March 3, 2015

West Lancs Council Tax frozen for the sixth successive year




West Lancashire Borough Council is announcing good news for people living and working in the area as it freezes council tax for the sixth year running, and parking charges on Borough Council car parks have been frozen for the fourth successive year, along with most other fees and charges, while investing in key initiatives to help further boost the local economy.



The decisions were made at the Council meeting on 25 February 2015, when Councillors met to agree the budget for the 2015/16 financial year.



Councillor David Whittington, portfolio holder for Resources, said: The government is reducing our funding and many costs are rising. So we are delighted to have set a budget which maintains current services to the public while investing in important schemes to enhance our town centres and further boost the local economy.



The Council is working on a draft Economic Development Strategy which aims to help create new jobs and boost business growth, and Wednesdays meeting approved funding so an officer can be employed to ensure the aims of the strategy are carried out.



Another boost to work the Council does to help local businesses is the decision to continue funding its business engagement officer. By working in partnership with the West Lancashire Challenge project, this person will work with businesses to encourage and support the recruitment of apprentices.

The Council has earmarked 95,000 for new CCTV cameras to help make West Lancashire an even safer place to live. West Lancs already has an extensive network of cameras which are monitored round-the-clock. The extra funding will enable new cameras to be installed in Castlehey and Tanfields in Skelmersdale and the Burscough Street area of Ormskirk.

The authority has set aside 210,000 to help with the implementation of the strategy for Ormskirk town centre. The draft strategy is currently out to public consultation and some of the new funding will provide improved signage and maps around the town centre.

A further 120,000 has been set aside to ensure the square being formed by the new Lancashire County Council youth zone going next to Skelmersdale Library, Police Station and Nye Bevan Pool is paved to the highest possible standards.

The Council is also looking to spend 30,000 on improving the entrance road to Beacon Country Park.

Council Tax

The Council Tax paid to West Lancs Borough Council for Borough Council services for the average Band D property in 2015/16 will be 183.55 per year 3.53 a week exactly the same as in 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14, and 2014/15.

Around 12% of the council tax bill comes to the Borough Council.

The total council tax includes charges from Lancashire County Council, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and Lancashire Constabulary. The Council Tax for some areas will also include a parish council precept.

The bills for average Band D properties (excluding parish council precepts) are set out below. Most properties within West Lancs are in Bands A-C and so the majority of householders will pay less than the figures stated below.

2014/15 2015/16 Change

West Lancs Borough Council 183.55 183.55 Frozen

Lancs County Council 1,107.74 1,129.78 1.99% increase

Lancs Combined Fire Authority 63.65 64.86 1.9% increase

Lancs Police Authority 155.96 159.06 1.99% increase

Total 1,510.90 1,537.25 1.74% increase



Housing



The Council is continuing with its record 65 million investment in its housing stock, with around 19 million being spent on tenants homes in 2015/16 alone. The works will make a huge difference to peoples lives for many years to come.



There are plans to install a further 672 kitchens and 892 bathrooms in tenants homes. The Council estimates that by the end of the five-year programme 3,892 homes will have new kitchens and 4,925 homes will have new bathrooms.



The Council has exciting plans to build up to 42 new homes on the Firbeck estate in Skelmersdale that will meet the requirements of modern families. Building work is due to start next year, provided formal approval for the detailed plan is granted. Works are continuing on the improvements to existing homes that are taking place as part of the Firbeck Revival project.



A total of 2.67 million has been budgeted for energy efficiency measures and heating systems. The heating programme for next year includes fuel switching 190 properties from storage heaters to energy efficient A-rated gas boilers. This will require extension of the gas network into more areas currently off-gas and reliant on expensive electric heating.



Other energy efficiency works will include continued insulation improvements in lofts, cavities, flat roofs and flying bedrooms located over walkways. There will also be investment in improved heating controls and the installation of heat meters in properties where a single boiler heats more than one home.



New lifts are planned for several sheltered blocks and a potential re-modelling scheme is being considered for Evenwood Court. More details on this will be revealed during 2015/16.

Smaller schemes that will benefit tenants include spending up to 80,000 on replacing balcony surfaces at homes in Little Digmoor and New Church Farm.



The Council is also continuing to employ an Energy Efficiency Officer, whose many responsibilities include giving energy saving advice to tenants, guidance and support for those receiving fuel switching measures, help with tariff and supplier switching, and energy surveys on council properties.



The Environmental Strategy Officer post is also being continued by the Council. This staff members role includes helping to meet the ongoing need to help reduce Council tenants utility bills and secure external funding for energy related projects.



