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2012 BANKS VILLAGE NEWS ARCHIVE

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31st December 2012
Anti-fracking group slams study
Source: Lancashire Evening Post

AN anti-fracking group has hit out at a new study which claims more people in Lancashire support the controversial gas extraction.

Ribble Estuary Against Fracking (REAF), set up to oppose hydraulic fracturing work taking place near Hesketh Bank, said “the majority” of people in the county were still unaware what ‘fracking’ would mean.

The research, published by Cuadrilla Resources the company behind the work earlier this week, claimed people were “more knowledgeable” about the process and supported further.

A REAF spokesman said: “Fracking is a multi-faceted subject with a steep learning curve and people have to really engage with the the detail to be able to get a firm grip on the realities of planned commercial activities.”


13th December 2012
Gas fracking: Ministers approve shale gas extraction
Source: BBC News

The government has given the go-ahead for a firm to resume the controversial technique known as fracking to exploit gas in Lancashire.

The company, Cuadrilla, was stopped from fracking after two tremors near Blackpool.

Conditions have been imposed to minimise the risk of seismic activity.

In fracking, a mixture of water, sand and some chemicals is pumped into a well under high pressure to force the gas from the rock.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said shale gas was a promising new potential energy resource for the UK. It might contribute significantly to energy security and substitute for imports which are increasing as North Sea gas is decreasing.

But he warned against over-excitement: "We are still in the very early stages of shale gas exploration in the UK and it is likely to develop slowly.

"It is essential that its development should not come at the expense of local communities or the environment. Fracking must be safe and the public must be confident that it is safe."

He said the government had uncovered management weaknesses in Cuadrilla following the minor earthquakes. These had been put right, he said.

Click here for the full BBC News article

Lilly Morse, a campaigner from 'Frack Off' responded: “The long expected announcement that the government will allow fracking companies to continue attempts at exploitation of unconventional gas is the start of a major battle over what sort of world we will leave to our children”

“The government and industry’s promises of cheap, abundant gas are deluded. In the US the gas bubble has already burst with fracking companies on the verge of bankruptcy. Drilling has ground to a halt and gas prices have doubled since the begining of the year”

“The governments strategy of relying on fracking to fuel a new wave of gas fired power stations is utterly insane. Fracking is dirty, destructive and extremely expensive, and could never deliver the quantities of gas envisaged”

“In the last year and a half, a growing number of communities have begun organising to oppose fracking. Those communities can now clearly see that if they do not win this fight they will be sacrificed for the profits of vested interests”

“The evidence from the US and Australia that fracking destroys water supplies, air quality, ecosystems, and people’s health has been mounting for years, and is now too strong to ignore. Waiting for even more impacts to be discovered is not an option”


10th December 2012
WI UPDATE
Reported by: Lynda Richards

Our December meeting opened with our new president Carol Griffith thanking everyone for their cards and goodwishes expressed since becoming president. It was our christmas party and the commitee and helpers had been busy during the day setting the tables and preparing the hall. 

Everyone had brought food towards a lovely buffet, which the committee helped to serve.

After a quick clear up it was fancy dress time, the theme this year was Cartoon Characters and we had a great variety of costumes, the judges gave 1st prize to Sheila Johnson for her Cruela Deville costume, 2nd prize was Linda Gibbons for Popeye and 3rd prize Carol Griffith for Marge Simpson.

Banks WI 2012 Fancy Dress competition

Our Christmas Quiz followed, questions were given out for everyone to fill in while the raffle was done. Next Margaret Wright entertained us with a Forfeit game, the idea is - when the parcel stops you pick a forfiet out of the bag, it could be singing a song or do the highland fling, i ended up conducting everyone singing 'I saw mummy kissing santa claus'.

The commitee members did a short version of 'Cinderella' which went down a treat Jean Taylor was our cinderella and played the part well - Alright.

There was just time to give all the presents out and wish everyone a happy and healthy Christmas.


10th December 2012
LOCAL MACMILLAN UPDATE
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Macmillan Cancer Support are a national organisation which improves the lives of people affected by cancer. They are a source of support, helping with all the things that people affected by cancer want and need. It's not only patients who live with cancer, they also help carers, families and communities. They guide people through the system, supporting them every step of the way. They fund nurses and other health care professionals and build cancer care centre’s, but they give so much more than medical help. People need practical support at home, so they provide anything from some precious time off for a carer, to a lift to hospital. People need emotional support, so they listen, advise and share information though their own cancer support specialists, website and trained professionals. People need financial help to cope with the extra costs cancer can bring, so they give benefits advice, and grants for anything from heating bills to travel costs. Together they listen, learn, and act to help people live with cancer.

There is a Macmillan committee for Hesketh Bank, Tarleton, and Banks. The committee comprise Kate and David Maughan, Sandra Johnson, Angela Jenkins, Lyndsay Howard, Sue Hodgkins, Jean Ross, Anne Leadbetter, Anne White, and Georgie Dagnall. New committee members are always welcome and anyone interested please contact Kate or David on 01772 811662

The local committee organise about four fund raising events per year in this area. These consist of;

  • a January Burns Night Supper (held in the Wellington Lodge venue in Leyland),
  • an event in the Spring (fashion show, flower arranging, bingo),
  • a late Summer Hog Roast or similar
  • an Autumn event of some description

The aforementioned events are in addition to the annual ‘Worlds Biggest Coffee Morning’ (which tend to be privately organised local get togethers, albeit very lucrative for our deserving cause)

The Autumn event was held recently at The Cock & Bottle in remembrance of Robin Bryan and raised £869 and took the total raised in 2012 to £8,500

Wellington Lodge has already been booked for Burns Night. All those who went last year will no doubt try to get there again so availability of tickets will be at a premium as numbers are limited by the size of the room – first come first served. If you are a business, why not consider taking a table – great entertainment idea and the bonus is it is allowable against profits to offset tax!! Win/Win and tax efficient. Get the date Saturday 26th January 2013 in your diary in anticipation

As far as the Coffee morning is concerned, Sandra Johnson normally holds one in Hesketh Bank, Jean Ross has one in Tarleton and there are normally another one or two held elsewhere in the area.

We trust this update has been useful, get the date in your diary or on your calendar and we look forward to seeing you all at upcoming events in the future. Many thanks for all your support

The Committee


5th December 2012
CUADRILLA WELCOMES SHALE GAS TAX BREAK CONSULTATION
Source: Cuadrilla Press Release

Cuadrilla welcomes the Chancellor’s plans to consult on tax breaks for shale gas exploration. “We welcome the government's initiative to help the emerging shale gas industry get established," said Francis Egan, Cuadrilla’s CEO.

Cuadrilla is seeking approval to drill, fracture and flow test a small number of wells in 2013. "Exploration is necessary to have a better understanding about how shale gas can be developed safely and sensibly from the Bowland Basin,” said Egan. “Costs in a technology industry such as ours will be higher at the outset, but will reduce over time as the industry grows.”

The company also supports the establishment of an Office for Unconventional Gas & Oil.

“In the UK, our activities fully comply with one of the world’s tightest regulatory systems for oil and gas,” Francis Egan said. “We welcome any initiative that streamlines decision-making processes while ensuring that all shale gas extraction conforms to the highest environmental and health and safety standards.”


3rd December 2012
CHRISTMAS FARMER'S MARKET
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On Saturday the 8th of December , Mere Brow Farmers Market,held at Mere Brow Village Hall will
be holding an Xmas Special.

Open from 10am until 2-30pm there will be a variety of local Food, crafts and gift producers

Christmas Wreaths, Holly Pots, Grave Pots , Chestnuts and Mistletoe will be on sale. Along with
Fresh Herbs for your Roast Christmas dinner and gifts and presents for Xmas.

The Market will contain 20 plus stalls with entertainment:

  • Morris Dancing by Southport Swords and Argameles Clogs
  • Birds of Prey by falconer Stephen Green
  • Siberian Huskeys with Hug a Huskey

The Cafe/Lounge in the Village Hall will be serving hot Mulled wine and mince pies


2nd December 2012
Cuadrilla set to resume fracking
Source: Sunday Telegraph

Cuadrilla is poised to spearhead the creation of a new UK industry in shale gas extraction, its chief executive has said, as the company prepares to resume "fracking" in Lancashire.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Francis Egan said the private-equity-backed company was ready to "press on quickly" once Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, lifts a moratorium on the controversial process.

Read the full Telegraph article here


22nd November 2012
CUADRILLA: "strong local support for shale gas"
Source: Cuadrilla Press Release

New research shows strong local support for shale gas, with people highlighting benefits of cheaper energy and job creation

Nearly twice as many local people support shale gas exploration in Lancashire than oppose it, according to a new survey.

Cuadrilla Resources commissioned BritainThinks to conduct 1,000 telephone interviews with people living in three council areas – Blackpool, Fylde and West Lancashire. The purpose of the survey was to understand peoples’ attitudes about shale gas, together with their beliefs about the potential benefits and risks associated with the gas’s extraction.

Following prompted and unprompted questions about the benefits and risks of natural gas from shale, the survey found that 44 per cent of respondents support continued local exploration to understand the potential of shale gas, with 23 per cent opposed. The remaining 33 per cent are undecided. Of those people who expressed an opinion, 65 per cent back shale gas exploration, while 35 per cent oppose it.

Respondents were most likely to identify cheaper energy (23 per cent) and job creation (11 per cent) as the potential benefits to come from shale gas. The risk of earth tremors (32 per cent) and water pollution (11 per cent) were highlighted as the main potential disadvantages. Around one-third of people were unable to identify any potential benefits or disadvantages associated with shale gas.

Overall, the survey found that knowledge levels about shale gas are low, with 48 per cent of people saying they know “very little” or “nothing” about it. A further 38 per cent believed they know “a little” about shale gas, with only 15 per cent knowing “a lot”.

