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North Meols 2003 News Archive
Bizarre Boundary Proposal

On 1st December the Boundary Committee for England published their Draft recommendations for unitary local government in Lancashire and are now "consulting" on the draft options put forward for a period of 12 weeks until 23 February 2004. Click Here to view the full report. The recommendations are founded on the findings of a "statistically robust" Mori Poll of 300 West Lancashire residents. Click here for the Mori Report in full.

In summary, the three options that the Boundary Commission have proposed are:

  • Option 1: We become part of a massive Lancashire County Council "Unitary Authority"
  • Option 2: We become part of a new "Sefton and West Lancashire"
  • Option 3: We become part of a new "Sefton and West Lancashire"

Rather bizarrely, our three options are actually only two. You are asked to provide feedback on these proposals but, to date, the supposedly convenient Online Feedback Form on the Boundary Commission website does not work and so any comments you wish to make must be made as best you can using pen and paper and it will cost you the price of a stamp. We have informed the Boundary Commission of this oversight and are awaiting a response.

Outlook Wet for the Northern Parishes
Floodplain Map for the West Lancashire Northern Parishes and neighbouring villages -  Croston, Walmer Bridge, Hesketh Bank , Banks and Crossens at risk from the sea and  Bretherton, Mawdsley, Eccleston, Rufford, Mere Brow, Banks and Churchtown at risk from River flooding.
Get the very latest floodplain data direct from the
Environment Agency Website

The Environment Agency's new Indicative Floodplain Maps provide a general overview of areas of land in natural floodplains and therefore potentially at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea. The maps use the best information currently available, based on historical flood records and geographical models. They indicate where flooding from rivers, streams, watercourses or the sea is possible. However the maps do not show flood defences which offer vital protection in many areas.

The Agency is making these maps widely accessible to make it easier for people to find out if they are in a flood risk area and what local flood warning arrangements exist. They also inform planners and developers and are a key tool in informing decisions on controlling development in floodplains. For more information and the answers to frequently asked questions about flood plain maps, the impact it has on properties, the impact on property insurance and answers to general questions about flood risk CLICK HERE
Dear Editor.....


The Conservative members decision to overturn the Officers recommendation for refusal of Redrow application and thereby overturning Policy of the Adopted Local Plan sends out some very disturbing signals both to developers and public.

The strong arguments put forward by leading Conservatives in favour of releasing even more land for the development of Executive homes on the Greaves Hall site were in stark contrast to the professional advice given by Senior Officers of the Council.

Cllr. Robert Hodge pitched his 30 year experience in planning matters (!) directly against the Officers when he argued that in his opinion there were ‘Material Considerations’ in favour of changing the land designation from Employment to Housing thus enabling Redrow to build many more houses on the site. What happened to ‘Local jobs for local people’, Robert?

From the developers point of view this will mean a substantial boost to their profits, as they already own the land in question, bought years ago at way below current land prices.

From the viewpoint of adjacent residents on the Redrow estate, it was not too difficult for their ward Councillors to persuade them that a ‘few more houses’ would be preferable to ‘Industrial units’ and what about the much trumpeted ‘community benefits’ dangled before them? ( less than half the value of a Redrow house)

From Cllr Hodge and his Conservative colleague’s viewpoint judging by the cheers from the Redrow residents in the chamber, there are a significant number of now secure votes in the bag.

But what about the rest of us in the northern parishes? What does this mean to us?

Quite simply that far from the claims in Conservative election literature that “We will stop further development in our villages” the exact opposite is true- they are absolutely determined to see more and more development in our villages, but are not prepared to be open about it.

Most fair minded conservative supporters must now see the clear pattern of their elected representatives: promises that they will ‘work hard to prevent further development’ at election time, sneakily pass more applications in between time and then blame it on someone else later (ideally Labour/ Lib Dems/ Independents or recently even Planning Officers!) at next election time. If anyone was left in doubt as to how all the development was allowed to happen in our villages over the last 30 years then they need look no further than Conservative’s performance on Thursday.

The facts are simple – we do not need any more executive houses in our villages. The Redrow residents are probably unaware of the implications of this latest permission, namely that the principle of land re-designation is now firmly established – Redrow will aggressively pursue further development throughout the site. How will these same residents feel when they discover they live on a 1000 house estate? When they realise too late the local infrastructure cannot support them?

Cllr. Hodge disputed the need for consultation in North Meols stating “we have never done so in the past, why start now” This flies in the face of what people actually do want.

