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Mysterious works at Hesketh Bank


There are a number of sites throughout the world that Google Maps and Google Earth are requested to censor by the local government.  These are usually defence or other military sites that are sensitive to prying eyes. Google responds by either pixellating the "offending" area or blanking it out altogether.

Imagine my surprise to see a field to the North West of Hesketh Bank with several areas painted out - surely there is no secret activity in the marshlands! Google hasn't bothered to cover up the obvious muddy tracks of lots of heavy machinery to these "blanks", so there is something going on. Who has asked Google to camouflage this activity?

Check out this address in Google maps and/or Google earth - zoom in to try to verify what is going on..........,-2.8750489,953m/data=!3m1!1e3

John Williams, 16th December 2015

Giant warehouse at Webster's

Couldn't fail to notice the mammoth shed being built by Webster's shop.

How was such a large building passed in this area? It is much larger than the storage barn it replaces and is in a protected area of the village. Sorry to say it really is an eyesore, and will dominate the area for a long time.

Mick Bodill, 16th July 2015

Who built Tarleton's "Hillside" development?

Dear Editor,

My name is Colin Barnes and I currently reside in Hesketh Bank and have done so for the last 15 years. Can anyone advise me who the original builders were for the houses built in Hillside in Tarleton during 2000/2001.

Colin Barnes (07597 675473), 13th July 2015

'Planning' in Tarleton/Hesketh Bank

Dear Editor,

I was dismayed that at the West Lancs Planning Committee on Thursday evening Planning permission was granted for an additional 94 houses at the Tarleton Mill Plox Brow site and the fact that not a single elected member from Tarleton or Hesketh Bank spoke at committee.

This is especially galling as they all regularly put in their election material how they will 'fight to stop further development' in our villages.

I cannot understand why when Tarleton Parish Council officially objected to the development, the three Conservative Borough Councillors who claim to represent Tarleton: Cheetham, Evans and Kay who also serve as members of Tarleton Parish Council, did not bother to either substitute themselves onto the committee or even attend as ward councillors to speak against this unwelcome development.

Cllr. Jim Kay was actually in attendance as Ward Councillor in order to speak against a house extension in Tarleton but seemingly it was too much bother for him to speak up against a development which will bring in the region of 1,300 traffic movements per day onto a already overloaded highway infrastructure.

I was left to argue alone the fact that when the Windgate/ Coe Lane development was granted permission in the 1990's, the Planning Inspector stated that the final design and layout of the site would largely depend on the then proposed Bank Hall Bypass scheme as once it in came into being , it was proposed that the existing A59 would be de-trunked in order to allow traffic from the new development to enter and exit using the A59.

The rationale stated for this was the fact that Church Road and Coe Lane were deemed to be at capacity and this was back in the mid 1990's! Of course, the Bank Hall Bypass never came about but alas the development went ahead thus putting all its traffic movements onto the two main roads in and out of the Village.

Over the interim years there have been several more large scale developments in Tarleton and Hesketh Bank which again have only added to our overloaded highway network.

Every time an election comes up our Conservative Councillors vow to fight the developers. Every single time they fail us. Not a single one of them was present to second my motion for refusal of Planning Permission on the grounds of it being detrimental to our highway network infrastructure. Fortunately my daughter Lucy who also serves on WLBC was there to second it. But there were no elected members there to back us up and so it was passed.


So next time the elections come to Tarleton & Hesketh Bank, do not listen to cheap hollow words printed on glossy leaflets, remember the lack of action by these useless people who claim to represent us at Ormskirk. It's simple: Vote them out.

Cllr. J.E. Hodson, 15th December 2013

What are they doing to us?

There are an awful lot of houses being built in Hesketh Bank and Tarleton so if you have a child coming up to primary school age, then finding a place at a local school is going to be a bit of a challenge in the future. Many village children already have to go to schools outside the area so you should plan on using your car twice a day for a school run unless you get your name down for a place. Remember too that it’s difficult enough now to get an appointment with a doctor or dentist and that situation isn't going to improve either.

The reason is that the number of new houses being built in the villages is going through the roof and that’s something that’s set to continue if the Council has it's way. With Alty’s planned 275 houses, Hesketh Lane will become a nightmare - that’s another 1,900 car movements per day and if you add in the other developments in the villages, that number rises to 3,125. The water supply is poor now so what will happen to our supply in the future with all these additional houses and the probability of fracking? Likewise the sewers are already a problem - the recent storm surge showed how close we came to disaster. Apart from a mini island at the end of Church Lane, from what I can see, there are no plans to improve things so life as we know it is going to change and not for the better.

Sue Ellis, 11th December 2013

Tesco opening in the village

Dear Sir,

I wondered if any other villagers realised that Tesco is opening a store in Hesketh Bank?

I noticed that the Spar on the corner of Station/ Chapel Road would be refurbished shortly and have a new name. I didn't think anything of it until this evening was told about an article in the Southport Visiter. This names the Station/ Chapel Rd Spar becoming a One Stop shop which is part of the Tesco empire.

What do you think?

With kind regards,
Mrs M Stephens, 15th November 2013

Tree identified as potential bat roost almost damaged

Dear Sir,

Late in the afternoon of Thursday 18th July, I was alerted by a neighbour to the presence in the grazing field next to Alty's Brick works of a man with a chainsaw. He set about cutting some of the smaller branches from the large fallen bow of an old split willow tree with a hollow trunk.

My wife and I approached the man and told him about the potential crime he might be committing by disturbing a bat roost. He stopped work immediately and left the site. This tree along with another, had been identified by Dr David Bell as a potential bat roost as part of a habitat survey for Henry Alty Ltd.

It is a criminal offence to disturb a bat roost, whether occupied or not, but this man was unaware of the status of this tree and clearly had no intention to break the law.

Yours Faithfully,
Stephen Field, 25th July 2013


Planning Officer Ms K Scanlon 01695 585170

As if the proposal of 270 new homes on Alty's site and the ever nearing possibility of fracking in the near vicinity were not enough, the spectre of two huge wind turbines looming over the flat landscape of Hesketh Bank is now another real scenario. Just to give you some idea of their size, they are not the little ones you see adjacent to several farms in the immediate area. These are as high as 13 double decker buses on top of each other, feeding directly into the national grid, and giving the property owners many many thousands of pounds per annum. This is not electricity generated for one property funded by the land owner, but a commercial enterprise. These turbines will be the largest in West Lancashire.

The turbines have yet again been sited approximately 300m from the nearest property. If you access the data on sleep disturbance, health problems in general and the noise nuisance of these turbines, you might well think 'Ah well, at least they are not that near to me' However, if you consider if WLBC allow David and Lavinia Sephton to allow these on their land, then the gates will then be open for any other niches of land. Sound worrying? It should do. Other Borough Councils and other counties have safety margins from property to turbines, but it seems that West Lancashire do not.

The Government have made their stance clear on there being no new inland wind turbines because of the detriment to both people and environment, preferring offshore installations to be the lesser of the two evils. This does not seem to have registered with the above.

Please think about the effect turbines of this size will cause on the sky line, noise and environment. They are sited on the main feeding route of thousands of birds from inland to the marshes, they are sited very close to Warton airfield. How many times have you seen the air ambulance fly around Hesketh Bank, with road accidents, farming accidents and horse riding accidents? How will their safety be jeopardised with the height of these turbines? It should be noted that Cottams Farm itself has had the air ambulance attending on two occasions. There are no geographical features surrounding the area to mitigate their effect on the horizon so their visual impact will be tremendous.

Yours faithfully

Andrew and Helen Sephton, 7th July 2013

Villages no more...

Well, that's my reading of the meaning of the opening of an estate-agency just on the Hesketh Bank side of the Tarleton/ Hesketh Bank parish boundary. When you combine that with the proposal by Alty's for 270 houses spreading across the village boundaries, with the new houses being rapidly constructed on the site of the Becconsall Hotel, those already with permission on the site of the old mill in Tarleton (which they now want to increase in numbers) and another tranche approved in Rufford … villages no more.

Villages no more… now suburbs not wrapped round any particular urb: or exurbs as geographers would call us in the jargon.

The Alty scheme is particularity anti-village, smeared out as the new houses would be across the parish/village boundary. Those who live there will have no idea which village they are actually in. They will find themselves asking the wrong parish priest at the wrong church for their children to be baptised, or for their belated wedding (as so often now the joint house comes first by several years.) The same will apply with parish and district councillors – they'll spend a lot of time saying 'Sorry, I don't represent you. Though I do the folks four doors away in the same street.'

Villages no more.

Traffic? Hesketh Lane will become so busy the old joke will become true – 'How did I get to this side of the road? I was born here.' There will need to be linked traffic lights at the Hesketh Lane/ Church Road and Coe Lane/Plox Brow junctions (and Kearsley Avenue made 'residents only.') Probably the whole of Hesketh Lane with at least single yellow lines both sides, double near all the side roads. Bad luck if you're in one of the terraced houses, or have three cars and space to park one.

We already get near bus-lock at the Moss Lane/ Hesketh Lane/ Station Road junction when the buses for competing out of the village secondary schools/ 6th form colleges are picking up or setting down.

Schools and drainage – already over-loaded.

And a tiny bit of local history gone – the route of the local branch line up to Tarleton lock, already part lost under Booths, will simply vanish.

Simply, villages no more. Just the next Maghull.

Ian Wells, 24th June 2013

Building new houses in Plox Brow

Again, money speaks before common sense. Building 94 houses [See NEWS 13th June 2013] will probably increase cars by twice that number coming onto Hesketh Lane, Church Road and Coe Lane. Traffic in the whole of Tarleton and Hesketh bank is already a nightmare, and now it could increase more.

Not only that, but where will the children who will be living in those houses go to school? The schools in this area are already oversubscribed and I’m sure there are no new schools on the horizon. Another problem is that there is absolutely nothing for the youth in this area to do in the evenings or during the weekends and holidays.

Road surfaces are suffering badly at the moment due to weight and volume of traffic. There are already houses being built on the Becconsall  hotel site and another 200+ houses are planned around Astland Gardens.

When is all this house building going to stop? Tarleton’s infrastructure just cannot cope now and it will only get worse.

Mrs Joan Clark, 16th June 2013


So the Parish Council have objected to wind farms [See news 24th October 2012] - but kept pretty quiet about the development of Shale Gas extraction in the area? Taking their own points but with reference to Fracking - they are even more salient;

1) detrimental effect on the locality generally, and on amenities that ought, in the public interest, to be protected

There are significant implications for nature conservation in the area. The site is adjacent to the RAMSAR Special Protection Area and SSSI, an internationally significant site for biodiversity, which supports large numbers of breeding birds and is the most important site in the UK for wintering wildfowl. There has been insufficient assessment of the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on this area as it has not undergone an EIA [Environmental Impact Assessment]

2) ...presents a significant danger to horses and riders

On the day of the tremors over on the Fylde there where two incidents that may have a bearing. A horse passing through Banks village near the Co-Op all of a sudden spooked and became uncontrollable, trying to escape the roadway by attempting to jump a wall. Fortunatly this did not cause a traffic accident, and the animal wasnt permanently injured, but is now too nervous to be ridden out.

Secondly a local riding school reported that their horses where acting unusual and running round the field in an erratic manner and seemed disturbed.

The fact the Microseismic have installed monitors all around Banks and Hesketh Bank does not mean there will not be any more tremors - just that they will kept low initially. The permissions, if passed, will allow the operators to increase pressures when fracking with siesmic events up to 3.0 ML - and for many smaller tremors to occur.

This could have serious consequences for horse riders and riding schools.

3) ...which is clearly an industrial installation and inappropriate within the Green Belt.

As is Shale Gas development. People seem to be under the impression that fracking wont be a problem. After all there is just one site and it seems rather quiet. Please be aware this is at the exploritory phase. Caudrilla themselves have suggested 80 - 120 pads around Lancs with the possibility of another site at Hesketh Banks and one nearer to Crossens, and possibly more. There is a huge difference between exploritory drilling and testing and full commercial extraction however one is the precursor of the other. Of course once permsissions are granted it would be very hard to object, especially once commercial operations commence.

4) We also note with some concern that many residents had not been consulted.

Neither where they for the Beconsall fracking pad. Its been reported that there where only two A4 notices, one in Banks Village and the other down the private track near the pad. There was no mention of "Hydraulic Fracturing" on the application however these words have now been used in the planning extension application. Lancs County Council insist they sent letters out to the neighbours list but a number of residents have complained that they did not receive letters.

Communities should be consulted both early in developments and frequently throughout.

