The parish council produces a newsletter periodically to keep you updated which you can see below.

                                                    

           Sept 2014    April 2015     Oct 2015    May 2016    October 2016

Firswood Road Development

A planning application has now been submitted by Bellway and the parish council has objected to the application. The objection can be viewed here.   South Lathom Residents Association SLRA have also submitted an objection which can be viewed here

Decision on judicial review of Whitemoss hazardous waste landfill expansion expected in a few weeks

On 2 March 2017 in the Court of Appeal, London, Lord Justices Ryder, Lindblom and Irwin listened to the evidence of a local resident in the judicial review of the Secretary of State’s decision to allow the proposed extension of Whitemoss hazardous waste landfill to go ahead.The judges’ decision is expected in a few weeks’ time, though no date has been set.

The judges considered whether the Secretary of State’s decision in favour of the landfill expansion was legal in light of the fact that the need for the project had been assumed purely on the basis that it had been accepted by the Secretary of State as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP). The Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project system provides in principle for hazardous waste sites receiving over 100,000 tonnes of waste per year to be signed off by central government, bypassing local authority scrutiny and opposition. Whitemoss has never managed to attract anything approaching these large amounts of waste. So we question whether the proposed development at Whitemoss truly merits being accepted as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.  

The judges were interested and well-informed, and accepted that this case has far-reaching implications. The local resident’s legal team did an excellent job of presenting the argument and the case went as well as we could have hoped for.
 

 




 

This photograph shows local contractor, John Branson, straight after he had installed two fingerposts along Holland’s Lane. These fingerposts have been provided by the Parish Council (with vital 50% capital grant aid from West Lancs. Borough Council) as the first in a project to signpost in an informative way the network of footpaths within the Parish area.

Most of our footpaths cross private land and this Parish Council is extremely grateful to Bickerstaffe Parish Council Chairman, Mrs Hilary Rosbotham, for allowing us to install these two fingerposts on her land. We are also grateful for the ready co-operation of farmer John Appleton and his wife, Mary, in agreeing exact locations which would not interfere with their farming operations. This follows similar co-operation over the location of the Parish bench on Holland’s Lane.

Installer John Branson is a local man whose family lived for a long time on Firswood Road. He still has family members and many friends living within the Parish, although he now hails from Maghull. Recently he virtually-rebuilt a house on Blaguegate Lane and he has made a large wooden shelter for Lathom St James junior school in Westhead which can be seen on the school playing fields..

It took considerable time from Parish Councillors and Clerk (Liz Broad) to identify potential sites, design the signs and then find a supplier who could provide high-quality fingerposts to the Parish Council’s signage standards, so progress has been frustratingly slow. These two were supplied by Shelley Signs of Shrewsbury. From reactions that we have already received, it was worth the wait - as they are much admired.

Here we have a local and dog enjoying a rest on our Jubilee Bench by the side of our new footpath sign

 

 

 

In 2013, Tree Warden Andrew Beeston helped Lathom St James plant a Bramley apple tree as part of Tree Council’s Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Tree Scheme.  This is one of only 60 Jubilee Trees throughout the whole country, all part of an educational tree planting scheme with children.  A commemorative book entitled “Our Diamond Jubilee Gift to Her Majesty the Queen” has been produced by the Tree Council and the Bramley apple tree is included.  On 15th July 2015, Chairman, Cllr Alison Whitehead presented the book to Head Teacher Mrs Alison Albion, Tree Warden Cllr Andrew Beeston and the children of Lathom St James Primary School.

 Huge thanks to Parish Councillor & Tree Warden Andrew Beeston who led the tree walk on 29th August 2015.  Beautiful late summer sunshine brought out the ramblers and all enjoyed the guided tour.  Thank you so much to

In 2013, Tree Warden Andrew Beeston helped Lathom St James plant a Bramley apple tree as part of Tree Council’s Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Tree Scheme.  This is one of only 60 Jubilee Trees throughout the whole country, all part of an educational tree planting scheme with children.  A commemorative book entitled “Our Diamond Jubilee Gift to Her Majesty the Queen” has been produced by the Tree Council and the Bramley apple tree is included.  On 15th July 2015, Chairman, Cllr Alison Whitehead presented the book to Head Teacher Mrs Alison Albion, Tree Warden Cllr Andrew Beeston and the children of Lathom St James Primary School.

