable, and it seemed entirely appropriate that, as the band played on, the sun finally broke through the afternoon’s rain clouds!

Friends of Becconsall Old Church Website



With the latest news of the new facilities at Carr Lane and many more articles of interest the latest "Village View" newsletter will be distributed to Tarleton residents over the weekend.

If you live out of the area you can still keep in touch by downloading the Parish Council newsletter in pdf format: Click Here



Tarleton Village has beaten off considerable competition and again made it through to the final round of the Best Kept Village competition. The final judging will be held next week.



Hesketh with Becconsall Parish Council have committed to buy a Half Pipe facility designed for use by skateboards, inline skates and bmx bikes. The £12,000 piece of equipment was for sale by Croston Parish Council for only £500 plus the costs of removal.

The council also passed a proposal to persue the installation of the equipment at the Council's recreation site on Shore Road subject to appropriate funding and consultation with local residents and prospective users of the facility.

Half Pipe destined for Hesketh Bank
Hesketh-with-Becconsall Parish Council will buy the Half Pipe from Croston Parish Council

Hesketh-with-Becconsall Parish Council Web Site



Becconsall Flower Club -  "A Canal Barge"
"Canal Barge" reflecting the importance of the River Douglas and the Leeds Liverpool Canal to the local economy in the 1800's

FBOC Website | Local History

The Friends of Becconsall Old Church today opened their doors to the 2006 Flower Festival - "A Becconsall Collage" which in various flower arrangements, depicts our local heritage. Becconsall Flower Club have not only provided the displays but also a well researched history of each exhibit which is included in the programme.

The Festival of Flowers is open for today until 8pm and also Saturday and Sunday 12 noon - 8pm and Sunday 12 noon - 6pm

Refreshments and parking is available throughout the Flower Festival at All Saints Church Hall. The vintage bus will be providing free transport to and from Becconsall Old Church.



As temperatures rise Police appeal to the Public to keep properties secure.

Police across Southern Division are appealing to the public not to become complacent about home security during the hot weather. The warning comes after figures revealed that over 40% of burglaries committed this month in Southern Division are as a result of insecure premises.

Offenders are usually entering properties via insecure doors and windows with opportunist thief’s committing these “sneak in “ type burglaries.

The police are strongly urging members of the public not to be complacent with household security especially as the hot weather continues. "Even if you are in the house get into the habit of locking doors behind you and make sure they are locked at night. If you are in the garden make sure the front of your house is secure. At night close windows downstairs and if you have the facility to lock windows open do so. Also keep sheds and gates to premises locked especially at night."



Hesketh-with-Becconsall Parish Council are to hold an extra-ordinary meeting to discuss the much requested skatepark facilities in Hesketh Bank.

The council will consider a proposal to to purchase and install skateboarding equipment on the Council’s recreation ground at Shore Road.

The public are invited to attend although there are presently no plans to allow the public to speak at the meeting. If you have views on this matter which you would like to express it is imperative that you contact a Parish Councilor in advance of the meeting which is to be held at 8pm on Monday 24th July at the Library Building on Station Road.

Hesketh-with-Becconsall Parish Council Web Site



Tony Blair has today added to the ongoing police merger fiasco by saying that police mergers are "not off the agenda", despite the collapse on cost grounds of the flagship Lancashire and Cumbria plan.

Earlier, the Home Office minister Tony McNulty had said "the definitive answer" to whether there will be mergers "is no".

The Home Office's plans for police force mergers had been opposed by many police forces with Lancashire and Cumbria being the only two forces actively seeking a merger.

On Monday the Chair of Lancashire Police Authority, Cllr Malcolm Doherty, said: “We feel badly let down. We have done everything in our power to get this merger to work. We now have to find other ways of dealing with the problem that Government has left us with.”

Acting Chief Constable for Lancashire Constabulary, Steve Finnigan, said: “Staff in both Cumbria and Lancashire Constabularies have worked very hard over recent months towards achieving a successful amalgamation which would be in the interests of both areas." "I share the Police Authority’s extreme disappointment. We were happy to take forward this proposal as a pathfinder and the fact that the Home Office have been unable to meet the conditions set by the Police Authority is very disappointing and a real missed opportunity."

The Lancashire and Cumbria decision is a big victory for the party's prospective parliamentary candidate for South Ribble, Lorraine Fullbrook who has consistently questioned the claims by local police chiefs that the merger would have no significant impact on council tax and that start-up costs would be manageable. She also raised concerns about the operational consequences of a merger fearing "a damaging reduction in performance, a collapse in neighbourhood policing, and a significant loss of accountability".

Lorraine said "This is a victory for commonsense. When I first challenged the Police Authority they said that I didn't know what I was talking about. Yet, I was the only person to consistently and persistently challenge all their bland and misleading promises that the proposed merger would cost nothing and would be good for the people I hope to represent in Parliament after the next election."



The Autism Initiatives new 'Supported Living Service' in Mere Brow will enjoy a grand opening on 14th July. The opening ceremony will begin at 11.00 a.m. with Lord Lilford officially opening the service.

The project has been developed following a donation of the use of a piece of land in Mere Brow, by the organisation’s patron Lord Lilford.

The development includes four houses designed to cater for the specific sensory needs of people with ASD and will provide accommodation for up to 12 people.

The project also has two workshops situated on the land providing instruction in horticulture, ceramics and art. Local residents are invited to view the facilities on the 14th July between 2.00 pm and 4.00 pm.

Autism Initiatives UK was established in 1971 and specializes in the provision of services to those affected by Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The organizations head office is in Liverpool and provides services in England, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

For more information visit



Chaos in the tax credits system has resulted in a massive 3,600 families across South Ribble being overpaid by £2.7m during 2004/05.

