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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Friday, 30 May 2008

Global Warming - How could this affect the Fylde Coast?

New United Nations projections for Global Warming and rising sea levels highlight the vulnerability of the North West and show just why all of us need to do more to conserve energy and reduce our CO2 emissions. Fylde Council has just been accepted by DEFRA as an area for investment for new Coastal Defence improvements. A 9 Million Pounds bid for urgent to the sea wall at Grannies Bay, is just the start of a long list of much needed improvements. This slide shows the impact that just a 1 meter sea level rise would have on the Borough.

A 4 Meter Rise in Sea Levels.
This projected 4 meter rise in sea levels shown here is a realistic projection by 2050 based on current models. The East of the Borough is most under threat and thought will have to be given to the potential threat to future development in these areas. Some coastal areas of the UK are already experimenting by removing sea defences and allowing old flood plains to absorb the incoming tides, could this be a possibility for the Peninsula in the future?

Potential impact of a 8 Meter Rise in Sea Levels. Significant investment has been made all along the North West Coastline from Morecambe down to Starr Gate in Blackpool, yet this slide highlights how difficult it is to protect the inland areas, Lancaster and Preston also being affected. Fylde however is the weak link in the Fylde peninsula flood defences, highly dependent on natural defences, which can withstand a high tide or two, but which would be ineffecive against a prolonged episode due to rising sea levels. The Government and MP's across the North West must increase their efforts to gain funding in light of these new projections and help lobby the Chancellor for additional funds towards Coastal Defence improvements along both sides of the Ribble Estuary.
A 10 Meter Rise in Sea Levels would seriously affect the lives of all Coastal areas around the UK. Here in Fylde we are already working towards reducing our energy usage, however, the Borough does have some of the worst residential energy and C02 emissions figures in the North of England. This is mainly down to the age and size of the homes in Fylde and the high % of car usage. The Fylde Low Waste & Energy project (FLoWE) will aim to reduce this usage by offering free advice on energy usage and grants towards home insulation. Whilst this work is ongoing, the Council must take on board these findings and continue to work with all it's partner organisations to help develop the best long term strategies for the Boroughs future generations.

Friday, 23 May 2008

European Parliament approves hypocritical tobacco subsidies

Strasbourg, 20th May 2008 -- The European Parliament voted today to maintain EU tobacco production subsidies, contrary to appeals from the Conservative Party. Conservatives MEPs are vehemently opposed to tobacco subsidies in the EU, which cost taxpayers millions of pounds.

More than £200 million (293 million euros) has been set aside to pay tobacco premiums in the 2008 EU budget, and an additional £10 million (14,250,000 euros) has been earmarked for the Community Tobacco Fund. Direct payments to tobacco farmers, which were due to expire in 2009, will run until 2012 as result of amendments passed last month in the European Parliament's Agricultural Committee.

Sir Robert Atkins Conservative MEP, said:

"It beggars belief that whilst food prices are going through the roof, we are still directly funding tobacco farms around Europe. On the one hand the EU talks about cutting dependency on tobacco, then on the other it sanctions an extra three years of direct tobacco subsidies, whilst virtually all other sectors have moved to an area based payment.

"We spend £200 million on funding tobacco, yet only £30 million in the UK on tobacco awareness schemes. The CAP should be supporting healthy products, not something like tobacco. We end up not only having to pay to support its cultivation, but also the huge costs in treating its effects. I am amazed that the Parliament has missed its last opportunity to put a stop to this ludicrous system."

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Launch of St Annes Library Friends Group

Tonight I attended a very informative meeting to launch the 'Friends of St Annes Library Group' hosted at the County Councils Carnegie Library on Clifton Drive in St Annes. The Group is to be formed to help raise 30,000 pounds to refurbish the gardens surrounding the building, the plans have already been drawn up and their completion will help lift what is already an impressive building.

The evening was opened with a very informative presentation given by local historian Peter Shakeshaft. Peter's knowledge of the local area, the Library was deeply informative and even as a local lad was amazed to hear the stories of how our Town and Heyhouses Ward in particular were developed in the early years.

The Annual General Meeting of the new Firends Group will be held on the 18th June at 18:30 at the Library and all residents are welcome to come along. There is a small membership of just 5 pounds to join the group, I hope that this will be a good cause that residents can get behind.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Lancashire Local Meeting - 27th May, 7pm, Kirkham Community Centre

The next meeting of the Fylde Lancashire Local will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday 27 May 2008 at the Kirkham Community Centre. The link to the agenda for the meeting is given below.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Half Term - Planned Activities for Children across Fylde

Activities planned for the May half term are as follows so please signpost your children and their schools to these events. There will be a leaflet to promote the being delivered around the appropriate locations in Fylde.

The Council and it's partners are keen to ensure that children of all ages have varied activities across the Borough, as we all know keeping the kids occupied during the holiday's can be difficult so we hope that there will be something for everyone in the programme below.

