Poulton Forum, hosted by Poulton & Carleton Residents’ Association
Meeting held 13th February 2018
Summary of main points discussed, decisions and actions agreed
1. Welcome and Introductions
Lesley Middleton introduced herself and Bill Waller (Residents’ Association Chair and Vice-Chair respectively) and welcomed those present to the 26th Forum meeting.
Attendees: Approximately 70 members of the public and Wyre Councillors Colette Birch, Simon Bridge, David Henderson, Ann Turner plus Lancashire County Councillor Alf Clempson. Apologies for absence had been received from some members of the public and Councillors Roger Berry, Barry Birch, Peter Gibson, Ron Greenhough, Alan Vincent and Michael Vincent.
There is approximately £40 in the Association’s bank account and consequently, donations were being sought to help meet administration costs. For the avoidance of doubt, Lesley stressed that the Association is run by volunteers who do not claim personal expenses.
3. The Work of the RSPCA
3.1. Liz Rawson-Hall, Branch Manager from the Fylde RSPCA, gave a presentation about the charity. The RSPCA’s main activities are to rescue and treat animals, to care for unwanted and abused animals, to campaign for changes in the law and to educate people around the world. There is a national, umbrella organisation which has 478 inspectors, animal welfare officers and animal collection officers in England and Wales along with 4 specialist wildlife centres in England and a small number of hospitals and clinics. There is also a network of branches, currently numbering 162 although that figure fluctuates as some have closed due to lack of funds. The RSPCA receives no Government funding despite their services being used for example by the police. Each branch is a separately registered charity and is primarily responsible for raising its own funds locally. The Fylde branch (Charity No. 232246) is based in Fleetwood (1A, North Albert Street, FY7 6AA) and has 2 paid staff – Liz and a colleague who works in the shop – and a number of volunteers.
3.2. The role of the national inspectors and officers is to visit animal owners and variously to provide advice, to take in animals when the owner can no longer care for them and to impound animals and possibly pursue prosecution. The local branches then take over the ongoing care and arrange for re-homing. The Fylde branch does not have access to an RSPCA specialist centre so uses private boarding arrangements to care for animals. In a typical week the Fylde branch will have, among other things, assisted with neuter, spays and micro-chipping feral and owned cats, re-homed 2 stray cats and assisted with another involved in an RTA, visited re-homed cats and visited vets to help with cat rehab as well as dealing with calls, emails and face to face enquiries from the public.
3.3. The RSPCA has a national ‘cruelty line’ number 0300 1234 999 which can be used to obtain advice on animal welfare or to report an animal in distress. This can also be done online – www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare. If a member of the public sees an injured animal then the best course of action is to take it to a local vet. The vet will check for a chip and if there is none will contact the RSPCA for authority to treat the animal. The vet will receive £70 from the RSPCA to pay for immediate treatment and, if no owner comes forward, will then ask the charity to take responsibility for the animal. Anyone thinking of getting a pet should consider adoption and check the RSPCA website “Find a Pet” page or contact the Fylde branch – 01253 873616 or email@example.com. Anyone wishing to help, financially or in person, can use the national website to apply to become a member or contact Liz to discuss ways they can help.
4. No. 24 Bus Service
On behalf of Cllr Greenhough, Lesley gave an update on the No. 24 bus service which runs from Poulton, via Carleton, to Cleveleys and Fleetwood. This service is provided by Catch22bus Ltd which was to have had its bus operator’s licence revoked on 18th February. The company is appealing this decision and services will run as usual in the meantime. There is no information available on the timescales for the appeal. The company has no plan to withdraw services at this time. However should that change or their appeal be unsuccessful then LCC have said that they would follow their usual process and initially seek alternative commercial solutions prior to determining if the County Council is able to consider intervening. Alf Clempson said that he would press for an LCC subsidy if the service is withdrawn and added that there would be a better chance of saving the route if there were more users. The point was made that more Carleton residents would have access if the service were routed via the Castle Gardens and Fleetwood Road instead of Arundel Drive.