The Child and Working Tax Credit Statistics, Finalised Awards 2004-05 from HM Revenue & Customs show that on average, each family has been overpaid £750 and now the Government wants this money back.

Lorraine Fullbrook, Conservative Spokesman for South Ribble, said: "We can now see how the chaos in the system is affecting families here in South Ribble. People have, in all good faith, received tax credits which the Government said they were entitled to."

"Now, families are facing the prospect of a hefty repayment or a reduction in the weekly amount of tax credit this year, as the Government attempts to recover the overpayments. Either way, families are worse off."



Crime Prevention oficers are warning all residents to be aware that there are several representatives cold calling at houses in the Chorley, Ormskirk and Burscough areas. The Police have recieved complaints about aggressive and high pressure sales techniques. One such incident involved two men with Liverpool accents driving a white van with part resgistered number HY03 seen in the Leyland area.



ScottishPower announces price rises for all customers in spite of £805m profit announcement less than a month ago:

Only weeks after ScottishPower announced a massive 39% increase in operating profits the energy giant has become the first major supplier to announce a second round of energy price increases in 2006. The timing of these announcements will evoke little sympathy or understanding from ScottishPower’s 5.25 million customers who will be hit by significant bill increases of £90 for gas and £35 for electricity and who will see their annual bills soar from £858 to £983.

  • 17% increase in gas prices and 10% for electricity from 10th July 2006
  • Sixth hike in gas prices, totalling 84% by ScottishPower since 2004
  • Customers to pay an extra £125 a year for energy, taking the average bill to £983


The National Blood Service will be holding a blood donor session on 6th July at Our Lady's Parish Hall.

Due to the current high demand for blood in the North West the National Blood Service is asking everyone to make a special effort to donate at present - your involvement will help to supply local hospitals with essential blood products to carry on saving lives throughout the region.

Anyone aged between 17 and 60, weighing more than 50kg (7 stone 12 lbs) and in general good health could potentially give blood. If you have any particular medical queries, or you require more information on becoming a blood donor, please call 0845 7 711 711 or visit



Householders could be charged according to the amount of rubbish collected from their homes under plans to reform council taxes. Sir Michael Lyons, who is conducting an inquiry into the future of local authority taxation, told The Times he was looking at a range of user charges, including environmental tariffs. They would be paid on top of the council tax in order to make the cost of services more visible, the paper reported.

The plans could allow councils to charge residents for the amount of waste they produce, raising the prospect of bags of waste being weighed by collectors.

As part of the ongoing reform of waste collection, West Lancs District Council had the foresight to specify hi tech wheelie bins that will weight the contents: The grey bins that have been distributed have a microchip tag embedded which gives each bin a unique identity enabling the weight of the each bin and its contents to be recorded. With the inclusion of weighing equipment on the collection vehicle each bin can be weighed and an invoice generated to facilitate 'charge by weight' if so desired.

The Times Article | Titan Plastech | West Lancashire District Council | Your Letters



As the new Sports and Community facility nears completion, Tarleton Parish Council have announced that the monthly meetings of Tarleton Parish Council will now be held in the community area of the Carr Lane facility.

Parish Council meetings are generally held every third Tuesday of each month - the next meeting is on Tuesday 20th June commencing at 7.30pm.

Residents are encouraged to attend the meeting to both air their views on the issues of the day and also view for themselves the progress on the facility.



The most important badge to be gained in the Cub Scouts is the Chief Scouts Silver Award and two tarleton cubs (Joshua Bond and Billy Hipwell) have spent the last few weeks training for their final challenge before moving on to Scouts. Part of the Silver Award requires the completion of a personal challenge the two boys chose to work on developing their cycling skills and putting that effort towards helping others.

Joshua Bond and Billy Hipwell

The bike ride they embarked upon covered 50km (31miles) and started and finished at the scout hut in Tarleton.

The route was based upon the 'Tour of West Lancashire', and took in Rufford, Burscough, Lathom, Westhead (Ormskirk), Scarth Hill with the half way point (and lunch) being in Aughton. After a well earned they set off on the second half heading on 'Cycle Route 91' up to Clieve Hill. The weather was sunny and offered great views across Merseyside to the Welsh mountains. After a scary 20mph decent of Clieve Hill, the route went through Halsall, Pinfold, Scarisbrick, Holmeswood, Mere Brow and back to the Scout hut.

In the last few miles Joshua complained of having a numb bum and Billy a sore thigh, but neither boy stopped. The 50km had taken nearly 4 hours in the saddle. A fantastic achievement for both of them.

Both of the cubs have a familly members who suffer from asthma to varying degrees, so the decision was taken to support Asthma UK by raising money via sponsorship for the charity. It is expected that the boys have raised at least £200 and possibly £300 or more. If you would like to offer further support to the boys efforts then please email scouts.tarleton (at)



Lorraine Fullbrook, the Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for the South Ribble constituency, has written to the Chairman of the Lancashire Police Authority urging him to act now to save Lancashire Police. Mrs Fullbrook has been fighting to save the Force, and believes that the sacking of Charles Clarke and the growing opposition of some Labour MP's to the mergers presents Lancashire Police Authority with a golden opportunity to reverse their support for a merger with Cumbria. The full text of Mrs Fullbrook's letter is below:

29 May 2006

Dear Mr Doherty,

Re: An Opportunity to Save Lancashire Police Force

I wrote to you earlier this year calling on you to reconsider the decision to support Charles Clarke's plan to merge the Lancashire and Cumbria Police Forces. I am writing once more, to urge that you take the opportunity presented by the Home Secretary's recent sacking to reconsider the decision by your Authority to support the merger. As you are aware, I launched my own survey online and in my newspaper, delivered to every household within the South Ribble constituency, following your own flawed and misleading survey and your subsequent results, which are being used publicly to shore up your own position. My polling shows that the merger has almost ZERO support amongst local people - a merger that almost every other Police Authority Chairman across the country thinks will be both costly and counterproductive to local policing needs and to police officers and civilians employed by both Police Forces.