"There are claims made that Lancastrians are against shale exploration and development, but this research provides a more accurate perspective,” said Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla Resources. “We commissioned this survey to increase our understanding of local sentiments about shale gas. It’s clear that, while many people support our plans, others either haven’t made up their minds about or want more information.

"The only way we can earn community trust is through openly discussing all perspectives on shale gas, based on the facts. We will continue our efforts at this kind of engagement.”

“This research shows that, for local people, the debate around natural gas from shale is just beginning” said Ben Shimshon, Director at BritainThinks “At the moment, knowledge levels are low, but a majority of local residents are interested and open to hearing more.”

Cuadrilla Resources is still in the early stages of exploration and it hopes to receive the go ahead in the near future to fracture and flow-test two wells in 2013.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded here


19th November 2012
THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS AT RUFFORD OLD HALL
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The Twelve Days of Christmas is the theme for this year’s Christmas celebrations at Rufford Old Hall, together with Christmas concerts Christmas shopping Days and a visit from Father Christmas himself.

Catherine Hazely is Rufford’s Events Co-ordinator.  “We’ve really gone to town on decorating the hall this year” says Catherine.

“In the Tudor Great Hall there’ll be a real fire, along with a mistletoe ball and hoped garlands across the windows. We’ll also have 12 drums lined up in front of the 16th century wooden screen – which will be the start of the story of The Twelve Days of Christmas. The carol has links with the Tudor era: it was supposedly written to help young Catholics remember the various threads of their religious faith as, in the late 1500s’s, Catholicism was outlawed and anyone found practising the religion could be put to death. For example the ‘partridge in the pear tree’ refers to Jesus, and the two turtle doves are the Old and the New Testaments.

The Tudors celebrated the entire 12 days of Christmas, (25th December - 6th January) but not every day was celebrated equally. All work stopped except looking after animals, spinning was even banned as this was the most common occupation for women and flowers were placed around the spinning wheels. People would visit friends and it was seen as very much a community celebration. Work re-started on Plough Monday  - the first Monday following 12th Night”

Outside in Rufford’s garden, see if you can spot 11 pipers piping before heading back into the School Room to discover 10 drummers drumming. The Great Hall will be displaying 9 decorated Christmas trees with 9 ladies dancing in the form of Christmas fairies on each tree: the trees have been decorated by local schools, U3A and local Trust Association groups. You’ll find 3 French hens in the tea-room,  2 turtle doves over the shop entrance and of course the partridge in the pear tree.

Meanwhile, Rufford’s dining room will be set out for a candlelit Christmas Day evening feast – you can see the extravagant menu and make ‘7 swans-a-swimming’  out of origami to float on a sea of blue green jelly which forms part of the dessert course. Over in the study write last minute festive greetings on a card printed with the Hesketh family of Rufford’s own coat of arms, which staff will post if you donate £2 to conservation fundraising at Rufford.

Father Christmas will be visiting Rufford each weekend from 24 Nov – 16 Dec – so make sure you take your Christmas list along and let him know what you want! You’ll find him by the fire keeping nice and warm!

The splendid setting of Rufford’s 16th century Great Hall is the venue for a concert by Tapestry of Music on 1 December at 7.30pm. Dressed in Tudor costume, they’ll be performing festive music from the past 100 years, including medieval carols and songs. Tickets are £17 and booking is essential on 01704 821254.

Finally, for those who want to do their Christmas shopping without the hassle of crowded shops – and even more crowded car parks, then Rufford’s Christmas shopping days are just for you!  “These were very successful when we ran them for the first time last year” says Catherine, “ so we’ve organised more this year:  Weds – Fri, 5 – 7 and 12 – 14 December, 11am – 3pm.  It’s a chance for people to shop in relaxed surroundings and take their time choosing gifts from our fantastic Christmas range in the shop. The tea-room and garden will also be open – so when you’ve finished shopping, treat yourself to a delicious mince pie, coffee, cake or lunch – and then take a wander around the winter garden”.

Rufford Old Hall is open weekends from 24 Nov – 16 Dec, 11am – 4pm and Weds – Fri, 5 – 7 and 12 – 14 December, 11am – 3pm for Christmas shopping days.  For full details of the Christmas programme go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ruffordoldhall or call 01704 823812.


15th November 2012
INVITATION TO TENDER
Source: North Meols Parish Council

NORTH MEOLS PARISH COUNCIL
MAINTENANCE OF GROUNDS

The Parish Council will be inviting tenders for the maintenance of Aveling Drive Sports Ground, Hesketh Avenue Open Space, and St.Stephen's Churchyard, Banks.

There will be one single contract for the three locations which will commence on 1 April 2013 and operate for a period of two years initially with an option for the Council to extend for a further year if appropriate. The work will include grass cutting and litter collections at the above locations.

Specifications for the work can be obtained by writing to the Clerk to the Council at 25 Irton Road, Southport, PR9 9DY. Any person wishing to be considered for this contract should inform the Clerk in writing by 10 December 2012.

Those selected to tender will be notified in due course.


9th November 2012
becomE a governor of your NHS trust
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Are you interested in becoming a governor of your NHS trust?

Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust is hosting a series of events for people who are interested in becoming a governor of the Trust.

Across Southport, Formby, West Lancashire and beyond, the Trust currently has around 1600 members. Once appointed, governors will act as the main point of contact for those members and will meet in public several times a year to feedback members’ views to the Board of Directors. The Council of Governors will act in a shadow role until the Trust is authorised as a foundation trust.

There will soon be elections for public governors to represent the views of members in the following areas:

Southport                                                      

3

Formby and Maghull

2

Ormskirk and Western Parishes                

2

Skelmersdale and Southern Parishes       

2

Northern Parishes                            

1

Rest of England and Wales

1

Anyone over the age of 18 can nominate themselves for election if they are a member. Nominees can only stand for election in the constituency in which they live.

Four events will be held across Southport, Formby and West Lancashire:

Monday 19 November, 6.30 – 7.30pm
Edge Hill University, The Business School, Ormskirk L39 4QP

Tuesday 27 November, 6.30 – 7.30pm
Formby Christian Fellowship, Church Road, Formby L37 3NB

Wednesday 5 December, 6.30 – 7.30
Southport Family Life Centre, Ash Street, Southport PR8 6JH

Wednesday 12 December, 6.30 – 7.30
Tarleton Academy, Hesketh Lane, Tarleton PR4 6AQ

If you would like to attend any of these events please let us know by phoning 01704 704714 or e-mail soh-tr.communications@nhs.net

All are welcome to attend but they must be a member in order to stand as a governor. Join for free at www.southportandormskirk.nhs.uk or by phoning the above number.


20th October 2012
BANKS WI AGM
Reported by: Lynda Richards

Banks W.I. met on Thursday November 1st. It was our A.G.M.

Notices were read and there was feedback from the’ India Day’ which Carol attended at head office in Leyland, and the ‘Halloween Quiz’ at Rufford to which three teams from Banks W.I. took part, we didn’t win but had a very enjoyable evening.

Margaret Wright hands over to Carol GriffithIt was then time to get down to more serious business. Margaret Wright has been our President for the last 12 years in that time she has helped to organise many special celebrations. Banks W.I. celebrated both their Golden and Diamond anniversaries, At the 90th anniversary of the W.I. we had a lovely garden party and even the sun turned up that day, Celebrations for the Queens Golden and Diamond Jubilee and the wedding of Prince William and Kate when a large screen was put up in Meols Court Lounge, people dressed up for the special event.

Margaret has decided to stand down as President and all members were asked to vote for someone to take on the role as President for the next three years, it was a bit like the American presidential elections but the outright winner was Carol Griffith.

Carol has been a member of Banks W.I. for a number of years and was the secretary until her acceptance of the presidency; she produced a lovely ‘Year Book’ with pictures of Banks W.I. special 60th Diamond year.

Carol is seen accepting the Presidents Brooch from Margaret.


20th October 2012
2012 Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Show
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The 2012 Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Show winner

The 2012 Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Show proved to be a close affair with only a few pounds separating first and second place. Mark O'Hanlon retained the title with a 849 lb pumpkin closely followed by Gerrald Wright who managed a massive 801 lb. Jess Wilson claimed third place with a personal best of 724 lb.

Click here for the full Giant Pumpkin Show weigh off results.


5th October 2012
Mere Brow Farmers’ Market Oktoberfest!
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Following the mouth-watering success of the pint-sized Beer and Wine Festival at Mere Brow Farmers’ Market in July, a Mini Munich Oktoberfest will be a major part of the next market on Saturday, October 13.

Opening hours at market held at the Village Hall are from 10.00 – 1500 and it will feature song, dance and a Hog Roast . . . washed down with beers from local micro-breweries plus a continental.

Organiser Kelvin Pye said “Popular demand from our last Beer Festival has created our Oktoberfest In addition to the beers, wines, ciders and food, visitors will be able to shop, watch two Morris Dancing Teams ‘slugging it out’ and even admire magnificent Hawks at our Bird of Prey stall.”

The event has the enthusiastic support of the local Southport and West Lancashire branch of CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale) who will be manning an awareness and membership stand.

While for the more adventurous – or thirsty - a Home Brew beer stand showing visitors how to Local Morris Dancing teams the Southport Swords and Argameles will be battling it out and S & R Hawks will adding to the medieval flavour of the Mere Brow Oktoberfest.

On the bitter front new-comers such as Ruck & Maul and Cyclone, both from Southport Brewery will be competing with established favourites such as: Wild Oat Stout, Dishy Debbie and Ice Maiden from Prestons Hart Brewery to Black Canon Stout and Mug Billy from Burscough Brewing Company.