Councillor Jane Houlgrave, portfolio holder for Housing, said: The Council continues to invest massively in its housing stock. The key driver for the budget is the tenant and Councils spending plans reflect the things that the tenants have said are important to them.



Further information:

The Council has agreed an increase in rents of 2.2% in line with the government formula on rent rises. Income from rent will help the Council carry out the investment programme in its housing stock.

Click here to view comments on this story

March 3, 2015

West Lancs Council Tax frozen for the sixth successive year




West Lancashire Borough Council is announcing good news for people living and working in the area as it freezes council tax for the sixth year running, and parking charges on Borough Council car parks have been frozen for the fourth successive year, along with most other fees and charges, while investing in key initiatives to help further boost the local economy.



The decisions were made at the Council meeting on 25 February 2015, when Councillors met to agree the budget for the 2015/16 financial year.



Councillor David Whittington, portfolio holder for Resources, said: The government is reducing our funding and many costs are rising. So we are delighted to have set a budget which maintains current services to the public while investing in important schemes to enhance our town centres and further boost the local economy.



The Council is working on a draft Economic Development Strategy which aims to help create new jobs and boost business growth, and Wednesdays meeting approved funding so an officer can be employed to ensure the aims of the strategy are carried out.



Another boost to work the Council does to help local businesses is the decision to continue funding its business engagement officer. By working in partnership with the West Lancashire Challenge project, this person will work with businesses to encourage and support the recruitment of apprentices.

The Council has earmarked 95,000 for new CCTV cameras to help make West Lancashire an even safer place to live. West Lancs already has an extensive network of cameras which are monitored round-the-clock. The extra funding will enable new cameras to be installed in Castlehey and Tanfields in Skelmersdale and the Burscough Street area of Ormskirk.

The authority has set aside 210,000 to help with the implementation of the strategy for Ormskirk town centre. The draft strategy is currently out to public consultation and some of the new funding will provide improved signage and maps around the town centre.

A further 120,000 has been set aside to ensure the square being formed by the new Lancashire County Council youth zone going next to Skelmersdale Library, Police Station and Nye Bevan Pool is paved to the highest possible standards.

The Council is also looking to spend 30,000 on improving the entrance road to Beacon Country Park.

Council Tax

The Council Tax paid to West Lancs Borough Council for Borough Council services for the average Band D property in 2015/16 will be 183.55 per year 3.53 a week exactly the same as in 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14, and 2014/15.

Around 12% of the council tax bill comes to the Borough Council.

The total council tax includes charges from Lancashire County Council, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and Lancashire Constabulary. The Council Tax for some areas will also include a parish council precept.

The bills for average Band D properties (excluding parish council precepts) are set out below. Most properties within West Lancs are in Bands A-C and so the majority of householders will pay less than the figures stated below.

2014/15 2015/16 Change

West Lancs Borough Council 183.55 183.55 Frozen

Lancs County Council 1,107.74 1,129.78 1.99% increase

Lancs Combined Fire Authority 63.65 64.86 1.9% increase

Lancs Police Authority 155.96 159.06 1.99% increase

Total 1,510.90 1,537.25 1.74% increase



Housing



The Council is continuing with its record 65 million investment in its housing stock, with around 19 million being spent on tenants homes in 2015/16 alone. The works will make a huge difference to peoples lives for many years to come.



There are plans to install a further 672 kitchens and 892 bathrooms in tenants homes. The Council estimates that by the end of the five-year programme 3,892 homes will have new kitchens and 4,925 homes will have new bathrooms.



The Council has exciting plans to build up to 42 new homes on the Firbeck estate in Skelmersdale that will meet the requirements of modern families. Building work is due to start next year, provided formal approval for the detailed plan is granted. Works are continuing on the improvements to existing homes that are taking place as part of the Firbeck Revival project.



A total of 2.67 million has been budgeted for energy efficiency measures and heating systems. The heating programme for next year includes fuel switching 190 properties from storage heaters to energy efficient A-rated gas boilers. This will require extension of the gas network into more areas currently off-gas and reliant on expensive electric heating.



Other energy efficiency works will include continued insulation improvements in lofts, cavities, flat roofs and flying bedrooms located over walkways. There will also be investment in improved heating controls and the installation of heat meters in properties where a single boiler heats more than one home.



New lifts are planned for several sheltered blocks and a potential re-modelling scheme is being considered for Evenwood Court. More details on this will be revealed during 2015/16.

Smaller schemes that will benefit tenants include spending up to 80,000 on replacing balcony surfaces at homes in Little Digmoor and New Church Farm.