I urge you to listen to professionals, parliamentarians and the public and rethink your plans to force our local Lancashire police to merge with Cumbria. The current proposals are being rushed through amid growing concern that they will lead to a damaging reduction in performance, a collapse in neighbourhood policing, and a significant loss of accountability. Serious questions remain about the costs and financing of mergers, the impact on council tax, the timescales for transition and the governance arrangements. There is also the question of the future of the Police HQ at remaining in Hutton that is concerning
many local people.

Opinion polls show overwhelming public opposition to a merger. Only your authority and that of Cumbria have volunteered to proceed. Most are opposed and some have initiated legal proceedings to halt the process. The Government claims the support of ACPO, but many Chief Constables have now publicly expressed their views and concerns.
As I am sure you are aware, the Chairmen of the Police Authorities of West Mercia, Northamptonshire, Sussex, Cleveland, North Wales and Cheshire recently issued a joint statement in a letter to The Times newspaper, making the salient points against the merger proposals that I list above. What is it about Lancashire that makes the mergers the wrong option for almost everywhere in the country, but the right thing to do for Lancashire? Isn't it just possible that they are right and that you are wrong?

For the sake of local people, local police officers and civilian workers, please reconsider before it is too late. Given the public interest in the destruction of Lancashire Police, I am sending a copy of this letter to the media and in the interests of fairness, I will also do so with your reply.
I look forward to your hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Lorraine Fullbrook
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate the for South Ribble Constituency



Hesketh Bank Association Football Club are spearheading an ambitious plan to secure a range of funding that will allow the building of a new sporting facility on the land adjacent to their main football pitch on Station Road, Hesketh Bank.

The £800,000 'first phase' of the project is intended to fund the construction of a brand new male and female changing facility, properly drained grass playing surfaces and a floodlit multi use games area with an all weather surface. A small car park would also be constructed.

Phase 2 of the project would require a further £800k which would be spent on building a social lounge and meeting room, fitness suites, and more car parking.

It is envisaged that in addition to the Football Club, the facilities will be widely utilised by the general public and local schools the sports facility will allow a full range of sports practices to take place in Hesketh Bank and hopefully trigger the development of new community sports clubs such as hockey, netball, lacrosse and tennis. Whilst all ages will be welcome to participate in activities, the Club is very keen to engage the local youth in both the development and use of the facilities.

The Club is hoping that The Football Foundation will provide a grant of at least 60% of the Phase 1 costs and are seeking pledges of cash and materials from both individuals and businesses to make up the difference. Fundraising is now underway and the Club claim to have already received a pledge of £50,000 from Hesketh-with-Becconsall Parish Council.

For the full details of the proposal and details of how you can contribute please click here to download their pdf.

Hesketh Bank Amatuer Football Club



Fishermen's Friend Jazz Bland play to a packed Becconsall Old Church
Photo & Report by John Nairne

The Fishermen's Friend Jazz Band really did find themeselves down by the riverside as they swung through their concert at Becconsall Old Church this afternoon. As their leader, trombonist Gerry Rimmer explained, they just had to play the well known old tune of that name - with the audience joining in, of course.

Had there been a tune called Wet Sunday Afternoon, the band might have played that as well, although their t-shirts brought a welcome touch of sunshine. And the weather had not discouraged their audience as some fifty folk rocked in the stalls and rolled in the gallery to a string of familiar, much-loved and well-played tunes. As well as Gerry, the band featured Charlie Evans on tuba, Dave Rimmer, Kate Spencer and John Gregson on trumpets, Tom Gregson also on tuba, and Alan Johnson on banjo and jokes. In
fact, Tom Gregson told a few of those as well, while Gerry also stepped forward with a vocal chorus.

The Fishermen's Friend Jazz Band is well known locally, but they have also been invited for many years to play at an annual wine festival in Germany, the home of 'oompah brass' where, with a smoother style, they are known as 'Dixieland Lancashire'.

For a full report of this event and all the future events that will be held at Becconsall Old Church please visit the FBOC webpage.

Friends of Becconsall Old Chrch Website



Local conservatives were today celebrating the success of the local candidates who both retained their seats on the West Lancashire District Council by significant margins:

Jim Kay - Tarleton Ward - 86%
Iain Ashcroft - Hesketh-with-Becconsall Ward - 85%

May 2006 WLDC Local Election Results | West Lancs District Council Website



There has been a Bogus official crime in the Burscough area, where a white male 5' 10" 30 years of age and speaks with a local accent.

His victim was an elderly lady living in a ground floor flat. The offender tapped on the lounge window and stated he was from the Waterboard and he needed to check her water supply. She allowed him entry to her home via the communal door and whilst in the property he asked her to run the bathroom taps, whilst she did this he stole property from within the lounge area.

Crime Prevention advise not to let anyone in to your home without an appointment and, if possible, or have someone else in the house with you.

If you have any information or see anything suspicious please contact the Police 08451253545 or Crime stoppers on 0800 555111



Hesketh with Becconsall Parish Council will again spearhead the Best Kept Village competition entry again this year. Judges will look at the overall tidiness of the village, condition of private property, condition of communal building and recreational facilities, condition of places of worship, graveyards and cemeteries, and condition of commercial facilities.