Or for a taste of the Continent, Southport’s Inn Beer Store will be selling European and there will be fruit wines, ciders, sloe gins, strawberry and elderflower vodkas, all from Yorkshire’s Orchard Fruit Wines; and even non-alcoholic herbal punches from The Punch Brew Co.

Thwaites Wainwrights and Lancaster Bomber will be available to taste and buy in the Mere Brow Village Hall bar for visitors who want to sit down and rest in pleasant surroundings and Thwaites Brewery will be giving away free Promotional pen-drive, memory stick, bottle openers.

While for the more sober-minded, the new tea-room will also be supplying light, non-alcoholic, refreshments including home made cakes.

The Festival is free and also offers free car parking. There are stalls inside and outside the hall. All enquiries to 01704 212 734 (office hours only).


26th September 2012
CUADRILLA APPLICATION TO EXTEND TESTING TIME
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Both North Meols and Hesketh-with-Becconsall Parish Councils have been today invited by Lancashire County Council to comment on a variation to planning regarding the Cuadrilla exploration site at Hundred End:

Our ref: 08/12/1032/ASP/RJ
Date: 26 September 2012

Dear Sir/Madam

APPLICATION: 08/12/1032
PROPOSAL:VARIATION OF CONDITION 1 OF PLANNING PERMISSION 08/10/0973
TO EXTEND THE PERIOD OF TIME FOR THE TESTING FOR HYDROCARBONS IN
THE DRILLED EXPLORATORY BOREHOLE AND RESTORATION OF THE SITE BY
A FURTHER 18 MONTHS UNTIL 28 MARCH 2014
LOCATION: BECCONSALL EXPLORATION SITE, OFF BONNY BARN ROAD,
HUNDRED END, BANKS
GR: 340599 422951

I have received an application for the above. The application, plans and supporting
details can be viewed on the County Councils web site
www.lancashire.gov.uk/planningregister. I should be pleased to have your observations
or comments within 21 days of the date of this letter, after which date I will assume you
have no observations to make and the County Council will be able to determine the
application.

Please note I am considering whether or not the proposal requires the submission of an
Environmental Statement. I will write again when I have made my decision. In the event
an Environmental Statement is required and submitted, you will be provided with a copy
or relevant extracts and a further consultation period will be provided.
If you require any further information, please contact me on the above telephone
number.

Yours faithfully
Rob Jones
Planning Officer

As the 21 days allowed for responses will not allow for agenda items to be formally raised, residents should ensure they make any representations directly to their local Councillors.


24th September 2012
FLOOD ALERT
Source: South Ribble Borough Council

There will be an increased risk of flooding across the North West over the next two days.

Up to 100mm of rain is expected across the region in 24 hours from Monday to Tuesday this week. The Environment Agency says there is the possibility of significant disruption, with strong winds increasing the risk of flooding as wind-blown debris has the potential to block watercourses and drains.

You can check the Environment Agency website for the latest information: www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood

Anyone concerned about potential flooding should sign up for free flood warnings via the website or by calling the Environment Agency Flood Line on 0845 988 1188.

Steve Moore, Regional Director for the North West Environment Agency said "We are expecting persistent and heavy rainfall for much of today and Tuesday. We strongly urge people to sign up to flood warnings, keep a close eye on local weather forecasts and be prepared for the possibility of flooding. We also ask that people stay safe, by staying away from swollen rivers and not attempting to drive through floodwater.

"The Environment Agency already has teams out on the ground checking on flood defences and clearing any blockages in order to reduce the risk of flooding as much as possible."

You may also find the following 24-hour emergency contact numbers useful:

Lancashire County Council (roads flooding): 0845 0530011

United Utilities (drainage issues): 0845 7462200


21st September 2012
Statement from Cuadrilla Resources
Source: Cuadrilla Resorces Press Release

Francis Egan, Chief Executive of Cuadrilla Resources, said: "We note the publication of two important reports into shale gas in the UK by two highly respected organisations, the Institute of Directors and the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. We note that other respected institutions have come to independent conclusions about shale gas that give positive assessments of the potential economic impact and creation of skilled jobs."

"For some time Cuadrilla has been working alongside other local employers, academics and local authorities in the Fylde Coast to plan for potential future skills requirements and we are committed to ensuring that local people are given the chance to train for and then take up the skilled jobs that we hope to create with a move to gas production."

"We remain focussed on the engineering challenges of exploring the distinctive geological potential of the Bowland formation, and demonstrating to regulators and Lancashire’s communities that shale in the UK can set a world standard producing onshore gas safely and sensibly."


19th September 2012
concert performance of HMS PINAFORE
Reported by: Ian Wells

Calling all Gilbert and Sullivan enthusiasts! It is with great pleasure that Holy Trinity plays host to The Hoghton Players autumn tour, this year a concert version of HMS Pinafore, one of the most popular of the Savoy Operas.

The cast includes members from Tarleton and Hesketh Bank. So roll up at Holy Trinity (Church Road, Tarleton) on Saturday October 6th for the performance starting at 7.30pm. Tickets are just £7 (£6 concessions) available from Diane Mackley on 01772 815508 or Phil Clieve on 0754 0768160

For this and more local events in and around Tarleton please visit the event section of this website.


18th September 2012
GOLF ACADEMY FUNDRAISER FOR MACMILLAN Coffee Morning
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Southport Golf Academy fundraiser for Macmillan Coffee MorningRichard Carpenter, the director of Southport Golf Academy is organizing a coffee morning with a twist to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. On Friday 28th September, at Leisure Lakes Golf Complex at Mere Brow there will be two activities going ahead for any ladies wishing to take part and have a fun morning with friends.

The first is a challenge for any ladies who are part of a team in the local area, each team will pay an entry fee and compete to be the champions of the Macmillan Shield. Not only that but there will be medals for the winners and prizes for the runners up, which of course will then be followed by tea, coffee and cakes.

The second activity invites people to have a taster session on the driving range, whilst being supervised by the golf coaches. This is a fantastic opportunity for people to sample the sport as well as having fun with their friends and raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Anyone is welcome to come along, whether you are a complete beginner, an expert or even just a crazy golf fan. Again this will be followed by teas, coffee, cakes and the chance to chat about the morning’s activities.

Tickets are being sold for this event at £7.50 per person, which includes the loan of all the equipment needed. For tickets please contact; Leisure Lakes Golf Complex, Mere Brow, Tarleton, Lancashire, PR4 6JX. Phone: 01772 815842


17th September 2012
MP's SURGERY AT HESKETH BANK BOWLING CLUB 
Source: Press Release

Lorraine Fullbrook, Member of Parliament for South Ribble, has announced that she will be holding an informal advice surgery in Hesketh Bank on Friday 21st September 2012 from 11am – 1pm at Hesketh Bank Bowling Club,  Station Road, Hesketh Bank, PR4 6SR.

Local residents of Hesketh Bank and of Lorraine’s constituency of South Ribble, who have any concerns that they wish to discuss with Lorraine, are invited to pop in and have a chat.  No appointment is necessary.

As well as her regular appointment only advice surgeries that Lorraine holds in her office, Lorraine also likes to get out and about and hold more informal advice surgeries across the South Ribble constituency.

Lorraine said: “As well as holding my Friday surgeries in my office, I do like to meet local people out and about across the constituency.”

“If you are in the area on Friday, please do pop into Hesketh Bank Bowling Club and have a chat.”


12th September 2012
Cuadrilla Resources – update on local operations
Source: Cuadrilla Resources

In July this year, we announced that small pieces of sensitive monitoring technology would be installed around our Banks site, to enable us to undertake comprehensive seismic monitoring.
 
This installation work is currently underway. Practically, it involves fitting the monitoring equipment in to 104 specially prepared holes across a wide area to the north and south of the river estuary, in Fylde and West Lancashire. Preparing these small holes takes between 2 to 4 days per hole and uses mobile drilling equipment, the same kind used to drill water wells.
 
There should be no surface impact once this technology is installed. The majority of these locations are away from residential areas, in fields surrounding the Banks site. Unfortunately, the wet weather we’ve had means the ground conditions can be soft and some mud is transferred on to the roads when the equipment is moved.
 
We understand that this was an issue in the Becconsall Lane area on Friday 7th September and we have worked hard to rectify the situation with full road cleaning carried out. We apologise for the inconvenience this might have caused residents here. To keep residents informed we have delivered information letters to houses in the area explaining what this work involves.
 
We’d like to assure people that this is temporary work to install passive monitoring equipment which will have no impact at the surface. It is permitted under national planning regulations and has been agreed with Lancashire County Council, as well as all land owners whose property we are working on.
 
Our website – www.cuadrillaresources.com – is regularly updated with information about all of our work and is a great place to find out more. If residents have specific questions they would like to ask, or perhaps have an issue that needs to be resolved, they should contact us directly on our Freephone information line 0800 170 1115 (weekdays, 9.00am to 5.30pm).


10th September 2012
Banks W.I. REVIEW
Reported by: Lynda Richards

At our September meeting our speaker was Heather Slater whose talk was entitled 'Further revelations as a Nanny'. Heather had spent twelve months looking after a little boy in Indonesia. the little boy had a weight problem and it was Heathers job to make sure he ate healthy meals and spent time playing and doing some form of exercise.Although she did take some holidays with the family there was one occasion when she got as far as the airport having packed her suitcase and done all the necesary preparation when the boys mother changed her mind and sent Heather back to the house and the family went on holiday without her. The boys Grandmother was the Matriarch of the family and was chaufer driven wherever she went. She had her own room in the houses of all her children, every year she would take turns to visit all her family staying for weeks at a time checking that everything was as it should be. Heather enjoyed her time with the family and was asked to stay on but decided it was time to come back to England.