 

Banner: "No Whitemoss Landfill"

See below for the history of this issue. The latest information on the Whitemoss Hazardous Waste site extension. In the Court of Appeal at the Royal Courts of Justice in London the local resident opposing the Whitemoss hazardous waste tip extension was successful in gaining permission to bring a judicial review of the Secretary of State’s decision to allow the extension to go ahead.Previously the resident’s attempt to gain permission to bring the judicial review was refused several times in various courts. However, the resident’s legal team had the chance to explain the case more fully and was successful. The judge, Lord Justice Lindblom, was a planning expert and was interested in the case. Claire Robinson of ARROW (Action to Reduce and Recycle Our Waste), which is supporting fundraising for the resident, said: “We are delighted with this verdict and would like to thank the legal team and all those residents and employers who have helped us get this far.
“The main issue was that the planning policy says there is a need in principle for hazardous waste sites, but the resident’s legal team argued that this did not mean that a developer could claim that there was a need for a site of any size in a specific location without proving that this specific site was needed. “There was a question as to whether the Secretary of State was misreading the National Policy Statement for hazardous waste.  “The judge said that this case has implications for other nationally significant infrastructure projects elsewhere and needs to be heard in full because it could set an important precedent.
“The judge agreed with the legal team that the resident’s case was arguable and gave him permission to proceed to a full judicial review.” ARROW campaigner Del Ellis said: “This is an important milestone, as it allows us to continue our challenge of this unwanted hazardous waste tip extension that is so close to people’s homes and children’s playing fields. However, we have not won the case yet. We will also continue to fundraise for the legal bills incurred so far.” The full judicial review is expected to be heard next spring in the Court of Appeal in front of three High Court judges..

 

This has been a long running issue. It all started with a proposal to massively extend Whitemoss Hazardous Waste site by submitting more land for development to the Minerals & Waste Development Framework Plan. We objected to that development on the grounds of need, health risks and the social and economic effect on our neighbours in Skelmersdale. We attended the subsequent examination along with the action group ARROW and Lancashire County Council subsequently withdrew the site from the local plan.

Whitemoss Ltd then applied to get the site extension approved as a nationally significant infrastructure project. Over 3000 objections were submitted and the application was made subject to a public examination. . This council joined other objectors in fighting the proposed extension at the examination. The Examining Inspectors’ report with their recommendation to approve was submitted to the former Secretary of State (Eric Pickles) who approved the project in May 2015

In response the groups of objectors took legal advice from lawyers experienced in this area, (Richard Buxton's Chambers), and it was decided to apply for a Judicial Review of the decision. Initial funds were raised via a crowd justice website and our case has now been submitted. We have some funding through a legal aid application but further fundraising is needed to meet legal costs. It is our opinion that a good case for reversing the decision has been submitted.

New arrangements have been put in place by West Lancashire Borough Council to reduce the amount of Construction and Demolition (Inert) Waste delivered to Lancashire's Household Waste Recycling Centres. To local residents this covers taking any hardcore, rubble glass, DIY stuff etc. You can be charged! read the following documents.

Permit

Policy

Charging for Depositing Builders’ - Type Waste at Household Waste Recycling

 As the waste authority, Lancashire County Council (LCC) cannot charge people to deposit household waste at its re-cycling centres. However, bricks, soil, plasterboard and products such as bathroom ceramics are not classed as household waste. In an attempt to control overall costs of operating its services, in June Lancashire introduced charges for depositing these items at its sites.

There were initial difficulties of interpretation of the charging rules and ignorance of the permit scheme which led to various horror stories being reported. However, changes have been made to the rules and workers at the centres have discretion to use their judgement, such as by counting half-full or small bags as half. The permit system still applies.

LCC is not allowed to make a profit from the charges but it is allowed to defray costs. In the climate of continuing Government cutbacks to local authority finances, any unnecessary spending in one area knocks on into reductions to other areas of expenditure. It is against this background that objections to the charging scheme have to be considered.

There is a question as to whether the forecast savings from charging are real or imaginary. There is also the question of the fairness of the charges that have been introduced. The published documents showing the points considered are not encouraging in this respect.

The Council’s objective in raising charges is stated as being to reduce the quantities of such waste being handled at HWRCs. The irony is that the more successful the council is in achieving this objective, the less money it will raise. Most money will be raised if they actually handle the same amount of waste and maximise the number of bags charged for.

The policy has also introduced difficulties for people who are now expected to hire skips to take the waste away. Many properties do not have facilities for parking skips in secure locations and any left in unsecure locations will quickly be filled by other people. In any case, who needs a skip to take away ,say, 30 bags (.75 tonnes) of soil, leaving the skip only a third to a half full?

