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.

Shop On-Line & Help Raise Money for the Fylde Spitfire Memorial Fund - Just Click

Email Newsletter Service

Join the Mailing List
Enter your name and email address below:
Subscribe  Unsubscribe 

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Over 60? Get your free bus pass NoW!

Free bus travel is already available within Fylde Borough’s boundaries to people aged 60 and over as well as to eligible disabled people.

However, from 1 April 2008 a Fylde concessionary travel pass holder will also be able to travel free of charge on any local bus service anywhere in England after 9.30am on weekdays and at anytime of day on weekends and Bank Holidays.

If you already have a concessionary travel card you will not need to do anything to get your new NoW card as this will be automatically issued and sent in the post. The only exceptions to this are if you have a disabled pass, if you have not used your card, or if the photograph on file is not of suitable quality but you will be contacted directly in all these cases.

If you want to register for a card and are a new applicant, you can apply via the Council’s One Stop Shop at 292 Clifton Drive South in St Annes. Residents will need to complete the form and also supply a recent colour, passport-style photograph alongside proof of address (eg. utility bill) and proof of age (eg. birth certificate; passport).
Staff at the One Stop Shop will be able to check your application and send it to Lancashire County Council who will issue the pass via the post. Please note that cards will no longer be issued via Age Concern.

For further help and advice, residents can contact Fylde Borough Council on 01253 658658 or call the NoWcard helpdesk on 0845 0581096 or visit

Friday, 21 March 2008

Lib Dems Kick Off their General Election Campaign with a Flurry of Lies

Unsurprisingly the Liberal democrats have taken the opportunity to link up with Local Anti Conservative Groups and Independent Councillors to Launch their General Election Campaign - the recent FOCUS leaflet put out Ashton Ward highlights two things. One, that Prof Winlow the Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate has taken to writing the misleading information being put out and Two, has taken on the role of Co-ordinating anti Conservative Groups across the Borough. Independent Councillors in Ashton Ward have joined forces in developing a joint website with Lib Dems, so proving that they are not Independent at all.

The Leaflet is deliberately misleading and shows just why Fylde Borough Council ended up as one of the most failing Councils in the Country after 12 years of Lib Dem and Independent Control. It has taken Conservatives over four years to turn the organisation around, having taken the tough decisions needed to secure the long term future of the Boroughs award winning facilities and services.

The Lib Dem leaflet states that Conservative Councillors did not protest at the Closure of the Pools, this accusation is a lie. All Conservative Councillors have been against the closure of the Pools, however after two years of attempting to involve the Private Sector without any success they agreed the pragmatic approach, that it would be more beneficial in the Long term to retain Kirkham pool for 12 months, thus allowing local Schools to continue School Swimming Lessons whilst the council involved as many National Organisations as possible to help with a feasibility study into a new Leisure Facility in the Borough. This facility if, purpose built, would be of more interest to a Private Sector operator. This would remove the half a million pounds per annum burden on the Council Tax Payer.

I personally met with some School Headmasters and parents regarding this issue and was told that if one pool could remain open then that would be better. Rather than shutting both Pools Conservatives found a way to retain one. The Council is also in consultation with the Six Hotels in St Annes which have Pools open to the public. I hope that these discussions will see the Hotels, following the Parkwater's lead in hosting swimming lessons. The Conservatives are also proposing to launch a new Leisure Card which will hopefully lead to reduced fee's for swimming and gym membership. Technology is currently being tested by Bracknell Forrest Council on behalf of the Local Government Association. If the trail is successful Conservatives are keen to see the card used to give local residents a Discount when using the Councils owned Pay and Display Car Parks.

As part of the Budget setting process we consulted with Local Chambers of Trade, asking them to comment on the budget and whether thought it was the right decision to reduce heavily subsidised facilities, opting for better, more flexible alternatives enabling the Council to direct it's ever reducing budget onto more urgent issues - they agreed that the Council needed more focus on Town Centre re-generation schemes, job development and tourism.

At that meeting was Mr Arnold Sumner the Chairman of St Annes Chamber of Trade - Mr Sumner also agreed with his colleagues. I was surprised, that the next day, he went out and set up the campaign to keep the St Annes Pool open - surely you cannot represent the Local Business Community one day and then go against that view the next?? Forgive me but would it be cynical of me to think that political interference has now infiltrated the St Annes Chamber of Trade? After the Conservatives have managed to attract over 9 million pounds of funding to St Annes in recent years, surely that by politicising the Chamber of Trade Mr Sumner threatens the good relationships that have seen partnership working the success it has been?