The recent efforts throughout the Northern Parishes to provide effective consultation gained overwhelming reactions against further development from a responsive public. Now the Conservatives have wilfully set their face against the wishes of the public, the Professional Planning Officers of the Council and not least their own election promises in an apparently shameful attempt to gerrymander a few more votes. These people will simply do and say anything just to stay in position. So people of the Northern Parishes, be warned, there are serious threats to undermine your wishes. Observe elected members actions rather than listen to their empty words at election time.

John Hodson (Tarleton Village Design Group)

Redrow win 'more houses' debate

Despite strong objections from North Meols Parish Council and a recommendation from Planning Officers to refuse the application, the proposal for Redrow to complete a further 69 dwellings on land earmarked for employment at the Greaves Hall site was nevertheless granted at last nights West Lancs Planning Committee.

The application, which was first submitted by Redrow in 2001 is in conflict with the West Lancashire Local Plan Policy in that it would materially reduce [by half] the amount of land designated for business use thus reducing the potential for increased local employment.

The 30 pieces of silver, or "upgraded community benefit package" as it is now known, tabled in furtherance of the Redrow proposal includes:

  • Making a financial contribution to the upgrading of Aveling Drive to adoptable standards from Guinea Hall Lane to the site frontage.
  • Provision of a financial contribution of £25,000 for improvements to the Community Centre on Greaves Hall Avenue
  • Provision of infrastructure to serve the proposed employment land, by upgrading and extending Greaves Hall Avenue and providing all necessary sewers and services to service the land.
  • Within 12 months of planning permission being granted to complete the demolition of all redundant buildings and structures within the application site, excluding the former Laundry building, leaving the site in a safe and tidy condition.
  • To carry out a marketing exercise for the commercial land to gauge market interest
  • No dwellings to be occupied on the site until Greaves Hall Mansion has been reconstructed.
  • To make up Greaves Hall Avenue including footpaths and lighting to St Stephens C of E Primary School
  • To provide a school drop off area
  • Within 18 months of the first occupation of any dwelling on the site to carry out remedial works to the existing Aveling Drive football pitch including mole iradication and drainage works.
  • To provide six affordable flat units at 80% of open market value.

Two more applications have been received at West Lancs Planning relating to the growing problem of accomodating seasonal agricultural workers.

Flavourfresh Salads have applied to the Council to retain five residential caravans at their Marsh Road site and also to retain the use of a former office block at Rydings Lane for accomodating seasonal agricultural workers .

More White Vans Wanted

All members of the public are asked to be on the look-out for the following 2 vehicles. They have been seen recently acting suspiciously and it is also believed they have been seen throughout the West Lancs area. The vehicles are both White Transit vans:-

H 846 RAW
P 850 KJA

The whereabouts of these vehicles are wanted by both Lancashire and GMP Police. One vehicle is believed to be involved in theft of motorcycles. Please be on the look-out for both these vehicles. Any sightings should be reported to the Police immediately.

Workshop Plan Submitted
Application No.: 8/2003/1362
Proposal : Erection of workshop building; provision of car
parking area and alterations to existing
vehicular/pedestrian access.
Location : Land rear of 29, Chapel Lane, Banks.
Applicant : Mr D Rimmer
29 Chapel Lane
Ward : North Meols Parish :North Meols
Date Valid : 30 OCT 03 Grid Ref :SD3956921112

Water Board Warning
Message from The West Lancashire Neighbourhood Watch Association
The police are warning the public about bogus officials who have been gaining entry to elderly persons homes by posing as water board officials who want to check water pipes. Once in the home the offenders have stolen property.

Descriptions of two offenders seen are males early 20's one of whom had red hair and spoke with a stammer. He was wearing a white anorak. Do not let persons into your home without seeing proper authority or them having made a written appointment.

A second problem concerns telephone calls to elderly residents, saying that the Environment Agency wishes to make an appointment to call. Their reason is to give advice on Crime Prevention, mentioning security alarms in the conversation. These calls do not have any connection to any Professional body.

Please do not let anyone into your home without first checking their identity. If you require information on Security alarms please contact the Crime prevention officers at your local Police station. If you wish to contact the Police please ring 0845 1 25 35 45 or in an emergency dial 999.

