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Love Hesketh Bank

Dear Editor

I have been reading about the love Hesketh Bank scheme and hope it will get through to all the 'litter louts ' who are too weak to carry a can or wrapping papers to put in a rubbish bin or are under the illlusion that hedges are a suitable place to stick their rubbish.

I haven't notice many front gardens that are well looked after, and there are still grot spots around, noticeably around the side of the One Stop, the front boundary hedge of the nursing home near the bus stop. One long lived eyesore, next to Carl's Top Shop has thankfully at last been pulled down. Hope they finish the job soon

It's nice to see the flowers at the top of Moss Lane, kindly donated by Arden Lee .

Mo Bentley, 26th May 2014

Jubilee Decorations

Dear Editor,

It was so nice over the jubilee weekend to travel through Banks and see all the bunting throughout the village. Travelling through Burscough too, again it was lovely to see all the bunting throughout. It was so disappointing that there was no bunting in Hesketh Bank, just a few flags in the planters, hanging baskets and troughs outside the shops. Why could the parish council not put bunting out as they have done previously? It was such a shame, it did feel that the village was not part of the celebrations even though there were a number of celebrations taking place here.

Mrs Stephens. 11th June 2012

Just a wee bit higher..

Dear Editor,

I am glad that Mr. Robinson has recognised the democratic deficit in Hesketh Bank, he may be interested in the next batch of email correspondence between myself and the Clerk to the Council. In the interests of completeness I have included it in its entirety:

From: John Hodson <>
Subject: Re: Cuadrilla
To: "Ian T Cropper" <>
Cc: "Iain Ashcroft" <>, "Steve Kirby" <>, "REAF" <>
Date: Wednesday, 7 September, 2011, 13:14

Good afternoon Ian,

So, in summary, you are acting as the gateway as to what the Council can and cannot debate? In every Council that I am aware of significant issues of concern can be placed on the agenda at the request of elected members so as to deliberate, debate and inform, as opposed to being a 'talking shop' as you put it. I think it disingenuous of you to start retrospectively placing qualifications on precisely which grounds we were requesting the Agenda item - no matter- whatever your motivations are, you obviously do not want the Council to discuss anything which is counter to what Cuadrilla would like to put out. Fortunately, the world does not revolve around HwBPC.

Tarleton & Much Hoole PC's have agreed to have an agenda item at their next meetings at my request. It is a shame that HwBC will be the odd one out, which no doubt will be noted by residents and 'activists' as you refer to them by. I also think it an affront to residents that you only consider 'qualified professionals' to be able to hold an opinion on the matter and consider your suggestions as to the format of any public meeting to be a further demonstration of your wish to control events which I feel will be impossible for you to do.



--- On Wed, 7/9/11, Ian T Cropper <> wrote:

From: Ian T Cropper <>
Subject: Cuadrilla
To: "'John Hodson'" <>
Cc: "Iain Ashcroft" <>, "Steve Kirby" <>
Date: Wednesday, 7 September, 2011, 10:19

Morning John, thank you for your email this morning.

As you are aware, a Council is a decision making body and as such items are placed on the Agenda by the Clerk that can have an achievable outcome; we are not simply a ‘talking shop’.

At the meeting earlier this week, you specifically stated after I pressed the matter, that you were asking for this matter to be dealt with again on the basis that it was believed by you that a further Planning Application was being submitted in connection with the Banks site; this on my enquiries has proved to be untrue at the present time. You are also aware that this Council were advised by Cuadrilla of their intention to apply for temporary planning permission in July 2010 and Members subsequently considered the application on consultation from LCC. No objection was raised as permission was being sought on the basis of exploration and testing only and that should Cuadrilla conclude that a commercial project could be viable, a further application would be necessary for a production facility.

Members of this Council are visiting the site this afternoon and I believe North Meols are following us this evening with a visit from Tarleton CPC next week; in view of Much Hoole also being the location of a designated site, it might be prudent for your Council there to also arrange a visit also.

It has been suggested that once these visits, and others arranged by local groups, are complete, a further public meeting (only facilitated by the Parish Councils) is held when local residents from the Northern Parishes (and possibly Much Hoole ?) can address their views, concerns or indeed support to representatives of Cuadrilla and accredited professionals who are against the operations; my Chairman is prepared to chair such a meeting. I do think, that in order for any outcomes from such a meeting to have weight, it is important that such a meeting is not managed by activists and that answers to the public’s questions and concerns are provided by professionals from both camps.

Do you have a ‘professional(s)’ who is suitably qualified to speak on the subject?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Ian T Cropper Parish Clerk & RFO
Hesketh with Becconsall Parish Council
Providence Place
125 Roe Lane

Apparently the scheduled meeting for HwBPC has been postponed for some as yet unknown reason, can anyone lift the veil a tiny bit higher on this?