In their leaflet the Lib Dems have admitted that they would continue to waste 500,000 pounds per annum in keeping open under used and out of date facilities, rather than take the tough decisions to close or modernise them. AT LAST AN ADMISSION.

The Government CPA Inspection in 2003 almost led to the Council being taken over by whitehall Mandarins - The report was scathing of Lib Dem and Independents Councillors and their lack of conviction and their 'head in the sand approach to running the Council'. Their failure to take difficult decisions and plan ahead for fundamental items such as facilities maintenance was a prime example of how they managed to squander almost 12 million pounds of Council tax payers money. This money came from the sale of the Councils Housing Stock - it was wasted on keeping Council Tax levels the lowest in Lancashire. With no reserves left and buildings falling apart, Conservatives have had no option than to Re-structure and start again.

In their leaflet Cllrs Ford and Henshaw call for resignations - I agree with this sentiment entirely - Councillor Henshaw's financial advice has played a massive part in the Councils financial decline - They say in their leaflet that Conservatives ignored their suggestions, Rubbish!, their proposals were unrealistic, uncosted and did not stand up to the rigourous rules required to balance a Council budget. The Lib Dems ask for resignations, Henshaw should go, as should Cllr Hayhurst, the former Leader of the Council who steered his coalition to disaster.

The Lib Dem 'Lies in Focus' leaflet also mentions the new 'Open Spaces Maintenance' element now listed on Council Tax Bills. Since 1974 residents in Rural Parished areas have been paying twice for their open spaces upkeep. Once on their Fylde Council Tax bill and then again through their Parish Precepts. This is because Parish Councils (other than St Annes & Kirkham) have taken over the responsibility of looking after their own parks and open spaces, yet the Council only paid them back a small proportion of the Council Tax for doing it. Again Lib Dem and Independent Councillors have ignored Parish Councils pleas to rectify this injustice - the Conservatives consulted over two years with Parish Councillors and won overwhelming support for the standardisation of the Council Tax.

The line 'Open spaces Maintenance' on Bills in Lytham St Annes and Kirkham would simply be added to 'Parish Precept' line if those Parish Councils took on the same responsibilities as the other 13 Parishes in the Fylde. Conservatives have asked repeatedly for a Lytham Town Council to be started and for St Annes and Kirkham Town Councils to step up to the plate and do the jobs they were elected to do - both to date, have declined. St Annes Town Council raises 41,000 pounds from St Annes residents each year, their sole responsibility - Shepherd Road allotments. The Town Council has been taken over by pressure groups, with axes to grind, rather than representing St Annes residents. Readers will remember that some stood on a dual ticket at the last local elections, some Labour candidates others Lib Dems. The up and coming Coronation of Cllr Ford as the next Chairman of the Town Council will ensure that the Lib Dem's can use your 41K per annum for their own political means. I would suggest that unless the Town Council in St Anne's agrees to take over open space management this year, then a public petition should be started to disband it. The 41,000 could then be returned to Tax Payers.

I urge residents to look past the Political opportunism of the Lib Dems and think about all the things that have been done in the Town in recent years. Conservatives have big plans for the Borough and many announcements to come, will prove that some of the bitter pills taken today will benefit the long term health of the Borough in the long term.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Easter Bank Holiday Kick Starts the Fylde Bike Meet Season

Most residents of St Annes on Sea will be aware of the succesful Fylde Coast Bike Meet which attracts hundreds of Motorcycles every Monday night to the Square. This Bank Holiday Weekend kick starts the Bike Meet season and Cafe's and Restaurnats in the Square can expect a large turnout this Bank Holiday Monday.

The meet was organised to try and attract additional business to the Fylde Coast in particular the many new shops and restaurants whom have set up their business in St Annes. I hope that all Fylde Coast Bike owners will turn out on Monday the 24th March - Lets hope it's a Great Biking Summer!!