5) The Council were also concerned that the application did not fully convey the impact of the proposed development

This could not be ringing any louder in the ears of those who object to fracking. People have seen one small pad so far and have no point of reference for commercial production unless they seek it out. I encourage anyone who lives in the area to do their own research on what commercial production would mean for Banks and Hesketh Bank especially in relation to tanker movements, flaring and venting and air quality.

G Bentley. 28th October 2012

Stop The Fracking

I fully support the Sephtons in this respect; people in the affected areas should be brought in during the early stages of planning and given every chance to submit their objections to the relevent planning offices. The difference with the fracking is that this did not happen for the first application. No one knew what fracking was or what the risks where. If you check with the LCC website you will see it does not even inlude the words 'Hydraulic Fracturing' - the new extension to that planning however does - and thank goodness you now have a chance to object. The deadline is the 17th of October.

It is right and proper that people should be concerned about changes to the place they live and how it might affect them and the area as a whole. It does seem ironic however that people who might have accepted cash amounts to have geophones installed on their land to assist the fracking operations object to a cleaner non polluting form of energy production, regardless of the fact that locals will not see lower energy prices from either process. I know which one I would rather have in my back yard.

G Bentley, 12th October 2012

Stop The Windfarm

Dear Sir

Ref the proposed Windfarm at Cottams Farm, Shore Road, Hesketh Bank

At first glance this seems to be just another one of those applications for small turbines which are adjacent to owner's properties to supply their residence with power, with the rest to be fed into the national grid at a good tariff rate.

However, on closer look – and not stipulated within the letter sent to nearby property owners - the application has been put in by Manning UK Ltd, and prepared by Hartley Planning Development Associates Ltd. (Application number 2012/0986/FUL). This appears to be a commercial investment by big business and not a small scale micro generation project funded by the property owners, Lavinia and David Sephton The turbines are to be mounted on a free standing steel mast with a height of 40.04m to the hubs, with the twin blades having a diameter of 30m, bringing the height of the structure to 55.04m, this is then topped with an additional height of 0.7m with the lightning conductor. This makes a total height of 55.74m – 182.82 ft. These are industrial sized windmills – the size that are put on isolated moorland, offshore or coastal locations. The output of them is a phenomenal 1.225 Mwh (power station proportions). Lots of money at stake here for everyone.

Nimbys you might think of us, seeing that these are to be erected only 300m from our front door – and you should see the noise levels that they say are acceptable. However, if Manning UK Ltd get this through planning, it will set a precedent for yet more of these large structures throughout the area. Three hundred metres is not a far distance to be separated from these turbines, especially in a flat area such as round here. Just look at the areas near you which could be chosen. Worried? You should be.

If you look at the effect these wind farms have on the ecology of the surrounding fields, the noise and the visual impact they will have on the district, then perhaps you might think about telling West Lancashire District Council about your fears. We already have the fracking, now it seems we are to be turned into a wind farm designated area. Hesketh Bank used to be a quiet, farming community, with additional housing being incorporated into the village to appeal to house owners who want their children to be brought up in a safe, rural environment. Now we seem to be the repository for anything that no-one else wants in their back yard.

Yours faithfully,
Andrew, Helen and Laura Sephton, 3rd October 2012

Becconsall Hotel Building Site Drainage


Not at all surprised that all the water from the Becc Building Site is going into the 'existing network', hah!

As with Booth's and the Station Road Sports Village with hard football pitches and car parks, anyone with half a brain would have piped the top water from these premises, down hill into the river. Obviously, this would have cost a few quid so is not acceptable.

Do we need United Utilities to generate more profits for their shareholders without actually spending any money, and for our Councils to have even more Council Tax to fund holiday pay and pension schemes etc without demanding improvements? The water continually running down The Brow from Meadow Lane, and the regular sewage overflow near Shore Road School are completely unacceptable.

Richard Hodson, 7th September 2012

Hoole Wind Turbines

How strange that Lorraine Fullbrook, according to Lancashire Evening Post, is supporting the group of objectors to the proposed new wind turbines at Little Hoole. If this proposal creates electricity and maybe jobs, what's the problem ?

Richard Hodson, 20th October 2011

Becconsall Hotel Planning Application

Dear Sir,
My family, like the Stevenson family (24th March 2011) are also saddened that the Becc may go to become housing.

We too, like am sure many villagers would like to see the building put to other uses, as many have been campaigning. To have a Toby Carvery, Harvester or other such pub chain would be brilliant for the village. If I want to take my young family out to a family friendly eatery, we go to the Fox Cub in Much Hoole. To have something like that just down the road, where we can walk to, with a playground next door, would be wonderful.

What can be done to attract a big chain to consider the Becc as a viable venture and consider it quickly before it is too late?

M. Stephens. 28th March 2011

Sewage problems in Hesketh Bank

Nothing wrong with the sewage system in Hesketh Bank, Dr. David Vickers, obviously I cannot comment on the situation in Banks. The problem is that building regulations have been manipulated over the recent years so that builders have put all top water from new properties, into the foul, ie sewage system.

Traditionally roof water had to be in a separate system from sewage. There are no new top water drains from any of the newer estates in Hesketh Bank. (Unless someone knows differently) This is why the property of R.Stevenson on Poppyfields, a typical example, is only affected ' during heavy and prolonged rainfall '.

United Utilities will not object to developments which will put even more cash into their pockets, don't wait up for them to upgrade the sewage systems, they won't even answer the phone.

Richard Hodson. 25th March 2011

Sewage problems in Hesketh Bank

Dear editor,
In response to R Stevenson’s letter of the 24th March 2011 in regard to the sewage problems on his estate I would like to say that we have the same problems in Banks village.

It would appear that the sewage systems in both Banks and Hesketh Bank are no longer fit for purpose, but United Utilities continue to maintain that here are no problems connecting new properties to the sewage system.

For information there is a meeting scheduled for the 31st March 2011 at about 7pm in the St Stephens Club in Banks to discuss the situation of the sewers and other issues surrounding new development in the village. It may be advantageous for residents of Hesketh Bank to attend this meeting and the two villages work together to persuade United Utilities to upgrade the systems sooner rather than later.

Dr David Vickers. 25th March 2011

Becconsall Hotel Planning Application

Dear Editor,
It saddens me that we may lose our 'Becc' [NEWS 23rd March 2011] after enjoying many happy times there with friends in the past.

Shortly after it's closure I actually wrote to The Toby Carvery Company and suggested they look into the possibility of taking it on, they replied that if there was a market for it then it would be considered. I felt that there was and is a market here for it, but maybe I am wrong.

In addition to the sad loss of the Becc and as a resident on Poppyfields I have to express a real concern regarding the increase in volume of drainage from the proposed new properties. My family and I have lived on our development for almost 14 years and during this time have had to refrain from flushing our downstairs toilet during heavy & prolonged rainfall. On the occasion that we have the water level in our toilet almost overflows, thankfully it hasn't done yet, but with an increase in volume from these new buildings we could well see it spill over.

This problem was supposed to have been alleviated some time ago and the situation did improve slightly, however if we have constant rain for long periods then our problem returns. Does anyone else have this problem?

Can we also be assured by the local authority that our drains will be improved to allow for these new houses?

R Stevenson. 24th March 2011

Dear Editor,

I observe two fundamentally different approaches to planning taken by West Lancashire Borough Council and the neighbouring South Ribble council. One seems to be firm yet progressive, generally supportive of appropriate change, helpful to applicants especially with respect to rural job creation and (sensible) rural diversification. The other comes across as fundamentally unhelpful, shows little support for rural communities and is only interested in job creation if the jobs to be created are in specific towns.

I doubt many will need prompting in guessing which one is which.

As for the debate below, I wouldn't know if the stark difference between the two councils is a function of the respective planning departments or the elected councillors or party politics; I don't particularly care either. It is only the outcome that matters.

J. Ball. 17th March 2011


Dear Editor,
Ah the gentle bovine sound of a local Tory waking up to smell the coffee. I suppose it should be acknowledged even though it has taken a rather long time for Cllr. Vickers to rumble his own local Conservative Party's role in Local Planning issues.

Readers may wonder why settlements like Tarleton, Hesketh Bank and Banks have been singled out for large scale executive developments which have transformed our once rural and picturesque villages. Alas it seems some of those Tories who were responsible for allowing the Land Zoning to take place - no - 'allowing' is too weak, for making the Political choice to Zone our villages for development, are now realising how the system works. The most shameful act of the local Tories has been their moral cowardice in not owning up to their own policies or advancing their rational for more development, by pretending to be against it all along while blaming it all on the Planning Officers at West Lancs.

In the late 1990's, I personally was treated as a pariah for having the audacity to publicly speak out against development, I can clearly recall being summoned into the Council Offices to receive a dressing down for 'scaremongering' by forecasting the effect on our settlements it would have. As for the so-called Big Society that Cllr. Vickers claims he believes in, I can also clearly recall when we in Tarleton were producing Lancashire's very first Village Plan (in which we sought to influence future issues such as Planning), were besieged by negative actions of local Tories who sought at every turn to undermine the process. I wonder why???. Could it possibly be to do with their connections to big business? or possible links to landowners? Whatever their motivation was the public didn't get to see because of their mendacious actions. We can see how they operate at national level so why would they act any differently at local level?

The Big Society (or Big Soc - so called because it is extremely woolly and is big enough to stretch wide enough to fit anything in it) Is yet another hare-brained concept dreamt up by some detached policy wonk locked away in Downing Street, never coming into contact with the outside real world. If you believe David Cameron, everything that has already taken place in the voluntary sector can be accredited, retrospectively, to the 'success' of The Big Society. Only in the parallel world of ultra spin can this have any credibility at all - but then again Mr. Cameron does sip from that particular well.

It seems ironic that the local Tories are officially known as 'Conservatives' when they have done anything but 'conserve' our villages, indeed when you think about it, the only thing the 'Conservatives' have managed to 'conserve' is the local 'Conservative' Party.

Welcome to the real world Cllr. Vickers!

Yours Sincerely,
Cllr. J.E.Hodson. 17th March 2011

An Open Letter to Messrs Cameron & Pickles

Monday, 14 March 2011

Dear Mr Cameron and Mr Pickles,

Fine as the concepts of ‘Big Society’ and ‘Localism’ are, unfortunately, they will not be allowed to succeed. As with the ‘Poll Tax’ under Margaret Thatcher both these concepts will be rendered unworkable by council officers, and in some cases elected councillors, who have a vested interest in seeing them fail. It would need, therefore, not just fine words and the Localism Bill to make it work, but a root and branch review and reform of local councils, especially the planning departments and processes.

Over the years planning has become so complex and more of a social engineering process that it has passed out of the comprehension of most elected members sitting on planning committees. This has passed the power to planning officers who can manipulate the system to meet required political ends.  Officers accept evidence to be true only if comes from the ‘statutory consultees’ and evidence from local residents is rejected as ‘misinformation’. Objections to an application are dismissed as ‘not a valid planning consideration’, but a favourite ploy if the verdict is going against an application that has been recommended for approval is that the council would not be able to defend an appeal. I have not seen this ‘consideration’ in any of the PPS documents as a valid planning consideration.

The planning committee process itself is a shambles with the chairman and opposition spokesman being briefed by the planning officers. These then in turn ‘brief’ their members at a pre committee meeting meeting, this is like briefing a jury before a trial and, surely, introduces an element of ‘predetermination’ as a ‘view’ is taken on the applications under consideration and this ‘view’ is rarely changed during the hearing. Some councils allow members of the public to speak in objection to an application, but do not let them speak in support. They are normally restricted to 3 minutes and to one or two speakers, at the chairman’s discretion, they are allowed to answer questions, but not ask them. Ward councillors may be allowed to speak for 5 minutes, but may not answer questions or challenge information put forward by the officers or members. It can be seen from this that in the case of a quite complex application it is not possible to cover the issues in the case as fully as necessary.

It may make the issues clearer if I gave some examples of recent planning applications that went through our local planning committee.

  1. Application; 34 houses with a mix of 20 open market houses and 14 ‘affordable houses’. The site was a derelict agricultural ‘pack-house’ situated in a village with quite poor road links for heavy goods vehicles. It took the applicant 7 years, and an appeal, to get planning permission. Every obstacle was put in his way even though the village residents and parish council approved of the scheme. It was claimed that he ‘had not done enough to find tenants’. The cost to the applicant was over £350,000 in business tax alone over that period.

