Keeping Residents In Touch

The role of District Councillor has changed dramatically since the year 2000. Government policy and public awareness has meant that Councillors need to be more accountable than ever before to their electorate. Technology has also moved on and in Heyhouses your Conservative Councillors are at the forefront of adopting e-mail alerts, Blogs and Newsletters such as the Heyhouses Harrier to keep you up to date. Our monthly mobile Ward surgeries are also a vital face to face opportunity for residents to keep in touch with us. Finally the Heyhouses Branch committee, made up of volunteers, plays a vital supporting role in campaigning and fund raising. If you would like to play a more active role in your area and would like to become part of the team, then please get in touch. We hope you enjoy the Blog.

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Sunday, 24 June 2007

How's Heyhouses Health??

Click on the link below to take a quick tour of the 'State of Residents Health' in Fylde and Heyhouses:

Support for New Communities Bill - More Powers for Town Halls?

There has been much talk in recent weeks about how to involve local people in deicisions affecting them. The entire philosophy depends on how much responsibility MP's are prepared to relinquish down to County and Town Halls. This is a step in the right direction, however we will watch this process carefully to see whether this new policy will really come to real powers and funding returned to Town Halls.


The government has backed plans to transfer some powers from central to local government, giving more control to councils.

Local government minister Phil Woolas said the government would support Conservative MP Nick Hurd's Sustainable Communities Bill.

The bill was passed unopposed by MPs in its third reading the Commons, although Woolas urged for government amendments instead of a Tory "compromise".

It had received cross-party and community backing but faced early opposition from the government.

Woolas raised "serious concerns" over the original content of the bill, describing it as a "centralising measure".

But he told MPs on Friday: "I genuinely believe the bill we have been debating will change the relationships in British politics.

"I am proud to have been the minister that helped it through Parliament."

The legislation is aimed at helping tackle "ghost towns" affected by poor transport and derelict shops.

It will see "action plans" developed to help sustain these communities.

"When it comes to shaping the future of the communities we live in, we must accept local people know best. We must give them greater power over decisions," Hurd told MPs.

Under the original bill, which builds on the Local Government Bill, Whitehall departments would be required to work with councils in making decisions.

And town halls would have been given powers to inject cash into what residents considered priority areas.

But the Tory compromise would have seen councils identifying these priority areas and recommending the transfer of funds to the secretary of state.

Hurd said that this would help businesses and local services.

The original bill would also have seen citizens panels set up to ensure community involvement and steps taken to ensure all sections of society - particularly ethnic minorities, older people and the disabled - had a say in decision making.

Hurd added: "There will be a disappointment if there is a feeling out there that the government is diluting this bill."

Liberal Democrat Julia Goldsworthy stressed the need to move "this issue forward".

"Ultimately if we do not, we are going to see nothing but raised expectations," she said.

Update - Week commencing 25th June

The new emerging document that deals with housing and development policy is called the Regional Spatial Strategy. This new document sets out the number of private dwellings that must be built in the Fylde Borough over the next five years. The new figure is 341 new homes per annum. The Council will have a significant task on their hands to find enough available land to meet this demand, after such a long period of stagnation in the house building market, this in the main being due to the Governments Moratorium on new house building, which has been in place for a past three years. Potential sites for new homes in the Ward could be the Moorland Road site or a re-submission of the previous applications for the former Greenwoods Farm site at Queensway.

On another note, the recent application relating to a licence to sell alcohol at the proposed late shop on Moorland Road has been withdrawn again. The hearing which was scheduled for Monday the 25th has now been cancelled.

Please note that the next meeting with Ward Beat Officer WPC Joe Jackson will be the 4th July at 7pm in the Pavilion on Hope Street Park

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Ashton Gardens Gets Final Go Ahead!!!

Fylde Borough Council is delighted to announce the news that it has received a resounding “yes” from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the restoration works to Ashton Gardens.

Following the initial application and grant of £1.436 million, the Council was required to draw up a detailed plan of how the money would be spent – this has now been given the green light and work will commence towards the end of this year.

Cllr John Coombes, Leader of the Council, said: “A lot of work has been done by the Council in conjunction with specialists in both building restoration and landscaping to ensure we have got this far. We have also had a lot of input from members of the community on what they want to see the Gardens look like and how the money should be allocated.

