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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Saturday, 29 September 2007

Council Matters - October

After the Summer Holidays, the pace of life in the Town Hall soon gets back to normal! The theme for September has been very much re-development and investment across the Borough. I was thrilled to be invited to the opening of the new Haven Road outlets and as I stood in the gallery marvelling at the art on display I must admit a immense feeling of achievement on behalf of the Council and it’s partners in its determination to find a way of getting the Councils art on public show. This project has highlighted just what can be done when a common vision is agreed.

The work in the Square is now reaching it’s conclusion and the opening of new outlets in previously deserted premises is bringing a buzz back to the area. The announcement of the return of the Open Golf Championship in 2012 and it’s potential 170 million earning potential for Fylde should not be underestimated and I will be leading the charge for the Council to secure additional funding for improved infrastructure across the Borough.

Continuing the modernisation theme I was delighted to get a glance at the first ‘draft’ plans for the new Town Hall elevations and although more work is needed before the final plans come before Councillors for approval, I can see the new Civic Buildings playing a central role in community events in future years. Work will start in Spring 2008.

Modernisation however does not just apply to building programmes it also encompasses Council policies and working methods. Residents should recieve shortly a recruitment questionnaire inviting them to take part in the Local Strategic Partnerships citizens panel. Members of the panel will be invited to the Councils annual State of the Borough debate in October where we will seek residents views on how the Council should review it’s priorities and where the limited supply of money should be spent in future years. As I said in my previous article – we are developing policies today for tomorrow. This event will help reinforce the information gained at this years listening day event which was well supported by residents across the Borough.

Finally, what about the future? With ever increasing pressures from the lack of Central Government funding, I can see no long term future for small Local Councils such as Fylde, unless, we continue to explore opportunities of working with neighbouring authorities in partnership. Fylde is a leading Council in delivering high quality services at a fraction of the cost of similar sized Authorities. Fyldes Councillors are now leading the charge for a ‘Vision for the Fylde Penisula’. For the first time in decades Councillors from Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde have started working together to develop a long term vision for our Coast and Rural hinterland, I hope that these policy discussions will deliver long term improvements for the 310,000 people living on the Fylde Coast

Ashton Gardens Tree Removal Programme

As you are aware the work to restore the Gardens is about to start. As part of this project the Council has been working up a project to restore Ashton Gardens Historic Buildings and Landscapes. Part of the project will involve the removal of a considerable number of sycamore weed trees from within the gardens.

This is a normally accepted practice in the restoration of historic parks and gardens landscapes. This has been made perfectly clear in the bid documentation since 2000 and through the extensive consultation process undertaken with the community.

There are a number of reasons for removing the trees from within Ashton Gardens namely –

Ø The trees identified are in poor condition.

Ø We are looking to restore historic views and vista’s.

Ø We want to diversify the plant collection and establish a diverse range of understorey plant species within the gardens. The current canopy cover prevents this from being achieved.

Ø The gardens feels closed in and very oppressive, from a community safety point of view .We want to create an open and inviting landscape to encourage more people to use and walk through the gardens.

The works are enabling works prior to the start of the main restoration project and will involve the removal of 110 trees which are generally in a poor condition. The total number of trees within the gardens numbers 700 and the soft landscape element of the project will involve a certain amount of replanting.

The proposals have been developed by Bertram Hyde who are specialist historic landscape restoration consultants and one of the most respected landscape architects practices in the country.

Finally, there may be a need to remove further trees from within the gardens however this won’t become apparent until we have removed the identified trees. The work will be carried out in successive phases to ensure the best of the existing trees are retained and to minimise the risk of potential damage to good trees as the tree works are taking place.

Detailed plans will be displayed in the Park and residents should note that the Council put aside several thosand pounds in this years budget for new tree planting across the Borough.