  2. Application; 31 ‘social’ houses with a mix of 25 bungalows and 6 flats. The site was an agricultural holding, with its own agricultural number. It had glasshouses on the site which were not derelict until a few weeks before the application was lodged when some of the glasshouses and two irrigation pits were demolished and filled in. The rest of the glasshouses continue in use. The village is classed as being in a flood risk 3 zone. Under the provisions  of PPS25, development and flood risk, development should only be allowed to meet a local need and more suitable sites are not available. This site is situated at the lowest point of the village. The development is supposed to meet the needs purely of the village though it was admitted at the meeting that it would exceed the needs of the village and was really to meet the needs of the borough. This, in itself, indicated that it did not meet the requirements of PPS25. This was ignored. The Water Company raised no objections regarding connecting into the antiquated sewers. This was standard practice for them as they have never raised an objection, for whatever reason. The information given by local residents that the sewers in that part of the village regularly flood was ignored. This was ‘misinformation’! The plans called for surface water run-off to be directed into a ditch at the side of the site. This was agreed by the Environment Agency even though the ditch did not go anywhere. The culvert that it went into collapsed several years ago. Local information, again, was classed as ‘misinformation’ though officers from the Environment Agency have not been to look at the site. The developer is having difficulty in achieving visibility splays for the access. They are being allowed to narrow a section of one of the busiest roads through the village.  We carried out an experiment on a quiet Saturday lunchtime. We coned off the part of the road that was to be narrowed and parked a car, quite legally, opposite the narrowed section and stood back and waited to see what would happen. It was chaos. In 50 minutes 255 cars, two buses and a tractor were counted travelling in both direction on the road. During the week and during certain seasons that road is used by HGV, buses, agricultural vehicles and cars. There is a primary school 50 metres from the access road. The highways Dept at LCC state that the narrowing will not cause any problem or increased risk to the children. The evidence, both verbal and photographic, produced by the local residents was dismissed as ‘misinformation’. Only one member of the public and a representative of the parish council were allowed to speak for 3 minutes each. Two other members of the public were stopped from speaking as ‘they did not live in the vicinity’ even though one was a school governor at the nearby school. Only 4 members of the committee were aware of the issues inherent in this application and it was duly passed in spite of over 300 objections. The old ploy of ‘not being able to defend an appeal’ was used to great effect. The decision was political in that the council had just been slated by the Audit Commission for not meeting its ‘affordable housing target’. Another possible reason for approval is down to you two really in that the new incentive scheme comes into effect on the 1st April and as this application has been delegated to the chief planning officer it is probable that it will not be approved until after that date so the council will benefit from the grants. I do not think that you intended these grants to cause inappropriate development.

  3. Local Development Framework; our council, along with many others are in the process of developing their local development framework, which seems a little premature as we do not know how the ‘Localism Bill’ will affect it. In fact the officers do not believe the bill will affect it at all. During the consultation period our village, under auspices of the parish council, formed a working group to respond with our view of what the village needed in the way of improvements to infrastructure, services, employment and housing over the next 15 years. This was totally rejected on the grounds of flood risk, we are classed as a flood risk 3 zone, remember, and we wanted to take about two hectares of greenbelt land. A word about the flood risk would not go amiss here; the village is regarded as being in a flood risk 3a zone because if we did not have any sea defences we would be liable to flooding from the sea in a 1 in 1,000 year event. That is if we were hit by a 2.2m storm surge, the normal tide being 4m. This is in line with national guidelines for the formulation of strategic flood risk assessments. The fact that we have a considerable acreage of saltmarsh, an 8m high bank and about 2km of moss between the shoreline and the village, and this area has not been flooded from the sea in 16,000 years is not taken into account. Unless, of course, the officers want a planning application to be agreed.

This village, like many others in the same position, are communities; the type of communities that you are trying to foster with your ‘Big Society’, but these communities are being gradually killed off due to inappropriate development, and lack of development, for political reasons.
To make your ideas work you will need to do the following (and I am sure other will be able to add to the suggestions)

  • Simplify the planning process; it is far too complex and has degenerated into a social engineering process with planning officers in total control.
  • Give local people a greater say in the process; after all they are the ones with ‘local knowledge.
  • Make committee meetings fairer by ensuring members understand planning issues, caucus meetings, and briefings, before the main meetings are outlawed and local ward council are allowed to take a full part in the debate ensuring that ‘evidence’ can be properly challenged.
  • Allow strategic flood risk assessments be formulated on local conditions rather than a national template.
  • Give local people more control over green belt land.

I am writing this letter because I believe in the ‘Big Society’; we are making it work in the village, and the Localism Bill and would not like to see them fail for a little thought at this time.

Yours sincerely on behalf of the community and village of Banks, West Lancs.

Cllr Dr David Vickers
North Meols Ward Councillor
West Lancs Borough Council
cllr.vickers (at)


I see one of the Toytown light fittings is already damaged: the one by the bus stop on the wrong side of the road outside Booths is swinging open: with todays wind it could be right off soon - and hurt somebody falling. Looks as if it wasn't screwed up tightly enough or someone specified screws for a quiet cul-de-sac, not way up in the air in the full force of the westerlies.

Ian Wells, 29 October 2010


Note to Hesketh Bank Parish Council

in response to your recent statement. The people of Hesketh Bank are not confused as you state, but are very concerned about some of the alterations to Station Road.

The majority of us residents are very pleased to have this splendid new Booth's Supermarket on our doorstep, but you as elected representatives should be prepared to listen to any fears or problems that may arise.

Re the flooding at Shore Road, Marsh Road, I did not state in my previous letter to the Village Website ( 19th. September ) that surface water from Booths and the new Sports Complex went into the sewerage system, I said that it went into the existing drainage system, this has been confirmed to me by United Utilities representative.

These drains run along Station Road, down the Brow, into Guide Road, then to Centre Ditch. At a meeting last week with Mike Walsh from Lancs CC and Trevor Dunn from West Lancs this was confirmed.

I sent an e-mail to Mrs. Lorraine Fullbrook on 5th October regarding the problem facing the residents and farmers in the older part of the village, and received a reply from her secretary, Rosamund, stating that Mrs.Fullbrook was in Conference and would reply on her return to office.

No message as yet.

Richard Hodson, 26th October 2010


I write with concern for the safety of residents and visitors to Hesketh Bank, on numerous occasions over the last week since the new crossing on Station road was properly open i have seen people risking their lives crossing the road at a supposedly safe spot.

Just on Saturday a mother with 3 young children was using the crossing with no traffic around, then, from off of the parking outside Bargain Booze, a car reversed onto the crossing just missing two of the little girls.

This is just one of many incidents i have seen from my shop window. Can anything be done before someone is killed on what is now supposed to be a safe crossing area.

S Brentley, 25th October 2010


Further to my recent letter, your Editor kindly pointed me towards the web site of what for me is the adjoining Parish Council. My comments are in italics.


At the October meeting of the Parish Council, the Clerk alluded to several items of misinformation that had caused some confusion in the village in recent weeks and stated the following:-

Neither Booths nor the new Sports Centre's surface drainage water (as opposed to Foul) enters the main piped sewerage system and hence did not contribute to the recent flooding.

In which case the appalling “not me guv” sloping shoulders syndrome displayed by the Utility company and the Council needs to be challenged with the industry regulator. What is needed is a local champion who at some point is bound to need your support to espouse your cause. (At the risk of appearing a choleric trouble maker might I suggest those affected draft an e-mail of the lines of “Any plans for a local surgery- Mrs Fullbrook?”)  

There has never been a proposal to install a roundabout at the junction of Moss Lane / Station Road .

The proposal to install a Zebra Crossing was contained in the original planning consent.

Did anybody think to advise the shopkeepers affected by the zig zag markings muddle of the implications at that time. If public servants in the planning department are paid to protect the interests of the public (including local shopkeepers) why was this not done in this instance?

The Preston bound bus shelter located at the rear of the pavement on Booth's land was contained in the original planning consent.

Did the original planning application show that the bus shelter was open to the prevailing weather? And if so, why was this detail not picked up by the council’s planner as being inconsistent with sound planning practice?

It is proposed that the Southport bound bus shelter is relocated outside No 15 Station Road and this is presently undergoing consultation.

Is this yet another detail that has been hitherto overlooked? Why was the relocation of this bus stop not part of the original planning application? What is plan B should the residents affected lodge an objection that is upheld?

Having thus vented my spleen, I suppose that in the interests of balance I should point out that the Booth’s development, although welcome, has gone through a very protracted development process. Because the original consultation was undertaken some time ago those who were explicitly consulted at the time may have moved on or failed to grasp the implications of what was being put in front of them.  That said, I believe that the public servants responsible for monitoring this application have a enduring duty of care to the community to ensure that such matters as associated road works and street furniture are fit for purpose and we have a right to rely on their professional expertise to protect us these matters.

Fortunately all might not be lost. I presume that Booth’s making a S106 contribution to the related infrastructure works. If so are funds still available to remedy these defects?

Final question – are the lessons arising here being learnt in order to prevent future repetition?

Yours italicly
Bob Robinson, 12th October 2010


Ian Wells wrote “So our County representative is aware of the problem with the pedestrian crossing. Is it even in the right place? The notice on lamp-posts showed it the other side of the Booths entrance. And does anyone else think they've put the new bus stop on the wrong side of the road?"

I share his concern as do the bus drivers, one of whom asked me last night what was going on. The position regarding the northbound bus stop should be clarified as soon as possible. With regard to the newly built southbound bus stop, the bus shelter is open to the west and may therefore be of limited value as a shelter – the predominant direction of prevailing wind and rain round here. The former bus shelter on the other side of the road and the existing, but no doubt soon to be redundant, stop, in front of HB computers, sheltered/shelter passengers from the prevailing weather. The only thing to be said for the new bus shelter is that the raised curb allows easy access for those bus passengers using wheel chairs or baby buggies, especially those requiring deployment of the onboard ramp in addition the buses kneeling suspension. (Existing bus stops are often difficult to use – the Preston/Ormskirk bound stop at the Cock and Bottle is a particularly poor example). It is to be expected that the northbound shelter will offer the same ease of access.

The founder of Argyll Foods, the late James Gulliver, once shared the secret of his success with the pithy quote “Retail is Detail” – but not round here it isn’t. The role call of errors this refurbishment has revealed; firstly, the zig-zag markers obstructing the parking access to existing businesses, secondly, the mistake in painting the double yellow lines outside HBSC and now the problem of bus stops and shelters, prompts me to raise the following questions. Do the designers of the scheme have an adequate understanding of how street furniture works and do the Lancashire planners, who will have to have approved this scheme, have an adequate understanding of Lancashire , at least our bit of it?

Bob Robinson. 12th October 2010

P.S. Whilst I am at – Autumn is here – The season of mists and mellow mudfullness for the residents of Hesketh Bank and Tarleton. Leaves are now falling on Hesketh Lane and many are no doubt ending up in the gully pots which will result in localised flooding next time it rains. Any chance of a pre-emptive strike by the gully pot emptying team?


So our County representative is aware of the problem with the pedestrian crossing. Is it even in the right place? The notice on lamp-posts showed it the other side of the Booths entrance. And does anyone else think they've put the new bustop on the wrong side of the road?

Ian Wells, 28th September 2010


As we all suspected water from the new Booths with the huge roof and Car Park area, together with the new Station Road Sports Centre and Car Park and Hard Football pitches is already playing havoc with the drainage system.

Lots of rubbish spouted about Booths recycling the water. This obviously pleased the Councils. Why was this water not dropped down the hill straight into the river, just to the rear of both these developments ? Not really technically difficult, I.m sure, to get water to run down hill.

At the end of Rose Gardens and down Shore Road near the end of Chapel Road, the manholes have been lifting all day today, Sunday, and water pouring out onto nearby properties. I phoned United Utilities and a Field Engineer came out to view the situation.

Obviously not their problem, of course, they charge us all for water we take out of the system and water we put back in. It is all their water until flooding occurs, then " nowt to do with us "

The Field Engineer said it was the responsibility of the local "morons", his word not mine, to put adequate drains and ditches over their land to get rid of water.

So, according to him, the hard-pressed farmers and other landowners are now responsible.


Richard Hodson. 19th September 2010


According to new, small notices stuck on lampposts, there's been a change of plan.

The roundabout will now be at the end of Moss Lane and there will be a zebra crossing by the entrance to Booths. (This may help people to get across the road to the existing shops from the new car park.) I can't say I fancy trying to turn right out of the Booths carpark to come home if that's the layout - but then I'm within walking distance.

It doesn't say, but I understand the bus-stop is to move to outside the vets - close to the one for Preston. The existing shop-keepers don't seem to have been consulted: any parish councillors care to comment?

