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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Thursday, 24 April 2008

Response to comments raised at "Save St Annes" meeting on the 16th April

St Annes Town Council hosted, but did not Chair a public meeting recently relating to a number of issues of local concern. A number of people have approached me since this meeting asking for advice and clarification of some of the points raised.

Although this was supposed to be a "Non Political" meeting I was surprised to see pressure groups from across the Borough in attendance and mainly Rural Opposition Councillors and Prospective Lib Dem candidates from outside St Annes taking centre stage. I hope that the people present saw through Cllr Hayhursts calls to vote Independent and the Lib Dem's calls for anti Conservative voting.

There was a number of issues discussed and I will try and give some feedback to the points raised:

The St Annes Pool obviously gave opposition Councillors an opportunity to knock the Council however, the advice given regarding the current pool site being earmarked in the Local Plan for Leisure, does not mean it has to remain a pool. The Council is still working hard to find an alternative proposal for swimming provision in the Borough, but it will not be on this site. The money raised from the disposal of the site will be ring fenced towards a new facility within the Borough.

There was also talk regarding another Parish Poll for a vote against the proposed Shelter Housing complex on St Davids Rd North. Again I feel this would be a waste of taxpayers money. It is interesting to know that a local Lib Dem Councillor was heard telling fellow Councillors that he agreed that "the facility was needed, just not in St Leonards Ward, It should be situated in Central Ward!" This new facility will have a Management Board made up of Councillors and hopefully some local residents that will ensure that the scheme is run effectively. I hope that in the near future the Council will be able to inform local residents, who will be accommodated at the project and the guidelines for the facilities operation.

Lib Dem prospective Candidate Prof Winlow addressed the meeting to talk about the Council asset stripping and "selling the family silver" I wish someone would have told him that it was the Independent and Lib Dem coalition that started the Town Hall re-generation project and that the asset disposal would fund it! Surely he must agree that having adopted this policy in 2003 Conservatives have to see the process through?

The debate moved on to the Democratic defciet within the Town Hall, again leading opposition Councillors making political statements, without informing the public present of the facts. Facts such as, on taking control of the Council in 2003 the Conservatives set up a Joint Executive Committee (Cabinet in all but name)This committee was comprised of 5 Conservatives and Hayhurst, Oades, Longstaff and Rigby all of these Leaders of Opposition groups. Consrevatives tried hadr for 12 months to make this committee work, however, certain individuals used their position to undermine the Council and deliberatley made the operation of the Committee difficult. Conservatives had no choice but to move to a single Party Cabinet - but we tried! I am 100% convinced that the same offer would not have been made to Conservatives, had the shoe been on the other foot.

Readers should also note that Liberal Democrats National Party Policy is to push for Unitary Authorities to replace the current two tier system. This therefore supports the Cabinet Structure of Governance. Lib Dem Councils across England operate the Cbinet system. At Fylde Conservatives had placed opposition Councillors in leading roles within the Council.

There were many negative comments made such as "residents should be urged to make Councillors lives a misery and work against them" and that "Mr Moor would head up the Civic Awareness Programme to help find Independent Councillors to fight Conservative seats"

I'am saddend that yet again by politicisation of St Annes Town Council and Iam duty bound to ask whether it is appropriate that Parish Precept funds are being used to support these meetings? Conservative Councillors have been working hard on many issues across the Borough, with the total support of many genuine interested groups.

Can I just add that comments were regarding the exclusion of the Chair of St Annes Town Council to the Swimming Summit - this statement is misleading. The portfolio holder was told that Cllr Oades was attending the Summitt as the representative of the Town & Parish Councils. I made it very clear that if this was the case then fine, however, if it was not, then all Parish Council Chairs should be invited. As no "decisions" were being made at this meeting, the attendance list was made up of those groups that could help formulate the Councils future plans for Swimming provision.