5. How Licensing Works
5.1. Nikky Barrett, Senior Licensing Officer at Wyre Council gave a presentation on how the licensing system works. In November 2005 a new system was introduced to replace the arrangements under which licenses were granted by Magistrates. The job of granting, refusing and revoking licenses now rests with the “responsible authorities” i.e. the Licensing Authority at Wyre Council with input from the police, fire service, environmental health team, planning department, Trading Standards, LCC’s Safeguarding Board, the Public Health Authority and the Home Office immigration enforcement team. The licensing process has four objectives – the prevention of crime and disorder, ensuring public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm. In broad terms, the activities that require a premises licence are the sale of alcohol, playing amplified live/recorded music after 11.00pm to more than 500 people, playing recorded music at any time, performance of a play or dance after 11.00pm or to an audience exceeding 500, boxing or wrestling, showing films, and holding indoor sporting events after 11.00pm or for more than 1000 people – but there is also a minefield of exemptions. In the case of alcohol sales, in most cases there must also be a personal licence issued to an individual, known as the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS), who has to attend a prescribed training course and is ultimately responsible for the provision of alcohol in accordance with the rules. As well as applications for new licenses there can be applications for significant changes or minor variations to an existing licence. As an alternative to a full licence, application can be made for a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) which will licence premises for a fixed period not exceeding 7 days.
5.2. The process for dealing with an application varies, depending on the type of licence and whether it is a new one or a variation. For a new licence or significant variation there is a statutory 28 day consultation period. The public is made aware of the application through the display of a blue notice on the premises themselves, an advert for one night in the Blackpool Gazette and details posted on Wyre’s website. For a minor variation, the consultation period is 10 days and the displayed notice is on white paper. There is also a review process where a member of the public can request a review or the police can do so if, for example, there were reports of under-age drinking. The review uses the 28 days/blue notice process. The police also have the right to request a summary review which involves a fast track process but is used only when serious criminal activity is alleged.
5.3. As well as the “responsible authorities”, any member of the public can object to an application. Residents should not be concerned about making objections. They can be raised via someone else, such as your councillor, and the Licensing Officer has the power to anonymise submissions and even arrange ex-parte hearings. Issues like public disorder and noise can be raised with the police and Environmental Health team respectively and they will submit the objection. If there are no outstanding objections after 28 days the Licensing Officer must grant the licence. If there are outstanding objections the application is referred to a hearing by the General Licensing Committee (GLC) where the objections are heard and a decision made within 20 days. The GLC can only refuse an application if the objections are issues that impact negatively on the four objectives. So for example, potential impact on traffic or parking, or adverse financial consequences for an individual or other business cannot be taken into account. Market forces (e.g. too many drinking establishments in the town) has been expressly excluded as a valid objection by Parliament. If the licence is refused or revoked there is a right of appeal to a Magistrates Court and the decision to revoke is stayed for 21 days to allow that hearing. Residents wanting more information can contact the licensing team on 01253 887406 or firstname.lastname@example.org
6. Planning Updates
Councillors David Henderson and Simon Bridges gave the following updates:-
6.1. The application to build dwellings on land accessed via the new railway bridge at the end of Tithebarn Street is in abeyance. This is green belt land and covered in Wyre’s Local Plan. It is thought that the developers may be waiting for the Plan to be formally adopted.
6.2. The site on Hardhorn Road where travellers have located is a matter for Fylde Council. They had given the travellers various directives including a requirement to restore the land to its original state by re-planting felled trees and removing hardcore. It is understood they have done this to some extent and also indicated that there will be no increase in their numbers.