Ian Wells Ian Wells, 17th August 2010


Dear Village Friends,

“Save The Bec” Action Group met again last Monday evening for the first meeting of 2010.

For us, this Campaign is not just about a Pub, it’s about Community.

Our small team of committed workers, in the spirit of community and despite freezing weather, are pleased to say we produced and delivered a “Save The Bec” Christmas Card, to almost every household in Hesketh Bank in December. That’s a lot of houses and we hope that villagers choose to keep our card and contact details, to remind everyone to support “Save The Bec” this New Year.

With renewed energy, we are now preparing for the 2nd Public Meeting on Monday 25th Jan 2010 at 7.30pm in HB Village Back Hall. Everyone is invited and welcome to join us there, to express any concerns, put forward any ideas and be updated on the latest news on “Save The Bec”. Things are urgent now, as we know a Developers Planning Application on the site is imminent.

Besides being a lovely, historic building, The Becconsall also has the last green space in the centre of our village. This is all in danger of disappearing. We urge all those who care about the future of their village to attend. Your voice counts!

Please look out for the Posters which will be out in the village shops and local press to remind you. Please encourage everyone you know to join in, village young and village elders need to act now, before it’s too late to “Save The Bec” for our children and the future of this community. Together we can make the difference!

We wish you well and look forward to welcoming you at your Public Meeting.

With warmth and respect,
Mrs Mc & Save The Bec Action Group. 5th July 2009
07968 737278 - Save the Becconsall Website

Boundary Lane Development

Hi Graham, As a resident of this new development, I am somewhat offended by the remarks in regards to "affordable to whom". 

I would like to stress I have been a member of the community since birth and I hold down a high skilled and well paid job, as does my partner. However, unfortunately due to our ages (26) and the house prices within the village, this type of development was our only chance at getting our feet on the property ladder.

Whilst I can understand your concern's in regards to the housing style and it's place within the village, I can ensure you that the properties inside are extremely well built / fitted out and all residents within the street hold a real sense of community sprit. Admittedly, there is a generic feel to the properties, but it will take time for people to put their own stamps on each of the houses. As you can probably see living nearby, residents have already started to place plants and aesthetics outside.

I'm not sure if you are aware but there were strict restrictions in regards to the purchasing of these properties, included applicants having to have lived in the area for a minimum of five years, or holding family within the area, or a job.

Alixandra Austin, 30th January 2010

Isherwood's Development

Get your facts right, D.Lancaster. The point Mrs.D.Cornwall was making is that Hesketh Bank Football Club have no connection whatsoever with this development, even though we were led to believe, as you were, that it was for them and the people of the village.

Take a look at the Planning Applications, still in the name of HBFC, apparently this is normal procedure for these type of speculators. Do you live anywhere in close proximity to this development, D.Lancaster?

Richard Hodson (native). 27th January 2009

Isherwood's Development On Station Road

Having refereed at Hesketh bank on numerous occasions I was pleased to hear that at last the Football Club and indeed the whole community are about to gain a facility that is a benifit to all and on a par with other sports clubs in the North West region.

If we are to keep our children off street corners and coming home from school and logging on to a computer and then watching tv, then initiatives such as yours, that will encourage them to participate actively in all types of sport, can surely only be welcomed by all?

I fully understand the venture may not be what a few people want, but it is what the community needs that matters! Well done Hesketh Bank - I am sure you, your children and grandchildren will reap the benefit for years to come.

Derek Lancaster. 26th January 2009

Isherwood's Development On Station Road

Are people aware of what Isherwoods are proposing to do with the site ?

A PUB & Function area in the main with Floodlit all-weather sports pitches. Are they aware of the impact it will have on NOISE & LIGHT in a residential area & TRAFFIC on the already busy Station Road & Hesketh Lane ?

The original plans, for a building dedicated to sport's use which were put in, were accepted by many in the village BUT Isherwoods new plans deviated from these and were fortunately refused.

They are a private enterprise. Is this what Hesketh Bank needs or wants; another Drinking & function area when the Bowling Club can already be used in this way ? Look at the original & newly rejected plans on the West Lancs D C web site, application details 2007/0348/arm

Contact Planning Officer Rob Hitchcock on 01695 585343

Join me at the Drop In Village Meeting on Saturday 31st January 10.30 - 12 noon.

Deborah Cornwall. 25th January 2009


Hello, I would like to know if anyone has made comment re the new development on Boundary Lane Hesketh Bank.

For a rural location these houses really do not fit in, I don’t want to offend anyone but these are the types of houses that replace blocks of flats in inner city’s I am aware the grant for building these properties was sizable, and we do need affordable housing in the area (this could be another issue.. affordable to whom ?) But what was the planning committee thinking of…have they been to see what they have done ?

I thought the planning committee had a responsibility to consider and protect our village, not chase grants and poll tax income at any cost, or am I really missing the trick here. I have to say at this point I do live close to this development and we did fight the application.

Graham Greenwood, 22nd January 2009


Dear Sir,

I refer to Andy Parkinson's letter dated 14th March. If he would care to visit the Planning Applications page on the West Lancashire District Council's web site he will see that after many years Tarleton's "Grot Spot" is about to disappear.

The application to construct 3 small offices on the site was approved at last Thursday's planning meeting. If he wishes to see the detailed plans he can do so by visiting the Planning Dept at WLDC's offices in Ormskirk during normal working hours.

Yours faithfully,
Dave Rydings - Tarleton Parish Councillor, 15th March 2008

Gateway to Tarleton

I see that the site at Tarleton lights has started to be cleared.

Does anyone know what is happening to it??

Andy Parkinson, 14th March 2008


Dear Editor,

I feel I must respond to the issues raised by the save the field campaign.

The field in question is part the Flavourfresh Salads glasshouse nursery on Marsh Rd. The company is owned by three local growers and has been a glasshouse nursery site growing tomatoes since the late 1960s.

We are a local firm producing tomatoes that are not only sold to the major supermarkets but also through local farm shops and the Southport Farmers market. In these days of concern about ' food miles' we feel it is vital to maintain primary production of food in an area that has been a traditional market garden area for at least the last 100 years.

We are also a major employer within this area, with a full-time staff of over 140 people most of whom live in the Banks, Hesketh Bank and Southport area.

The facts of the proposed new glasshouse are these:-

1. The glasshouse size is 3.5 acres not 5 acres.

2. The field on whiich the glasshouse is to be built was up to 2003 used to grow salad crops (lettuce and celery). For the last 4 years it has been rented out to one of our employees to grow hay and to graze horses. This is prime agricultural land which has been and will be nurtured and cultivated to produce food crops as it has done for the last 100 years.

3. The new greenhouse will be heated using the existing boilers on site without needing any extra capacity. This is because we have over the last three years invested heavily in thermal screens which has enabled us to reduce our energy input by 15-20%.

4. The crops grown in this glasshouse will be grown in the soil organically, and grown to the strict organic specifications laid down by the British Soil Association.

5. The new glasshouse will create between 10-12 extra full-time jobs.

6. The CO2 that will be used in this glasshouse will be provided by diverting the flue gases from the existing boilers into the glasshouse. The plants will then use the co2 to aid growth instead of it being released into the atmosphere.

7. There is no intention to light this glasshouse for overwintered crops.

8. The product produced by this glasshouse will be transported to our customers on existing transport, so will not lead to any increase in HGV traffic.

To conclude, we are a locol company producing top quality, local produce in a area that has a long history of renowned agricultural and horticultural expertise, and in which we are trying to sustain this tradition and employment for the future,

Yours Sincerely Mick Fradsham, M.D. Flavourfresh Salads Ltd 29th August 2007


Dear Editor,

We are a group trying to prevent a field [Marsh Road, Banks] (currently an excellent barn and little owl habitat of 5 acres) from being covered in 20ft high greenhouses to produce organic tomatoes for Marks and Spencer.

Barn owls are often seen hunting on the field and a regular little owl nest site is nearby. The Three Owls bird Sanctuary has used it as a release site for rehabilitated owls for 8 years. Please see our website for details.

The owners of the field, Flavourfresh, are applying for planning permission that shows the entire field will be covered right up to Marsh road. By a horrible irony the quality of the site as a habitat also means the soil association will grant it 'organic status' which is why Marks and Spencer want to grow tomatoes there - covering it in industrial greenhouses then heating it, lighting it and then finally pumping co2 in.This will utterly destroy any value it has overnight AND managing to spoil the look of part of Banks for ever.

We already have over 200 signitures on our petition - many are concerned about the visual impact of the scheme and any increase in HGV traffic.

We need the public to help urgently. WE NEED LETTERS OF OBJECTION SUBMITTING TO WEST LANCS PLANNING. If you wish to object please, please write to: Mr K Usher Area Planning Officer PO Box 16. 52 Derby St. Ormskirk. Lancs. L39 2DF and detail your objections.

You may like to refer to some of the issues raised above, but please be sure to include the reference number (Planning application reference number 2007/0885/ful) and state clearly that you wish the council to reject the application.

For more information contact Jennifer Unwin at

Jennifer Unwin, 23rd August 2007


Further to the previous comment about the new supermarket being accessed by a mini roundabout close to a relatively blind crest over the old railway bridge - whilst personally I am against mini roundabouts I grudgingly note that similar ones in Burscough allowing access to Tesco's seem to work quite well.

There is, however a pedestrian crossing shown on the Booth's diagrams situated between the Booth's entrance mini roundabout and the crest of the rise. I do hope that this will be protected by traffic lights as I have noted more than a few near misses as people access the cash machine at HSBC.

Bob Robinson, 14th June 2007

New Booths Supermarket

I see by the plans for the new supermarket (on show in Longton store) that Booths are planning a mini roundabout onto Station Road. This will be close to the old railway bridge so it should be interesting when approaching from Hesketh Bank. Is there not enough traffic here anyway?

Mick Bodill, 13th June 2007

Autistic Centre Guide Road

It is good that the application for the Autistic Centre has been approved and children will now have the help that is so needed to assist them in fulfilling their potential.

Is there a timetable to start the work and when can we expect the Care Home to open? At this stage are you seeking any Local Support?

J Johnston, 25th Febraury 2007

Autistic Centre Guide Road

Thank you to all that have supported the planning application for 1A Guide Road. At last good reason has prevailed and the planning application has been passed.

This is a much needed facility for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and their families and a positive step forward for autism provision. We now hope all of the local community will welcome the children and their support workers and actively engage in providing support for this venture. P.A.S.T. Parents of Autistic Spectrum (disorders) Together

Christine Walker & Jill Taylor 16th February 2007

Autistic Centre Guide Road

Reading all these letters of concern about a respite for children with challenging behaviour and social needs is quite disturbing. Are we as human beings willing to deprive children of much needed help and yes they are first and foremost children regardless of Autism. Why are we so negative towards children with autism? Is this respite a threat to civilisation in hesketh bank? In a world where atrocities happen everyday towards children is it not our duty to help those who need our help? Such anger in the letters i have read is unbelievable as well as threats aimed at the organisers. We all like to think we are tolerant but in this instance selective tolerance is the in thing.

A few years ago i had no knowledge of autism and what it meant, i still don't know everything yet my mind is open to learn. Through my partner i have had the privilege of meeting children with autism. I can assure you they are not monsters they are just children who are blessed with individual gifts. We all are proud of our children, we witness their growth throughout the years, we revel in their accomplishments, they are our pride and joy. As responsible parents would you not want the best for your child? This respite can benefit many children on the autistic spectrum. I ask that you please open your minds and see them as children with potential instead of contempt found in these letters.

Tarak Ali, London, 12th February 2007

Proposed Centre on Guide Road, Hesketh Bank

To who it may concern.

I have followed the progress of the proposed centre in Hesketh Bank and so far kept my opinions to myself, but having read some of the correspondence opposing the centre I felt I must write to you.

As a mother of a 6 year boy who happens to be on the Autistic Spectrum I am delighted that a centre like the one proposed in Hesketh Bank is hopefully going ahead! There is a distinct lack of facilities in the Preston for children like my son. Given the right support and care every child flourishes not just children like my son, but don't parents and cares deserve a break too?

Okay I do not live in Hesketh Bank so maybe I do not really have a right to comment, but I also live in a small village, which happens to have an Autistic school just up the road. My village has embraced my son and the local mainstream school he attends have open communication with this school to get help and information when required.

One of the letters I read which was upsetting was from a lady who said she fears her children could be 'attacked'. Obviously in her mind these children will be left to roam the streets!! She also stated that these children should be located in a secure place! This is exactly the sort of actions which happened years ago when children were locked away, from society and away from any 'normal' life. May I also state that the children from the local autistic school near where I live play any active role in the community going into the village, visiting the library and being helped with simple things like being able to use money and to communicate with the outside world.