View the BBC report on the Bike meet - copy and paste the following link into your browser:

New Dog Control Orders for Fylde's Parks and Open Spaces

Conservatives members on the Cabinet have recommended to the Council that they agree to adopt the new Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. These new powers will require dog owners to keep their pets on a lead whilst exercising them on ‘public open space’ failure to do so could mean offenders facing a fixed penalty notice of ₤75.00. The failure to clean up after their Dog could also lead to a fine of up to ₤1000. A new team of Council Officers have been trained to deal with the public and issue penalties when appropriate for the following acts:

• failure to remove dog faeces;
• not keep a dog on a lead;
• not put, and keep, a dog on a lead when directed to do so by an authorised officer;
• permit a dog to enter land from which dogs are excluded;
• take more than a specified number of dogs onto land.

We are keen to ensure that we continue to fight 'Crime and Grime' in the Borough, but we need your help. The majority of dog owners act responsibly when out with their pet but, there is always a minority that brake the rules. If you have any concerns about a particular piece of land or highway that is constantly being fouled, then please contact one of us and we will ask for Officers to monitor the area.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Town Hall - The Facts & Future

The future options relating to the upgrade of the Town Hall will be brought to Councillors in a few weeks time. Although the project had no financial bearing on this years budget decisions, what has come to light is a perceived change of view from local residents as to whether the current Town Hall building should be retained? Initial plans to demolish the current Town Hall met with public protest back in 2002, which led to the Council developing it's current plans. I Have spent many many hours in recent weeks talking, writing and emailing residents about the budget challenges and also assuring them that the Pool in St Annes has not been earmarked for closure so that the site can be used as a new site for either Town Hall or Travel Lodge Hotel.

What has become apparent from these exchanges with St Annes residents, is that perhaps many, may now well support the Council in a cheaper new Town Hall option? Although this would lead to the loss of the current old building, it would allow the Council to divert funds into a new modern, privately operated multi use Leisure Complex in the Borough?

The current Town Hall is one of the most environmentally unfriendly Town Halls in the Country in relation to it's energy efficiency figures. The annual heating and maintenance costs for Council accommodation is almost £591,000 pounds per year, the average running costs per square meter is £40 per meter more, than the average Town Hall. Much of the floor area cannot be used by staff, yet still needs heating and maintenance. By bringing all Council employees under one roof into an energy efficient, modern building the Council can release much needed revenue to spend on other local initiatives.

The modernisation of the current Town Hall buildings would cost almost double the cost of the £7 million new build and is clearly out of the question. The Conservatives also agreed that the project should not be financed through Council Tax increases (Revenue Budget), but from the sale of surplus assets such as buildings and land (Capital Asset's). It may be useful for readers to note that the use of Capital monies cannot be used to support Revenue Projects, such as the daily running costs of the Swimming Pools.

So with the above facts and figures in mind, we need to be sure that we are listening to residents views and that we spend their money wisely and with due consideration to the fact that, whenever we finally build a new Town Hall or Pool, we do so, ensuring that it is future proofed and will not become either a £591,000 or £433,000 financial burden to you the tax payer, each year.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

How will Fylde Look in 2020? - The Council to Consult on Future of Planning & Future Development, it's Benefits and Challenges

View the Poundbury Project on the Prince Of Wales Website

In the next 12 months one of the major challenges facing the Council will be the development of the Growth Point Bid of Neighbouring Authorities. To add to this,the update of National and Regional Planning and Housing Strategies, will place the Borough under an obligation, to meet the increasing demand for both Affordable and full market value housing, economic development and infrastructure improvements.

If development is to happen, then full Consultations must take place with Residents, the Business Community, Public Sector Partners and Voluntary Organisations. This opportunity to have your say and to help develop your understanding of taking the 'Long View' on the future benefits and pitfalls of growth within the Borough is vital. This will be no easy task for the Council, but the value of the excercise will be to ensure that the community is well informed and fully aware of how the Fylde may look for their Children and Grand Children.

The Poundbury Scheme in Dorset shows that new development, if managed and sympathetic to the immediate locality can enhance the local area. Fylde has many unique features, Lytham Hall, Fishermans Cottages in St annes to Period Terrace homes in Kirkham and the Rural Villages. Such architecture and layouts should be absorbed into any new developments to expand and enhance existing communities, not create new, yet distant ones. Development must assist the local community through examples such as road and local transport improvements, schools and improved health facilities, such as additional Dentists. Just as important new homes must ensure that exisiting local shopping centres benefit from their positioning.

There are many facets to this subject. Council Officers and Councillors are currently preparing for the event and once the various Local and Governmental Groups have been assembled a date will be set. I hope that this Consultation will be the catalyst to future policy formulation for the future needs of the Borough.