Our competition was the best dressed carrot which was won by Kath Cookson. Ann Moule brought along a hand quilted patchwork quilt, a patchwork waist coat, an embroidered cushion and a beaded necklace all of which she is entering in the Lancashire Federation County Show later this month. There are lots of outings and activities coming up between know and the end of the year which is creeping upon us much too fast.


8th September 2012
Homestead Farm Coffee Morning Extravaganza
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on FacebookHubmaker Media on Twitter

Homestead Farm Macmillan fundraising extravaganza including Nick Park Watercolour auctionHomestead Farm Restaurant is hosting a fundraising coffee morning and charity dinner to raise charity cash for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Jenny Parker and Margaret Seddon, the organisers, are urging locals to join them in helping Macmillan make this year’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning, the biggest ever.

The pair are hosting their Coffee Day on Saturday 29th September from noon until 4pm. £1.00 from each coffee sold will go directly to Macmillan, but Homestead Farm have made sure there’s much more to their coffee morning than refreshments

Local Artist Anton Dolders will be involved, providing a percentage of his painting's sales towards the charity from the Coffee Day and through October. He is also set to be painting something special on the day. Wood carver, John Mercer will also be selling work for Macmillan, Malcolm Mentha, photographer, can give you some photo tips.  Everyone is helping to make this coffee morning a little bit more unique. 

The star of the show will be a separate auction, held for an original pen and watercolour of Wallace and Gromit from Nick Parks. Parks, along with his family, is a regular patron of the Restaurant and was keen to offer an original piece to help raise money for Macmillan.

However, Jenny and Margaret didn’t want to end their coffee morning there. Therefore they have included a charity 2 course dinner and dance, with live artists and a raffle from 7pm onwards, for just £20 a ticket.

Margaret said "We felt that with the space we have here at Homestead we could do so much more with our Coffee Day. All of our staff are working for free on this day and the atmosphere is going to be fantastic."

The live performances are set to include New Dawn, a local gospel group of seven ladies,who perform voluntarily throughout the year for charity across West Lancashire. 15 year old Chloe Mcloughlin will also be performing, alongside local singer Jenni Eckersley.

One of the organisers Jenny said, "The entertainment is sure to be superb. Chloe was the first person to sing in the House of Lords during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June, so we couldn’t be more delighted to have such a talent at our charity dinner."

Macmillan fundraising manager for West Lancashire Grace Higgins said: "We are very grateful to Jenny and Margaret for holding a coffee morning for Macmillan. "I hope they inspire other people to hold their own coffee morning for Macmillan to help us raise the money we need to fund our vital services."

The idea behind the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning is that people hold their own coffee mornings, or days, in their homes, work places or local community.  They ask for donations in return for drinks and cakes and then pass on the proceeds to Macmillan.The money raised from the event will then be used to fund Macmillan’s support services for people with cancer and their families.

To contact Jenny or Margaret call 01704 821358.


6th September 2012
Cuadrilla’s fracking PROTEST VERDICTS
Source: 'Rising Tide' Press Release

An environmental activist who climbed a drilling rig in a protest against fracking in December last year was today found guilty under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act at Preston Magistrates Court. She was ordered to pay a £250 fine and £750 costs.

Yesterday two other defendants were cleared of charges of aggravated trespass as part of the same court case.

On 1 December 2011, protestors from Bristol Rising Tide occupied the test drilling rig, at Cuadrilla Resource’s Hesketh Bank site, Lancashire, shutting it down for 13 hours.

During the trial, it emerged that Cuadrilla had continued drilling for two months after their planning permission had expired.

In her final submission, the defence barrister, Farraht Arshad said of her client: “As a concerned citizen no other avenues were open to her.” She justified this statement by the evidence given in the trial by DECC and Lancashire County Council.

DECC, the licencing authority, uses the off-shore oil regulations to licence on-shore fracking operations and stated that they are not interested in policing breaches of environmental law which is the job of the local planning authority and the Environment Agency.

The local council planning officer made it clear in his evidence that he only had limited resources and few powers to police developers. The general expectation from these regulators is that companies will regulate themselves.

It was clearly established during trial that Cuadrilla Resources had flouted the period of their planning permission by two months, and had failed to comply with their own method statement related to the protection of birdlife from the nearby Site of Special Scientific Interest. As a result they were potentially in breach of the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Neither DECC nor the local council appeared to be concerned about taking action to prevent this crime.

Despite these facts, Judge Ward rejected the defence’s argument that the activists were preventing a crime.

Zoë Smith, the convicted activist said: “This verdict confirms my view that the regulatory authorities are
hopelessly inadequate at their job and don’t have the protection of the environment as a priority. Companies like Cuadrilla are allowed to flout their obligations with impunity, while concerned citizens are
criminalised.”


4th September 2012
Lawfulness of Cuadrilla’s fracking operations QuestionED
Source: 'Rising Tide' Press Release

Cuadrilla Resources continued drilling for two months after their planning permission had expired at their Hesketh Bank site, Preston Magistrate's Court heard today.

Three activists are on trial at Preston Magistrates Court today, following an action which shut down Cuadrilla Resources' hydraulic fracturing rig at the Ribble Estuary, Lancashire last December. The activists are charged with aggravated trespass.

To be found guilty, it needs to be shown that they had disrupted a legal activity. In this case that means the drilling operations of Cuadrilla. However, today in court the Head of Planning from Lancashire County Council, Alyn Perigo, confirmed that Cuadrilla were operating outside the period of their planning permission.

Cuadrilla had in fact continued to drill two months beyond their agreed time limit. Mr Perigo also confirmed they had failed to meet a key condition to safeguard bird life from the adjacent Ribble Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The council officer admitted they had few resources and very limited powers to police developers and that they largely relied on developers meeting their obligations.

Tomorrow morning, Pat Waring, an Ecologist employed by Cuadrilla Resources, will be called as an expert witness by the prosecution to try to demonstrate that Cuadrilla were not breaking the law.


29th August 2012
Cuadrilla seeks to extend use of temporary site
Source: Cuadrilla Press Release

Cuadrilla Resources, the British company exploring for gas in Lancashire, is to submit an application to Lancashire County Council to continue work at a temporary site near Hesketh Bank.

A 10,500 feet deep well was drilled between August and November 2011 at the West Lancashire site. After the well was completed, the company removed its drilling rig and secured the site which has since seen a low level of activity.

Cuadrilla is set to ask for a 36 month extension to allow the company to complete testing and analysis work in a gradual and responsible way, as part of its exploration programme which seeks to establish whether it is viable to recover gas trapped within Shale rock deep beneath the surface.

The existing planning permission, which was granted in October 2010, allows Cuadrilla to drill and hydraulically fracture a well at the site. However, the company has said that it cannot carry out the fracturing process without the approval of the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

In a letter to residents living near to the site, Development Director Mark Miller said: “Extending the existing planning permission would not change the fact that the site will be returned to its original condition once operations are complete.”

Residents interested in the application or Cuadrilla’s operations generally have been advised to contact the company on its Freephone Information Line, which can be called on 0800 170 1115 (Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.30pm), or to visit www.cuadrillaresources.com for detailed information about all of the company’s operations.


22nd August 2012
GRAVEL LANE TOOL THEFT
Reported by: Jayne Harris

Just a quick note to let you know that thieves are at work in the Banks area.

Last night 22/08/12 we have had a Power washer, honda pump, computer monitor, RTK autotrack repeater, battery charger and hayter lawnmower stolen from 145 gravel lane Banks.

Please be vigilant for thieves as we dont have any night time local police in the area.


21st August 2012
Banks W.I. Outing
Reported by: William Richards

Our August meeting is always our annual outing and this year we had a day at Llangollen in the Dee Valley. We were on our way by 9am on Thursday 9th August, it was a loverly morning but we made sure we had our brollies and waterproofs 'just in case'.

We stopped off for coffee and a browse at the Grosvenor Garden Centre which had lots of plants and gifts to entice you to loosen your purse strings. At Llangollen we had free time but the difficulty was, which attraction to see first?

Our party decided that food would help us decide so it was off to find a nice tea room. For everyone else the attractions were a Steam Train ride along the Dee Estuary, a canal barge ride which takes you across the Pontcysylite aqueduct which was built by Thomas Telford 200 years ago, and many other attractions.

After a loverly lunch we went on a horse drawn canal barge ride from the Warf to the source of the river Dee. I'm pleased to say we didnt need our brollies as the day turned out to be hot, sunny and very enjoyable.


17th July 2012
Fracking VerdicT: GUILTY
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on FacebookHubmaker Media on Twitter

Three people accused of disrupting ‘lawful activity’ at a Cuadrilla Resoucres fracking site in Lancashire have been found guilty after a four day trial in Preston Magistrates Court.

In November 2011, Lauren Pepperell, Barbara Anne Cookson and Edward Lloyd-Davies entered a test-drilling site on Banks marsh owned by Caudrilla. They occupied the rig and prevented it from operating.

The three were arrested and charged with aggravated trespass. Cookson and Lloyd-Davies were also charged with assault. All three were today sentenced to two-year conditional discharges and a fine of £750 each.

The defendants, who all plead not guilty, challenged the lawfulness of the company’s operations and also presented a defence of ‘necessity’; asserting that stopping fracking is necessary in the context of run-away climate change and the damage it will cause the environment and local communities.

The defendants presented a large number of expert and non-expert witnesses from the UK and US to testify against the use of this unconventional process in the British Isles. This included climate scientists Prof Howarth, from Cornell Univerity, and Prof Broderick, from the Tyndall Centre, an ex-industry insider from the US, James Northrup, and Caroline Lucas, Green MP.