Cllr. J.E.Hodson. 2nd October 2011

Another twitch of the veil - please

Napoleon Bonaparte once said “plans are nothing but planning is everything”. Later Helmuth von Moltke, a 19th-century head of the Prussian army, famously observed. “No battle plan ever survives first contact with the enemy.” In short because you cannot rely on things going to plan then you need think ahead about various options.

The discovery of a shale gas field in West Lancashire could well be a game changer for this area in a number of ways – some good, some bad. As such, much to my ideological surprise, I find myself agreeing with Councillor Hodson that Hesketh Bank and Becconsall’s Parish Council’s decision not to have this topic on the agenda, following an expression of public concern, for their next meeting seems somewhat perverse. All parish council’s represent the front line opportunity for active democracy; otherwise known as government by the people for the people. The fact that residents can go and express concerns about local things’ impact on local people is integral to that process. Also integral is that the Parish Council represents the interest of the parish to the outside world. That interest needs to be defined and disseminated.

I expect we are at the point where there are far more questions than answers but at least a putting together a list of questions about areas of concern would seem a good place to start. Residents need to know what they don’t know and starting to get the community on the same page of the hymn book seems an eminently reasonable community leadership role for the council to adopt. Whilst at this stage it would be premature for the council to have taken a definitive position on this matter, it would certainly help if there was evidence that they had started to follow Napoleon’s advice and had started thinking about it. Perhaps the Chairman and Parish Clerk could be encouraged to swap notes and think again? If questioned as to why or if accused by political opponents of some kind of volte-face they could always requote Harold MacMillan who once said the difficult part of politics was "Events, dear boy, events".

Bob Robinson. 2nd October 2011


Dear Editor,

Some of your readers will be aware that there have been a number of email exchanges between myself and the Clerk to the Council over the issue of Shale Gas extraction. The last meeting of HwBPC was attended by several members of the public who during the Public Participation section of the meeting, requested from the Council that the Issue of Shale Gas extraction be placed as an agenda item at the next meeting. Everyone present left the meeting with the clear understanding that this was granted. I was dismayed and shocked to receive the following email from the Clerk to the Council shortly after:  

Good afternoon John; Nice to see you at the meeting last night.

pt">I’ve checked regarding a further planning application as you intimated last night with regards to the Banks Marsh site and confirm that Cuadrilla have stated that they have no intention of placing a further application until and if a permanent production facility is to be sought. The only other application in hand is, as you are probably aware, at Weeton. I don’t believe an actual prospective site has yet been identified at Much Hoole.

On that basis, this Council will not be having any further discussions on the subject at the present time and I won’t therefore be placing an item on the Agenda in October as there aren’t any decisions required of the Council. If an application for a permanent production facility is subsequently made, we will in all probability have a special public meeting with Cuadrilla and other interested local bodies present.


Ian T Cropper
Parish Clerk & RFO
Hesketh with Becconsall Parish Council


At the time I was somewhat puzzled by the unhelpfull decision not to include the Agenda item (a decision taken presumably by the Clerk himself?) but as things progress and following yesterday's announcement by Cuadrilla [See news 21/08/11], the veil is starting to lift.

More to come.


Cllr. J.E.Hodson. 22nd September 2011

Centenary Sports Ground Development

I have just read the latest (Issue 18) Parish Council newsletter and note the intent to investigate a private/public partnership which will consider:

Enhanced car parking to alleviate parking problems on Station Road
Provide new drainage for the football and cricket pitches
An additional football pitch
Indoor courts for basketball, netball, tennis and badminton
An Archery range

Whilst no information has yet been forthcoming from any councillor on the allotment questions below, I will nevertheless persevere and constructively ask:

  1. Residents raised the issues with parking on Station Road but these were brushed aside by the Parish Council and West Lancs DC when the Ball Park plans were submitted (which is being built on the existing car park). Do the Parish Council now accept that the Ball Park will make matters worse? If so, why are we about to start building it without alternative provisions being in place?
  2. As far as I understand both fields are on a long lease to the Football Club and the Cricket Club and neither are available for the general public to use. Both contracts were recently renewed so why are the ratepayers being lined up to replace the drains; surely this is the responsibility of the tenant(s)?
  3. An impressive and long list of facilities is anticipated - how come we can now find the space for so much when after exhaustive searches there was no space available at all for a small skate park?
  4. The Parish Council has appealed for many years for opportunities to increase community owned land for just these purposes - are we now considering selling to developers the little bit we presently own?

From what little is written, it really could all be a great idea and fantastic for the village but it really would be nice for some answers to questions to be forthcoming.

Para two of the newsletter is headed "It's Good To Talk" - I believe the modern expression "LOL" to be appropriate.