Mobile high ropes course and Archery
Weds 28th May 2008- Bridges playing field at Warton, 1-4pm
Fri 30th may 2008- Kirkham memorial Gardens, 1-4pm

Summer Sports outreach will be at the following locations around the area of Fylde.
There are some provisional dates for trips to Tower Wood over summer for young people to enjoy. (Outdoor activitiy centre in the lake district)These will be supervised trips and any parent can contact the Council for further details.

Sports Outreach
Monday 4th, 11th, 18th aug
1-3pm- bridges playing field warton, staining village playing fields, newton-school lane playing field, kirkham youth base.
4-6pm- mornington rd playing field, freckleton- lower lane, hove rd park st annes, blackpool rd north playing fields
7-9pm- park view playing fields, kirkham memorial gardens, hope st recreation ground, william pickles park- clifton

Tues 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th aug
1-3pm weeton army camp-the pavillion, blackpool rd nth playing fields, elswick village multi-games area, waddington rd field
4-6pm- ashton gardens, fleetwood rd park wesham, william pickle park,-clifton, freckleton-lower lane multi games area
7-9pm- kirkham memorial gardens, bridges playing field- warton, hope st recreation ground, hove rd park-st annes

weds 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th aug
1-3pm- bridges playing field- warton, newton-school lane playing field, staining village playing fields, weeton army camp-the pavillion
4-6pm- mayfield school field, mornington rd playing field, hove rd park-st annes, weeton army camp-the pavillion
7-9pm freckleton- lower lane, hope st recreation ground, kirkham memorial gardens, ashton gardens

thurs 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th Aug
1-3pm- weeton army camp-the pavillion, elswick village multi games area, staining village playing fields, kirkham youth base.
4-6pm- park view playing field lytham, fleetwood rd park wesham, william pickles field-clifton, ashton gardens
7-9pm- hope st recreation ground, kirkham memorial gardens, bridges playing field-warton, waddington rd field

Fri 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th Aug
1-3pm- bridges playing field- warton, staining village playing fields, waddington rd field, blackpool rd north playing field
4-6pm- mornington rd playing field, hove rd park- st annes, elswick village multi games area, newton-school lane playing field
7-9pm- ashton gardens, hope st recreation ground, freckleton-lower lane, mayfield school field.
High Ropes

The high ropes will be at the following destinations

Tues 12th aug blackpool rd north 1-6pm

Weds 13th aug bridges playing field warton 1-6pm

Thurs 14th aug kirkham youth base 1-6pm

Tues 19th aug freckleton, lower lane 1-6pm

weds 20th aug, ashton gardens, 1-6pm

thurs 21st aug, park view, lytham, 1-6pm

Finally Proposed Tower Wood Trips. (each trip will accomodate approx 18 young people 11+)

Tues 5th August all day (returning at end of day)

Weds 6th Aug all day (returning at end of day)

Weds 27th Aug to Thurs 28th Aug (overnight residential away)

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Section 106 - Fylde must use powers for local benefit

Using Section 106 agreements to improve air quality. The case study below shows how by using section 106 agreements Fylde Council will be able to deliver on a number of Environmental Protection policies. Below is a case study relating to Greenwich Council. This study may be of use to Councillors, keeping in mind local concern over Blackpool Airport expansion plans and its' recent sale. Councillors at Fylde are presently being tasked with modernising our own policies in these areas, this process will shortly involve a number of public consultations relating to planning policy development.

Planning Policy
London Borough of Greenwich Council has experience of using planning agreements – under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. They have secured several developments where the community has benefited. It includes the provision of affordable housing and use of local labour.

The use of Section 106 agreements in relation to air quality is clearly stated in Planning Policy Guidance 23; Annex 1: Pollution Control, Air and Water Quality Planning Obligation:

“Where it is not appropriate to use planning conditions to address the impact of a proposed development, it may be appropriate to enter into a planning obligation under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Uses of Section 106 Agreements:

Improve air quality.
Make other environmental improvements before a development goes ahead or offset the subsequent environmental impact of a proposed development. In particular – the purchase, installation, operation and maintenance of air quality monitoring equipment or provision of other assistance or support to enable authorities to implement any necessary monitoring or other actions in pursuit of an Air Quality Action Plan” (PPG23, Annex 1)."
This guidance has been actively implemented by Greenwich since the first Low Emission Zone (LEZ) controls on the Greenwich Peninsular development. It also forms part of Section 106 legal agreements, signed on 23 February 2004.

Achieving air quality improvements through planning obligations is a big challenge. Through LEZ measures and planning guidance documents, Greenwich is standardising the process.