13th July 2012
VERDICTS EXPECTED TODAY IN FRACKING TRIAL
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on FacebookHubmaker Media on Twitter

The trial of 3 people accused of disrupting lawful activity at the Cuadrilla 'Becconsall' fracking site on Banks marsh enters its last day today. The defence case, which finished yesterday, presented evidence from a number of expert witnesses and local residents on the threat posed by the fracking process. Closing arguments in the four day trial will begin on this morning and a verdict is expected soon afterwards. 

The trial, in Preston Magistrates Court, has accepted evidence from a number of expert witnesses including Prof Robert Howath from Cornell Univerity and Dr John Broderick from the Tyndall Centre in Manchester on threat posed by Shale Gas extraction. Evidence was also presented from Caroline Lucas MP on the urgent threat of posed by climate change and need for protests like this to catalyse change.

Residents from around the Cuadrilla Resources sites in Lancashire testified to propety damage and health effects caused by the fracking operations last year that resulted in several earthquakes, and to the total lack of notice or consultation they received before planning permission was granted. Other witnesses raised issues around environmental permitting and planning permissions for Cuadrilla's activities.

On the 2nd November 2011, 5 people occupied the Cuadrilla Resources drilling rig at Banks to draw attention to growing threat posed by the spread of unconventional gas extraction to the British Isles. This protest was timed to coincide with an industry sponsored “Shale Gas Environmental Summit” in London, as well as the release of a report in which Cuadrilla admitted that the fracking of its first well had caused earthquakes.

UPDATE 13th July 6pm

District Judge Peter Ward, sitting at Preston Magistrates Court, has adjourned the case to consider the complex evidence given by both sides, including the effects of fracking on the environment.

He will give his decision on Tuesday July 17 at 2pm. All three defendants are bailed until then.


9th July 2012
BANKS SAYS THANKS FOR THE GRANTS
Reported by: Stuart Atkinson, Chairman Banks St Stephens Bowling Club

Banks St Stephen's Bowling Club would like to thank all three members of the Grant Teams following the presentation of cheques this morning (Monday 9th July). 

Bowling Club Grant AwardsOur thanks go to Villages  in Partnership for the cheque of £250.00, to purchase Shrubs, Containers & Flowers to enhance the Bowling Green surroundings. 

Southport Hesketh Round Table for their cheque for £500 & Lancashire County Council (Local Members Grant) for £800 to meet the cost of the new Visitor Shelter.

The receipt of these Grants has made a great difference to the Green and surrounding area and is greatly appreciated by Members.

 


5th July 2012
WILD OATS AND DISHY DEBBIE AT FARMERS MARKET
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on FacebookHubmaker Media on Twitter

Award-winning micro breweries, cider and wine-makers near and far afield will be travelling to Mere Brow Farmers’ Market on Saturday, July 14th when a brand new Mini Beer and Wine Festival will will be adding some extra fizz and sparkle to the regular Farmers’ Market which is held every 2nd Saturday in the month at Mere Brow Village Hall from 10.00 – 14.30.

Visitors will be able to sample organic beers, Lancashire bitters and milds, stouts, ciders, fruit wines, sloe gins and even a fruit-flavoured vodka to lift the spirits.

New-comers such as Dishy Debbie and Wild Oats Stout, both from Preston’s Hart Brewery will be competing with established favourites such as: Natterjack, Old Shrimper and Mug Billy.

While others to tickle the taste buds include: fruit wines, ciders, sloe gins and strawberry and elderflower vodkas, all from Yorkshire’s Orchard Fruit Wines; the Lancashire Heroes Off Licence – supplying beers from the Southport Brewery, Liverpool Organic Brewery and George Wright Brewery; the Burscough Brewing Co., micro-brewed in the cobbled courtyard of the village’s Hop Vine Pub; plus a selection guest beers from Mere Brow Village Hall including Wainwrights, 13 Guns (American-style IPA) and Thwaites ales and even non-alcoholic herbal punches from The Punch Brew Co.

Banks resident and business man John O'Hanlon will be giving Home Brew Demos and allowing sampling of three different brews: “I like a pint of Real Ale more than any one but with all the austerity measures coming in Home Brewing is exciting and you save some money. I am looking forward to showing people how easy it is to brew beers,’ he said.

The event has the enthusiastic support of the local Southport and West Lancashire branch of CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale) who hopefully will be manning an awareness and membership stand.

Organiser of the Festival, Market and Southport Country Fair, Kelvin Pye stated: “We wanted to spice up the Farmers Market with themes and a Summer Beer Festival seemed a good idea. By inviting micro-breweries and small vineyards we are ‘inn keeping’ with our small local food producers and if it goes down well we will repeat it in the autumn.”

In addition to the Beer Festival, regular farm producers selling their goods and giving away free tastes, producers include: Shirley's home made pies, world famous Goosnargh duck and duck liver pate, award winning Dalesbred finest meats, Lancashire cheese, olives, French bread, local cup-cakes, herbs and plants, chillis, tomatoes, Southport Shrimps and fresh fish.

For craft lovers and shoppers there will be some local woodcrafts, cards and gifts and home made leather hand bags and accessories For the more sober-minded, the new tea-room will also be supplying light refreshments including home made cakes.

The Festival is free and also offers free car parking. For more information contact Kelvin on 01704 212 734 (office hours only).

More local events


2nd July 2012
St Stephens Bowling club grant awards
Reported by: Stuart Atkinson, Chairman Banks St Stephens Bowling Club

On Monday 9th July Bank's St Stephens Bowling Club are to receive and acknowledge Grants from three organisations who have been kind enough to donate money for the refurbishment of the Bowling Green and its surroundings.

These organisations are :-

  • Villages in Partnership, based in Croston, a Grant of £250 for the purchase of plants and containers for around the green.
  • Lancashire County Council Local Members Grant, County Councillor Mr. Malcom Barron, £800 towards the cost our new Visitor's Shelter.
  • Southport Hesketh Round Table £500 also towards the Visitors Shelter.

We have also received a Donation of £300 from the Widow of one of our Players towards the shelter.

The Committee and Members would like to thanks the aforementioned people for their very generous contributions. We feel that the building of the Visitors Shelter, and flowers, willl enhance the bowling green surroundings. T

he Committee and its members are committed to working towards the future maintenance of the green and the Bowling Club in general. New members are always welcome.


2nd July 2012
NEW FLEETWOOD CELEBRATION FUN DAY
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on FacebookHubmaker Media on Twitter

On Saturday the 7th of July The New Fleetwood Pub in Banks marks its 50th year of opening by holding a fun packed Family Fun Day from 12 noon until 6pm

The Fleetwood House as it was originally called, opened on the 4th of July 1962,when it was bought by Tetley Walker, originally a house, it was owned by local resident Mr Hugh Cropper.

Before 1962 there had been two other pubs in Banks, which did not survive the strong Methodist tradition of Teetotalism amongst locals, keeping pubs out the village. By the 1950's with traditions changing and a demand for a local Pub, the Fleetwood House, arose.

Over the years the Pub has become the hub of the community, changing its name to The Royal Oak and then recently to the New Fleetwood Pub.

The pub under new management is owned by Mrs Linda Weatherby who also owns The Shrimper in Marshside, The Thatch in Blowick, The Cock and Bottle in Tarleton and the Old Ship in Southport Town Centre.

Managers of the pub, Carl and Marie wanted to celebrate its 50th anniversary by giving something back to the Regulars and the Local Community.

The Family day includes Fairground rides and stalls, bouncy castle, face painting by Fab Fun Face and Sand Art for the children. There will also be an array of fine foods with a small Farmers Market including cheese, ice cream, cakes and biscuits, vegetables, herbs, plants, chutneys and preserves and local crafts.

The Fun Day is free, with free parking and a sizzling BBQ will be open from 12 noon. The New Fleetwood Pub will be serving food and refreshments all day. For further information contact Marie on 01704 809493


26th June 2012
Alty’s Move Update
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on FacebookHubmaker Media on Twitter

A date has now been set for the relocation of all Building & Timber sales from Hesketh Bank to Hoole.

The huge investment in Warehousing, Timber Machining, Racking, Offices and Machinery at Hoole is almost complete and the final phase will be to move the Stock and Staff.

The Woodyard and Weighbridge will trade as normal up to Lunchtime on Saturday 21st July. As from Monday 23rd July, Chris, Wayne, Ken, Matt, Eric, Steve, Allan and Michael will all move to Hoole for the launch of the ‘All New’ Altys Builders Merchants.

Although this marks the end of an era in Hesketh Bank, Alty's are very excited about the new operation and customers will benefit from a one stop shop with wider product ranges as well as improved prices and service.

Alty's will also offer an unbeatable, FREE, delivery service into the Hesketh Bank, Tarleton and Banks area.

The Horticultural Department is completely unaffected by any of these changes. The Head Office will remain open and there are no changes to Telephone numbers, e-mail addresses etc.


25th June 2012
CHALLENGE MADE OVER FUTURE FOR SMALL RURAL SCHOOLS
Source: Formby Times

MP Rosie Cooper issues challenge over funding reforms that have sparked fears for small rural schools.

Funding reforms which have sparked fears for the future of small schools were challenged by West Lancs’ MP at the House of Commons.

Last month, the Visiter revealed how rural schools with fewer than 100 pupils – including five around Southport – could be affected by government proposals to change the way schools are funded.

Banks methodist, Tarleton Mere Brow CE, Pinfold primary, Scarisbrick St Mark’s CE and St Mary’s Catholic Primary in Scarisbrick all have fewer than 100 pupils.

Currently, Lancashire County Council is able to control funding arrangements to reflect the needs of pupils in small schools, allowing them to provide extra cash to deal with their costs.

But if the proposals to simplify the system go through it could cut back the council’s flexibility in setting school budgets – including those relating to the needs of small schools.