J. Ball. 29th April 2010

Shore Road Allotments

I heard a rumour that the Parish Council were undertaking a long overdue revamp of the Shore Road allotments. I have had a look on their website and the February minutes do indeed reference the allotments, saying they are to commission a £4000 'Feasibility and Design' study. They apparently have also set aside a further £10k for the 'initial' phase of the implementation.

At such cost, I am sure it would be of great interest to many to understand the objectives and deliverables of the study and the reasoning behind it. Details are sparse and, at face value, I am really struggling to understand why we would need to spend £14k on the existing allotments. The website also notes the income from the allotments to be just £300 per annum.

If we do have that sort of money going spare might it not be better spent purchasing more land?

On my visit to the council website I also noted:

  • The Council apparantly has a vacancy but there is no advert or further information available on the website.
  • The last News update was May 2009.
  • The last Documents update was December 2007

....and, as I thought it may hold the key to understanding the allotments, no matter how hard I looked I could not find the 2010 budget! If anyone can help clarify I would be grateful.

J. Ball, 21st March 2010

Parish Council Resignation

Recently I gave notice to Hesketh-with-Becconsall Parish Council terminating my services as a Parish Councillor from the end of September. Not an easy decision, but the work had become incompatible with my particular domestic circumstances. Another village resident from Hundred End expressed an interest - if co-opted - in covering the remainder of my term of office, giving representation and voice to that small rural corner of our parish.

Thank you to everyone who supported me at our local election. It gave me the chance to battle for change and introduce new ideas. Ian Cropper, the Parish Clerk, wrote in reply to my resignation letter that "...I had brought some refreshing thoughts to meetings and caused members to focus their attention more precisely". Considering I was a black sheep in the political fold, it was a kind note on which to finish!

I have a lot of respect for all our Council members and wish them every success in the future. The provision of services, the application of financial restraint, and progress with the Village Plan is proceeding with the help of some good volunteers. There are moves towards greater openness, and hopefully the public will be engaged in key decision-making. It would be good to get more young people involved. But we can feel optimistic about the direction in which Hesketh Bank is going.

Trevor Roberts. 29th September 2009

Parish Council Planning Application 2009/0314/FUL ‘Confusion’

[See Local News 8th May 2009].

Confused, yes I’m confused by what the Parish Council have said they will do and what they have applied to do in the Planning application for a ball court behind the village institute / library on Station Rd.

As a resident of Station Road, near the proposed ball court between the Village Hall and Band Hut I would like to make the following comments:

The planning application for this court unfortunately does not contain the details outlined to the residents at two recent meetings by the Clerk of the Parish Council nor indeed in the information given by the Parish Council on October 2008, and January 2009 when they applied for and received the funding of £58000 for the court.

  • The Clerk and the other members of the Parish Council clearly stated to the residents that the court would have:
  • CCTV cameras connected to Ormskirk to be monitored so any problems would be picked up immediately
  • Floodlights with designated switch on/ switch off times.
  • Would be locked unless used under close supervision by youth workers. Have nets etc locked in either the Hall or Village Hall.
  • Be used 2-3 times per week only i.e. on youth club evenings when supervised

These are NOT in the planning proposal. No mention was made about the court being open at other times for informal use until it was written in the planning application and no opening/closing times were stated.

As this area is visited frequently by youths who partake in underage drinking and loud antisocial behaviour on the road and footpath to the area and a number of complaints have been made to the police regarding this, I hardly feel providing access at all hours to an unsupervised ball court will improve the situation especially as it is also next to a residential care home. Would you like your elderly parents kept awake!

The ball court will present, not an opportunity for decent young people to take part in sporting activities and recreation, but for the youths in the village who do not want to be organized and prefer to drink, swear and behave badly to congregate even more. The Parish Council have had pervious experience of this when they erected the Youth Shelter in the same place and subsequently had to remove it because of the drinking and antisocial behaviour taking place. I wonder whether the Parish Council learned anything from that experience! It was a total waste of Parish Council’s money.

I wholeheartedly agree that youngsters need somewhere to go but the High School has open facilities evenings and weekends and the new sports areas next to the football field is excellent with no negative impact on the local residents, mainly because it is well run. I also know through common sense and experience that unless an area such as this is supervised all the time by suitable adults, behaviour will deteriorate to the lowest level. I believe the youth club has closed due to poor behavior of the youngsters attending and this is supervised!!!!

The Parish Council sent letters regarding the proposed ball court to approx 7-8 houses on Station Road one of which is an empty house. 4/8 residents have objected. Obviously I am only one of these residents and we are only a small number altogether. Does the Parish Council hope they can put this proposal through despite the objections and more importantly without the key details on the planning permission.

Perhaps I should google Confused. Com to help find out what the Parish Council are really wanting to do and what they can afford !

Yours faithfully,
Lesley McCleery, 10th May 2009


I laughed out loud when I read the reply by the council regarding the application they have put in for the fenced ball court behind Hesketh Bank Village Hall [See Local News 8th May 2009].

