The Bickerstaffe Record

April 07 Bickerstaffe Record (election supplement)

‘In touch’, out of touch

07.23.07 | Comment?

An interesting readThe Conservative party’s local election leaflet has certainly made for interesting reading, and it is good to see the party engage in some fairly local issues even if there was really not very much about Simonswood, Bickerstaffe and

South Lathom in it.  Different points of view about local issues are what local democracy is all about. There are a few points in the leaflet that – in the interests of democratic debate – need addressing because they are either inaccurate or somewhat ‘out of touch’.  As ever, we focus on points directly relevant to Bickerstaffe (and to what Paul’s been up to).  Renewable energy sourcesIt seems odd to read that the Conservative Council is proud to be ‘exploring renewable energy sources’.  As we set out in a recent edition of the Record, a number of residents in Bickerstaffe, and across

West Lancashire have asked the Council whether planning permission fees might be waived for small wind turbines, providing up to 30% of domestic supply needs.  They have been turned down flat.   So while the Council continues to ‘explore’ green issues, residents wishing to just get on with being green are unnecessarily hampered.  Meanwhile, Paul has been getting on with the technical detail, and has just received a reply from the Treasury Minister Stephen Timms confirming that ‘As part of the encouragement for householders to install these technologies we are looking at whether we can remove the need to apply for planning permission, and the government will be making an announcement in this area shortly.’   Specifically, the government is looking at domestic wind turbines as a ‘general permitted development’ under the Town and Country Planning Act 1995, just as it has with some satellite dishes. This would mean that, as long as the wind turbines were positioned unobtrusively, planning permission would not be needed at all.  

We’ll keep residents informed.  Anyone wishing to see the full letter from the Treasury or discuss the technicalities is welcome to contact Paul.

Rural economy study The Conservative leaflet’s claim that the District Council has been responsible for an impressive study of the rural economy of

West Lancashire, and is now setting about great improvements, is somewhat misleading. The study was in fact funded under the multi-agency Local Strategic Partnership’s Single Programme fund, an £8 million investment that a Labour administration brought to the area in 2001.  The particular reason we are aware of this is because Paul Cotterill was a member of the interviewing panel for the research team that undertook the study, and sat on the steering group for the study throughout.  We have reported on the progress of the study in previous Bickerstaffe Records.  Further, readers may be interested to know that the study was actually completed in Spring 2006.  As yet, the District Council has acted on none of the recommendations aimed at it in the report.  The study remains in a ‘consultation phase’. Again we know this because Paul has continued to follow progress (or rather lack of it).  He also has the email audit trail to back this up. And the scaremongering……Finally, the suggestion that Labour is secretly planning to establish a traveller site in Bickerstaffe Ward is – how shall we put it kindly? – enthusiastic in its attempts to gain a few votes from people who go for such scaremonger tactics.  The Bickerstaffe Record will, we can assure you, continue to base its articles on fact.

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