Cllr Norma Goodier said "The competition is not about ‘chocolate box’ pictures of pretty thatched cottages, it is about the community and the spirit of our village, Hesketh Bank, and it involves the whole community young and old. It simply needs the will and the initiative of the whole community to help make Hesketh Bank the best kept; the community as a whole taking great care and pride in maintaining the village to a high standard is what really matters."

"Grot spots are being identified, tidy ups and ‘face lifts’ around the village will be taking place. We are not perfect, yet by entering this competition is a chance for the whole community to become involved and give Hesketh Bank an MOT at the same time."

As well as the main awards, 'certificate of merit' categories will also be judged, which look for the best-kept farm, shop, school, playing field, village hall, place of worship, pub, caravan park, and notice board.

Any companies or individuals who feel they would like to help or contribute in any way please contact us with your ideas. The Parish Council again thanked both Arden Lea and Altys who both have agreed to sponsor hanging baskets for a second year.

Hesketh-with-Becconsall Parish Council Website



May 4th election fever is unlikely to grip Tarleton or Hesketh Bank as only two candidates have put themselves forward for election as West Lancashire District Councillors for each of the two respective wards.

The current incumbent of the Hesketh-with-Becconsall Ward, Cllr Iain Ashcroft of Chandlers Croft, Hesketh Bank is seeking re-election with Labour Party candidate Christopher Mawdsley from Burscough challenging him.

Jim Kay (Cons) of Gorse Lane, Tarleton, will be defending the Tarleton Ward against Pauline Roughley (Lab) of Lathom.

By contrast four people are contesting the North Meols ward as Labour, Green and independent candidates all try and topple Cllr John Baldock.

All candidates will be acutely aware of the impact a low turnout may present and will be keen to mobilise voters. As usual, we will afford each candidate a page on the website for their election message - Click Here



2006 Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Competition

A competition to beat the record for the heaviest pumpkin was officially launched today at Tarleton High School.

Pupils from the High School and Tarleton Holy Trinity Primary School planted their pumpkin seeds under the watchful eye of competition organiser Trevor Wilson.

The Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Competition has become an institution in the North West with competitors from the small agricultural village and its surrounds using fair means - and occasionally foul - to attempt to grow the heaviest pumpkin.

Last year's winning pumpkin was a massive 702lbs and the year before the winner was a staggering 912lbs which shattered the UK heaviest pumpkin record. This year the competition organisers are joining forces with the NSPCC and throwing down the gauntlet to children across the country, challenging youngsters to get involved and raise money for the children's charity at the same time.

Trevor Wilson of Mere Brow, said: " This is the twelfth annual Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Competition and it promises to be the most competitive yet as we have decided to this year include prize money to the competition winners"

"People living within a ten mile radius of Mere Brow can compete for the Mere Brow & District Shield, but anyone can enter the All England Shield competition.

"The variety of pumpkin we encourage people to grow are 'Atlantic Giants' and they grow so fast you can virtually watch it happening. Some people take the competition very seriously and keep the location of their pumpkin a closely guarded secret. Giant Pumpkin growers will often try all sorts of weird and wonderful techniques to get an edge over their fellow competitors - last year one competitor fed his pumpkin just Guinness directly from the barrel. It didn't win but it grew well!"

"This year we wanted to get more children involved; it is fantastic for children because the pumpkins grow so fast it holds their interest and the rate of growth can be almost magical. We contacted the NSPCC because we wanted children to benefit all ways round" Trevor said.

Hazel Russel, Community Appeals Manager for the NSPCC in Lancashire, said "We are really grateful that the competition organisers thought of the NSPCC. The proceeds will make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable children."

For details of how to enter the competition and tips on growing your pumpkin log on to the competition website at

Mere Brow Giant Pumpkins | NSPCC



Wanted – groups of friends at breaking point for new television programme.

Channel 4 are looking for local people for new reality tv show

With Friends Like These…

Channel 4 is currently looking for people to take part in a brand new primetime series.

Is one of your friends or work colleagues just a little too assertive, too opinionated and too controlling? Is this person making you and your other friends’ lives a misery? Do you often find yourself saying, “I can’t believe she just said that / did that!” Are you at breaking point?

This new programme will take this individual, put them through their paces and show them how their over-domineering traits can be turned into an asset – hopefully making your group a happier place for everyone.

You can nominate someone individually or as a group and will be as much a part of the programme as the nominee.

To find out more, please contact: or call 020 7307 2720. All emails and calls are confidential and no commitment is necessary at this stage.



Hesketh - with Becconsall Parish Council announced last night that Lancashire County Council had given approval for the speed limit on Shore Road and Marsh Road to be reduced to 50mph. The Police and North Meols Parish council were said to fully support the move which is expected to take a further 12 months to implement.

The reduction in the speed limit, improved street lighting and speed warning signs are just some of the measures under consideration to reduce the number of accidents on this road.



The local Crime Prevention are asking all to be aware of three men of east European origin travelling in a white transit style van who are visiting vulnerable people in their homes and using high pressure sales techniques to sell plastic Facier Boards and Soffits for their home.

Whilst at the house they have appeared to look at all valuables on display and if no sale is agreed, they continue for days afterwards to ring the householder and ask if they would change their mind. Trading Standards are aware but no other details are known. If anyone has any information regarding these men or their vehicle, please contact the Police or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.



Police in West Lancashire are issuing a warning to members of the public to be on their guard after a man was recently discovered stealing charity bags.

Thanks to diligent police work and information from members of the public it was discovered that this man was operating by leafleting the same or adjacent area very soon after a genuine charity had leafleted the area. When collection day arrived the “fake” charity bag collectors would arrive earlier than the genuine collectors and take the bags.

The clothing or items inside were then taken to various recycling yards by the bogus collectors and sold on. The male that was recently arrested and cautioned for this offence, was found to have receipts totalling £1900 for the items he had sold to the recycling yards within the first week of March. He also admitted to taking bags belonging to the British Heart Foundation.