I live opposite the village hall and have to put up with youths hanging around outside the hall and my house every Friday night and every Wednesday night when the youth club was on. They are noisy, swearing and smoking...drinking out of bottles and cans and generally causing a major disturbance. Only this Friday when the community police car did its rounds about 10 youths legged it down into the ditch that runs alongside the hall and over the front of the residential care home (next door). If these children are doing no harm why did they run so fast and far when the police arrived....underage drinking and drug abuse maybe????.

The reason I started by saying I laughed when I read the reply by the council is because it states they have only received four objections from the whole village.....this is probably due to the fact that only seven homes (one of which is unlived in and empty) were notified by the planning department when the application was made. Not the whole village as stated by the local council. Also they have tried to come up with answers to the objections raised but have failed and have just made themselves look ridiculous. I summarise below

Facility not needed because of the new nearby Sports Centre being built - The Sports Centre is for organised sport and training:
The proposed Ball Court is for play and recreation. This new sports centre offers free sessions.....the proposed ball court is supposed to be for play and recreation..isnt that the same as what someone would do on the new sports centre??? It will attract more youths to the area to congregate and make more noise and nuisance to the local residents.

The Ball Court will bring people together - This is the purpose of the Scheme. Yes and as stated above...would make more problems for the surrounding neighbours who live opposite the site. The youth shelter which was in the exact same site was removed due to it being misused so why will this be any different? Even the police have raised this as a hot spot area for nuisance.

General complaint re the existing condition of the site - The proposed Ball Court is part of the Village Hall's ambitious plan to radically improve the site. The front wall and pillar of the village hall has been knocked down months ago..surely this should be repaired by the council who are obviously so concerned and want to improve the appearance of the site. It is an eye sore.

The scheme will generate noise in the evening -It has already been agreed that the site would be closed at 9:00pm. The possibility of fencing the complete frontage is being looked into with a view to locking gates at 9:00pm Would the councillors want something like this open most evenings right opposite their homes until 9pm? They are welcome to come to my house any Friday evening to see for themselve what we put up with. We cannot sit in our gardens in the summer as it is without hearing effing and jeffing coming over from the gangs that hang out there as the nights become lighter. Also Fencing would look awful at the front of the hall. This is a small rural village...who wants some 5/6ft fencing up to deter youths??. It would look so out of place. The youth problem needs addressing not fences putting up so they move somewhere else. As I live directly opposite I do not want to sit in my front room and see a large ugly fence out of my front window when I now see trees.

Existing nuisance from youths with bikes, scooters etc. - By tidying the site, adding facilities, increasing security with fencing and gates and monitoring (including the adjacent football ground) with CCTV, the Village Hall would hope to turn a problem area into a village asset. Absolute rubbish!!!! and CCTV has never been mentioned on the planning application. This is just a sweetner to keep the residents calm until the planning is passed.

Car Parking spaces will be lost - The designated car park (18 spaces) is to the rear of the Band Room and is untouched by the proposed Ball Court. In addition, it is planned to place additional car parking at the front of the building. How will putting this ball court between the hall and band room not loose parking spaces?? who in their right mind wrote that!!! Also with the Compton Cinema Organ hopefully being put in the back hall and dances being organised there these lost spaces will be needed. As I live opposite I DO NOT WANT people parking outside my house on the road because they have no room to park over the road. Also if the council intend to make more parking spaces at the front of the hall (as well as the large fence) I will have to oppose that as another eye sore from my front window. Will the trees which are there now be pulled down??

Another site should be used - Neither the Council nor Village Hall Committee have other sites available and none have been suggested by objectors. At present, the Parish Council has, on behalf of the Village Hall, applied for Planning Permission to install the facility. Members of the public are now free to notify their views or concerns to the Planning Officer at West Lancashire District Council (Application number 2009/0314/FUL).

Please all people who oppose this write or mail or make comments on West Lancashire Planning website using the above application number of 2009/0314/FUL. For the sake of our village and the residents who live down Station Road and have to endure the trouble already being caused there. Please oppose this.

D Abram, 10th May 2009


I loved the photo of the car park who's loss will not reduce car parking spaces [Local News 7th May 2009].

I read the application and saw that the council claim that the area does not flood whiich was a bit of a surprise. I have attached a couple of photos of the area flooding in January 2008.

Village Hall ditch flooding

The ditch in between the village hall and the old folks home overflowed, the water went out of the gate and down Station Road. I think the Fire Brigade were called out to pump out the bungalow where I think it all ended up.

Floods outside Village Library January 2008

There is not much information on the application and the bits that have been completed are wrong.