These children deserve access to the right services and as we have so little in this area, we as parents will fight to get what we need for our children.

Tammy Henshaw, Grimsargh, Preston. 25th January 2007


I am replying in response to the posting on this forum from the Guide Road Residents Association on November 27th.

My name is Christine Walker and I am the mother of a nine-year-old autistic boy. My son, with support, attends an excellent mainstream primary school where he is valued and treated as an equal member of the school community.

My dream, like any other parent, is that my child will grow up and be valued as an equal member of society, have a job, and have somewhere to live, without fear of prejudice. But what chance does he have? It is clear to me that the residents association has made its mind up on this matter and is desperately looking for reasons to oppose the application. They describe the location as "completely random", when in fact it is simply a residential property like normal families such as themselves would live in. Where do they think families with autistic children live - deep in the countryside in sound proof houses? Although some of our children may have sensitivity to noise, they have to learn to cope with it.

Their fears that it may turn into a home for young offenders is simply scare mongering. There is no suggestion whatsoever that this will happen. It is just another excuse to delay the planning process. If the residents association really believe that the government may force the proposed respite care home to take young offenders, then perhaps they should see that other facilities for people with disabilities or the elderly in Hesketh Bank are closed down, for fear that their tidy community may be infiltrated.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but originally the residents opposed the home due to the unsuitably of the location on a busy main road. Now the goalposts seem to have moved, and they do not want the home in case it is turned into accommodation for young offenders. So are they saying that they do not want a residence for autistic children anywhere in Hesketh Bank just in case it may be used for young offenders? Or is the truth that their ignorance and prejudices mean that they just don't autistic children in their village at all?

Christine Walker, 15th January 2007

Guide Rd

To Everyone Concerned

Having read the letter posted by the residents association, I was compelled to reply to them, hoping for a response - still waiting. I have offered people from the residents association the opportunity to come to a meeting of a local Autistic Spectrum Diosrder Support Group and discuss some of their problems with us, and see for themselves the lack of facilities, and at the same time, the sort of children that would be attending the respite centre.

With regard to the posted letter dated 27/11/06 I accessed the daily mail article "young offenders will be sent to childrens homes", as this seems to be the most predominant arguement left for stopping the respite centre at guide road from going ahead. Nowhere in this article does it mention that young offenders will be placed into respite centres or residential homes for autistic children, or for people with disabilities for that matter. If this was the case, I should imagine that the National Autistic Society and the Disability Rights Commissions would intervene.

I also commented on the overall lack of respite centres and facilities for autistic children under the age of 16 in Lancashire. Hardly anyone in Lancashire offers this type of faciility, or support groups, social activites, etc. Believe me, I have looked. Over 16's have more opportunities, and support from social services, including housing in the communities - bought and paid for by social services.

I can appreciate the concern of the residents, however, disabled people have rights to, and families need all the support they can get. If this project is allowed to continue, and supported, I am sure that it will benefit the local community rather than harm it. Job opportunities, training, etc. This should be viewed as a positive initiative for your community. Let it be something good and an inspiriation for other communities to act with compassion to those less fortunate than yourselves. Be a positive role model for disability, help break down the barriers and provide a future for those that currently are severely limited.

Jill Taylor - P.A.S.T Chairperson, 13th January 2007

Guide Road Centre

I am so glad that I do not live anywhere near the Guide Road Residents as I doubt that I would be accepted in their neighbourhood as I am a foreigner.

What action do they propose to take if the sighting of the Autism Home is turned down and a family which includes 3 children with Autism moves in instead?

Have you plans to ask Estate Agents to vet the viewers who view this property and only send White Middle Class Viewers round the property.

Get a life and accept everyone as they are.

J Johnston, 11th December 2006

Autism Home

I write this email on behalf of the Guide Road Residents Association and so any questions that need to be answered can be answered by any of us you may wish to contact.

Despite popular belief and ignorance by local newspapers the people of Hekseth Bank are not against children with Autism. Quite the opposite.

However we do have major concerns about the change of this property from residential to any abode that will house children. As dicussed (but not reported) at the meeting held, all people who attended, recognised that the positioning of this home is not acceptable for any childrens home, school, nursery or care facility for young children.

One resident said she would not be happy with her autistic niece attending this respite facility because of its location, and the dangerous traffic that passes and often causes chaos on such a sharp corner. She felt her niece would be frightened of the noise and traffic coming from the farms at all hours of the day.

Apart from the completely random location of the property, we also understand that the grounds of the property do not seem to be acceptable for the needs of children who like/need fresh air, and large swings and play sets to feel comfortable.

Another concern of ours, is once again not about autistic children, but the fact that the use of the property may change from an autistic home to a home for offenders, with the young offenders institutes being full and the government desperate to find them places. Once again not reported by anyone but a major concern that our quiet village could be turned into a playground for young offenders. NOT ABOUT AUTISTIC CHILDREN. Having read on Friday in the Daily Mail an article about young criminals being sent into childrens home, again we feel concerned about how this will affect us and our village and the youngsters that could reside in this property.

Could the government put pressure on the managers of the home to take young offenders with no where else to go? Could the home change its licence from a home for autistic children to a home for young offenders? Can autistic children be housed with young offenders? This seems insane to me!

Could Positive Childcare be forced to change their plans? Would they want to because there is more money there, after all it is a private company. How do we know our community will be safe in the future? This is all information that im not sure anyone can answer, but as people often say you dont necessarily need to believe what you read in the papers.

We appreciate this must have been distressing to a number of people with autistic children, but our concerns look further at what could be rather than what is planned right now at this present time. If you would like to read the report from the national newspaper please refer to an article written by James Slack and entitled Young Offenders will be sent to Childrens Homes.

If you wish to conact us please write to If you have any information on the above article or any knowledge of what this could mean for the home that could open please contact us at the above email address.

Many Thanks,
The Guide Road Residents Association, 27th November 2006


I was shocked and saddened by the LEP article in which the residents of Hesketh Bank so forcefully made their antiquated and ignorant views public at a meeting to discuss the proposed respite care home for children with Autism in their village.

As a mother of two amazing boys, both of whom are on the Autistic Spectrum, I was appalled that such negative and narrow-minded attitudes still abound, despite the growing numbers of children diagnosed with autism and the supposed awareness of the condition by more and more people.

There are frequent news reports relating to Autism, so I find it unbelievable that the local residents appear to have absolutely no understanding or compassion whatsoever, when they have the chance to make a positive difference to the lives of these children and their stressed-out families.

A note to the lady who voiced her 'concerns' about where these children will be educated. A respite care home is just that - it is a haven offering short-term respite for children with Special Needs, to give their families a week end off from the ongoing challenges associated with bringing up a child with autism. The children will not be attending local schools, so she need not start looking at new schools for her normal child to move to, in the event of the application actually being granted.

Please give our children a chance and understand that autism is nothing to fear. The children will be no more disruptive or noisy than any house of 6 non-autistic children. This is the 21st Century and like it or not, Autism is on the increase for reasons we do not yet know.

Helen Hemmings, 22nd October 2006


How bigotted and ignorant can people be. I would be surprised if the tunnel vision people who are so against this home will even consider anyone else's view but hopefully common sense will prevail. I could not believe it on reading the story in the Lancashire Evening Post that there are such people living in such an area as Hesketh Bank.

I have an 11 year old son who has autism. He is the most caring, friendly person you could meet. How is he a danger. Yes there are some autistic children that are challenging, but just as an earlier person pointed out, there are many 'normal' children out there who are challenging. My son attends a Special School and has thrived, I do wonder what would have become of him, but because there are caring people who think of others - are there any in Hesketh Bank? - he has a future, of which I might add, he deserves. He works twice as hard as his 'normal' brothers to achieve the same as them. What are these objectors so worried about. If it was a premiership footballer moving in would the objections be still there.

I suggest that all these objectors take time out of their selfish lives and think of others. It's abit like going to a different country on holiday, you never know it might just be something good. And different can be good. My son has enriched my live and all his extended families lives. Before he came along we had no experience of autism, apart from watching 'Rainman'. We had no choice in the matter and we got on with our lives, and what a life we have. Our lives are hard but I wouldn't swap my son for anything. One last thing - What exactly is 'normal'?

Angela Tuffy, 22nd October 2006


As the parent of a nine-year-old boy with autism, Thursday's article in the Lancashire Evening Post immediately caught my eye. After reading the article, I checked the top of the page to confirm this was 2006 - the 21st century!

Since my son was diagnosed nearly seven years ago, I have read many newspaper articles, reports and books all with varying views, but never I have a read such a warped view of what autism is. If this home was to be for children with Down's Syndrome, would there be such an outcry? I don't think so.

I feel only pity for the residents that hold these views and would ask them to take the time to do a little research on autism. I am priviliged to know many families who have a child or children on the autistic spectrum and would love these residents to meet these children, it would be a most rewarding experience.

Christine Walker, 22nd October 2006


Dear Sir,

Who lives next door to you? Do you really care? Would you offer to try to help if there was a child with a Hearing difficulty or a Sight problem or would you turn your back on the family and perhaps even consider moving home?

Why should Autism be treated so differently? Are we scared of people who may not measure up to our expectations and behave in perhaps a different manner to our children? Who are we to judge others and decide their futures? The two mothers who wrote previously will no doubt have encountered several hurdles and possibly made great sacrifices so that their children receive the best options available to them. Their children are fortunate in having such loving and caring parents.

Our local Libraries have several books on Autism and Aspergers Syndrome. I would recommend reading on the subject of Autism and Aspergers Syndrome. It may help you to understand a little of how the children think and allay your fears. You have no need to be afraid. Please give everyone an equal chance.

J Johnston, 22nd October 2006


Dear Hesketh Bank Villagers

I would like to extend to you a thankful hand in bringing autism to the forefront of attention.

Since there are approximately 1 in 80 now diagnosed as autistic spectrum disorders, it is in the locals interest to protect themselves from the potential villianous activity that must obviously be incorporated in these strange and dangerous individuals. We must surely lock them away in institutions and save the world from muggings and murders.......... What a backword world we are living in!

This is 2006 for goodness sake..... Do you realise that some of the worlds most marvelled advances come from people with autism. Just because someone seems slightly different doesnt mean you can class them as a second class citizen. Just because someone has a different scope on life doesnt mean that it is wrong. I hope sincerely that no-one within Tarleton or Hesketh Bank will ever have to live with autism as it would appear that you have no concept of it.

Challenging behaviour is there for a reason, lack of being understood, pain that is not being understood and dealt with, a lack of understanding the world. Instead of fearing the unknown how about learning about it. Discrimination is rife about autism, but there are some people that actually embrace and understand it. If people could try and appreciate that changing behaviour patterns and entering a safe environment can radically alter the behaviours of these children and their life potential. Then this is a good thing. Life potential is something that early intervention can help. A child that is mute and aggressive can become a child that is wonderfully behaved with a great grasp on language, that has a job, a family and contributes to society.

Who are we to condem that child to a life in an institution. Here we have some fantastic people offering a life-line to families that have fought for their child and had no support. We have some people saying, come and bring your child for some respite care and let yourself have a break, and these kind, caring people are being backlashed at and turned against. The prejudiced mind only believes that autistic people are violent and dangerous. This is a very small minority of autistic children that have had no support or intervention to help them make sense of the world. Mostly autistic people enjoy rules and regulations, routine and order and survive in the outside world undetected and are classed as slightly odd and maybe as eccentric.

Todays interventions are allowing this to become a reality, intead of a rarity. Newspapers sensationalise the small horror story about autism and never ever praise the majority. If children are left traumatised by the bullying outside world, they may become aggressive, but you know what, I'd rather have an autistic child with me, than a "normal" hoody. I'd rather have a child that can be changed with behviour strategies, than a druggie. I'd rather have a safe and secure place for an autistic child, surrounded by caring staff and never left to wander around alone, than a drunk teenager robbing an elderly neighbour.

If you read the newspapers, you will see hundreds of incidents regarding hoodies, murders by youths, bullying, victimisation and violence - non of these are by autistic individuals, yet the one that is becomes the focus.

What you have here is the opportunity to provide a safe and wonderful environment for autistic children that is a life-line and an absolute neccesity. If you took the time to ask families of autistic children what they think, they would tell you how you are changing their lives and how they thank you for your suport and understanding.

I say this as a mother of an autistic child and as chairperson of an autistic support group. If you have questions that need answering then ask them, or better still come along to our group and meet these people before you pre-judge what you think may happen.