6.3. The waste treatment plant at Thornton has not re-opened as such. However, waste destined for landfill is now being moved into the plant so that moisture can be evaporated. This reduces the bulk of the waste by about 25% and means the life of the tip will be extended by a year or so. What happens when the tip is full is a matter for LCC. Wyre Councillors share residents’ frustration that bottles are now the only plastic item that can be re-cycled. It is very important that residents follow the guidance that has been issued. The automated processes mean that if one non-recyclable item (e.g. butter tub, food tray, yoghurt pot, plant pot) is included in a green box then the entire box is rejected and its contents will go to the tip.
6.4. The application to build 30 houses at Hardhorn Road/Longhouse Lane was refused following LCC highway related objections and the developer has appealed. It is not yet known whether LCC will object again and a hearing date is awaited.
7. Other Updates since last Forum
LCC Councillor Alf Clempson reported the following:-
7.1. The re-organisation within LCC continues and Alf is hopeful of strengthening his team. There is no news as yet but he is still pursuing lorry weight restrictions, residents’ parking and Normoss parking issues.
7.2. He put forward the suggestion to change the phasing of the traffic lights at Tithebarn/Queensway but has been advised this is not feasible because there is insufficient room for HGVs turning left. He will have this reconsidered if the HGV ban is achieved.
7.3. Booths has to start again on their consideration of widening the car park entrance because they lost all their paperwork in the recent Clitheroe depot fire. In the meantime he has suggested some small adjustments that might ease traffic flow such as removing one or two bays, operating a one-way system etc. If residents have any suggestions let Alf know.
7.4. Parking Enforcement Officers (aka Traffic Wardens) had been instructed not to patrol school vicinities at school closing times. Alf wants this policy changed and every school head has been sent a letter asking them to inform parents of this.
7.5. On road and pavement surfaces, Edenfield Avenue pavements have been done, Derby Road is scheduled for action and Moorland Road will be done in two stages. Alf has accepted that in some cases trees have to be felled because their roots raise surfaces but he will investigate whether shrub alternatives are possible. On potholes in general, LCC is introducing six new teams from March which will be equipped with new wagons enabling them to sand blast a pot hole, pressure fill it and then seal it. This process cannot be effective when the weather is wet and/or frosty so will be implemented through the summer months. In the meantime, Alf has asked that the gravel being thrown up from potholes onto pavements be swept up. Residents are asked to report highway defects to LCC Highway (0300 1236780 or email@example.com) or, in the case of defects in Poulton to Alf himself (contact details below).
7.6. Alf provided copies of the upcoming programme of events at Poulton Library and encouraged residents to use the Library as much as possible. Library contact information – 0300 1236703 or Poulton.firstname.lastname@example.org
(Alf encourages residents to contact him about their concerns at any time. His contact details are: email email@example.com , Mobile – 07983335630, and at his informal surgery in the New Penny Cafe between 10.00 and 12.00 on Saturdays.)
8. Any Other Business
8.1. Poulton Partnership is a community group that helps organise events such as the Gala. They are in need of volunteers – email Lesley firstname.lastname@example.org, Alf email@example.com or Roger Critchley firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help them.
8.2. The Chaddeans are putting on a “Roaring 20s” show on 15th, 16th & 17th March at Staining Village Hall; 7.00 for 7.30 and bring your own drink and nibbles if you wish. Tickets are £8 (£5 for children) and available from Sue Williams (01253 884073 or 07715 027289)
8.3. There will be a “Blues on the Fylde” concert featuring The Connie Lush Band on 27th April, 7.30 for 8.00 at Thornton Little Theatre. Proceeds are in aid of Poulton Gala and tickets at £20 are available from Steve Nicholls (07947 817596, email@example.com)
9. Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be on Monday 13 August 2018 at the Methodist Church, Queensway, Poulton commencing 7.00pm.
(As previously announced, in the absence of offers to help run them, Forum meetings are being reduced to two meetings a year, in February and August. It will always be possible to set up an ad hoc meeting if a significant issue crops up and Lesley will continue to send the various updates and other information to her email distribution list.)
Notes of previous meetings and local events are in this section of www.visitpoulton-le-fylde.co.uk