L. C. 8th May 2008


Hi there,
I just wanted to let you know our views on the fun day which took place on Sunday.
I attended the event with my two young sons, two young nephews and my mother and father-in-law.  We all thoroughly enjoyed the day, it was a great success.  My son won the drawing competition and my nephew won on the bingo, so they went home very happy boys.  All four of the boys had their faces painted too which they loved.  We would like to see more family events in the village and will look out for posters advertising future events.

Sarah Johnson, 18th June 2008


I also went to the farmers market last Saturday, and I thought it was very good, I bought  veg, fish, cheese , cakes which were all very good quality, also went on the tombola and raffle. The Farmers Market was for a very good cause, and if the stall holders had a good day I am sure word will get round and may be there will be another one. I am sure it was very hard work to organise and the last thing the organisers need are negative comments. We should encourage more village events and get the community together.

Joan Witter, 3rd June 2008


Dear Sir,
Having seen the notice advising of the Farmers Market in Hesketh Bank being held on Saturday 31st May, I decided to visit it and see what I could purchase that was grown or made locally.

I had expected a range of local produce and thought I would be assisting local growers. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. There was one stall selling vegetables; one various cheeses; and one other selling meat & chickens; two selling baked items. The remainder included candles, soaps, fancy cards, books; sweets etc.

None of the stall holders I spoke to were from the immediate locality. In fact, I thought I had arrived at a village fair similar to those that are held by local schools.

I am aware that the event was advertised to assist the Douglas Cardiac Trust so I hope therefore that a considerable amount of money was raised for this very worthy cause. However, I thought the idea of a Farmers Market was to allow local growers to display and sell their wares in the hope of raising their own profile. 

I hope that if any further events are proposed then the organisers will endeavour to ensure that more local growers and businesses will be involved.

J. Johnston, 1st June 2008

Local Elections

Dear Editor,

I am left pondering two issues about our May 1st Election:

1) Cost.
The parish council has accrued £1200 for it's contribution to the costs of the election. As there was no District Councillor being elected it is safe to presume WLDC will not contribute to the costs (despite it being collected in our rates). West Lancs will save the money they had allocated and re-allocate it to other worthy causes - Hesketh Bank lose the money. Residents of Hesketh Bank are already burdened with a significant amount of double taxation (street lighting, play areas and now road building) where we pay LCC or WLDC to (not) do the job for us and pay again through the parish precept.

2) Service.
After yesterdays debacle when the returning officer posted an impossible figure of 146% for our turnout, [see NEWS 2nd May 2008] I have this morning looked on the WLDC website for the updated information. Nothing. Let us estimate that the actual number was something in the region of 650-700 people voting (not 4519). Is it really that big a job to count this relatively small number of slips and correct this very embarasing mistake? Obviously it was and with no shame whatsoever, our WLDC employees have sauntered off for a well earned Holiday Weekend.

I would ask our new Parish Council to seriously consider that paying an overpriced bill for a dodgy service is not the best decision you might make. I beleive Robert Mugabe could have done a similar job for a fraction of the price.

J. Ball, 3rd May 2008


I would like to thank the residents of Hesketh Bank who voted for me in yesterday's Parish Council election. I will do my best to work for the benefit of everyone in the Village.

Maureen Baldwin, 2nd May 2008


I would like to say thank you to all the people in Hesketh Bank who voted for me in yesterday's Parish Council election. I will continue to do my best for all residents of Hesketh Bank.

Norma Goodier, 2nd May 2008

Election Messages

Dear Editor,

I would like to publicly thank all the candidates who have taken the time to share with us their intentions as prospective Parish Councillors on the website [2008 Elections].

I will be casting just eight votes tomorrow - one for each of these candidates.

As for the others, please don't ever whinge about voter apathy, lack of community spirit etc etc when you yourselves cannot be bothered.

J. Ball. 30th April 2008

Election Day Questions

Dear Editor,

To be controversial (which I usually am) here are a few questions we Heky Bankers might ask before Election Day:

  • Why did issue 10 of the Newsletter "SHORELINE SUMMARY" allocate only a couple of lines to public expenditure (Parish Precepts) with heaps about the award, achievements, peripheral things, and dog muck? Dumbing down?
  • Can we hear more of the Parish's on-going debt liability from the servicing of past loans and through outstanding and current pledges of financial support to different causes?
  • At the last meeting, why did members accept just one new insurance quote for community assets and liabilities? Were other quotes received?
  • Why do members lean so heavily on the Clerk? He advises but - like the rest of us - he is not infallible.

When politicians keep us in the dark it cause the very apathy we see at election time. Thankfully at national level we have watchful journalists.

Time for better consultation locally.