There was a discussion regarding parishes and again I believe an offer was made to help Lytham set up it's own Parish Council. For information Conservatives have been working to this end for over two years! former Conservative Councillor Ray Norsworthy Chairs the Lytham Forum, this group being made up of interested groups from across Lytham and Ansdell. The forum has has been working closely with Fylde Council to investigate the pro's and con's of having a Lytham Parish Council. They are keen not to repeat the weak models adopted by both St Annes and Kirkham Town Councils. Parishe Councils across Fylde work very well with Parishes taking responsibility for a number of services for their local areas - St Annes and Kirkham have shied away from these responsibilities in the past - Hopefully the new possibilities presented to parish councils, thanks to the implementation of "Differential Rating" may jolt the Boroughs two Town Councils into taking on some responsibility. Readers may be interested to know that the whole Differential Rating debate was borne out of the work done by the cross party joint committee in 2003 and the insistance of Cllr Hayhurst that the former system was "unfair and creating a rural/urban split" so often was this argument put forward by the Former Council Leader, that extensive work was done by the council with parishes to find a solution. The former system was unfair. Surprisingly Cllr Hayhurst does not play the Rural/Urban split card any longer.

I was surprised that the Town Hall project, although on the agenda was skirted over? Can I just lay one myth to rest once and for all. The Government finally announced in December 2007 that it was shelving any further plans for Local Government Re-Organisation. Therefore Fylde Council will continue for the forseeable future. With this in mind the Council has to ensure that as an employer it meets it's obligations regarding Staff working conditions. The current Town Hall cannot be used by the community, the new project will open the building up to all. With the Council developing it's plans for a "Classic Resort" the decision to conserve the Heritage of the town, including and finnancial benefit to the Tax Payer of modernising the Town Hall, should not be underestimated.

Finally Comments were made about the streamlining of the Customer Contact Points within the Council and in particular the closure of the Kirkham One Stop Shop. This closure was done as part of a modernisation programme for this service. A concern was made relating to "How will residents pay their Council bills"? The simple answer, at the Post Office! The Council is keen to support the Post Offices and the additional foot fall at the Kirkham Office, I'm sure will be welcome.

I hope that this item has put the record straight on a number of issues. It is so easy for residents to be mislead by people that should be telling them the truth on such important issues. Conservative councillors have always strived to be open about the decisions it makes and why, this blog shows that there is nothing to hide on any of these important issues. Residents just have to ask.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Ride Safe Rendezvous - Sunday 13th April 2008 @ Fairhaven Lake 10:30 to 5:00pm

This week Councillor John Coombes welcomes back RideSafeBackSafe to Fairhaven Lake and Gardens. The event is run by the Lancashire Partnership for Road Safety and the key message is to promote road safety. The event attracts a large number of bikers and spectators. The event is open to all and last year attracted over 7,000 both regionally, nationally; as well as holiday makers and residents.

Councillor Halewood commented that “As a I am just in the process of taking my bike licence I am really pleased that this event is coming back to Fairhaven Lake again this year; it has a key safety message as well as being an excellent event for people, local and not so local to attend”

John Coombes added " Although this is a fun event there is a serious message attached to it - that of using your motorcycle safely and getting home as a result. Last year I decided to take the Institute of Advanced Motorcyclists (IAM) course through South Lancs Advanced Motorcyclists Group, I learned a great deal about road craft, which is a key element of the course. After falling off my machine in December and suffering a broken collar bone, it highlights why we two wheel fans have to respect the road!"

Cllr Hyde added ”Fairhaven Lake is great place to be, and this weekend is no exception with this exciting event for all ages.”

Fairhaven Lake has become the home for the RideSafeBackSafe event and Fylde Council hopes to build on it's success by increasing the event each year by inviting more local and National Motorcycle Clubs to come to the Fylde Coast to hold their events.