PC Chris Gibson commented,” This is the first incident that I have dealt with of this nature and it was disappointing that we could only issue a caution on this occasion. We want to make members of the public aware of this so that they can be on their guard and report any future occurrences.”

West Lancashire District Council, whose Licensing Service issues licences for such Charity Collections, is similarly concerned to hear of this unscrupulous operation. Dave Tilleray, Executive Manager Community Services said, ”It is a shame that a small minority of bogus operators can affect the good work of the many bone fide charities that rely on these collections for valuable support. Any genuine charity will be more than willing to provide evidence of their cause and be able to provide their licence or Home Office Exemption Order. We are working with the Police in ongoing investigations, and the Council would urge anyone who witness or suspects any illegal charity collections to contact us immediately by calling 01695 577177 or similarly contact the Police.”

Ken Blair, Chief Executive for British Heart Foundation (BHF) Shops comments “All BHF van drivers collecting donated stock for BHF Shops carry official BHF identification badges. In addition the charity ensures that BHF collection bags are only issued to registered van drivers. Official BHF donation bags can be identified by the registered charity number and BHF logo. If a member of the public is unsure whether a collector is genuine we recommend that they contact their local BHF Shop by calling 0870 120 4141.



Local police are appealing to the public for their help to trace a male that is suspected of stealing money from the methodist church in Mawdesley at approximately 10.30pm on Saturday 18th March 2006.

The church had been full of local people enjoying a quality evening of singing and music which raised money for the 'Oasis' appeal, a charity which helps the children of Mambai, India.

Money raised for charity to the value of £420.00 was stolen after it was snatched from an aisle following the fund raising event.

A male aged approx 20-25 years old, with very short hair wearing grey clothes was seen to run out of the church at the time of the incident and drove off in a small dark coloured vehicle.

PC Paul Harrison, the local Community Beat Manager for the area commented "This is a dispicable crime and something you would not expect to happen in a small village, let alone in a church. The organisers of the event have had their hard work and dedication spoilt by this incident and we would ask anyone with any information to come forward and either call Crimestoppers anonomously on 0800 555 111 or Mawdesley Police on 01704 822277.



Tarleton CofE Primary school will today receive a musical award for success in the highly successful Recycling Rewards for Schools campaign.

The campaign has been running since November 2005 and encourages schools to get pupils to collect from family and friends pledges to recycle more rubbish. The pledges earn points for the schools involved and can be exchanged for valuable equipment like computers, cameras and musical instruments.

In addition, every month the school that has collected and submitted the most pledges wins a fantastic prize of a musical instrument.

February's winner was Tarleton Holy Trinity who won a guitar. They will be presented with their prize today by Mr Les Abernethy, Deputy Chief Executive of West Lancashire District Council



A LEAKED Downing Street report is further evidence that the merger of the Lancashire Constabulary with Cumbria will increase council tax, cause redundancies and deliver no benefits to people in the Northern Parishes, local Tory Spokesman Lorraine Fullbrook has claimed.

Residents have been badly let down by local politicians and bureaucrats, said Lorraine Fullbrook, Conservative parliamentary spokesman for South Ribble, who has been campaigning hard against the merger since it was first proposed.

Lorraine commented after The Daily Telegraph published a leaked government report on its front page (20th March) showing that Ministers were advised to increase co-operation between different forces rather than push forward and merge constabularies.

A new force will be formed by April 2007 after the Lancashire Police Authority backed the constabulary's merger with Cumbria on February 24 - the only Police Force in the country to agree to the proposals.

But the report, compiled by the Home Office and Downing Street's strategy unit, states mergers could be expensive to implement, drawn out and could distract management and staff.

Mrs Fullbrook said: "Local politicians and bureaucrats have badly let down local people, serving police officers and civilian workers in Lancashire Police. This will result in an increase in council tax by a minimum of 13%, no guarantee that Hutton will stay open and no benefit to local people. Now we learn that the cost is in the region of £20million, all of which will no doubt have to come from cuts in the current level of service".

Mrs Fullbrook, who fought the South Ribble seat for the Tories and narrowly lost after a recount, said that merger was purely cost driven, and she urged everyone with a view on the merger to register it on line at

The bill, which has risen from £16m to £20m in the last four weeks, will be passed on to council tax payers, she said.



Local police are appealing for information after damage was caused to the Public Toilets, on Church Road Tarleton opposite Tarleton Holy Trinity Primary School.

Over the past month damage was caused to the toilet doors frames and locks making access to the disabled toilet impossible due to a damaged lock.

PC Phil Corrigan, the Community Beat Manager for the area commented," The damage is just mindless vandalism that made the disabled facility impossible to use. The toilets have now been repaired with one of the doors strengthened and replaced thanks to the quick actions of West Lancashire District Council. However, I would like to appeal to anyone who lives in the area and may have seen or does see anything suspicious or people causing damage to come forward."

PC Corrigan can be contacted via Southern Communications Centre on 0845 1 25 35 45.



Chief Superintendent Irene Curtis takes over from Chris Weigh

Chief Superintendent Irene Curtis has taken over as the new Divisional Commander for Southern Division of Lancashire Constabulary. Chief Superintendent Chris Weigh who held the position prior to Mrs Curtis has now moved to HQ at Hutton where he will lead the team in charge of the amalgamation of Cumbria and Lancashire Constabularies.
On her arrival within the Division Chief Superintendent Curtis commented, “I am delighted to have been appointed to this position and I am thoroughly looking forward to working in this division. Mr Weigh leaves the Division in excellent shape and I am determined to build upon his considerable successes.”