Click here to read the complete Formby Times article


23rd June 2012
MP Welcomes EA Response to Flooding Consultation
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on FacebookHubmaker Media on Twitter

Malcolm Barron, Lorraine Fullbrook, Jane Houlgrave and William Cropper outside Crossens Pumping StationLorraine Fullbrook, Member of Parliament for South Ribble, has welcomed the report released this week by the Environment Agency in response to the consultation relating to flood risk management in the Northern Parishes, and believes that it is a significant victory for local campaigners. 

The consultation response confirms that coastal defences that protect residents from tidal flooding will not be affected and the key pumping stations of Altmouth and Crossens will continue to be operated by the Environment Agency for ‘the foreseeable future’.

The issues raised in the consultation will form the basis of a further twelve month engagement after which further recommendations will be made before the Environment Agency make a final decision in Autumn 2013.

Lorraine said: “This response to the consultation is re-assuring and shows how the vocal support for this campaign has once again led the Environment Agency to listen to views of residents and businesses in the Northern Parishes and commit to continuing to operate strategic flood and land defences for the foreseeable future.”

“This is a victory for local campaigners and really does show the importance of residents submitting a response to this consultation and making their views known.”

 “Every local grower, business owner and resident who submitted a response to the consultation should be proud of the significant part they have played in ensuring that, for now, the flood and land defences will remain.  But, there is more work to do. I need them to continue to stand firm with me and local councillors over the next twelve to eighteen months to ensure that a workable solution can be reached to manage land drainage in the area.”


18th June 2012
patients told TO Keep appointment on STRIKE DAY
Source: Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust

Keep your appointment on BMA day of action, patients told

Patients should attend appointments with Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust unless told otherwise during the British Medical Association’s national day of action on Thursday.

Chief Operating Officer Sheilah Finnegan said: “The BMA has made a commitment to protect patient safety and ensure emergency cover continues on 21 June.

“Doctors’ representatives have been working with us to make sure any disruption was known about well in advance so patients could be told as soon as possible.

“I am pleased to say that, because of their cooperation, we will be operating normally in many departments. In a small number of areas where non-urgent care can be safely delayed, we have told patients and postponed their appointment to a later date.”

West Lancashire Health Centre at Ormskirk and Skelmersdale NHS Walk-in Centre will be open as normal on Thursday.

The Accident and Emergency departments at Southport hospital for adults and Ormskirk hospital for children will be also operating normally. However, they should only be used for urgent injuries and serious medical conditions that cannot be dealt with by a pharmacist, GP practice or NHS walk-in centre.


15th June 2012
NEW CEO FOR CAUDRILLA
Source: Press Release

Cuadrilla Resources, the British shale gas exploration and production business, has announced the appointment of Francis Egan as the company’s new Chief Executive.

Egan, who will take up this post on 9 July, has been appointed to lead Cuadrilla through its next stage of development, as the business gets ready to further explore the Bowland shale. He brings extensive experience in exploration & production, most recently as President of the Global Production Division of BHP Billiton Petroleum. At BHP he has also held numerous leadership roles in the UK, US, Australia, Pakistan and Algeria.

Mark Miller, Cuadrilla’s current CEO, will stay with the company as Director of the Bowland Shale exploration and development programme. On his change of role Mark Miller said: “The appointment of Francis as CEO demonstrates that Cuadrilla is investing in the very best people as we continue to strengthen our management team. This move will allow me to focus on our operations in Lancashire and I’m looking forward to continuing to work with the local communities that I and my team have come to know so well.”

Commenting on his appointment, Francis Egan said: “I am delighted to be returning to the UK to join Cuadrilla at this exciting time for the energy industry in the UK. Cuadrilla has led the way in unlocking the potential of shale resources reserves in the UK, and we hope that the next few years will be about starting to realise that potential in a sustainable and responsible way. As CEO my fundamental commitments are to safety and environmental protection. I appreciate that there are still important questions about shale exploration in the communities in which we operate, so my first priority will be to ensure Cuadrilla continues to listen to and work with our local communities in Lancashire.

I am convinced that the potential of shale resources in the UK is significant, with the prospect of real and lasting benefits for local communities, the wider Lancashire economy, and to the UK as a whole.”

Lord Browne of Madingley, Chairman of Cuadrilla said: “I would first of all like to thank Mark Miller for the outstanding job he has done as CEO of Cuadrilla over the past two years. He has led the company through a critical period, helping Cuadrilla to grow and develop while working very closely with the local community in Lancashire. I am delighted that he will be remaining with the business.

As Cuadrilla prepares to fully explore the potential of shale gas in the UK, Francis’ extensive industry knowledge will mean that the company will be well positioned to unlock the potential of shale gas and most importantly set the very highest standards of safety.”


11th June 2012
PEACOCK PROBLEMS
Source: Lancashire Evening Post

Neighbours in a rural Lancashire village are being terrorised by peacocks.

People living in Banks are said to be suffering after a group of peacocks descended on the village.

The invasion has led to residents on the estate shutting their doors and closing their windows - and some are arming themselves with water pistols.

In one bizarre incident one of the peacocks leapt on to a greenhouse and crashed through thee glass.

And on another occasion one resident was so frustrated at being woken up by screeching at 3am that she went outside with a big jug of water and threw it over them.

Read the full LEP Article


8th June 2012
BANKS PARISH COUNCIL TO DISCUSS OUT MARSH FOOTPATHS
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on Facebook

The Parish Council will receive a presentation from the action group 'Access 2 Banks' regarding an application to request LCC to make six areas within the out marsh as Public Rights of Way at their next meeting 12th June at the Community Centre on Hoole Lane.

North Meols Parish Council | Meeting Agenda 12th June 2012

Click here to see more local events


4th June 2012
New Tea Room Opens at Mere Brow Farmers Market
Source: Press Release

Mere Brow Village Hall, the Venue of the Mere Brow Farmers Market will be opening a new Tea Room in the Village Hall, this Saturday 9th June 2012.

The Secretary of Mere Brow Village Hall John Caunce said “there is a demand for Teas, Coffees and slices of home made cakes at our Farmers Market. From this Saturday we will be serving Cream Teas, and home made cakes in the Runner Platt Bar as well as soft drinks and Real ales.”

Mere Brow Farmers market organiser Kelvin Pye explained “The demand for sensibly priced teas and cakes has been there since we started last November. Visitors will now be able to relax in pleasant surroundings and think about what local food they are going to purchase”

This month there will be new stalls to include Tumbling Tomatoes, Herbs, Chilli Plants and Indian Cuisine of  baltis, curries, somosas and onion bhajis

Mere Brow Village Hall is a modern village hall, situated just of the A565, Southport to Tarleton Road, Sat Nav PR4 6JX.

The next market is Saturday the 9th of June, 10am to 2-30 pm.  Admission is free and there is plenty of free parking.

Click here to see more local events


29th May 2012
OUTBREAK OF 'SLAPPED CHEEK SYNDROME'
Source: Lancashire Evening Post

Pregnant women are being urged to take care at a Lancashire school following an outbreak of “slapped cheek syndrome”.

Two children at Little Hoole Primary School on Dob Lane, Walmer Bridge, near Preston, have been confirmed as having the condition while four or five others showed symptoms.

The illness, also known as Fifth’s Disease, is commonly dubbed slapped cheek syndrome because it causes the cheeks to become red and inflamed as if they have been slapped.

It is caused by a virus called parvovirus B19 and in children, it is usually mild with no symptoms in some cases, while some youngsters can suffer mild fever and flu-like symptoms.

However, if a pregnant woman becomes infected, the virus can cause problems and in around 10% of cases of mothers infected in early pregnancy, the baby does not survive.

A spokesman from Little Hoole Primary School said: “Two children at the school have been confirmed as having slapped cheek syndrome and four or five others showed symptoms so we contacted parents.

“We gave advice in our school newsletter on what symptoms to look out for and warned about the risk to pregnant women.”

Dr John Astbury from the Cumbria and Lancashire Health Protection unit, said: “Slapped cheek syndrome is very infectious.

“For most people, it is a mild and self-limiting disease, but there is a risk to pregnant women.”

Read the full LEP Article


20th May 2012
Government backtracks on fracking
Source: The Independent

The Government has rejected shale gas technology as a solution to Britain's energy crisis, conceding it will do little to cut bills or keep the lights on.

Supporters of the fracking technology – which blasts water, sand and chemicals at extreme pressures to release gas trapped deep in rock – argue it could be the single greatest factor in transforming Britain's energy market, reducing our reliance on foreign imports and dramatically reducing costs.

But The Independent on Sunday has learned that industry experts made clear at a meeting attended by senior ministers, including David Cameron and Ed Davey, the Lib Dem energy secretary, that the UK's reserves were smaller than first thought and could be uneconomical to extract.

Now senior coalition figures have agreed that shale gas has the potential to be deeply controversial without securing major benefits in lowering carbon emissions or reducing energy costs.

The revelation, ahead of the publication this week of major reforms of the energy market, will be welcomed by green campaigners who have been deeply opposed to clearing the way for a new generation of gas power plants, and voiced serious concerns about the environmental impact, including the potential for fracking to trigger earthquakes and contaminate water supplies.

Read the full Independent Article


15th May 2012
Rock festival will go ahead
Source: Lancashire Evening Post

The organisers of a summer rock festival are celebrating after the event was given the go ahead.

The Rock the Lakes Festival at Leisure Lakes in Mere Brow, was thrown into doubt after West Lancashire Council’s licensing sub committee ruled that only country and western music could be played at the venue.

It followed four complaints from last year’s event regarding noise.

However, organisers appealed the decision.