“As a Council we have an excellent track record on development projects, including the St Annes Square regeneration and I for one am very excited about the potential of Ashton Gardens as a top-flight attraction for visitors and local people. This bid is about people – all people – and it is about restoration and development which celebrates the past and creates a future heritage for the community to be proud of.”

Peter Fellows, Casework Manager for the Heritage Lottery Fund North West, added: "Ashton Gardens is a terrific example of a formal Victorian parkland in a classic British resort town. It is clear that local people are passionate about this gem of a site which continues to be enjoyed by thousands of visitors to the town each year. Today's news is a green light to strengthen the historic qualities of the Gardens and bring visitor facilities up-to-date to ensure the park can be enjoyed by generations to come."

One of the key projects will see the re-siting of the old Ashton Institute to a position between the main gatehouse buildings on St George’s Road. This will form a magnificent entrance to the park, drawing on inspiration from old photos and postcards of the park in its heyday; it will have a natural stone courtyard to the front and there is a plan to turn the building into tearooms.

Historic railings, which were removed for the war effort, will be reinstated on St George’s Road and Clifton Drive North to return a greater sense of grandeur and quality to the main entrances. And improvements will be made to the playground equipment, woodland walks and paths, ponds and horticulture, including the stunning rose garden.

Head of Parks Darren Bell, who prior to joining Fylde was responsible for the £4million restoration of Corporation Park in Blackburn, said: “The aim is to bring people back into the park through a mix of building restoration and improved planting and infrastructure repairs, as well as stronger marketing. The creation of a post of Head Gardener, coupled with effective management of the tearooms, could see events such as theatrical performances and band recitals similar to those held in the cafĂ© at Blackpool’s Stanley Park in future.”

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Back in the Saddle

It has been a hectic few weeks since the local elections and this week the Councol and Cabinet met to finalise committee memberships. This now enables both the Heyhouses team and the Council in general to knuckle down to the job in hand. Both Keith and Myself are continuing in our previous roles and Craig will be playing a key role on the Councils Overview and Scruting Committees. I have asked Keith and Independent Councillor Kiran Mulholland to lead a review panel of the Councils Overview and Scrutiny work to ensure that we are able to respond quickly to the ever changing demands of Governmetn Policy, especially funding!

The issue of lack of funding for Concessionary Bus travel has raised it's head again recently with Lancashire County Council asking District Councils to help fund 'susbsidised contract routes' in the Borough. These are the routes that have fewer passengers and are only made viable by subsidy. If this proposal was to go ahead Fylde Borough Council would be expected to find up to 200,000 pounds from the Council Tax payer to keep these routes running. This is the equivalent to 5% on your Council Tax bill! The question is should Council Tax payers be expected to pay this money or should it come from Government or by increasing bus fares on these routes? Your feedback would be useful.

In the Ward, residents have raised concerns about the state of some of the Wards Shop precinct forecourts, I have been chasing LCC about this issue and below is a copy of thier response. We will now have to try and approach landlords to see whether we can co-ordinate everyone working together to make these pavements safer for you.

Information from Andrew Burrows, Lancashire Highways Dept:

Substantially Singleton Avenue is private forecourt.

Whalley Place is substantially (and unusually) adopted highway almost up to the shops, the area around the shops would not normally be expected to be adopted highway; there is a 2m strip in front of the shops under a 'veranda' that is probably private, otherwise mapzone shows the area in front and to the sides of the shops as adopted. A lady fell on a pothole recently just on the highway side of the boundary in front of the Spar shop, the pothole has since been repaired. I looked at this footway last week to consider whether it would be suitable for inclusion within a footway resurfacing programme, however, I concluded that patching and a footway slurry seal, should monies ever be available, would be a more suitable option rather than wholesale resurfacing, it is generally untidy, not hazardous. I did not see that any trip hazards were present.

A problem for pedestrians here is that the large adopted area at the side of the shops is heavily parked on by cars.

With regard to approaching private landowners and individuals regarding works off the highway, may the time of the current highway staff is fully taken up managing their own networks with none to spare, and therefore, it is not currently a practical option.

So that's how we stand at present on this issue.

Finally there will soon be announcements on the new Town Hall extension and the refurbishement of the current building.

We will continue to update the blog regularly from this week and please keep in touch with us on any issues that you feel we could help the Ward.