Jill Taylor, 21st October 2006

Shocked, disgusted, and utter disbelief at these ignorant narrow minded people, I actually could not believe I was seeing this article. I felt I was living in the dark ages

I'm the mother of a 6 year old autistic boy, who has thrived through the wonderful environment of his special school, that is dedicated to caring for autistic children. My son is a wonderful charming character, with a wonderful joy for life, and is a shining example of how the right caring and educational environment can help children like my wonderful son shine and talk his place in society that he utterly deserves.

Autism can affect any family, we had no history of Autism in our family, and our son was diagnosed at 3 years old. The support and guidance we received from our local authority has been superb and has helped Nathaniel develop into a lovely little boy.

Life is very difficult for parents of autistic children, but I find the hardest part is the ignorance of people who are not effected, and so choose to ignore and judge and even worse discriminate and deprive these children and there families of the valuated support care and time, to help in day to day life. If any one of these so called protestors have a ounce of conscience, or care about how other people lives are effected by Autism they would be supportive, kind and want the community to help others.

I would whole heartedly welcome a place that is giving support and care to those less fortunate than these idiots who seem to be so wrapped up in there own selfish little lives. If they had even bothered to find out about autistic people, the so called fears, and pre historic damaging views of these small town folk, they would understand how frightening and difficult can be when you are living with autism, and open there arms and hearts into endorsing a supporting such a superb and wonderful place.

I only pray that each of these Residents never find that one of there children or grandchildren are effected by autism, because I fell there views would change dramatically as they all seem to be so self absorbed, I feel very sorry for them

Our lives are so much richer for Nathaniel, and than fully he will never have to be judged by this disgrace of a community. Thank goodness my son will never have to be in the company of the biggoted idiots

Mrs Nicola Hope, 19th October 2006


Hello I have just read with disgust an article in the LEP regarding a care centre for children with Autism.

I have a son who is 6 years old and has Autism, I would love nothing more than to have a child who was ‘Normal’. You do not know what difficulties I go through every day with my son and it’s not helped by people who don’t understand what autism is and what life is like for a family like my.

May I say I hope none of your villages every have to suffer with a child with autism. I am disgusted in your village and it’s views.

Adrian Hope, 19th October 2006

Positive Childcare Ltd Planning Application

Dear all,

Positive Childcare Limited would like to extend sincere apologise to any parties unduly concerned regarding the planning application for 1a Guide Road.

It is with great sadness that we have received so many disturbing comments about the proposed childcare services that we hope to provide. It would appear that there is some confusion regarding the use of the property and the type of child that we will accommodate.

We hope to dispel the completely untrue and unfounded comments that have been circulated. We will in no way attempt to address the inaccurate gossip that has so far generated so much concern. What we will do is address each point in the statement of intent that has been used as a foundation on which to base the incorrect information being discussed in the community.

We would like to thank everybody who has taken the time to discuss with us in an honest and appropriate way for their comments of support for our project. We are sure that as the truth circulates more and more of the community will realise that this is a worthwhile unobtrusive proposal.

We would also like to extend our thanks and apologise to those who have received some highly inappropriate comments that have caused offence. Great understanding has been shown to account for what will hopefully be comments regretted by those that have chosen to make them.

It is also important to note that Positive childcare limited openly welcome and endorse any communication between parties that will provide a correctly informed opinion of the project. At no time will we publish material that will try to suggest that it is an official West Lancashire District Council document. So far we have followed the letter of the law in relation to planning application. We have consulted with local councillors and professionally appointed persons. We liaise and are informed by Government regulatory bodies and strive to exceed the requirements of the Children Act and Care standards Act.

We fully intended in due course to have an open evening to inform interested parties of our plans. We will now endeavour to bring forward these plans to address any immediate concerns. The date for this meeting will be announced shortly. In the mean time, if anybody would like to talk to us or invite us to a properly organised meeting we will be more than happy to attend.

The main parties concerned with the administration of this childcare project were born in Tarleton and have lived most of their lives within the community. Local people will know to whom we refer. As local people, they would in no way entertain the type of business that the miss information has suggested. Mr Cropper has not been involved with any other project in the area. There has already been significant contribution to the local economy with all services used to date coming from within the village.

A number of other businesses in the area have already been approached and agreed to be service providers over a long term period, further promoting development for our local business. We have equally been approached by a number of suitably qualified persons from within the community seeking employment opportunities.

The original report was compiled to cater for a maximum usage scenario of the home. This was compiled on the advice of our architect. We do however not suggest that our architect had any involvement in the content of the report. The original has since been revised accordingly.

Statement of intent


The property at Guide Road consists of two dwellings joined together by an existing utility room. There are gardens to both sides of the property and a parking facility to the centre and side. For descriptive purposes, we have divided the house into south side and north side. Positive Childcare Limited provides residential and respite care to children with severe challenging behaviour and social needs. Through a minimum ratio of one to one supervised care, behaviour modification programmes and social development, programmes are developed to meet the specific needs of each individual child. To achieve the standard of care required to meet the needs of the children, tailored residential facilities need to be provided to develop an environment conducive to learning whilst maintaining a safe and secure facility. It is the duty of any parent, guardian or childcare provider to provide a safe and secure environment. It is the intent of Positive Childcare Limited to develop number 1a Guide Road to a standard of accommodation that provides a warm, homely and individual environment whilst providing safety and security to children and staff alike. The property will be a home to a maximum of six children, three being accommodated in one side of the dwelling and three in the other. The emphasis is on a warm and homely environment.

It is of paramount importance to provide as near as possible a normal family setting. Any employer has the legal responsibility to provide for the Health, Safety and Welfare of their employees and any other who might be affected by their acts or omissions.

The average age of the children within the home environment is ten to fifteen years old. The children who will be living at Guide Road as if it was their own home will be autistic children.

Please read a report produced by the Children’s commissioner for England. Although this does not cover a children’s home in specific, it provides a useful description of current needs for education. It is a priority of Positive Childcare Limited to provide education. Taken from the BBC website. The children's commissioner for England has said it is shameful that the country is failing to provide adequately for children with autism. Sir Al Aynsley-Green - who recently met families with autistic children - said it was "shocking and appalling". The National Autistic Society says more than half the 90,000 children with autism in the UK are not in the sort of school their parents believe is best. Sir Al said teachers and schools should be better trained to cope. "It's appalling and it's shameful for our country, the fifth richest economy in the world, to have so many children that are not being looked after and given the resources they need to develop to their full potential," he said in a BBC interview. "It is shocking and appalling." Understanding Sir Al said: "In my office last week we had to be very careful about not overloading these children with bright colours, with noise, to have quiet space for them to relax in and to be comfortable in. The National Autistic Society has campaigned at Downing Street "These aren't things that cost large amounts of money. It's a cultural change. "It is a way of understanding the lives of these children and how we can improve it for them." Ruth McNichol, whose son George has Asperger's syndrome, told BBC News, teachers needed to be trained to deal with autistic children. "There appears to be a lot of ignorance about autism and the particular education techniques that are required to teach children with autism. "It is particularly bad when children make the transition from primary to secondary school. Ms McNichol said when her son had started secondary school "he was bullied, he withdrew from lessons in the classroom and the staff didn't appear to know how to engage with him". "At the end of his first year at secondary school, despite not being in any way disruptive, he started self-harming and he was obviously in a great deal of distress," she said. It is estimated by the National Autistic Society that there are 90,000 children with autistic spectrum disorders - which affect their social interaction and communication - and fewer than 8,000 specialist places.

A spokesman for the Department for Education and Skills said special educational needs were a government priority. There had been major increases in education funding and local authorities' budgeted expenditure on special needs had also increased, from £2.8bn in 2001-02 to £4.1bn in 2005-06, with more to come, the spokesman said. "We will also look at the case for further funding in the current spending review, which includes a specific focus on services for disabled children." He added: "We have always been clear that inclusion is about the quality of children's education, and how they are helped to learn, achieve and participate in the life of their school, whether that is a mainstream or a special school." There was good practice guidance for local authorities and schools on meeting the needs of children with autism.

The accommodation will be used as follows:

Dwelling 1 (South)

Ground Floor The entrance to the property is via a Porch leading into the hall.

Room 1 Lounge The lounge area shall be the central focal point of the house allowing the children in residence the ability to develop social and personal skills in a controlled environment. There shall be a television, DVD, Video and sound system for entertainment. Is it not normal and a fact taken for granted for any living room in any home to have a television, DVD, Video and Sound system for entertainment? Why would anyone imagine that this home is different and why will it create a problem? There will be no noise pollution than beyond normal household levels. The children are monitored by a care worker at all times. It will be less obtrusive than for example a number of barking dogs.

Room 2 Sensory stimulation Room The sensory room is designed to explore sight, sound and touch. Through the use of audio and visual aids the children will be encouraged to develop basic skills. The room will also be a focal point for skills development in life skills including for example, decorating a cake. The predominant aim of this room is education. A specially prepared curriculum of personal development will be available to all children in our care. The Curriculum and individual needs will be assessed, prepared and monitored by highly qualified childcare professionals.

Room 3 Kitchen The existing kitchen will be renewed with a modern kitchen incorporating health and safety requirements, food hygiene and child safety specific additions. As well as preparing all meals, the kitchen will also be used to develop Childs life skills in basic food preparation. Life skills are integral to the development of the children in our care.

Room 4 Bathroom The bathroom shall be fitted with a basin, toilet, bath and shower. This will be the main ablutions room for this side of the dwelling. Children will be encouraged to maintain there own personal hygiene. Life skills coaching

Room 5 Bedroom 1 This room shall be set aside for emergency child placement. There is a need for this provision within Lancashire.

First Floor From the top of the stairs, each room is accessed via a landing.

X3 Rooms Bedroom 2 and 3 6 / 7 Each bedroom shall be decorated to the individual child. Children shall be encouraged to take ownership of their personal space and develop a theme for the room. This will promote self identity and personal self worth. An integral focus of childcare provision is maintaining as normal living conditions as possible. Is it not the same in every Childs bedroom that their personality and current interests are reflected in the posters and decoration of the room?

Room 8 Bathroom This is a small bathroom containing toilet, shower and hand basin.

Room 9 Study room This room shall be equipped with a computer and desk area for study. The room shall also be a relax room with bean bags and soft furnishings. Further educational development.

Dwelling 2 (North)

Ground floor
The entrance to the property is via a front door leading into a vestibule.

Room 1 Lounge The lounge area shall be the central focal point of the house allowing the children in residence the ability to develop social and personal skills in a controlled environment. There shall be a television, DVD, Video and sound system for entertainment.

Room 2 study room This room shall be equipped with a computer and desk area for study. The room shall also be a relax room with bean bags and soft furnishings. The existing on suit facilities will be suitably divided from the study and relax area.

Room 3 Kitchen The existing kitchen will be renewed with a modern kitchen incorporating health and safety requirements, food hygiene and child safety specific additions. As well as preparing all meals, the kitchen will also be used to develop Childs life skills in basic food preparation.

First floor

From the top of the stairs, each room is accessed via a landing.

Room 4 Bathroom The bathroom shall be fitted with a basin, toilet, bath and shower. This will be the main ablutions room for this side of the dwelling. Children will be encouraged to maintain there own personal hygiene. The bathroom will be developed to include a separate toilet and hand basin.

X3 Rooms Bedroom 1, 2 and 3 5 / 6 / 7 Each bedroom shall be decorated to the individual child. Children shall be encouraged to take ownership of their personal space and develop a theme for the room. This will promote self identity and personal self worth.

Connecting utility room The utility room comprises four rooms.

Room 1 Entrance hall This room shall be the staff administration and relaxation area. There shall be sofas and individual lockers for staff personal possessions. The provision of Welfare for staff.

Room 2 Office This shall be the administration area for the whole business. It will contain computer and filing systems. This will be a secure area with restricted access as it will hold all staff and child personal details. As per the requirements of the data protection act and normal business practice. The office will be the hub of the telephone and internet access.

Room 4 Disabled toilet and shower. Although the company for health and safety reasons cannot employ disabled people for direct contact with the children, we do otherwise operate a disability equality policy for administration work. For this reason, the disabled facilities are accessible from the office and staff area only. As per the disability discrimination act.

Room 5 Laundry To cater for the amount of washing the children will generate, it is planned to install two washing machines and two dryers. We cannot envisage standard domestic washing and drying machines creating any noise pollution above normal household levels. Current use of washing machines at the property has not been cause for complaint.