The police are investigating the possibility that someone is deliberatly poisoning pets after vets confirmed that the latest cat death is as a result of poisoning. Over recent months four young and healthy cats have all died with the same symptoms.

In a letter to this website Pete Lynas appeals for any information about the poisonings and for extra vigilance amongst Chapel Road cat owners. Go to letters page



Lorraine Fullbrook to give local people a “Real” say over police merger.

Local Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman Lorraine Fullbrook is so angry that local people are not being given a real say in the future of Lancashire Police that she has launched a survey on the subject.

The survey takes two forms, a hard copy that is being delivered to over 35,000 homes in the South Ribble Constituency in the next few weeks, and an online survey that is open to everyone who lives in Lancashire with access to the internet.

Mrs Fullbrook who hopes to be the MP for Rufford, Banks, Tarleton, Hesketh Bank, Mawdesley, Eccleston, Croston and Bretherton after the next election explained the reason she has launched the survey in a letter she has sent today to this Website.

In her letter Lorraine says....

“Lancashire Police Authority continue to peddle the line that 86% of local people want a merger with Cumbria, without ever telling them that the merger will increase the police portion of their local council tax by 13%, for which they will receive nothing.

Add to this the £20 million start-up costs out of the existing police budget (which has gone up by £4 million in the last four weeks), no guarantee that Hutton will remain the Headquarters of any merged force and redundancies throughout Lancashire Police; this is a disaster for local people.

A representative of the Police Authority publicly admitted to me at a recent public meeting that, “inevitably, there will be redundancies” A great number of serving police officers and civilian workers live locally. Together with local people, they are being badly let down by politicians and bureaucrats.

I have therefore launched my own survey on this issue.

It can be found on the internet at It asks the straight question that the Lancashire Police Authority refused to, “What is the best way forward for local policing,

a) For Lancashire Police to remain a stand-alone force?
b) For Lancashire Police to merge with Cumbria Police?

I urge everyone who shares my view to complete this question, so we can try and fight this together."

Lorraine has promised to make sure the results are passed to Charles Clark, the Home Secretary, the Lancashire Police Authority, the Lancashire Constabulary and the Labour MP for South Ribble.



West Lancashire District Council has announced a Council Tax rise of just 2.7% - one of the lowest in Lancashire - an increase of just £4.42 a year for the Government average Band D property.

Councillor Adrian Owens, Portfolio Holder for Finance, said: "I am delighted to announce that we have pegged the Council Tax rise to an affordable, sensible level, similar to the rate of inflation and the same as the increase in pensions. I can promise local residents that they will certainly get value for money. We are making improvements in efficiency as well as providing better services for the residents of West Lancashire.

"Despite the minimum grant increase possible from the Government we have achieved one of the lowest increases in Lancashire by squeezing savings across a wide range of our work. Thanks to this efficiency, we are also able to make improvements in services."

West Lancashire District Council



Lancashire County Council is offering 10 lucky people the chance to win two tickets for the Ideal Home Exhibition, at London’s Earls Court, from the 9 March to the 2 April.

To be in with a chance to win, click on the rubbish resolutions website and make a resolution to reduce, reuse or recycle your household waste. The top ten resolutions logged before 17th March win a pair of tickets to the Ideal Home Show.



Speaking about the roll out of the new bin collection scheme in the Parbold area, Cllr John Baldock, Portfolio Holder for Waste and Recycling, was yesterday quoted on the WLDC website as saying "In areas of West Lancashire that have already been introduced to the new collection system, the vast majority of people have responded very positively and already we are beginning to see an encouraging rise in the amount of waste that is recycled. As we move into the start of phase three, I am confident that residents will continue to do their bit to help protect our environment for future generations."

Under the new scheme normal household waste is now limited to a grey wheelie bin which is collected every other week. There has been no change to the recyclable materials collected or frequency of collection.

In sharp contrast to the view of the Council, our own recent survey found that 85% of people were unhappy with the new service.

What do you think? Have your say on the LETTERS page



The latest "Village Vote" closed at 7:30pm today with 85% of those participating voting that they were unhappy with the new bin service.

Under the new scheme normal household waste - in a grey wheelie bin - is collected every other week.

West Lancashire District Council



United Utilities' are to raise their charges by a whopping 7.6%, an increase that will add £22 to the average 2006-2007 household bill. The average water and sewerage bill increase across the UK will be 5.5%.

Ofwat defended the inflation busting increases saying they were needed to cover rising costs. "I realise that these bill increases will not be welcome," said director general of water services Philip Fletcher.

United Utilities | Ofwat



Latest price rise makes the average household energy bills for British Gas customers leap 66% from £606 to £1005 since start of 2004.

British Gas has today announced a record price hike since privatisation - its fourth price rise since 2004, and its second in six months. It has increased gas prices by 22% and electricity prices by 22% for its customers. The increases will add £1.08 billion to UK domestic gas bills, taking the average household energy bill past the £1000 mark for the first time ever.

The announcement comes as no surprise as Centrica, British Gas’ parent company, had already stated that its pricing policy for 2006 would be to pass on the full cost of wholesale increases to its customers. However, like all major energy suppliers, British Gas’ trading policy on the wholesale gas market should have insulated them from the worst of the effects of the drastic price increases seen this winter.

The continuing cost of loyalty for the average British Gas customer is now a staggering £374. In spite of the fact that prior to this announcement the company had already raised its gas prices by 36% since 2004, half of all UK households still haven’t switched to another supplier, according to independent comparison and switching service uSwitch.