Greenwich Council’s Supplementary Planning Guidance
The council’s unitary development plan (UDP) contains specific polices aimed at improving air quality. These are:

Policy E6 seeks to minimise the impact of air pollutants and requires appropriate mitigating design solutions.
Policy E7 seeks the provision to mitigate against traffic and vehicle emissions.
To seek contributions for these policies in the UDP, a Planning Obligations Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) was adopted on 27 February 2008.

Annex 1 in the SPD sets out guidance for deriving planning contributions towards environmental health. A standard contribution will be sought of £100 per dwelling for residential development, and £10 per square metre for town centre and residential developments.

Supplementary Guidance Document (SPD) Model S.106
A model conforming to S.106 is currently being developed by air quality and planning officers. The aim is to standardise developer requirements to mitigate the effects of air pollution from their proposed development.

This model will state the particulars of the Low Emission Transport Scheme together with Low Emission Transport Controls.

The Low Emission Transport Scheme should aim to prohibit the most polluting vehicles within the development scheme while promoting the use of the cleanest vehicles. This will include provisions relating to:

The construction phase: that is, all heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and light goods vehicles (LGVs) – 3.5 tonnes and over – shall have emission standards equivalent to Euro 4.
The operational phase: that is, introducing a minimum standard of Euro 5 for 100 per cent of commercial vehicles by 1 January 2013 at the latest, with further target quotas for Euro 6 emission standard or clean vehicles.
Residential managed parking to ensure all vehicles are Euro 4 standard at the start of use. At least 50 per cent of vehicles to be Euro 5 by 1 January 2011 and 100 per cent Euro 5 standard to be achieved by 1 January 2013.
In addition to any monitoring required as part of the agreed code of construction practice, the developer shall agree with the local authority to contribute to the purchase, installation, operation and maintenance of monitoring air quality equipment. Or they need to provide other assistance or support to enable authorities to implement any necessary monitoring or actions in pursuit of the council’s Air Quality Action Plan.

Woolwich Town Centre Development
The case study below demonstrates what can be achieved through financial contributions with the implementation of low emission measures.

In 2006, the council received a major application to develop the Woolwich Town Centre. The plans for this mixed use scheme included 960 residential units, community and or office blocks, retail store, retail, food and drink units, 1,172 car parking spaces and cycle parking.

Successful negotiations between planners, air quality officers, the legal department and developers of the scheme ensured that the Section 106 agreement secured improvements in air quality within the designated Air Quality Management Area.

These low emission measures included:

provision of a car club
controls on parking permits
500 residential spaces with an annual charge of nil to £300 depending on Vehicle Excise Duty rating of the car
10 electric vehicle charging points within the residential car park
50 per cent of delivery vehicles and 50 per cent home delivery vehicles to meet Euro 5 rating by store opening and to be using bio-fuel. One hundred per cent within 5 years
£160,000 per annum for 10 years towards the council’s environment monitoring
10 per cent renewable energy commitment
Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) 'excellent' rating
a combined heat and power plant
an auditing process on the implementation of these measures at five and 10 years after store opening.
The proposed completion date for Woolwich Town Centre development is 2010. During this time, other air quality mitigation measures, including a detailed construction method statement will be required.

What did we learn?

The main challenge that Greenwich faced in achieving air quality improvements through planning obligations was encouraging all key parners (environmental health, strategic planning, legal services and developers) to become involved and stay involved. One tip would be to start negiotiations and preparation as early as possible.

It is important that the developer knows what is required by the council to mitigate the effects of air pollution. The LEZ measures and the proposed Supplementary Guidance Document Model S.106 will help to standardise this process.

Friday, 2 May 2008

St Annes Parish Poll - 1st may 2008

Residents from within the St Annes Town Council Boundary took the opportunity to vote on the 1st May 2008 over the issue of the proposed closure of St Annes Pool.

The only Question asked was:

"Do you demand Fylde Borough keep the St Anne's swimming pool open and operational" A simple Yes or No answer was required.

A total of 3,040 electors voted in favour of the question; 15 voting against and 3 ballot papers were classed as 'spoilt'. The eligible electorate for the poll was 21,641 which resulted in a turnout of 14.1%.

Although this has been an emotional issue the low turnout clearly shows that a significant majority (85.9%) of residents in St Annes on Sea either are not too concerned about the closure or are in support of the Councils actions and it's push to find a cost effective, long term future for swimming in the Borough.

It is vital however, that we do take notice of the 3,040 people, mainly parents with young children that took the time to vote. Councillors and Officers have been tasked with ensuring that there is no reduction in School Swimming and that we continue to explore the potential of local Hotel support in opening up their facilities to the local community.

I have personally taken charge of meeting with local business leaders to continue to find a possible solution to keeping the current pool open beyond the 31st July. Currently we feel we need to find over £13,000 per month to make this possible and I hope that the comments put forward in the LSA Express this week by Mr Tim Armit spark a revival in swimming in St Annes. The Council is continuing to monitor visitor levels to both pools on a weekly basis.