Area to rear of property This is a secluded area to the west side of the dwelling. This will be used for the storage of waste bins. There shall be different bins for recycling and a further addition will be compost for all suitable waste. This area is close to the boundary of the adjoining property. Although on the initial statement of intent this was described as a recreation area, this has been revised to the above statement. The area shall be fenced off at each end and not accessible by the children.

Future intent The north facing gable end is perfect for a conservatory. This is being considered as an ideal development to create an on site educational facility which can be overseen by a qualified teacher and teaching assistant. This is well within the realms of normal property development.

Staffing Levels All positions will be full time, and staff will receive incentives to commit to long term employment to increase child carer relationship development. There is a difference between organisational staff and the home staff. The original staff numbers were a comparative document to show planning application how many jobs this project will create. The numbers of staff present on site are dictated by the childcare provision and shift rota system. It is envisaged that during the day, there will be at any onetime six staff. Further information on staff levels and rota system is commercially sensitive information and not for general release.

Parking Facilities There will be provision for off street parking for six cars and the company MPV. Additional overflow off street parking will be provided at 161 Hesketh Lane with the company MPV providing a shuttle service. There will be extensive groundwork required to provide hard standing areas for parking with the replanting of trees and landscaping to blend the parking and housing together. There is currently room for six cars and the MPV to park within the boundary of the property. Staff will be encouraged to share transport wherever possible. Although not relevant to the planning application, provision has been made at 161 Hesketh Lane for any overflow parking. Any landscaping will be at Guide Road. By extensive groundwork, we refer to replacing current hard standing areas with new surfacing. (Hard Landscaping) New trees and shrubs will be planted to provide a screen between the parking and the home. (Soft Landscaping) The off street parking facility will be used in its entirety. This will be an improvement on the current parking trends associated with 1a Guide Road.

The gardens to each dwelling are an important asset to the care of the children as basic garden maintenance will encourage the children to take ownership of their environment. The gardens will be maintained to a high standard at all times.

Security and safety It is planned to install cameras, lighting, signage, fences and fire alarms.

Cameras: There is a requirement for a minimum of five cameras. X 3 for perimeter monitoring for general security. CCTV is now an approved practice of many city or town centres. We believe, that it is planned to provide CCTV coverage to the Tarleton village shopping area. There are many private and business properties that employ the use of CCTV cameras for security and peace of mind. The children’s home intends to use discreet fixed cameras appropriate for any private dwelling covering the main access areas of the property. The cameras will be fitted by a NACOSS approved installation company and will in no way encroach on any area outside of the property boundary.

Lighting: Security There is a requirement for a minimum of three lights. One light to the front of the property will be permanently on at night whilst the remaining two will provide light upon activation of the sensor. It is common practice for any business or private dwelling to use external property lighting. The light to the front of the property will be an existing ornamental lamppost within the boundary of the property. It will provide no more luminance than the existing public lamppost. Safety There will be safety light throughout the two dwellings sited to provide emergency lighting to all exits. These lights will have a backup power supply. This is required under current fire precautions legislation. The lighting will be no brighter than a night light used in many private dwellings.

Signage: All emergency escape routes will be clearly marked, with additional signage provided where required. For example, First aid box, fire extinguisher and bespoke signage for any additional safety precautions. As per health, safety and Fire regulations.

Fences: It is planned to erect a security fence to the full perimeter of the property including vehicle and pedestrian gates. Although this provides security from crime, the main aim is to provide a protected area in which the children can move freely yet safely. The purpose of any fence or barrier is to delineate a boundary, deter casual trespass and delay intentional intrusion. Every property owner strives to provide these measures with the additional benefit of privacy. With the additional requirement of protecting any child from unwanted outside attention, it is even more important to provide suitable fencing. In this context, we intend to erect a closed board fence at 1.4 metres height to the existing boundary of the property. Such a fence will not withstand impact from a HGV. Statistically over the Last thirteen years, there have been three recorded impacts on the current fence. There has been no reported incident of a HGV plundering through the fence. If the local council highways and safety department had identified this as an accident black spot, we are confident that suitable signage or traffic calming measures would be in place. Recent renewal of the fence included replacing the fence twelve inches into the legal boundary of the property.

Fire extinguishers: There is a requirement for: X6 Fire extinguishers X2 Fire blankets As per health, safety and Fire regulations.

Energy efficiency and recycling Positive Childcare Limited will strive to conserve energy and use clean renewable energy and will actively recycle all waste. To achieve our aim, we will research household wind turbines and solar panels. We shall always use energy efficient technology such as energy efficient light bulbs.

Summary The main amendments include:

• A reduction from eight to six children.
• A reduction from eight to six bedrooms
• The change of use of two rooms from bedrooms to study rooms
• The change of use of the rear area from play area to bin area
• Staffing levels reduced to cater for two less children. An amended shift rota maximising staff care, minimising staff on duty.

Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence. There are numerous homes throughout the UK and throughout the North West of England that provide exactly the same service that we propose. These homes interact within the community with no adverse effect.

Trevor Cropper, Company Director, 17th October 2006

A flyer was posted through my door yesterday with an alert about the planning application for 1a Guide Road. There is a planning application for the house(s) to be converted into a residential home for children with severe and challenging behaviour.

The flyer raises lots of concerns, but it borders on scaremongering. The whole thing reminds me of a fuss that was created for a Residential home for autistic children in Mere Brow.

The Guide Road plan appears to be a good idea to me. It is a detatched house, in a quiet rural location, which might actually help these children. They have to have a home somewhere and nimbyism just clouds the issue. The facility will have 1 to 1 care at least, 24 hours a day.

The flyer asks how safe will the local community be? The facility will be fenced around, and again with 1 to 1 care how are these children realistically going to cause that much trouble. The flyer also says that the facility will also have dvd, video, tv's and sound systems (at least 2 of each) - so we have 3 of each in our house, and my neighbours don't complain, again there will be carers on site, and I'm sure they wont allow blaring tv's music etc.

The flyer then goes on to suggest that HGV's will go ploundering through the hedges and fences of this property, is the author seriously trying to tell us that HGV drivers cannot drive past any house with fences and hedges without crashing!!!!!

The flyer talks about the proposed installation of 2 washing machine and 2 tumble dryers creating noise pollution and going on day and night - maybe the author needs to get their machines checked, ours don't make that much noise.

Finally, the flyer says that more noise will be made when the children are outside they'll create more noise pollution with the bouncy castles and go karts etc. While I sympathise with the neighbours, children will always make noise while playing outside - it's good for them, and I am sure will be no noisier than if 2 families moved in to the house(s) with a couple of kids.

I am sure there are going to be some teething problems, but why don't we see the positives this project could have, and not the nimbyism this flyer advocates.

Mr A Parkinson, 15th October 2006


WLDC Council House Waiting List

I am writing in reply and support of Mrs Curtis' letter dated 12th January 2006.

In early 2004, Ihad to make a decision regarding the future of my family. At the time, we were living in Liverpool and following a change of career we felt that we wanted a better life for our 4 children. A decision was made to sell the family home and move to a temporary home in a static caravan at the Riverside Leisure Centre.

Unfortunately finances didn't improve and we are still there. We put our names on the council housing list. We check with WLDC Housing dept regularly and have been told in no uncertain terms that we will never get a house off the council, anywhere.

An application has been placed by Cosmopolitan Housing to build new houses in Banks, some of these have been earmarked as council properties. we contacted Cosmopolitan and were told to contact WLDC and put our names on the list. WLDC Housing told us we had no chance.

We do have a small 'local connection', our daughter attends Greenbank High in Southport, our 4 yr old twins attend a nursery in Crossens and are due to start at St. Stephens in September.

I work for a large educational employer but above all else, we pay council tax to live on a caravan park where we receive nothing in return. The bins, roads, lighting, water supply etc are all supplied by the site, non residents receive the same as those who live there and to top it all we have to move off site from 7th January till the 1st of March. This means we are living outside WLDC area for 15% of the year yet still pay the same.

Is this fair? Do the seasonal agricultural workers pay council tax?

Dave Foy, 18th January 2006


I live in Hesketh Bank currently but have lived in Tarleton for over 20 years but because of the house prices my husband and I and our two small children are set to be homeless.

The house that we are renting is being sold by the landlord and there is nothing available to rent below £600 and nothing to buy below £142,000. We have applied to the council for a house but because of the lack of houses available they will only put us in Skelmersdale despite having lived here for most of my life.

I have a 3yr old and a 5mth old baby to consider and the only feasible mortgage we could afford would be in Chorley, away from my family, friends and my daughters school.

Will there ever be a drop in the house prices around here or are more and more residents being pushed out to make way for immigrants in this ever growing village.

Mrs Curtis, 12th January 2006


Dear Sir,

Are any of the local residents aware of the planning application (2005/1367) regarding accommodation of agricultural workers at Riccadonna, Hundred End, Hesketh Bank.

The application is for 96 workers who are part of a workforce of 130 who are needed to (quote from the applicants supporting information) work on their uniquely intensive cropping regime .

If you are a farmer reading this, your comments on how much land whether outside or under glass would be required to utilise this amount of workers would be appreciated. I have been in farming for almost 20 years and I estimate if the applicant (Mr and Mrs Edge) were farming outside then they would need to own almost all of the farming land in Hesketh Bank, if just growing under glass they would need up to 80 acres to employ the amount of staff as suggested (year round).

What is happening is they are a gangmaster set up, whilst this is not illegal, saying the workers all work on your land surely is. In a meeting with Huntapac personnel manager in early December 2005 he confirmed that they employed 110 of Riccadonna workers. They are also employed at salads to go in Skelmersdale and at Keypac (a poultry packer in Preston) These take the bulk of the workers but lots of other farmers take a few ( I know who 99% of these farmers are but will not list them here as they have done nothing wrong)

Grace Edge seems to think that she is above the law and basically the planning application is for a 96 BED HOTEL IN GREEN BELT LAND. You can view the application here-

if you click on view documents from 2005-onwards, then click on plan app supporting info (if you are a Farmer reading this statement then please be careful as you will fall off your seat laughing when you read the absolute lies that are in it).

Any comments would be appreciated
Jon Bragg, 1st January 2006

Tarleton Whingers

Now we're getting somewhere!

If you agree the guy got it wrong on the height of the railings why shouldn't we as residents point it out to the others? You ask did the builder not know he had built it too high? Come on Brian.

As regards the state of the roads (surface, gutters and grids) all you have to do is contact your local Councillor and complain. As I said only they can give you the answers so stop whinging.

The Green Lane link is being pursued but due to a past Tarleton Parish Council Chairman's actions this has been deemed by Lancs CC as not important. If you would take the trouble you would find that a lot of effort is being put in to get the Green Lane link built.

If we are to believe what the Tarleton Parish Council tell us then a facility will soon be available for young people to go to. You didn't know about it? Go to your Parish Council meetings and find out for yourself - next one is on Tuesday 20th Dec at 7.30 in the Over 60's club.

See you there eh?
Dave Rydings, 24th November 2005

Tarleton Whingers

In response to Mr Dave Rydings letter of the 19th, no I dont think planning is pointless, yes the builder did wrong and the maker and erector of the railings to a certain extent did wrong. But the point I was making was instead of putting so much effort into whinging about the railings why not try putting some more effort into complaining about the state of our local roads.

I've read these pages for along time but this has been the only time I've felt that some people seem to whinge over something so trivial; 3-4 people even congratulating people on complaining. Did anybody bother to get in touch with the builder? Did he know they had been made and erected to high?

As for what my council tax should be spent on --- Better road improvements i.e. Green Lane extension to get hgv's out of Tarleton and Banks. Grids being cleaned out, gutters cleaned. A club opened for under 18's that is open Fri-Sun for the kids to have somewhere to go,that way they're off the streets and safe.

Brian Curran, 23rd November 2005

Tarleton Whingers

No Brian your point wasn't missed you made your feeling very clear but I'm sure you'll agree when I said that all you had to do was contact your local councillor to get the answers was the right one.

Have you done so or do you just want to whinge? Are you interested in the answers you will get from them? Where do you think you your £1000 council tax should be spent? What do you think your £1000 council tax is spent on?

Do you consider that planning is pointless and that anybody should be allowed to build where what and how they want? I am interested in reading your replies.

Dave Rydings, 19th November, 2005

Tarleton Whingers

In response to Dave Rydings letter.... By road sweeper I didn't mean someone picking up litter in the main part of the village I meant a road sweeper as in sweeps the road/gutter i.e. mechanical sweeper.

I knew they were getting ready to resurface Gorse lane as it was marked out a few weeks ago but all they are doing is cutting the patches up and relaying the patches.