The event this Sunday includes:

An action-packed and informative bike show, featuring Maria Costello, the fastest woman at the TT.
Stunt performances by Dave Coates, Xtreme Trials Display Team, MPC Urals and Zero Gravity Freestyle Trials Team.
Entertainment Zone with live bands
Straightliners Drag Racing demonstration
New bikes
Trade stands
Information Zone
Fee bike park
Helmet park
Food stands

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Relaxation of Planning consent for Microregeneration

The Council is keen to ensure that it's policies are up to date and encourage local residents and buisnesses to use alternative sources for power generation. Following the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006 and the Microgeneration Strategy 2006 the new Statutory Instrument became Law on the 6th April. The Permitted development Rights for microgeneration installations however, do not extend to Listed Buildings.
Fylde Council is keen to see Fylde become one of the Greenest Boroughs in the Country and through the change in local planning policy hopes that this relaxation of planning rules will help Councillors develop new local policies during the year.

Roof Mounted Solar Thermal and PV systems will be permitted unless the panels when installed protrude more than 200mm or if they would be placed on the principle elevations facing onto or visible from the highway in buildings located in Conservation Areas and World heritage Sites

Micro Wind due to legal technicalities the current Statutory Instrument does not cover Micro Wind. The noise concerns with this technology mean that compliance with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), or equivalent, will be a prerequisite for Permitted Development for both product and installer. Use of the MCS requires the Government to notify the European Union. This will take place as soon as the legal drafting of the new SI is completed. There is no way to determine how long this process will take, perhaps this Summer? The Council needs to consider these in particular as I feel there may be significant local intersest in turbines in particular as a possible source of residential energy in the future.

Biomass and CHP Boilers or Stove will also now be permitted in residential or commercial developments enabling residents to use green fuels. The only restrictions to consider will be if the flue exceeds 1 meter above th roof height or is installed on the principle elevation and visible from the road in Conservation Areas.

Ground Source, Water Source and Air Source Heat Pumps will be permitted.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

The Future of Swimming in Fylde

A meeting is taking place this week to discuss the future of swimming provision in Fylde. This wide-ranging discussion has been scheduled for a couple of weeks and will involve councillors alongside the local MP, members of the business community, the YMCA and Friends Representatives.

“Local people and businesses are now very focussed on swimming in a way that hasn’t happened before. This meeting is a chance to discuss a number of options, including the feasibility of another site, in an effort to ensure that local swimming continues but in a cost effective manner“.

“The Council is very much at the heart of these discussions and we are determined to do all we can, with both national and local partners, to ensure a satisfactory outcome for Fylde residents.”

The tough decision taken to review the future of the pools has been the right one as what it has now done is focus all aspects of the Community and the Council on finding an alternative solution.

Not surpisingly, Politcal opponents have taken the opportunity to launch a nasty campaign to undermine the whole "feasibility for a new future for swimming" in the Borough, by focusing on the closure and not telling residents about the Councils pledge to put all it's focus on finding an alternative long term, viable option. However, those people that have taken the time to dig further than the local newspaper headlines and scurrillous political leaflets, admit that the current facilities are not viable and that the Council is right to draw a line in the sand and to halt the £500,000 subsidy the two facilities swallow each year. The Heyhouses team hope that the meeting will bring forward a positive plan which everyone can support.

The outcome of the meeting will be made public and Fylde Borough Council will be consulting local people on the possible options being considered.

Audit Inspection Verdict on Fylde: Much improved, good value for money

The annual inspection and audit of Fylde Borough Council has now been completed and compliments the authority in the continued improvement of services in areas it has identified as priorities and which the public say are important.

The report, carried out at every Local Authority, provides an overall summary of the Audit Commission’s assessment of the Council, drawing on details from an audit, inspection and performance assessment work. It says that since 2002/03 the extent of improvement at Fylde has been above the average of all district councils.

It particularly compliments the strong performance in environmental services, which has achieved its 40% target for recycling of household waste three years early and continues to improve. It also notes that the local environment is maintained to a high level, reflected in street cleanliness, green flags for local parks and the international LivCom award for Lytham.