The appeal was heard at Ormskirk Magistrates Court where it was decided to delete the statement ‘country and western’ and ‘re-enactment’ events only from the council’s original document, therefore allowing the Rock The Lakes Festival to go ahead.

Click here to read the complete LEP article


3rd May 2012
HOME INSURANCE FLOOD COVEr DEAL ENDING
Source: Southport Visiter

HUNDREDS of homeowners could be unable to insure their homes when a deal between insurance companies and the government over flooding cover ends next summer.

Insurance firms currently insure homes at “significant” risk of flooding in an agreement called the Statement of Principles (SoP).

However, that pact is set to end – potentially leaving homeowners in threatened areas unable to sell their properties.

The joint Statement of Principles on flood insurance between the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the government sets out how ABI members will consider flood risk when managing insurance requests from property owners and occupiers.

Flood risk is based on Environment Agency data, and areas considered at “significant” risk are those where the risk is greater than 1.3% (1 in 75) each year. Taking into account flood defences, 469 homes in Southport, and more in Banks and Hesketh Bank would be among those hit if a new agreement is not reached. With the flood risk often changing, a further 5,000 more homes currently at “moderate” or “low” risk could also be effected.

Click here to read the complete Southport Visiter article


17th April 2012
MIXED VIEWS ON seismic events REPORT
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on Facebook

Cuadrilla Resources today welcomed the publication by the Department of Energy & Climate Change of its scientific experts’ review of the seismic events which occurred in April and May 2011 in the Bowland Basin, Lancashire.

The review team included experts from Keele University and the British Geological Survey and was charged with reviewing a series of expert reports submitted to DECC late last year by Cuadrilla Resources.

The DECC expert review published today concludes that it is safe to resume hydraulic fracturing provided the recommended operating procedures as outlined in their report are followed.

Responding to the experts’ review, Cuadrilla’s Chief Executive Mark Miller said: “We are pleased that the experts have come to a clear conclusion that it is safe to allow us to resume hydraulic fracturing, following the procedures outlined in the review. Many of today’s recommendations were contained in the original expert studies we published in November last year, and our supplementary information sent to DECC in January. We have already started to implement a number of the experts’ recommendations in the pursuit of best practice and look forward to the final decision by DECC ministers concerning the resumption of hydraulic fracturing following the six week period for public comment commencing on 17 April.”

However, the of the report has been met with disdain from environmental activists as it concludes that ‘it would not be possible to state categorically that no further earthquakes will be experienced during a similar treatment in a nearby well’.

Activists feel that though seemingly damming, the report actually focuses the minds of the press and public on minor seismic events and claim that "This could be seen as a PR coup for a company whose extraction method of choice has consistently been linked to groundwater contamination, severe methane leakage, air pollution, climate change and radioactive waste".

"Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is a process used not just to get gas from shale rock, but also to get at gas trapped in un-minable coal seams (Coal Bed Methane). There is also a third form of unconventional gas extraction threatening the UK, known as Underground Coal Gasification (UCG), where un-minable coal is burnt underground and gas is collected at the surface. All three extraction processes involve elements which are highly destructive. However, what is not being addressed is the what it would mean for all three of these processes to be in full production in the UK."

Elsie Walker, a Frack Off activist, said, ‘This report is a seriously dangerous distraction. People need to understand that the wave of unconventional gas development that is threatening the British Isles will bring with it far greater consequences than a number of small earthquakes’.

She continued, ‘The scale of development proposed is being completely ignored. Cuadrilla want to drill 800 wells in Lancashire alone. They are one company going after one type of gas. There are several companies going after several types of unconventional gas in the UK and all potentially on a similar scale to Cuadrilla. If we allow this to happen, we will witness the total industrialisation of the British countryside and the destruction of the ecosystems we rely on for our survival. We cannot allow this to happen’. 'Even within the narrow context of earthquakes, this report misses all the real issues such as sub-surface damage to wells causing them to leak, the much larger earthquakes seen in the US as a result of wide spread shale gas development and the potential effects on sensitive infrastructure like nuclear power stations and railway lines'.

Have your say on the Letters Page


12th April 2012
Banks crowns first carnival queen in 30 years
Source: Ormskirk Advertiser

BANKS has crowned its first queen for 30 years as the village prepares for the Diamond Jubilee carnival.

Tarleton Academy Year 10 pupil Shannon Weekes was handed her tiara and sash by the ‘reigning’ queen Sharon Thorpe following a selection night at St Stephen’s Social Club.

The delighted 15-year-old said: “I’m excited to be representing Banks. It’s great this is being brought back and I was really honoured to be chosen.

Click here to read the complete Ormskirk Advertiser article


5th April 2012
Banks schoolgirl model with top agency
Source: Ormskirk Advertiser

SHE is the teenage schoolgirl living a dream lifestyle as an international model – but Lottie Hayes is keeping her feet firmly on the ground.

The Tarleton Academy pupil has been flown to America to shoot for Abercrombie & Fitch, was named the face of the Clothes Show 2010 and is currently on the cover of the Spring edition of Toni & Guy magazine.

But the 16-year-old from Banks has kept her modelling career so quiet from her classmates that they only found out after coming across a billboard of her during a school trip.

Lottie, who moved to the area from Sale, Greater Manchester, last September, got her big break after being approached by a model scout at the Clothes Show in Birmingham in 2009 at just 13 and is now on the books of London-based agency Select Models.

Click here to read the complete Ormskirk Advertiser article


21st March 2012
FURNITURE SALE AT WEBSTERS
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on Facebook

J Webster & Sons of Tarleton are currently making preparations for a massive clearout of the Furniutre and Carpet departments beginning tomorrow.

Jonathan Webster said "We are closing our furniture department to make way for a whole new shopping experience."

Websters will be using the space to expand the clothing and gift sections and there are also exciting plans to create some new departments. More news about this will follow soon!

During all the changes, Whittles Farm restaurant will remain open as usual


20th March 2012
Hospital chief hosts ‘have your say’ meeting in Tarleton
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on Facebook

Patients and the public in and around Tarleton have the chance next week to find out more about plans for Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust to become a foundation trust.

Foundation trusts were created to put decision-making about healthcare into the hands of local people. Southport and Ormskirk trust wants to become a foundation trust by April next year.

The third in a series of public meetings will be held next week and hosted by Jonathan Parry, the trust’s chief executive. He said: “Foundation trusts have been around since 2004 and now the Government says all NHS trusts must become one. “It is important we have local people’s support for our plans and this is one of a number of public meetings I am hosting where people can learn more and have their say.”

The meeting will be held on Tuesday 27th March at Our Lady’s Parish Centre, 152 Hesketh Lane, Tarleton, PR4 6AS at 10.30am. Please call 01704 704714 if you have any special requirements the Trust can help with in advance of the meeting.

People can also make their views known by visiting the Trust website at southportandormskirk.nhs.uk


19h March 2012
MP SEEKS SOUTH ASIAN RESTAURANT NOMINATIONS
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on Facebook

Lorraine Fullbrook, Member of Parliament for South Ribble, would like your nominations for the best South Asian restaurant in the South Ribble Constituency.   The annual Tiffin Cup competition celebrates the best of South Asian cuisine in the country.  And Lorraine wants South Ribble residents to help promote their favourite local Indian, Bangladeshi, Maldivian, Iranian, Nepalese, or Sri Lankan place to eat by voting in the competition.   Lorraine will choose the South Asian restaurant in South Ribble, which receives the most votes from local residents, as the nomination for this year’s competition.

The top ten entrants from across the country will be invited to Parliament for a cook-off, and all proceeds will be donated to World Vision, an international relief charity.

Please submit your nomination by 5:00 pm on Friday 30th March 2012. You can vote by emailing info@lorrainefullbrook.com or via Lorraine’s website, www.lorrainefullbrook.com.

Lorraine said: “The Tiffin Cup is a great way to celebrate the best of South Asian Cuisine and support local businesses”

“It would be great to get a finalist cooking in Westminster from South Ribble so please help support local businesses with your vote!”


13th March 2012
Northern Parishes Family and Community Network
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on Facebook 

Following the success of the activity days held during the summer holidays of 2011 in conjunction with the local parents, the Children's Centre and Hesketh Bank Christian Centre, we are looking to develop a community network which will organise and raise funds for holiday activities across our local villages.

Initially the plan is to provide holiday activities for families with primary aged children. These events will be available for families living in Rufford, Holmeswood, Mere Brow Banks, Hesketh Bank and Tarleton and we hope to deliver activities in local venues. We hope to develop this work to provide services for local children and families.

If you are interested in being part of this network then we will be holding an Inaugural General Meeting on Monday 26th March at 10am in the Hesketh Bank Children's Centre, Shore Road Hesketh Bank PR4 6AA

At this event there will be an election by ballot of officers for the post of Chair person Secretary and Treasurer. Nominations forms are available at Hesketh Bank Children's Centre.

If you would like more information then please contact Anne Cookson on 01772 815021 or 01704 896424 or email anne.cookson@lancashire.gov.uk

Click here for more local events and activities


12th March 2012
WLBC CONCERNS Leisure Lakes licensing plans
Source: Formby Times

LICENSING officers at West Lancashire Council believe controversial plans for live entertainment at Leisure Lakes should be refused.

Frederick Jorden, who runs bars at the Mere Brow site, has applied for licence to host live music performances and sell alcohol at them between 11am and midnight. The licence also covers recorded music and dance performances.

Wednesday’s licensing sub-committee meeting will decided whether the licence should be granted.

Click here to read the full Formby Times Article


10th February 2012
MP PULLS PLUG ON ONSHORE WIND POWER SUBSIDY
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on Facebook

Lorraine Fullbrook, Member of Parliament for South Ribble, has joined over 100 Parliamentary colleagues in signing an open letter to the Prime Minister urging a reduction in the amount of subsidy given to onshore wind power.