Trevor Roberts, 25th April 2008

Hesketh Bank Parish Council Elections

It's Thursday 24 April. I have received my postal voting form with a list of 13 contenders for eleven seats on Hesketh Bank parish council. I have also received a circular from just one candidate and seen one from another on this website. [Click here for 2008 Election messages]

After living in the parish for over 35 years, I reckon I know around six of the thirteen hopefuls and perhaps recognise another name or two. If any of the shrinking violets would like encourage me to vote for them, perhaps they could let me know the answer to these questions, possibly by an election communication, possibly by canvassing me in person, or even via this village website: how do you propose to ascertain voter support for large expenditures on i) giving money to a private sports club without guarantee of public value? ii) reducing the HGV problem?

Ian Wells, 24th April 2008

HwB Parish Council

To The Editor, Since my letter of 15th April, I've been asked about the Audit Commission. It acts on the recommendations contained in reports made by external and internal auditors.

It is effectively a 'watchdog' which monitors fairness and efficiency. It puts pressure on local government to be more creative in cost-saving. 5 months ago the Chairman said: "Councils should no longer let dogmatic views stand in the way of service improvements or offering value for money".

My own election leaflet should bear the endorsement : Printed and Published by Trevor Roberts, 79A Moss Lane, Hesketh Bank PR4 6AA.

Enjoy the electioneering!

Trevor Roberts, 23rd April 2008

Dear Editor,

The election leaflets that have been distributed by Trevor Roberts are in contradiction to the instruction given from Electoral Commission namely in:-

Just out of interest and certain legality a known person with council experience should now withdraw his leaflets.

Norma Goodier, 22nd April 2008

HwB Parish Council Dear Editor,

It’s nice to see someone has taken time to reply to my original letter, unfortunately the long list Cllr Goodier has supplied hardly answers my original question. I am sure every parish council could rattle of a similar list, and the point of the question was why are we in Hesketh Bank taxed the most. As J Ball stated, we are hardly awash with facilities. I fully understand there are economies of scale, but I cannot see what we are paying a higher precept for.

Kindest Regards,
Andy Parkinson, 16th April 2008

Hesketh Bank Parish Council

I make only proposals for debate - not promises.

I would refer to the Audit Commission's 'Best Value' Report on 'Financial Planning in Local Government' : see Principle 1 "Giving the public a greater say in the planning of services".

See 'key question 4 for councillors on 'resource allocation' : "Consultation will be an essential element of best practice and an important way to strengthen accountability of councils to the communities they serve".

Hesketh Bank has been awarded Quality Status. Surely members will be receptive to debate my proposal.

Trevor Roberts, 15th April 2008

Dear Sir,

Although I emailed you the achievements, I was doing this on behalf of all the outgoing Councillors of Hesketh with Becconsall Parish Council.

I think it would be wise for prospective candidates to make themselves aware of how a Parish Council operates, especially with regards to the role of the Clerk and Financial Officer before they start promising what they are going to achieve.

Norma Goodier, 15th April 2008

Hesketh Bank Parish Council

I was glad to see that Councillor Goodier had provided a written answer to correspondents wanting to know where their money is going.

If elected to serve on the new Council I shall propose production of an outline spending plan - listing projects for the next financial year - to be communicated openly once determined.

I was at the last meeting of the Parish Council and thanked retiring members at the Public Forum for their time and effort.

Those of us who still believe in democracy now appeal to everyone : please go out and vote on 1st May.

Trevor Roberts, 15th April 2008

Achievement of the Outgoing Parish Council April 2008

Dear Editor,

The following are the achievements of the Outgoing Parish Council. This might also answer some of the questions raised regarding the precept:

New pram width footpath over the length of Shore Road Recreation Ground

Total Major Refurbishment of the Shore Road Play Area including fencing, new equipment and safety surfacing

Refurbishment and overhaul of Glen Park Drive Play Area

Major refurbishment of the Station Road Play Area including fencing, safety surfacing, new play equipment and CCTV

Acquisition of the railway bridge embankment from LCC for planned maintenance and landscaping

CCTV monitoring of Shore Road Recreation Ground, Play Area and Car Park

Jointly financed scheme with LCC for lighting to the full length of Shore Road

Establishment of a 'Northern Parishes Roads Focus Group' to tackle the problems of congestion and condition of roads

Major rebuilding of Hundred End Lane

Major survey of Shore Road and production of £30,000 safety scheme to be implemented by LCC

Reduction of the speed limit to the full length of Shore Road - Marsh Road to 50 mph

Purchase of speed monitoring and recording equipment

Negotiating an agreement to ensure the continued availability of the Sports Hall and Swimming Pool for the use of Hesketh Bank residents

Provision of new Bus Shelters with seating, lighting and raised kerbstones to facilitate easier boarding of buses

Provision of an hourly bus service to Rufford, Burscough and Ormskirk

Regular maintenance and cleaning of 15 wayside seats and 13 bus shelters

Establishment of a Telecoms Transmitter on the Centenary Sports Ground to provide an income to the Council of £4000 per annum and remove the possibility of the mast being installed adjacent to residential properties

Institution of a Farmers Market

Support for the proposed 'Community sports Centre' on land adjacent to the Centenary Sports Ground

Achieving the Nationally recognised status of 'Quality Control' of which we were the 440th out of 8,500 in the UK and the 2nd in West Lancashire.