Improved access to services through the contact centre and website is also praised, with the previous high rate of abandoned telephone calls addressed and significant increase in web traffic as well as increased functionality and improved user-friendliness via the web portal at

Work undertaken directly and with partners to make a positive contribution to the wider community is also singled out as worthy. The Fylde is one of the safest in England and all community safety indicators in the lowest 25 per cent and the report notes the Council’s positive contribution towards keeping it that way.

Cllr John Coombes, Leader of Fylde Borough Council, said: “External audit and inspection is an essential element of accountability for public money and how it is used. What this report shows is that, as a Council, Fylde is improving year on year in most areas. This conclusion, from an impartial source, reflects the hard work of councillors and staff and is very encouraging news for local residents as it tells them their money is being effectively spent.

“This report says the Council is offering residents value for money in service delivery and shows we care very much about the look and feel of our local community – and are delivering results in the areas that our residents have told us are important.”

The strong systems in place for performance management and the robust plans for improvements linked to corporate priorities are also noted within the report and the scrutiny function which analyses decisions made by the Council is also singled out as working well. The report goes on to compliment the Cabinet system, for its strengthening of governance arrangements and member accountability in decision-making, and for speeding up the process of change and improvement.

Cllr Keith Hyde, Chairman of the Councils Performance Improvement Scrutiny Committee said " Iam delighted that the Councils Scrutiny Processes have been seen as performing well. Opposition members have tried to criticise the work we have done adn this has been vindicated. With Local Councils from across England contacting Fylde and asking us to help them with modernising their own Commitee functions I am proud to say that yet again the tough decisions taken in the past have been the right ones - we might have had to drag some Councillors screaming an kicking into the 21st Century, but the residents will have a stronger, more accountable council as a result"

Financially, the report recognises that the Council has the financial capacity to deliver its plans owing to the updated Medium Term Financial Strategy; it also notes that external funding has been successfully used to address local priorities but does note the Council will face "significant financial pressure in 2008/09".

The report does note weaknesses in some areas, such as planning and benefits – but says that these are being addressed, resulting in improvements between April and December 2007. It also notes that, although vast improvements have been made in promoting equality and diversity, the number of Council buildings which are suitable for and accessible to those with disabilities needs improving.

Cllr Coombes continued: “The report clearly shows we are moving in the right direction, concentrating on the areas that matter to the residents of Fylde. Our next steps will be to take the actions recommended by the report and dedicate resources to ensuring any weaker areas are improved to offer residents even better value for money and quality services.

“Planning and Benefits are two areas singled out for further improvements and we have already begun to instigate an action-plan for this. The planning service is now fully staffed after a long period with limited numbers of personnel and the Benefits service has joined with Blackpool Council, who are well-known as strong in this area. Our joint working is another subject which is praised in the report, and which we are recommended to continue as it is working well to bring additional expertise into various areas of the authority.”

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has provoked fury across Lancashire by
insisting the county is getting all the transport funding it needs – despite creaking roads across Fylde and a catalogue of unfinished projects.
Bumbling Mr Brown astonished Lancashire's leaders by claiming the county's transport network is getting BETTER and the area is getting all the funding it needs.

He denied Lancashire was losing out on funding to areas like London
– despite official Government figures revealing the capital receives
more than £300 a year more per person in transport funding than the
North West.

Official Treasury figures reveal in 2006/07, the North West was handed £276 per person in transport funding – compared to the £319 per person UK average and the whopping £614 per person funding enjoyed in London.

Mr Brown told the Lancashire Evening Post: "I don't think it is true to say that transport spending has been skewed to one particular area.

"In every part of the country we are spending (on) transport according to the needs of these different areas.

"We are doing a lot and we will continue to do a lot.

"Not every scheme can be accepted but large numbers of schemes have
been moving forward with a great deal of speed."

The Prime Minister made the claims during a questions session at 10 Downing Street.

He was asked by the LEP if government investment favoured London at
the expense of Lancashire.