The Council is also continuing to employ an Energy Efficiency Officer, whose many responsibilities include giving energy saving advice to tenants, guidance and support for those receiving fuel switching measures, help with tariff and supplier switching, and energy surveys on council properties.



The Environmental Strategy Officer post is also being continued by the Council. This staff members role includes helping to meet the ongoing need to help reduce Council tenants utility bills and secure external funding for energy related projects.



Councillor Jane Houlgrave, portfolio holder for Housing, said: The Council continues to invest massively in its housing stock. The key driver for the budget is the tenant and Councils spending plans reflect the things that the tenants have said are important to them.



Further information:

The Council has agreed an increase in rents of 2.2% in line with the government formula on rent rises. Income from rent will help the Council carry out the investment programme in its housing stock.

Click here to view comments on this story

March 3, 2015

Outdoor Cinemas Set to Return

King's Gardens Outdoor Cinema Films - You Decide!

Vote for your favourite 4 films to be screened in King's Gardens throughout 2015!
Kings Gardens, Southport, will host 4 outdoor film screenings this year. What will those films be? You decide!

The Friends of Kings Gardens have a chosen five films and five animation films for you to choose from so get voting now.



The two films and two animations with the most votes will hit the Big Screen, with the first film to air on Wednesday 15th April, followed by Friday 1st May, Wednesday 12th August and Friday 4th September. Voting closes Sunday 15th March.

More information click here

Click here to view comments on this story

March 3, 2015

Funding is now available to help voluntary groups



Lancashire County Council is encouraging groups from the voluntary, community and faith sector to apply for a grant to support their work.

The county council's Local Initiative Fund (LIF) has reopened for applications, with almost 140,000 available across the 12 Lancashire districts.

The deadline to submit your application is 5pm on Thursday 2 April.

County Councillor Jennifer Mein, leader of the county council, said: "This is the fifth year that our fund has been providing grants that support a wide variety of different activities and projects, in communities right across Lancashire.

"Around the county last year, the LIF supported a wide range of projects including sports, dance workshops, activities for young people and environmental projects, as well as workshops on managing your money and how to find a job.

"The county council is calling on groups and organisations to apply for funding to benefit local projects."

The LIF Scheme provides the opportunity for third sector groups and organisations in Lancashire to apply for grants from 1,000 to 5,000, if their project supports one of the scheme's three priorities:
Helping families
Skills and employment
Activities and programmes for young people aged 1219 (up to 25 for young people with learning difficulties or disabilities).

To find out more information and download an application pack, visit www.lancashire.gov.uk and search for 'Local Initiative Fund'.

You can also call 01772 533756 or email localinitiativesfund@lancashire.gov.uk .

Notes for Editors: This only applies to organisations based in the Lancashire County Council area. Organisations in Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool are not eligible to apply.

Click here to view comments on this story

March 3, 2015

Byng House Drop In This Thursday



The Legions Advice and Information Officer, Sarah Abbotson, will be available at Byng House to discuss face to face the Legions services with anyone that may need help. This also includes: signposting people to other welfare services, discussing membership with those wanting to join the Legion and discussing any fundraising opportunities people may be interested in.

Sarah will be at Byng House on Thursday 5th March 10am-3pm. Drop in if you have any issues you would like to discuss, no appointment necessary. However if you require any advice and support outside of these times please call the national Freephone helpline number, 0808 802 8080. You can speak to a trained advisor over the phone 7 days a week 8am to 8pm.

Byng House
30 The Promenade
Southport
PR8 1QU

Click here to view comments on this story

March 3, 2015

Bogus Caller Kingston Crescent Southport

Police are advising that a resident from Kingston Crescent, Southport was approached over the weekend of 28th February by a male purporting to be a roofer stating that work needed doing on his roof. A price was agreed, but the male has returned on a later date asking for significantly more money.

The male is described as being in his mid 20s wearing a black coat and a bobble hat.

He was driving a grey van registration number unknown.

Any sightings of the van or the person concerned please contact us in confidence.

Residents are advised to be on their guard against such callers to their properties and ensure that they use reputable trades persons who they have contacted themselves for work on their property.

If you suspect callers to your house are rogue trades persons touting for business please obtain descriptions and if possible the registration number of vehicles they are using and pass on to the Police via the 101 phone number or using our TIP LINE link on our website.

Issued by www.southport-businesswatch.com

Click here to view comments on this story

March 3, 2015

Fylde MP in fight for rail improvements

FYLDE MP Mark Menzies today said he would continue to fight for the South Fylde Line after the Government launched the tendering process for the northern rail franchise.