Providing Christmas Trees throughout the village

Norma Goodier, 14th April 2008

Local Elections

A 2008 Local Elections page has been set up to allow ALL the peoplewho are standing in the 1st May Local Elections an opportunity to convey their election message to local residents.

Editor, 5th April 2008

HwB Council Tax

Dear Editor,
To the casual observer, Hesketh Bank is not obviously awash with Council provided facilities and the surprise felt by many residents to discover that the Parish Council precept is the highest in West Lancashire should have been anticipated. Two weeks ago Andy Parkinson tabled a very reasonable question that has gone unanswered.

Personally, I am unsure that the duties of the Clerk should extend to justifying the expenditure committed to by the Parish Council - I would much prefer those that have been elected to take such decisions on behalf of residents to provide a brief overview of the reasoning that has resulted in Hesketh Bank being in this position.

It is not necessarily unreasonable that Hesketh Bank should pay the most. It most certainly is unreasonable that our Councillors do not feel the need to communicate with their electorate!

J. Ball, 2nd April 2008

HwB Council Tax

Dear Editor,
unfortunately I am not an HwB councillor at parish or district level so am unable to answer Mr Richard Hodson’s query.

I can explain the mechanics of setting budgets and precepts, but I do not think that that is what he wants to hear. I would suggest that he contact the clerk, or any councillor, of HwB Parish Council and I am sure that they will be able to give an answer specific to HwB. I can only speak as a councillor for North Meols.

I can only assume that they are far more efficient at setting and spending their budget than other councils. I can give an example of this from my own council.

We have set a budget this year of £70,000, but our precept is only £37,000 as we have a very large under spend brought forward from 2007/08. This had had the effect of reducing our precept. Had we not had the under spend our precept would have been about £45 on a band ‘D’ equivalent, which is considerably higher than yours.

I am sorry that I cannot be more helpful, but I do suggest contacting your parish clerk who will be able to give the information you are looking for.

Dr David Vickers, 1st April 2008

To Dr. David Vickers
I notice from your recent posting on the Village Website [Local Politics 30th March 2008] that you are "a councillor at parish and district council levels".

You should be well qualified, then, to answer the question posted by Andy Parkinson, 18th. March as to why we in Hesketh Bank are paying more in Council Tax than anyone else in West Lancs. Try and keep your response simple, please, then we can all understand.

Richard Hodson. 31st March 2008

Council Tax

Dear Editor,
I see the new council tax bill has come through. I noticed in the accompanying leaflet, that Hesketh with Becconsall is the most expensive in all of West Lancs. How can this be? Can anyone (including one of our elected representatives) explain how and why this is the case.

Andy Parkinson, 18th March 2008

Christmas Lights

How good it is to see our village decorated with trees and lights on all the shop fronts. Excellent. Thanks to all concerned.

Richard Hodson, 4th December 2007

Hesketh Bank Half Pipe

We were told that the council have bought a half pipe from croston council and that it would be up at the end of last year and nothing has happened?? there are so many people waiting for some sort of skating facility such as this, theres a lot of younger kids and older kids such as myself wanting to ride our bikes but the council have not provided anything to use so we resort to riding in the streets or other places which we get moaned at for, but there is nower else to go!!!

G. Townsend, 6th January 2006

On 18th May I had sight of TWO DOCUMENTS circulated to all Parish Council members (but received too late by one) concerning a grant of £50,000 to Hesketh Bank FC.These internal papers are not marked private (as is since alleged) and were not despatched under 'confidential' cover, but they involve considerable public finance which should be openly discussed. Good practice in our society does not condone attempts to gag any dissident elected voice from conferring with constituents, but I trust fair-minded councillors will ensure their colleague is not later intimidated from the chair.

The memorandum from the Parish Clerk, who is responsible for the administration of finances, reminds councillors of the controversial nature of a resolution to make this grant (support is divided) and takes the unusual step of circulating a draft letter before it is issued to authorize the payment. Some members intend to re-visit the issue and the Clerk sensibly sought prior approval. This was all on the deadline day of the letter going off unless SERIOUS CONCERN was raised. The hesitation was from someone who advises members on the consequence of their actions, and it was wise in the context of such a large council tax pay-out.

The draft letter to the Hesketh Bank FC certainly gave me serious concern. Line 1 'delightedly advised agreement in principle of the £50,000 grant' which was a clear commitment, but this PRECEDED 5 caveats which needed to be firmly binding in the transaction. They were weakened by the casual phrase 'Council trust these will not cause you any difficulty'. It doesn't take much business brain to know you don't put down cash to buy a car before checking the engine.