As house holders in Tarleton we are being ripped off by the council,we pay over £1000 council tax a year for half our household refuse to be collected (down from 52 to 26 weeks) - recyclable rubbish was collected on top of this. Then we only get the roads patched up / repatched. Like I said in my 1st letter the builder did wrong, but surely there's more important things to be doing. Maybe I didn't make my point clear enough or was my point missed?

Brian Curran, 18th November 2005

Tarleton Whingers

I am confused by Brian Curran's letter of the 5th. Whingers bordering on hatred - come on Brian , that's a bit strong isn't it?.

The point I made about the railings at the front of the old barn on Church Road was to request the owner to abide by the AGREED plans. If you read the Parish Council's minutes for the September meeting you will see that they have lodged an objection to them as well. So by your argument you helped elect a Council of whingers. If you didn't vote then you have no reason to make any comment whatsoever (That is using your way of arguing a point).

As I understand (from asking my local Councillor) the surface of Gorse Lane is about to be improved so again Brian if you have a complaint all you need to do is check with the Councillor elected to represent you.

I see our street cleaner most days in the village spending a lot of time picking up rubbish carelessly thrown down by inconsiderate people - but yet again, if you contacted the Council you would be able to find out for yourself just how many times the road sweeper is deployed in the village.

Lastly Brian, have you filled in the consultation document issued by Acland Bracewell asking for residents views about the redevelopment of Mark Square? Are you suggesting that nothing is done at all? If so tell Acland Bracewell and stop whinging!

Dave Rydings, 6th November 2005

Tarleton Whingers

In response to a few of the letters on this site. There seems to be a lot of complaining about what is going on in the Tarleton area, some of which I agree with.

I've lived here for 13 years and I've seen big changes a lot of which are not all for the best. But to whinge so much it borders on hatred is going too far. What am I going on about? The railings around the old barn at the top of Blackgate lane.

It's a shame those concerned don't put more effort into whinging like old women about the state of the local roads, especialy gorse lane and the roads on the moss. Alright the builders have errected a fence thats too high, they did wrong but I can understand why; because if there wasnt a big enough barrier someone could trip and fall through the big window then sue the owners for damages and get a nice big payout - so someones watching his back.

I dont blame them. Those shouting the loudest don't even live near it, but they do live near Gorse lane which is in such bad repair it's getting dangerous. So why not shout and complain about that, or do we always go for the easy option.

Also when was the last time we saw a road sweeper in the village. Bracewells want to redo Mark square. They say its out dated, and they want to combat the vandalism and graffiti. How are the going to do this? By giving the vandals a glass walkway and a fountain. That makes sense doesn't it. Also who's going to pay for it? We are: higher rent means higher prices. THINK ABOUT IT.

So why not get our priorities right befor whinging.

Brian Curran, 5th November 2005

Mark Square Development - Every Little Helps

Oh I say chaps, why not include in the scheme a Rural Operations Centre for the local Police Force as part of the planning gain for the community?

There will be plenty of space as local shops are squashed flat by Tesco's at Burscough.

Bob Robinson, 2nd November 2005

Dear Sir,

I walked past the old barn on the corner of Church Road and Blackgate Lane the other day. The illegal railings have been completely painted, gravel laid inside the enclosed area and large wooden troughs set just inside the fence line. Now I ask myself would I have done that knowing that I been told to abide by the agreed plans by the local authority? I understand that an appeal has gone in to keep the railings at the current height but this action taken by the builder/owner beggers belief. On what grounds does he justify his action?

Dave Rydings, 4th September 2005

It is sad that you have to leave the village because of housing costs Miss Granger. It's not just the cost of a house though but a) the cost of land, b), the location of that land and c), an increasing population causing a rise in demand.

This is especially so in West Lancs now there is a block on any large scale housing developments. A barn like that should not have been allowed to have remained empty for so long. I understand that the system in this country is that no one can force you to develop a property you own. You just have to keep it in a safe condition. It is therefore great to see the barn being turned into 2 (?) homes and be brought back to life again.

The asking price though bears no resemblance to its original cost. It will be interesting to see just how long it takes to sell and for how much. This all started off though on the subject planning regulations. I would be interested in your views on planning Miss Granger - especially on the subject of what should be done if they are ignored. For instance - do you think the should be more relaxed than they currently are?

Dave Rydings, 27th August 2005

In response to Mr Rydings question (dated 20th August 2005) "If you had the money would you buy it?". The answer is yes, I most certainly would. Although, like all my peers, I am unable to buy ANY house in Tarleton, let alone a converted barn.

I will be moving out of the village in time, leaving it with a whole generation of twentysomethings missing. But hey, that's another argument.........."

Miss H. Granger, 25th August 2005


Anyone in Hesketh Bank who is concerned about West Lancashire District Council's planning policy for the village should be aware of a proposal to build on the field beside 90 Moss Lane, almost facing the junction with Boundary Lane.

It is a relatively small scheme, but the density and impact is unprecedented and has longer-term implications. The plan for this narrow tract of horticultural land (behind the post-box) is for 11 properties (3/4 bedroom) and an access road. Ominously the plans show the road to be gated on to adjacent nursery land, rather suggesting a future 'Phase 2' . Developers claiming 'affordable housing' have licence to cut costs. But in this instance there are no scheduled garage spaces and provision for car parking and play space is very inadequate.

What might be acceptable in a new town with parks and good communal facilities does not make sense in our sort of rural context. Good planning in this day and age must take proper account of social and environmental issues, and these sort of cramped building applications are quite often a commercial 'try on'.

Action in respect of our local very stretched domestic services is unclear, and neighbours most closely affected have apparently not received answers to a range of important written questions made to a planning official some time ago. Now there is a suggestion that the plans may be slipped through Planning Committee imminently.

Hopefully our two elected West Lancashire councillors are closely in touch with what is a very questionable situation, local attitudes, and the need for much more debate and consultation.

Trevor Roberts, 22nd August 2005

I think Miss Granger you miss the point - The complaint made was that the railings were not to the height as agreed by the developer and WLDC. How would you feel if you agreed with a builder to build you an extension to your house and he put the door in a different place than you had agreed to?

If you cannot appreciate the logic behind planning regulations I would suggest you consider what life would be like without any. I agree with you that it is considerably better than it was but that doesn't mean the person who bought it can please himself what he does with it.

To many these regulations may appear on the surface as pointless but if you were to delve into it more you may find there is a little more to it than "being petty about some railings".

One final point - if you had the money would you buy it?

Regards, Dave Rydings, 20th August 2005

Further to Mr Rydings letter, dated 4th August 2005, I wish to congratulate him on his, Councillor Kays and Mrs Stringfellows efforts in removing the iron railings from the front of the old barn on Church Road.

It is my opinion that the barn was being redeveloped excellently by the builder. It is being renovated slowly, but to a high standard, using top quality methods by time served craftsmen. It will not date, and looks 100 times better from the run down state it was in 12 months ago. The builders have complied with all the silly 'design statement' rules and regulations, installing wooden windows and making sure that they are indeed white!

The house at the top of Plox Brow that was renovated some 5 plus years ago was a prime example of this bureaucracy. Beautiful stained wooden windows were custom made, looked fantastic and yet as they were not painted in Dulux, they didn't comply with the rules of some small minded residents, who think they speak for the village when opening their mouths.

How pathetic, that you people have nothing better to do than moan, about something as petty as railings. What do you suggest the alternative is? Because I think we all realise that the window is going to get smashed within a matter of days by the people leaving the pubs late at night. I wonder if you would object if your hedges were 14 centimetres over regulatory height, and had 28 days to comply with the agreed plans?! And before you ask, I am not a new resident to the village and I don't live on Meadoway. I have lived in Tarleton all my life, as have my parents and my grandparents before them.

My memory of the barn, is seeing Joe Webster sat on the bench outside it, hat on, enjoying the sun and watching the world go by. I wonder what he would think of all this nonsense???

Miss H. Granger, 5th August 2005

Further to my letter of the 31st July I am pleased to report that due to a determined effort by one local resident (Mrs Stringfellow) and our District Councillor (Jim Kay) the railings erected in front of the old barn on Church Rd will have to be taken down. It seems that planning permission for that height was not granted.

The builder has 28 days to comply with the agreed plans. Such a pity - they've started painting them a lovely shade of black!! Well done to Mrs Stringfellow and Cllr. Kay for taking such prompt action.

Dave Rydings, 4th August 2005

The old barn on Church Road and Blackgate Lane has had a makeover! Several people have commented to me on it - especially the railings- and in fact calling it Tarleton Prison!!Barn Conversion, Church Road, Tarleton

Did the Planning Dept at West Lancs actually pass that? Also one of the entrances is right on the junction and I would have thought that that would not be allowed on the grounds of safety.

Also there is a strong rumour going round that Marks Square is to be made car free and more shops added at the back of the others on the side road leading to the rear of the square. The Spar is to be extended to 3 times its size.

It would be nice if all the applicants and the planners discussed it with all of us. After all we just live here!!

Dave Rydings, 31st July, 2005


Yesterday saw the official opening of the Tarleton High School Community Sports Hall by our MP David Borrow. It was a very special event with feelings running high as we all stood in the magnificent building that is a monument to community spirit and co-operation.

Many people thought that it would never happen but with the persistant and considerable efforts of David Borrow, the determination and planning of Anthony Hardiker and staff and the input from the community, the whole project has been a rip roaring success!

At the start of the formation of Tarleton's Village Plan, we were asked by Anthony Hardiker if we could provide any base evidence which could be used to support the bid for funding for the Hall, fortunately this was to hand with us just having conducted the Community Audit section of the Plan process which clearly indicated that Communty Sports was very important to the residents of Tarleton. This has been born out by the 100% booking of the Hall right from it being open to the public.

Following the far sighted descisions by Tarleton Parish Council and Hesketh with Becconsall Parish Council, (under the Chairmanship of Cllr. R.C.Ball), to invest £100k and £50k respectively the bid was successful in securing funding to take the total up to £1.1m. Some critics of the Village Plan process felt that there were no tangible benefits to come out of it, which of course, is now evidently not the case.

There are ideas for further partnership projects with THS as well as other projects from the Village Plan as they roll out. I am personally grateful to all the team who contributed to the formation of the Village Plan and in particular this tremendous project and would like them to know that many other areas are seeking to emulate what we, as a community, have achieved. It was a very proud day!

Yours Sincerely,
Cllr. J.E.Hodson, 22nd January 2005
Chairman Tarleton Parish Council
Chairman Tarleton Village Design Group


I would just like to thank any of your readers who took the trouble to participate in the Community Survey on the Proposed Morris Homes Development on Alty's Site which was included in our first newsletter.

133 tear off slips were returned of which 9 were in favour of the proposal and 123 were against it with 1 slip returned unmarked. Bearing in mind there are around 1700 houses in the parish, I think this was an excellent response and shows the strength of feeling on this issue.

P.S. There is still time to put forward your suggestions for a title for the Newsletter, so keep 'em coming.

Steve Kirby - HwB PC Newsletter Editor, 10th January 2005


Having just received through the door the Booths Supermarket Christmes brochure (and very interesting it looks) I am prompted to ask is there any progress on the proposal to build a store on Hesketh Lane? Or has this drifted into the long grass?

Bob Robinson, 24th November, 2004


You may have wondered as I have why this has gone so quiet. It was originally said that the proposals would be brought before West Lancs Planning Committee in October. I have asked the officer handling the application what is happening. "We are hoping to bring it forward to the December meeting" (that's the 9th) but it depends on all submissions being received by then. The highways response is available "but there is another document from the applicants we are waiting for."

This is apparently to flesh out the economic case for the proposed housing supporting the residual industrial/ commercial use. If that arrives in time for the officers to evaluate it, then the application will be considered at the December meeting. If not, it will be delayed into the new year. That's fact.

What follows is comment. It would seem that Altys haven't got their sums right (not surprising in view of the performance of their MD at the village meeting.) What they are now doing is preparing a case for appeal so they can overturn the democratically made decision set out in the District Plan to exclude housing on the Altys / ex-railway land to retain it for commercial / industrial use in its entirety. Let's hope their economic drafter is as slipshod as the civil engineering draughtsperson who prepared their original plan - the one that showed a physically impossible road leaping up onto the bridge!

As to accepting the proposal and getting enough 'planning gain' to balance it, as suggested by one parish councillor, the only planning gain big enough to justify it would be a new road to a new Douglas bridge on the line of the old railway bridge - and if they did that, there would have to be either significantly fewer houses or Altys would lose even more working space: it wouldn't be economic.

And where is the planning gain obtained in exchange for the Poppyfields development?

Ian Wells, 9th November 2004


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