Ministers today sent Invitations to Tender to a shortlist of bidders with the aim of transforming the service and bringing it into the 21st Century.

Mr Menzies has been a strident campaigner for improvements to Fyldes local line to improve connectivity for local residents and businesses and to boost tourism.

He said: I have long campaigned for improvements to the South Fylde Line which would see improved carriages, better timetables and more frequent services between Preston and Blackpool South and am delighted to see the Government demanding only the highest quality bids from any future operator on the network.

I will continue to push for the best deal for the line, including the introduction of a passing loop so it can facilitate more services.

The route could also be vital if we are to see Blackpool Airport reopen as a commercial airfield, something which I will continue to campaign for.

The news comes after it was revealed one potential bidder proposed to recycle parts of former London Underground trains for use on the network.

Mr Menzies added: At first glance I was as shocked by those proposals as anyone as I would find it unacceptable that the northern franchise receives substandard rolling stock.

But with only a small amount of research you can see that the proposals would mean recycling useful parts from the shell of those trains but only to help create modern carriages fit for the 21st Century.

However, the announcement by the Transport Secretary may put paid to that proposal as it specifically states that the old Pacer trains should be replaced with new-build vehicles.

Some people love to propagate the myth of a north/south divide but I will never accept that desire to cast the proud north as some kind of victim and I have been delighted with the commitments the Government has recently made to our region.

The Invitations to Tender are the result of the Governments work with Rail North, representing local transport authorities across the north, and require the shortlisted bidders for the two northern franchises to show their ability to transform the service.

Bids must include:

- A modernised fleet of northern trains, including full replacement of the unpopular Pacers and the introduction of 120 new-build vehicles by January 1, 2020.

- More frequent services, including on Sundays.

- More seats at the busiest times.

- Dedicated funding for investment in northern stations.

- Significantly increased funding for community rail.

- Challenging targets for increases in customer satisfaction.

- Wi-Fi capability on all trains, providing free connectivity where there is coverage.

- Working in partnership with Network Rail to deliver the governments 1bn investment in the railway infrastructure of the north, including electrification and the Northern Hub.

Click here to view comments on this story

March 3, 2015

Peter Kay’s Car Share

Exclusive series premiere at Blackpool Opera House

In Aid of Derian House Childrens Hospice



Peter Kay will premiere his new BBC television series Car Share at the Blackpool Opera House on Saturday 28th March in aid of Derian House Childrens Hospice.

Car Share is the comedians first television series for eleven years and all six episodes will premiere exclusively in the 2000+ Winter Gardens auditorium with a special introduction by Peter himself.

When a supermarket issues a new car share scheme, assistant manager John Redmond and promotions rep Kayleigh Kitson are forced to commute together everyday. But will they get along?

Doors 6.30pm

Show starts prompt 7pm

There will be two intervals

Tickets 15 20

Tickets go on sale Saturday 28th February at 10am

www.ticketmaster.co.uk / www.gigsandtours.com

Click here to view comments on this story

March 3, 2015

Alfie Lund Fund Visits Blackpool



Football Chain At Bloomfield Road
Bloomfield Road was visited by the Alfie Lund Fund prior to kick-off at the weekend.

Mark Lund and his family made Blackpool the latest club to show off their chain of football memorabilia.

The fund collects shirts and scarves donated by football supporters, and they are now taking their chain to stadiums across the country.

The chain is being assembled in the name of Alfie, who suffers from a rare incurable genetic disorder called MECP2 Duplication Syndrome.

The fund raises money for specialist equipment needed, and spreads awareness of the disorder, with around 28 children suffering from the same illness across the UK.

The chain contains items from across the world, and on Saturday was held up by Blackpool's Tony McMahon and Jamie O'Hara.

Come the end of the season the fund hope to auction it off, with all the money going to MECP2 Duplication UK.

Read more at http://www.blackpoolfc.co.uk/news/article/alfie-lund-fund-visits-blackpool-2307513.aspx#sgj7kgsIteUmj1fC.99

Click here to view comments on this story

March 3, 2015

Fylde driver to be sentenced today

A man who admitted causing serious injury to his friend by dangerous driving is to be sentenced at Crown Court.



Bradley Clark hit a tree in Staining at almost 70 mph in what was a 30 zone.

His friend had to be cut from the wreckage.

The 20 year old of Whitemoss Ave will appear at the higher court on April 1st.

The judge asked for pre sentence reports to be prepared ready for his sentencing.

Click here to view comments on this story