For those who can hire a skip, £100 is said to cover the cost of hiring one taking 3 cubic yards (about 2 tonnes) of material.   For that £100, the skip is delivered to your address and taken away again and the skip hire company still makes a profit. So the county council’s charge would appear to be excessive, perhaps reflecting the costs of administration across two organisations (the council and SITA).

There is also the question of what happens to the materials that are not being taken to HWRCs. There was an initial reduction of 80%, which council officers expect to settle to around 50%. There were around 42,000 tonnes of such waste handled in Lancashire in 2014/5 – i.e. before charging began. This suggests that at least 20,000 tonnes will have gone elsewhere by June 2016. We know that some of this waste has been fly-tipped and this is very expensive to remove. Where the cost falls on private landowners, this constitutes a transfer of costs from the general public and unfairly onto a relatively few landowners (who include ordinary householders). Where fly-tipping takes place on publicly-owned land, the costs of removal will far outweigh those of free disposal to proper sites.

LCCs comment that fly-tipping is a criminal offence, the risks of which should not be allowed to influence policy is somewhat “head in the clouds”, since the same argument could be used for non- provision of litter bins but who would support their mass withdrawal?

Finally, LCC states that nearly all 42,000 tonnes of this waste collected in 2014/5 were used to construct roads within landfill sites or as inert cover for those sites (which is required in constructing landfill sites). Thus, a 50% reduction in supply will result in the shortfall having to be bought in from other sources. Our HWRCs are operated under contract to LCC by the privately owned company SITA. It stands to reason that increased costs for SITA will be passed back to LCC through the contract. SITA might pay in the short term but it seems inevitable that the taxpayer will pay in the slightly longer term.

To see the latest policy on the Green Belt click here

The parish council has now has the results of two local plans that effect our community.  A lot of work has been undertaken in challenging issues that detrimentally effect our community in these plans. The result of the Waste and Minerals Development Plan is below.

The 2012 to 2027 Local Plan

 A public examination took place earlier this year, under the chairmanship of a Government appointed Inspector. He had a narrow brief, dictated by recent Government changes to planning regulations. He was allowed to decide only whether the Council’s proposed Plan was “deliverable” or not, rather than whether it could be changed for the better. 

He reported In September, saying that he would not have been able to find the Plan, as published, “sound” but that the Council had asked him to say what changes would make it sound. As a result he had recommended some changes which had been accepted by the Council and therefore it could now be “adopted” as Council Policy.

At a stormy October meeting of the full Council, the decision was made to adopt the Plan and we are now (late October) in a six period during which it can be challenged in the High Court but only on specific, narrow, grounds.

 For this Parish, it is a mixed result, with some success in maintaining the Green Belt status of land owned by Edge Hill which the Council had proposed to release and with no further threat being posed to the 200 acres of Green Belt land between Spa Lane and Vale Lane.  However, the proposed  development  of around 400 houses on land off Firswood Road has been allowed (with special mention  of a Planning Brief giving due regard to the linear park and to green space around Slate Lane).

 The overall result for the Borough is that more than 4,800 houses have to be built over the plan period (2012 to 2027) and around 75 hectares of new sites have to be provided for employment purposes. Many of the houses will be built on Green Belt land, mainly in Burscough and Ormskirk but also in Halsall. To the East of the Borough, large greenfield sites will be developed at Whalleys and Upholland and, disappointingly for this Parish, on land stretching (west to east) from Firswood Road to Neverstitch Road and (south to north) from the northern rear of Blaguegate Lane to Slate Lane.

 This latter decision can be traced back to a decision of a Planning Inspector in 1980 and it shows that the decision by an Inspector in 2006 (that development would not be allowed before all sites in Skelmersdale had been brought forward) can be disregarded on the grounds of changed circumstances but the one of 30 plus years ago is regarded as immutable. This is because we have not been allowed to challenge the Council’s view of housing need in the Borough, even though it is an ill-founded one (in our opinion).