He replied: "We are investing in every part of the country."

He said the government was making £724m available to regions with major transport schemes "this year alone", as well as investing a further

He said: "So we are moving forward."

The claim stunned the county's transport campaigners and MPs.

Preston businessman Peter Mileham, the national president of the British Chambers of Commerce, was told that issues with the M6 through Lancashire were "a parochial problem" when he met Prime Minster Tony
Blair two years ago.

He said: "How the blazes can it be parochial when there are millions of people using that stretch of motorway every day?"

Aiden Turner-Bishop, from the Preston branch of the Campaign for Better Transport, said there were plenty of "simple things" which could be done to improve transport.

He said: "The Prime Minister says it is all done 'according to need', but who decides what our needs are?

"It should not be some civil servant in Westminster – give us the money and let people in Lancashire who know our needs decide."

Preston Chamber of Trade chief executive Nicholas Watson said that the transport links into the city centre were "crucial to the economic survival" of shops.

He said: "It was 50 years ago this year that the Preston Bypass became the first section of motorway in the country, and we are still waiting for those missing link roads to connect our city centre to that motorway."

Mr Brown's comments come just days after Lancashire County Council's ruling Labour leader Hazel Harding claimed there was a "north-south divide" in road funding.

She said: "We do not get necessarily what we ought to in terms of our share of the pot."

Fylde Tory MP Michael Jack, said: "If (Mr Brown) has the odd five hours maybe he would care to reach our part of the North West by driving along the M6 motorway."

But Preston's MP Mark Hendrick said: "Everybody is getting more.

"Investment is very significant.

"I find it a bit strange, coming from Hazel (Harding), an impression that Lancashire is not getting its fair share."

Thought it would be of interest to put this one on the Blog when Fylde's road infrastructure in particular is crumbling with a desperate need for many of the Rural Moss Roads to be upgraded and the local desire for the new M55 Link Road across the Moss in St Annes. It is also ironic that the PM's comments come within a fortnight of this Minster informing Fylde, Blackpool & Wye Councils that the Governmetn was not minded to support our call for a new motorway junction (the Blue Route) close to Jnc 4 on the M55. This new exit would be a welcome relief to the Singleton village area and would ease the building congestion problems being experienced by Fylde Coast residents trying to get to North Blackpool or Fleetwood. I agree fully with the Labour Leader of Lancs County Council that there is a north/South divide when it comes to getting our fair share of funding from Government.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Fylde Low Waste & Energy Project - Pledge your Support

Residents may know, Fylde Low Waste and Energy (FLoWE) was set up some time ago by the Rt Hon Michael Jack MP to help every sector of Fylde Borough’s society to reduce energy consumption and in so doing reduce their costs while helping the environment. Hosted by Fylde Borough Council, in the year that the new Project Manager, Andrew Loynd has been in post, he has been involved with many initiatives, partiuarly with local schools (20 recently attended the FLoWE Schools Eco Conference held at Lowther Pavilion), instigated a process of improving the council’s efficiency through working with the Energy Saving Trust, small projects with Fylde’s LSP and recently started engaging with businesses through a letter included in the business rates.

FLoWE is now in the position to start directly working and benefiting the wider population throughout the Fylde Borough area, being led by a new website providing local information and a pledging scheme. For those who do not have access to the internet we have produced pledge cards that they can fill in and return to FLoWE and in return receive an information pack which will include all relevant information. It is intended that this site will evolve into a useful long-term community resource which will be supported by a series of regular (possibly twice monthly) roadshows spread across the Borough where people can come and receive specific energy efficiency advice and assistance.

To help in the development of this site, please could you firstly go to and make a pledge of your own? If possible, please then forward the message below onto any contacts you have as individuals, businesses, schools and other organisations can all make their own pledges and obtain information that will benefit them.

If you have any suggestions for information that this site should include, please feel free to pass them onto Mr Andrew Loynd, Project Manager (FLoWE) and he will try to include them on the site