Assembly meeting

Nothing much of interest happened at the meeting in the end. We got out our leaflets trying to put across the Labour position on the boundary changes. However, the surprising thing was that there weren’t actually that many people there.

I had printed 600 leaflets thinking that there would be more people in the Civic Hall and some in the overflow. However, there were only around 300 people there. Out of that there were probably around 40-50 councillors, at least another 100 key partners and the rest were members of public.

From the discussion about boundaries, it seemed that most of the people were from Ormskirk and surrounding villages / towns because they were mainly against going into Sefton. There was little mention about the areas going into Wigan.

The whole thing was an unremarkable exercise for the council to say how great they are and to put across a very biased view on the boundary changes.

Re. Assembly Tickets

Well, it seems that the press release about the tickets got into the Champion verbatim. I guess I underestimated either the Champ’s ability to get something in quickly (admirable!) or the how long it takes the council to put a press release on their site.

I am coming around to the view that the whole boundary issue about creating a distraction, rather than about the good of the district. There is a lot of time and money being spent with very little information coming out at the end. Perhaps it will become clearer this evening.

Assembly meeting – tickets gone

The council released a press statement yesterday saying that the tickets have gone and advising people not to turn up at the door.

The problem is that if it is reported at all, it will only be in newspapers after the event. The council must be aware of this, they use the papers to promote events all the time. They would also have known that the tickets were running out well before yesterday.

So there are two questions: why did they not advertise the need for tickets in the first place? and why have they left it so late to say that the tickets have gone?

I’ve got a feeling that they actually want people to be turned away, because it will add to the whole “anger about splitting West Lancs” argument.

Council Meeting as an Assembly

It turns out that the public “Council meeting as an assembly” meeting on Wednesday is a ticket-only affair. There are adverts in the local press that don’t mention this and all previous publicity for it haven’t mentioned the need for a ticket. I called this morning to see if Rosie Cooper (one of the European candidates) could come along and was told that we would both need tickets as we wouldn’t be allowed to just turn up.

A recent press release on the Council’s webite says that tickets should be reserved and then later says that we can turn up on the night without one.

It’s possible that it’s just a cock-up, but perhaps with the CPA results around the corner the council want to look like they’re being open and listening – when really it’s just the opposite.

St Joseph’s Development

I went to a meeting at St Teresa’s last night, a presentation made by the Anglo-American group developers who want to build another 120 flats in the grounds of St Joseph’s College. This is in addition to the 92 that they recently gained planning permission for.

The meeting was very well attended and it’s a tribute to ADGBUHRM* that so many people turned up. It’s fair to say that most people were against what was being proposed and didn’t believe what they were being told by the developers.
Continue reading St Joseph’s Development

Extreme Sports Village

A company called Grayling Leisure are proposing the development of a 60 acre extreme sports village on Beacon Country Park. There are approximately 300 acres in the country park, part of which has already been developed into a golf course. As the Council website says: “There is space to walk, run, ride horses or bicycles, fly kites, or just get away from it all and relax at Beacon Country Park.” It’s a beautiful part of the district and is the only greenspace of it’s kind available to the public.

Grayling made a presentation this evening at the council offices in Ormskirk. I went along to listen after an invite from one of our District Councillors. The notice for the meeting didn’t say that it was only for District Councillors, but conservative Councillors refused to go ahead with the presentation until I was ejected from the council chamber.
Continue reading Extreme Sports Village

Boundary Changes – Survey

I’m running a survey of what people in the local area think of the boundary changes. There isn’t much time to get submissions back to the Boundary Committee – certainly not enough time to knock on doors. Instead, I’ve asked people to send back a slip or to visit this site. I’m also hoping to do something similar with Pauline Bailey in Roby Mill.

If you want to take part in the survey, please complete the form below. I’ll collate them and put them into a submission for the Boundary Committee.
Continue reading Boundary Changes – Survey

The “Loss” of Lancashire

Many people against the boundary committee changes are saying that splitting West Lancs in two will mean that we are cut out of Lancashire.

This has touched on a point that people are genuinely worried about, but it’s a spurious argument. The administrative area of Lancashire County Council is a fraction of the historic county of Lancashire. Many who live within the historic boundaries of the County know that they are in Lancashire, that they are Lancastrians, but they don’t pay their Council Tax to the “Lancashire” County Council.

In the past, I’ve lived in Wigan, Colchester and Twickenham. In Wigan we used “Lancashire” in our addresses, in Colchester it was “Essex” and in Twickenham we used “Middlesex”. Not because that was who we paid our Council Tax to, but because they were the historic counties. Middlesex hasn’t “existed” as an authority for thirty years, but they still have a county cricket club, “Middlesex Sevens” and millions of people know that they still live in the county.

Maybe it would be better for everyone if Lancashire was to cease as a council. That would mean we would all be Lancastrians again, in the metropolitan areas and the cities aswell as the narrowly defined County Council area.

Hello

After trying out this software for our Lily’s website I thought I’d give it a go here for my own stuff rather than rely on scripts and things I’ve written in the past.

The supposed plan is to keep a note of what I’m doing as well as keeping up to date with what’s happening in the exciting world of West Lancashire local politics.

I don’t claim to know much about what’s going on locally – there are other much better qualified people for that. But I think we’re in the middle of an interesting time what with the boundaries.

Let’s first see if this is working…