Incredibly, the Council has cut its proposed housing provision in Skelmersdale Town Centre from over 1100 (stated in its 2008 Masterplan) to 800, with only 500 to be delivered over the plan period. This is despite adding the college-owned “development opportunity” land to the housing land total.  Provision of affordable and special needs housing in the Borough is in chaos, with no credible plan being in place to tackle the issue. The most worrying aspect is that the Council has produced a plan which counts its full estimate of demand for these types of housing  but provides no route to come anywhere near to meeting that figure. Thus, the backlog will keep on rolling forward, inflating housing provision targets without solving the social problem. Instead it could lead to substantial over-provision of market priced housing which many residents cannot afford. The consequential unnecessary loss of Green Belt and greenfield sites will be irreversible and will served to nobody’s interests, other than the short-term interests of land speculators and housing developers.

The Borough Council then issued a draft development brief for the Firswood Road Development. Residents were invited to meet planning officers at the cricket club on Thursday 20th February and many did resulting in some very lively sessions!

The proposal involves a development of “at least” 400 homes, with two ‘secondary’ accesses to Firswood Road. One would be from Old Engine Lane and the other would be from a point near the bridge, about opposite Evans’ farm entrance. The ‘primary’ access would be from Neverstitch Road into Old Engine Lane. There are massive implications for local traffic flows, road safety and crime and the Council has not explained how it would ensure that the primary access would actually be from/to Neverstitch Road. Anyone familiar with the Neverstitch Road end of Old Engine Lane would share our concern, we believe, about the impact on Old Engine Cottages. SLRA then arranged a public meeting to take place in the cricket club from 7.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. on Wednesday 26th February to discuss the development further.

Objections were submitted by the parish council as below

Doc 1      Doc 2        Doc 3        Doc 4

South Lathom Residents Association also submitted further objections and these can be viewed on the links below.

Doc 1      Doc 2        Doc3       Doc 4      Doc 5      Doc 6     Doc 7     Doc 8 

A revised development brief has now been issued click here to view

The Borough Council’s planning policy team produced a draft revised development brief which was considered by different committees in June and July. This draft has not yet been approved for publication and so it could be revised further. One of the factors is that the officers seem to have taken note of several comments made in response to the initial version and Old Engine Lane is no longer regarded as the point of entry from Neverstitch Road or as a potential “secondary access” from Firswood Road. Disappointingly, in their eagerness to see development begin, they now seem wedded to the idea that a start will be made in the South West corner, with access either from Firswood Road or, less likely, from the Hooters site on Blaguegate Lane – which the landowners would have to acquire. The landowners in question own only this part of the site, plus the old railway line up to Firswood Road (or proposed linear park - which is the subject of some vague words in the brief) and a small area of land adjacent to the old railway line. They have broken away from the Consortium which had made great play of togetherness in evidence to the Local Plan Inspector.  

The Borough Council is thus taking a significant risk of partial development taking place, with the accompanying risk that important components of its plans will not be delivered. To the extent that these components could contribute positively to the quality of development, this is a matter for local concern. The Borough Council’s planning policy team produced a draft revised development brief which was considered by different committees in June and July. This draft has not yet been approved for publication and so it could be revised further. One of the factors is that the officers seem to have taken note of several comments made in response to the initial version and Old Engine Lane is no longer regarded as the point of entry from Neverstitch Road or as a potential “secondary access” from Firswood Road. Disappointingly, in their eagerness to see development begin, they now seem wedded to the idea that a start will be made in the South West corner, with access either from Firswood Road or, less likely, from the Hooters site on Blaguegate Lane – which the landowners would have to acquire. The landowners in question own only this part of the site, plus the old railway line up to Firswood Road (or proposed linear park - which is the subject of some vague words in the brief) and a small area of land adjacent to the old railway line. They have broken away from the Consortium which had made great play of togetherness in evidence to the Local Plan Inspector.  

Another factor that has been lurking in the background is the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) which provides finance from developers for infrastructure projects. The justification for such a charge is that development places pressure cumulatively on an area and so should make a direct contribution. The owners of land in this area objected to the charge on the grounds of viability but at the Inquiry earlier this year they were at pains to stress that they want a high price for their land (four to five hundred thousand pounds an acre) and at the same time to point out that the development area is subject to exceptional costs. This is rather like trying to sell a derelict house at the full market price for one in good condition. The Inspector found in favour of the Council but the Council has now adopted the CIL with an escape clause for “exceptional circumstances”. CIL offers a proportion of the money raised for the immediate locality through the Parish Council (PC) but this PC would only get, and only want, such funds if development actually went ahead. We do not regard it as an incentive to accept an unsatisfactory scheme. 

 To summarise, at the time of writing the land has not been sold to developers, the final development brief has not been issued and the position over CIL has not been cleared up.  When there is anything further to report it will be on the agenda for a PC meeting, so watch for details on your nearest noticeboard.  

