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LETTERS: HESKETH-WITH-BECCONSALL PARISH COUNCIL
Love Hesketh Bank
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
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..
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:
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?
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
THE VEIL LIFTS
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:
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
Enhanced car parking to alleviate parking problems on Station Road
Whilst no information has yet been forthcoming from any councillor on the allotment questions below, I will nevertheless persevere and constructively ask:
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.
Shore Road Allotments
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:
....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.
Parish Council Resignation
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.
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.
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 !
FENCED BALL COURT
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 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.
HwB PLANNING APPLICATION
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.
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.
There is not much information on the application and the bits that have been completed are wrong.
L. C. 8th May 2008
FUN DAY ON FATHERS DAY
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.
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
I am left pondering two issues about our May 1st Election:
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
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
To be controversial (which I usually am) here are a few questions we Heky Bankers might ask before Election Day:
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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!
HwB Council Tax
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.
To Dr. David Vickers
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
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.
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.
PARISH COUNCIL FIGUREHEADS
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
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?????
Don't Just Spectate - Participate!