I telephoned the Clerk immediately to try to prevent the letter being sent. As a servant of the Parish Council he was very loyal in defending their decisions, but could see what I was saying. He asked me to e-mail him that day as he would be in touch with the chairman.

I detailed the checks which any responsible financial institution makes before proceeding with an advance of money. Amateur associations are unlikely to have precise accounting controls and administrative safeguards, and informed examination of the running of the club's affairs was needed in advance of any hasty confirmation. Otherwise this Parish Council recklessly risked longer term problems over the finance which a future regime would be left to salvage.

Later that day I received an e-mail which was dismissive of my intervention and declined to answer my questions. Despite serious legal implications and without any revision of the wording I now hear that the Clerk's letter was sent. It is something for which the chairman must answer.

Council tax payers will now be compelled to fund the burden of this £50,000 payment in the financial year 2007/8.

A nucleus of Parish Council members work conscientiously for the community.The village seems to have a good Clerk, but there is a history of weak and high-handed management styles at the top. The Council has at times been brought into disrepute causing public contempt and apathy. Some of us were hopeful ofr a new phase in political power, but connecting with the public and creating greater confidence is still badly lacking. We are no closer to having adequate public participation in decision-making on important issues like this, and too much communication responsibility gets delegated to the Clerk.

Trevor Roberts, 23rd May 2006

Parish Football Tax

A rumour is circulating that Hesketh-with-Becconsall Parish Councillors are moving to increase Council Tax for parish households by £50 in a support of the football club!

Help in funding this sort of sports facility must be voluntary and, if imaginative and properly organized, would obtain generous local support. But any suggestion of imposing a compulsory levy is simply outrageous. Some pensioners are struggling to pay their council tax and have had to go to prison; whilst low income families in today's society have worrying debt problems. Just where is our parish councillors coming from if they have seriously considered a supplementary parish football tax?

Let's await publication of the minutes to get the full facts and hope some leadership sense has prevailed in the meantime.

Trevor Roberts, 16th May, 2006

Dear Sir,
Having paid my percentage as a council tax payer for the funding of the much lauded Youth Shelter in Hesketh Bank I can only say I am not surprised that it only lasted as long as it did. The real problem, which has been pointed out by previous correspondents, is that a youth shelter alone is not enough to stave off boredom in the young and teens around the area. The ‘magic bullet’ approach of providing this shelter and hoping that it would keep all happy was laughable to say the least. There are virtually no facilities for under 18’s in this area – If they can’t get into a public house they are destined for hanging around on the streets, playing in the brass band (which is not to everyone’s taste!), or driving 10 year old hot hatches extremely fast through the village before making their way up to the bank on Marsh Road for a ‘smoke’… secure in the knowledge that no-one will ever disturb them.

The other main problem is that we are being led to believe that we have a C.S.O (Community Support Officer) on hand to actually ‘Support the Community’ – This is a great idea if you want to employ somebody to tell young children off for riding bicycles on pavements, but apart from that I see very little value in this half-way house approach to Policing our community. The fact that nobody patrols areas in Hesketh Bank and Tarleton between the hours of 18:00 and 08:00 is ridiculous. What are we left with then…? – Groups of youths and prospective Chav’s (sometimes 20+ in numbers) drinking vodka and smoking drugs whilst intimidating local residents because they have nothing better to do in the evenings – all this whilst our CSO and our elected councillors are sat in bed drinking cocoa listening to radio 4 or watching Dixon of Dock Green………

The initiatives being put forward by the parish council and the police are simply paying lip service to local public opinion. This youth shelter debacle has merely served to underline the fact that the parish council and the local police authorities are completely out of touch with the vast majority of local residents opinions and this whole episode just highlights that the local council are more concerned with providing new bus shelters and collecting overdue rental payments for allotments than they are with actually doing the job they are elected to do – Improving the quality of life for ALL local residents, young and old.

If this parish council was a commercial enterprise it would have been wound up and declared bankrupt a long time ago. If local tax payers money is to be spent funding initiatives like this then surely it would be considered only reasonable to see it supported by all the concerned agencies – not just have the shelter sited and see how it evolved. What did the council expect if the area where the youth shelter was sited wasn’t patrolled on a regular basis? All this has achieved is that rather than having the majority of youths where you can ‘keep an eye on then’ in one place, they are now dispersed across the length and breadth of the local vicinity to wreak the havoc they were in the first place – but this time with a grudge – because they feel let down by the community that is supposed to support them. A few bad apples have spoilt this initiative, but I can’t escape feeling that this was allowed to happen due to the lacklustre attitude of the supposed in charge.

One last point – Is the new (expensive) youth shelter now providing a much needed arbour/garden feature in an unnamed local councillors garden ready for the barbeque season?? If not, where is it now?????

D Barker, 17th May 2005


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