Jubilee Celebration

Lathom South Parish Council has installed a wayside bench for walkers on Halfpenny Lane, a public right of way in Lathom, running from Hollands Lane to the Scarth Hill area.  With the kind permission of Mrs Hilary Rosbotham, the bench is sited on the corner of Halfpenny Lane, where it meets Hollands Lane. 

 The bench is the final part of a wider project begun last year to commemorate the Queens Diamond Jubilee and the bench is embossed to denote this.  A free hedging pack was obtained from the Woodland Trust and this was planted by volunteers along Lyelake Lane and a Royal Oak tree, also donated by the Woodland Trust, was planted alongside the oak bench.  The entire project was completed by the Parish Council with volunteers and the bench was supported by a West Lancashire Borough Council capital grant, so there was very little cost to the residents.

Weary travellers can now take a break and enjoy a picturesque view across the Lathom fields.

 

A new book about part of Lathom's history has been published

‘Horses for the War’ –

The story of the World War 1 Remount Depot at Lathom Park, Lathom, Lancashire.

A high quality unique specialist publication by Lathom Park Trust with many contemporary photos.

Price £11.00 plus postage and packing £1.50

Available from Lathom Park Trust, Brookdale Cottage,

Croppers Lane, Bickerstaffe, Ormskirk, L39 9E

 

 

The parish council was successful in obtaining funding for wayside seating and has had 2 lovely benches placed on Blaguegate Lane and Vale Lane. Pictures can be seen on the gallery click here

The parish council is pleased to announce that we now have a tree warden for the area. He is Andrew Beeston and any enquiries about trees can be passed to him via our clerk using the "contact us" link at the side of this page.

The only sizeable woodland in Lathom South Parish seems to be Spa Roughs.  Most other tree groups are to be found at Stanley Firs or along the several brooks - Dungeon, Goose, Dicket's, Slate and Sefton presumably because there they don't interfere with our area's vital agriculture.  There has been some new planting in hedges, eg along Whiteley's Lane: local farmers are to be commended for this work.  There are currently 12 Tree Preservation Orders in force in the parish, some on individual trees, and others on groups or areas.  The Parish Council with the Tree Warden are considering where additional trees might be planted and any suggestions from other people will be welcomed. If you have a favourite tree in the parish please let us know so that it can be included in a proposed map of parish trees and footpaths.  So far your tree warden Andrew Beeston has taken the following action:

1   Preliminary survey and mapping of the parish's trees for both conservation and possible new plantings

2.   Liaised with WLBC and attending Tree Council 20th

Anniversary event in London with WLBC delegation

3.   Studied government Tree Protection Order streamlining proposals and is making submissions

4.   Worked with local schools, St. James Lathom and Lathom Park, including talks and planting

5   He is devising a Lathom South Tree Trail, particularly for schools (work still  in progress)

6.   Arranged planting of new copper beeches in Dicks Lane to fill gaps with help (and at expense) of landowner.

 

In our early public meetings the council asked you how you wanted us to spend your money (which is given to us from the parish precept part of your council tax). You told us that you wanted village signs to establish the area of Lathom.  Raising the money for these signs and a notice board, (which we are legally required to erect), was quite a challenge.  We raised the sum required by:

Notice Boards were eventually erected at Vale Lane and Scarth Hill Lane with a main one at the Cricket Club.  We felt it only fair to erect 2 small notice boards at the edges of the area, as well as a main one, so as not to let any of our residents feel excluded. We experienced a few hurdles on the way, not least the fact that advertising planning permission had to be obtained and associated additional costs had to be found, but we achieved our objective in the end. The large one at the cricket club is available to all community groups: to display an item contact the parish clerk through the link at the left hand side

 

Road signs "Welcome to Lathom" have been erected in 11 locations to mark entry into Lathom and to finally establish the full area of Lathom. Again there where many hurdles along the way. Our original plans to have solid cast iron poles had to be reviewed after consultation with the Highways Authority. Being new signs they are subject to the latest Health and Safety guidelines: which means that poles have to bend so that if hit by cars the impact is reduced for the occupants.  We also had to change some of our chosen locations so they did not interfere with other road signs or lines of sight. In some instances they had to be placed on the opposite side of the road, but we had no choice in this. The important thing is that we have established the full area of Lathom. We hope you like the signs.

 

Signs being made at the workshop