Alan Tattersall, Director of Home Services at, comments: “This is one of the biggest social scandals in recent memory. It is misleading for British Gas to hide behind wholesale gas prices as the reason for these latest increases. Even before this latest round of energy price rise announcements British Gas charged their customers on average 12.5% more for gas than their main competitors. The volatility of the wholesale gas market affects all other gas and electricity suppliers, and yet British Gas is now 25% more expensive than other suppliers’ standard tariffs, and 37% more expensive than the average cheapest tariff.
“The alarming fact is that there are still over 11 million gas customers who are prepared to pay the premium rates now being charged by British Gas. We would urge consumers to shop around for the best deals.”

Click here for independent energy price comparison - See how much you will save!



The Crime Prevention office at Skemersdale today reports that over last weekend there have been a number of burglaries in Hesketh Bank and Tarleton where persons have gained entry into property via older type double glazing units. These units have the glass fitted from the outside and it is relatively easy to remove the retaining beading and take the window out.

To prevent this Crime Prevention suggest you contact your installer to upgrade your windows by sealing the unit or putting brackets around the beading area.



The Hesketh Bank, Banks and Tarleton branch of the South Ribble Conservative Association have just launched their own website at

Dave Rydings, the webmaster of the new site, said “The idea behind it is to keep local people abreast of issues that are of concern to them within the area, and to provide a means for them to contact their local Conservative councillors. In common with other websites it provides links to other sources of local and national information”

He continued “Should you have an issue that you feel concerns your local Conservative Councillor then you now have the means to send them an e-mail directly to their own inbox – it’s as simple as that”.

Dave also expressed the point that “young people have been turned off by politics and it was considered that as they will use the internet more than others it would be a way of reaching out to them and listening to their views on what concerns them – they are our future after all”.

“The current format is just for starters”, he said, “A website should be a living document - updated as often as possible and covering issues of concern to those who read it”. He concluded “As the man on the TV advert “I don’t do politics” says about those who declare no interest in the subject – you have no choice – politics affects everybody and it is hoped that this website will play its part in helping local people to be aware of issues that concern local Conservatives”.

The website launch follows an upbeat AGM for South Ribble Conservatives: Last year only 4 people put themselves forward at the AGM for election, but in a clear sign that the tide has turned in their favour, last weeks AGM saw 15 people putting themselves forward for the 13 positions available.

West Lancs was well represented with 5 of the new officers coming from the area. These being Barry Bryan and Lancashire County Councillor Malcolm Baron from Sollom, Mrs Kate Maughan and Mr Dave Rydings from Tarleton and Cllr Iain Ashcroft from Hesketh Bank.

At the end of the night the new team gathered for a group photo with their recently re-adopted Parliamentary spokesman Lorraine Fullbrook. Commenting after the meeting Lorraine said "I was delighted at the quality and quantity of people wanting to help run the local Conservative Party. I would urge anyone interested to get intouch - we are looking to have fun and to win the next General Election, and after Fridays AGM I am confident that we will do both".



Competition organiser Trevor Wilson with Susan and Edwin Miller of the Do It Yourself Centre. The DIY Centre have been long standing sponsors of the Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Competition.

Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Competition organiser Trevor Wilson was pleased to announce that the 2005 competition raised a total of £763 for the North West Air Ambulance.

The money was raised from the entry fees, stalls and raffle at the fiercely contested annual event. "I would like to thank all the contestants, supporters and helpers who have again helped us raise so much for charity" said Trevor.

Trevor also announced some changes to this year's competition: "The nominated charity for the 2006 will be the NSPCC and we hope that this will help encourage many more younger growers to participate, either through their schools or as individuals. The other change is that for the first time in the history of the competition we will be offering cash prizes for the heaviest pumpkins grown. We would like to take this opportunity to thank agricultural services company CAS Ltd of Halsall who have kindly donated the prize money."

Click here for details of the 2006 competition



Lorraine Fullbrook, who hopes to represent Rufford, Banks, Tarleton, Hesketh Bank, Mawdesley and Eccleston at Westminster for the South Ribble constituency after the next general election, has challenged The Lancashire Police Authority to re-run it’s recent consultation on the merger of Lancashire Police with other forces, which she believes is fundamentally flawed.

Mrs Fullbrook believes that the merger is being pushed through without local people being given a say on retaining Lancashire as a stand-alone force. She also believes that the impact of a merger is not being properly explained to local residents. In particular the impact a merger may have on local jobs, council tax and the future of the Lancashire Police Head Quarters at Hutton.

In a letter to the Chairman of the Lancashire Police Authority Lorraine says..

Dear Mr Doherty,


I am writing to ask that you re-run the so-called consultation that your authority has recently undertaken in relation to the possible merging of Lancashire Police with other forces. You claim to be seeking the views of the people of Lancashire and yet your consultation is fundamentally flawed.

Whilst many other forces and Police Authorities are opposing any merger as not in the best interests of local policing and local peoples needs, your survey fails to offer the status quo as an option. Is it any wonder that those asked overwhelming backed the least worst option you offered them i.e. a merger with Cumbria?