The joint letter also asks for amendments to be made to the National Planning Policy Framework to help protect the rural landscape and heritage sites across the country.

In the letter, Lorraine along with the other MPs are asking for the Planning Inspectorate to be told that these factors, as well as the views of local residents, are given more weight in planning decisions.

Lorraine recently helped local residents in their successful fight against wind turbines being built on green belt land between Little Hoole and Midge Hall. Lorraine’s efforts with the ‘Protect Little Hoole’ residents group resulted in the planning application being withdrawn.

Lorraine said: “I am delighted to have helped the local residents and to have added my name to this campaign. I’m keen to see the amount of money available in subsidy for onshore wind reduced, and spread equally across other renewable energy types.”

“Recent wind turbine applications in our local area, such as in Little Hoole, have received a very hostile response from local residents and I believe that it is important that the new planning regime ensures that local people’s views are taken fully into account.”


27th January 2012
PAUL'S CHARITY TRACTOR TREK
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on Facebook

Clarke & Pulman Fendt Dealers, BurscoughLocal Plant Hire & Contractor Paul Taylor has been challenged to drive a new tractor from the Fendt Factory in Germany to Derian House Children's Hospice on a single tank full of diesel.

The challenge was set by Burscough Fendt dealer Clarke & Pulman and it is hoped that the event will raise a massive £7,000 for the Derian House Wish List which is used to buy much needed items that help make a difference to the lives of the children at Derian.

Paul will begin the 1437km tractor trek on the 14th April, leaving Marktoberdorg, Germany on a brand new Fendt 700 Vario Tractor worth £175,000 and will hopefully complete the challenge the following day by arriving at Derian House Children's Hospice, Chorley at around 2.00pm.

Sponsors are urgently required (just £100 will get a sticker on the tractor) and a Just Giving account has been set up to receive donations.

For more information and updates see www.heskethbank.com/home/challengepaul


27th January 2012
'CHICKEN RUN' NIGHTMARE ENDS
Source: Lancashire Evening Post

More than 30 wild chickens running loose on an estate, crowing early in the morning, wrecking gardens and leaving droppings everywhere, have destroyed the lives of families in part of Banks, near Tarleton.

But now the residents of Aveling Drive can sleep easy again, after police stepped in to help clear the problem.

The wild chickens have now been rounded up and rehomed.

Click here to read the complete Lancashire Evening Post article


26th January 2011
CARRY ON COOKING FOR BANKS MASTERCHEF
Source: Lancashire Evening Post

Jay Tinker, a father-of-three from Banks, is still in the running for the title, despite being on the losing side on last night’s show.

The 40-year-old was part of a five-strong team charged with coming up with taste-bud tempting ideas for a meal for 100 Jane Austen fans in Bath.

Each of them had just 20 minutes to survey a table groaning with ingredients and come up with a dish appropriate for the Austen era.

Jay, who runs a security company, served up a stunning recipe of chicken breast stuffed with chicken liver pate, buttered green beans and a pumpkin puree sauce.

But despite his best efforts, the other team won.

His culinary skills, however, have already secured him a place in the final 10, and he is keeping his fingers crossed that the next challenge won’t be his last on the popular programme.

Click here to read the complete Lancashire Evening Post Article


22nd January 2011
GAS MONITORING DEVICE INSTALLED ON FRACKING SITES
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on Facebook

Cuadrilla have just installed a network of 21 'GasClams' to monitor their current exploration sites and are the world’s first company to use it as part automated early warning system.

If the instrument detects an increase in gas concentrations it automatically alerts an engineer allowing a rapid response.

The monitoring device will collect background gas levels and compare them between before, during and after our operations, according to Mark Miller, CEO of Cuadrilla.

Mr Miller anticipates that the data from the monitoring equipment will be made available to local communities via the Cuadrilla website.

GasClam was developed by Salamander, a University of Manchester spin out company and is a previous winner of the North West Innovation Environment Technology prize.

Dr Pete Morris, from Ion Science, the global distributor of the technology, said: “As gas occurs naturally from a range of sources, GasClam will provide reliable information to Cuadrilla and the surrounding community to show the level of gas and its origin.”


19th January 2012
AVELING DRIVE CHICKEN PROBLEM RETURNS
Source: Lancashire Evening Post

It’s Chicken Run: The Sequel.

Almost a year ago, police were called to try and tackle an anti-social menace with a difference. A brood of escaped chickens had made their home on Aveling Drive and before long, they had multiplied and were running amok.

But when officers tried to catch the chickens and cockerels last March, they were unable to get their hands on a small number of them. And now, they have bred again and around 30 are living on the street and causing a nuisance again.

Mark Thomas, Lancashire Police’s wildlife officer, said, although it is not a police issue, he will return to the estate but wants the help of the local council.

Click here to read the complete Lancashire Evening Post article


17th January 2012
LANCASHIRE FIRE & RESCUE "SAFER DAY"
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on Facebook

In Lancashire, the numbers of house fires and injuries from fires are at their lowest recorded levels ever. Despite this, six people have tragically died in their homes over the last month. As part of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service's response, the Service will hold a high profile Smoke Alarm Fire Education Roadshow (SAFER) at every Fire Station in Lancashire on Saturday 21st January 2012 between 11am and 5pm.

The campaign will see all fire stations open to the public who are invited to come along to collect a free 10 year smoke alarm and fire safety guidance, as well as having the opportunity to book a free Home Fire Safety Check.

Whilst the smoke alarms are being distributed, firefighters and community fire safety will be demonstrating how to install and clean the alarms. The videos will be placed on social networking sites, such as YouTube and the Service's new Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Many fire related deaths are caused by people being overcome by smoke and fumes, not just burns. Therefore, a working smoke alarm is essential. It provides vital early warning and extra time to escape if there is a fire. Every home should have at least one working smoke alarm.

When a smoke alarm has been fitted it is vital that it is regularly tested to ensure it works properly at least once a week using the test button. Every six months, the alarms need to be cleaned by opening the case and gently vacuuming the inside to remove dust from the sensor. If the smoke alarm doesn't open, vacuum through the holes.

Peter Holland, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service's Chief Fire Officer says; "Every single member of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service is devastated about the loss of life in recent weeks, especially when it is so needless. We are urging everybody to get a working smoke alarm and test it every week."

"This Saturday every available member of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service will be on the streets making sure everyone gets the message; Get a working smoke alarm and test it."

"If you can not attend any of the fire stations on Saturday and you still wish to get a free smoke alarm, call us on 0800 1691125 or visit our website www.lancsfirerescue.org.uk to book a free Home Fire Safety Check."


11th January 2012
MEN IN COURT OVER TANKER THEFTS
Source: Ellesmere Port Pioneer

TWO men have appeared in court charged with conspiracy to steal three tankers worth more than £300,000 from an Ellesmere Port industrial estate.

Timothy Edwards, 53, of the Marshes, Tarleton, Lancashire, and John Downes, 23, of Moss Lane, Lydiate, Liverpool, appeared before magistrates in Chester on Wednesday, January 4.

The men were arrested last May after three Scania articulated tanker lorries were taken from an industrial unit on North Road, Ellesmere Port.

The vehicles were stolen between 6.15pm on Tuesday, May 3, and 1.45am on Wednesday, May 4. Each was loaded with £45,000 worth of diesel, bound for various locations throughout the UK. Two of the tankers – minus their tractor units – were recovered by police the following morning at Mere Brow.

Enquiries by officers from Ellesmere Port CID subsequently led to the recovery of the three tractor units and third tanker in Skelmersdale, Warrington and Widnes.

All the vehicles have been returned to their owners.

Edwards and Downes will appear in Chester Crown Court on January 30.


5th January 2012
LOCAL PLAN OPTIONS CONSULTATION BEGINS
Source: West Lancashire Borough Council

The West Lancashire Local Plan Preferred Options Paper will be available for consultation from Thursday 5th January to Friday 17th February 2012.  

The West Lancashire Local Plan takes over from the Local Development Framework, and will eventually replace the current Replacement Local Plan as the planning framework for the Borough.  This change-over is reflective of national guidance to try and make the planning process easier for people to understand and get involved with.  As well as the planning policies, the Local Plan now also contains information about the specific sites we will allocate for future development, and new policies that will be used to help make decisions on planning applications.  All these policies and proposals are set out in the Local Plan Preferred Options paper.

The Preferred Options Paper sets out the policies that will guide development until 2027 and covers important topics such as housing, employment, transport, local services, Gypsy and Traveller sites and Edge Hill University.  The Local Plan also sets out the preferred option for Green Belt release in Burscough, with some additional Green Belt release in the north of Ormskirk.  Further sites of Green Belt will also be released but safeguarded from development unless a ‘Plan B scenario’ dictates they should be used to help meet Borough targets.

The Preferred Options Paper and accompanying documents will be available from 5th January in local libraries, Post Offices, the Council offices ( 52 Derby St , Ormskirk and the Contact Centre in the Concourse, Skelmersdale) and on the Council’s website (www.westlancs.gov.uk/2027).  The Champion papers’ cover pages will explain the proposed policies and plans and how to comment on them. Homes in rural areas that do not receive the Champion should receive their information through the post.  We are also holding a number of events including drop-in exhibitions and evening forums to which we would like you to attend.  Details of times and venues for these events are given below.  Places for the evening forums must be booked. You can also receive updates and news on our consultation events by joining our Facebook page – “Your West Lancashire 2027”.

The Borough Council would welcome your comments on the content and nature of the Preferred Options paper.  Comments can be made on the Preferred Options Paper, and accompanying documents such as the Sustainability Appraisal, via the Borough Council website at www.westlancs.gov.uk/2027. Comments must be received by 5pm on Friday 17th February 2012.




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