If you wish to pass on information anonamously about this or any other incident and then you can contact Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

Thefts Continue
The Police are reminding everyone, once again, of an increasing crime trend in rural areas of West Lancashire. These are thefts from garages, farm buildings and driveways of heavy equipment such as sit-on lawnmowers and farm equipment including trailers. It is believed the offenders are from the travelling community and are using white transit vans as well as a dark coloured saloon car.
They are calling at premises offering landscape gardening services. Within half an hour of their call equipment has been stolen. Please be aware of these offences and exercise caution with any unknown callers on your property. If you are suspicious please notify the Police.
Bostock Murder Re-Opened
Detectives are to reopen the investigation into the murder of Nigel Bostock who was strangled and stabbed at his home in Banks. The latest DNA testing techniques will be used in an attempt to solve the 16 year old murder of the Southport Shoe Shop owner..
Hoole Lane House
Planning Application No.: 8/2003/1232
Proposal : Conversion and extension of garage into dwelling.
Location : Land rear of 30/32, Hoole Lane, Banks.
Applicant : Mrs H F Greenall
30-32 Hoole Lane, Banks, PR9 8BD
Office Request
Planning Application No: 8/2003/1234
Proposal : Use of first floor for office & document storage.
Location : 99, Gravel Lane, Banks.
Applicant : Inter Europe Foods Ltd
99 Gravel Lane, Banks, Southport, PR9 8BW
Decisions of WLDC Planning Committee
3rd Sept 2003

8/2002/1066 Baker Management Ltd.,
Greaves Hall, Greaves Hall Avenue, Banks.
Refurbishment/alterations to Greaves Hall to form 21
apartments; erection of 12 mews type houses with courtyard
and parking facilities; erection of barn type building to be
used for parking of cars and bicycle storage; provision of
parking areas and landscaping.

8/2002/1067 Baker Management Ltd.,
Greaves Hall, Greaves Hall Avenue, Banks.
Listed Building Consent - Refurbishment/alterations to
Greaves Hall to form 21 apartments.

8/2003/0319 Redrow Homes (Lancs) Ltd
Land off Guinea Hall Lane & Greaves Hall Avenue, Banks.
Outline - Mixed use development
comprising residential development and extension to
playing fields on land to North & East of Mansion House
& development of land to South of Greaves Hall Avenue
to accommodate any or all of use Class B1(a) offices,
Class C2 residential institutions, Class D1
non-residential institutions (including details of means of

Wanted: White Van Man

All farms and Neighbourhood Watch members are asked to be on the lookout for the following vehicle:- A white Transit Van reg. no. S817 SRJ.

This vehicle was seen in suspicious circumstances in Bickerstaffe at around 3:30 on Wednesday afternoon. It is thought they may have been attempting to steal a caravan but when challenged the driver( who spoke with an Irish accent) said they were cutting hedges and then made off towards Rainford. About 2 hours later a shed was reported broken into when lawnmowers and other property were stolen. Please be on the look-out for this vehicle and report any sightings to the Police immediately. To repeat:- A white Transit van S817 SRJ.

Low Cost Housing Application Submitted 05/08/03

Application No.: 8/2003/0638
Proposal : Outline application for residential development for low cost housing.
Location : Land rear of 97, Station Road, Banks.
Ward : North Meols Parish :North Meols
Date Valid : 25 JUL 03 Grid Ref :SD3860120399

Fleetwood Hesketh down but not out 01/08/03

Newly promoted to the West Lancs Premier league, Fleetwood Hesketh faced a formidable Hesketh Bank side at a freindly pre season away match last night and ended up loosing 2:1 to their arch rivals.

Area Committee Election 24/07/03
The Annual General Meeting of the West Lancashire Area Committee of the Lancashire Association of Parish & Town Councils was held in the Council Chambers at Ormskirk on Friday 12 July 2003.

Councillor Joan Draper of North Meols Parish Council was elected to the Chair of the Area Committee for the ensuing twelve months.

Quiz Time! 18/07/03
Where in North Meols are: Premises used for agricultural fabrication and repairs, vehicle recovery and storage, vehicle maintenance and repair, parts and steel store. Garaging of steam engines, showmans caravans etc and towing equipment?

If you answered Johnsons yard at Banks then you might be surprised to learn that West Lancs Planning disagrees with you. A Certificate of Lawfulness was recently refused as the planners considering that, on the balance of probability, the buildings have not been used for the purposes described above. We welcome any input from the council as to what they do think the buildings might have been being used for for the last three generations.

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