Merging is not a definite outcome of the process that is currently underway. Yet you seem to have pre-determined the outcome by deciding to deprive local people of the chance of supporting Lancashire as a stand-alone force.
Like many people, I believe that merging would be an expensive exercise costing millions of pounds, and yet the Government has said it will not be making any additional funding available so the burden is likely to fall to the council tax payer, and start up costs being met from existing police budgets.
What is more, implementing a merger will no doubt distract police officers and staff from their day job of delivering a quality policing service for the residents Lancashire. The result will be a bigger force with less local accountability.
You seem determined to ignore these concerns, along with the obvious threat that a merger poses to the future of Hutton as the location of a merged force Headquarters. As you will understand this is a matter of particular concern to me, both regarding jobs that may be lost and the future use the site may be put to.
Lancashire is one of the country’s top performing forces and its officers do a tremendous job, however your determination to merge and by doing so to put jobs and resources at risk does the police officers and civilian staff no justice.
If you really wanted to know the views of local people, you would re-contact those who answered your consultation and ask them one simple question.
“The Government wishes to merge Lancashire Police into a Regional Police Force – this puts the future of Hutton in question; will require cuts in police jobs and service and will see the police precept of your council tax rise by around 12% - are you for or against such a merger?”
I would be grateful if you could consider this, and let me know as soon as possible if you are prepared to do so.
Yours Sincerely,

Lorraine Fullbrook
Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for the South Ribble Constituency



Our local Scouts took part in the Ormskirk District "Operation Moonlight" event held last weekend. In total, almost 400 scouts and explorer scouts had to navigate unguided from Down Holland to Dalton, a distance of around 8 miles as the crow flies, whilst avoiding "The Catchers". Some of the teams may, in their efforts to evade capture, have traveled up to 14 miles. Our local teams proved very capable of looking after themselves and finished the course with "lives" to spare.

A short video of the event can now be viewed online on the Ormskirk District website in several qualities for those with varying internet link speeds.

H. and Baggy pass on a "well done" to all those who took part.



Local Conservative Spokesman Lorraine Fullbrook has taken the Ormskirk Advertisers' campaign against local hospital Trust mergers to the top.

She has called on Patricia Hewitt the Secretary of State for Health to intervene to ensure Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust is not swallowed up in a merger with Merseyside Trusts.

In a letter she had hand delivered to the Secretary of State on Monday, Lorraine said;

Dear Secretary of State,

Re: Safeguarding the Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust

As the Conservative Parliamentary Spokesmen for the South Ribble constituency, I am writing to draw your attention to the campaign currently being run against the possible merger of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust with hospital Trusts on Merseyside.

The Campaign is being run by the Ormskirk Advertiser Newspaper and has cross Party support from many local people including, myself, my Conservative colleague Mark Bigley and both Rosie Cooper MP and John Pugh MP.

It is clear that an overwhelming majority of local people share my concern that this proposed merger is nothing other than a cost saving measure, and will do nothing to enhance the service provided to local people. I would be grateful if you could look closely at this issue, which matters greatly to the people living in villages such Tarleton, Banks, Hesketh Banks, Rufford, Eccleston and Mawdesley, all of whom will be directly and I believe adversely affected by any merger of their local Hospital Trust with Trusts in Liverpool.

I am saddened that you could even consider merging our local Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust with those in Liverpool. I realise your Government seems hell bent on merging everything from our Police Force to our Councils and now our Hospital Trusts.

This is not in the best interests of local people and I urge you to make it clear that you will use the powers at your disposal to ensure the survival of our local Trust delivering health services in our local area.

Lorraine Fullbrook
Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for South Ribble



Amadeus, the 6 year old brown and white Leonberger x Bernese Mountain cross breed was today reunited with his owner.

The extensive poster campain and media coverage (2005 News Archive 29/12/05) has led to many people reporting sightings and allowed the search party to track his movements throughout the villages of West Lancashire.

A telephone call this morning pin-pointed him in a field and a team of 15 people were mustered to close the net and catch him. After over 7 weeks of being "on the run" he was described as being fit and well.



The following vehicle's occupant's are believed to be responsible for a number of thefts and burglaries throughout the South Lancashire area, including theft of motor vehicle, theft of number plates and both commercial and domestic burglary.

The vehicle is described as a Burgandy coloured Audi A4 saloon which is displaying a stolen number plate Y78 WBF.

If this vehicle is seen or you have any information regarding this vehicle or its occupants please contact the Police or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111



Automatic Number Plate Recognition Patrols at Penwortham Police Station

Southern Division’s Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) Team have taken delivery of five new motorbikes in their fight against crime.

The ANPR team, which consists of one Police Sergeant and six Police Constables will now be using the latest BMW RS 120cc sports motorcycles to police the highways of the division. The team also use a covert vehicle and high performance Vauxhall Vectra with all officers trained to the highest level of police advanced driving techniques.

The ANPR system identifies suspect vehicles that may have been stolen and may be driven by offenders. When a vehicle is identified officers stop the vehicle and speak to the driver and occupants. The information contained about the vehicle on the intelligence system provides the officers with the necessary edge that allows them to deal with suspects more efficiently. The device is able to monitor traffic flows on even the busiest roads and even in the heaviest of traffic, can read every passing registration plate to pick out those worthy of police attention.

Sergeant Steve Moon who is in charge of the ANPR team commented,” In the last year the team have been responsible for the arrest of 212 persons for crime and kindred offences. They have recovered numerous stolen vehicles and property and large quantities of class ‘A’ drugs. The use of this technology provides us with a really efficient method of policing the Division’s Roads.”



North West Air Ambulance EC135 Helicopter at Poppyfields, Hesketh Bank

Local residents were able to see at first hand the new North West Air Ambulance "Katie" when it landed at Poppyfields on Boxing Day afternoon, responding to an emergency call at Douglas Avenue.

After carefully assessing the situation the NWAA paramedics decided that it's services were not required and a land Ambulance was called to deal with the incident. Click here for a short video clip (5mb) of the helicopter taking off.

The NWAA were able to upgrade their helicopter following a £500,000 legacy from the estate of Katie Caine from Thornton Clevelys. The new EC135 helicopter can fly at up to 20 knots faster than the previous aircraft which will make an often critical two minute difference in the time it takes to reach the hospital.

The visit to Hesketh Bank on Boxing Day was the fifth incident that the NWAA had attended that day. During the Christmas period the Air Ambulance attended a total of nine incidents.

Further information about the invaluable work of the North West Air Ambulance can be found on the NWAA website


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