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|South Lathom Residents Association (SLRA)|
SLRA's latest newsletter click here
SLRA presenting a bench to Skelmersdale Cricket Club 0n 6 July 2009
Why was the residents association formed ?
At one time the boundaries of Lathom were there for all to see; for instance both the 1846 Map of the Township of Lathom (Lancashire Records Office) and, coming more up to date, the Lathom and Burscough Urban District map, made things very clear. All deeds and land registry documents confirm our Lathom status. However, when Lathom Parish was set up its boundary excluded large parts of Lathom. As a result, this southern part of Lathom was fast losing its identity. There was finally a mood amongst the people that, with the granting of outline planning permission for the XL development ‘off Firswood Road, SKELMERSDALE’, we were gradually being subsumed by Skelmersdale, almost by default. A public meeting was called for the 31st March 2003 to decide a way forward. The Cricket Club was filled with people who had concerns; at this meeting it was decided that the area’s identity needed to be put firmly back into the minds of the decision makers. Various plans of action were suggested and, in order to carry these forward, South Lathom Residents’ Association was formed.
On the 1st July 2003 another public meeting was held and residents decided that they wanted to move forward with the SLRA committee recommendation to set up a Parish Council for the area. SLRA then spent a lot of time petitioning for and setting up the Parish Council; a major point in their petition to Government was the intention to properly mark out this part of Lathom (which had to be done under Parish Council powers). They did not achieve Parish Council Status until 2007. From April 2003 to May 2007 SLRA attempted to deal with all the problems occurring in the area without the benefit of any legal status. SLRA continues to work for the area to date.
Why does the area still need a Residents’ Association, when we have a Parish Council?
The roles of a Residents’ Association and a Parish Council are complementary to each other. Each has its strengths and weaknesses and they do not compete with each other. A Residents’ Association is not bound by the same rules as a Parish Council; it can therefore act quickly and with relative freedom. Funding is voluntary and it can apply for grants and funds that are only available to voluntary organisations. A Residents’ Association can choose the population it represents, subject only to the informal consent of people living within the areas concerned. A Parish Council must act within its own area and may not expand it without permission. The strength of a Parish Council is that it is recognised as the basic layer of local government. It can raise funds through the parish precept and it has the option to exercise certain powers for the benefit of the whole community. It can apply to district council for capital grants (which they did for funding for the noticeboards and village signs). It must be consulted about planning matters in its area.
SLRA has been hard at work on behalf of this community, making representations on many decisions for the area, they have won many battles and lost a few along the way (but not for the want of trying!). They have succeeded in many areas as follows:
Creation of the Parish Council
Residents who had lost LATHOM from their postal addresses now have it back
They have waged war on litter
The whole area now boasts swathes of daffodils after successful applications for grants
The amount of mud and debris from Round O Quarry has seriously reduced and wagons are now cleaned and sheeted making the roadways safer to use
The XL business park had outline planning permission before SLRA came into effect so it could not be stopped but much work was done to mitigate its effects. SLRA worked successfully with Asda and West Lancashire Council, to reduce noise from the Asda site. Asda installed electrically powered chillers, instead of all the diesel vehicle chillers which had been causing overnight droning noises. The company erected an acoustic fence to deal with other noise. The combined cost was well over half a million pounds. Residents across a wide area can now sleep much more peacefully
SLRA spent a huge amount of time reading and commenting on the Re-Draft of the Local Plan and then attended the Local Plan Inquiry from July to October 2005 objecting to any development which might threaten Lathom. They strongly supported a weak West Lancashire District Council case and as a result, 200 acres of Green Belt land along Spa Lane and Vale Lane, proposed by developers for use as more industrial warehouse land, remains in the Green Belt - for now! We remain vigilant, as we know that large tracts of Lathom land have been bought up by developers, who are just waiting for the go ahead to swamp us with more warehouse and housing developments, and also that Government Policy is encouraging them to do so
Dealt with HGV issues around XL. HGVs parked on local roads caused overnight noise with engines and chiller motors running. These vehicles were neither equipped with toilets nor litter bins which led to a particularly nasty type of littering of the area. As most were waiting to enter Asda or Comet SLRA talked to both companies and gained Asda’s agreement to allow their waiting vehicles to park within their site and to use Asda facilities. However, Comet will not allow delivery vehicles onto site until their allotted time. Many of these drivers have driven from areas of the European Union and cannot arrive to strict time slots. Comet has issued leaflets and has informed the relevant companies about HGV parks on the motorway system but SLRA are still trying to find a real solution to the problem
SLRA have pressed both Lancashire County Council and West Lancashire District Council to prepare a planting and maintenance scheme for the roundabout at Spa Lane/Statham Road which has been an eyesore. With the help of our County Councillor this problem should soon be dealt with.
SLRA have held Community Social Evenings about once a year; these are intended to bolster community spirit and SLRA always look forward to catching up with residents/friends on these evenings
SLRA is working as part of the Police Ringmaster System which informs residents of problems/scams in their area. They pass information by Email (and sometimes by phone) if you have an Email address (or phone number) and want to be kept informed, please contact the Secretary (see details below). We have a good relationship with our local ‘bobbies’ and can contact them by mobile phone or Email.
There have been other successes as well and efforts must continue if we are to maintain what is left of our green and pleasant area. SLRA work on the principle of helping residents to help themselves. If you need to contact us about something you need help with, have information or think that you can help us, please telephone Roger Clayton (Secretary) on 01695 731335 or email: email@example.com
There are some good pictures taken of SLRA bulb planting and at SLRA meetings that can be seen by clicking the link below. Who can forget the coffin labelled the "Death of Rural Lathom" and all those banners and signs in gardens "Protect Rural Lathom" or "Keep Lathom Green" which were used to such good purpose. They were draped around roundabouts as the Inspector travelled to the local inquiry, they were hung in prominent places when he conducted his site visits. The residents response and turn out at the local inquiry was magnificent. As was there attendance at planning meetings to protest about warehouse planning applications. Click here to view
SLRA Committee Members
Paul Dickie Chairman
Roger Clayton Secretary
Skelmersdale Cricket Club
Skelmersdale Cricket Club which moved to Lathom in 2002 boasts one of the finest facilities in the north-west of England and has just gained promotion to the ECB Liverpool & District Competition. The club is one of the Lancashire Cricket Board's 'Focus' clubs, has attained Sport England's Clubmark and is forging links with local schools to develop the game. Skelmersdale runs four senior and three junior teams, plus a girls' side, with a Head Coach and a team of qualified coaches and assistants supporting him. To join this club just call down on any Tuesday night from 6pm, between April and September, and ask for any club official, or e-mail via this website
West Lancashire Carers Sitting-in Service
This group provide a free sitting service to unpaid carers throughout West Lancashire enabling carers to have a break. Volunteers offer company, friendship and security during a carer's absence. All volunteers receive training and undergo Criminal Record Checks. Anybody can request assistance from them and they would welcome new volunteers. They can be contacted by telephoning 01695 711963 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or through the website www.sittinginservice.co.uk
West Lancs Civic Trust Ltd Contact: Mrs S E Dunn, Company SecretaryBrookdale Cottage, Croppers Lane, Bickerstaffe, L39 9EJ Tel: 01695 422550
Lathom Park Trust Their website describes them perfectly as "The Lathom Park Trust is a group of people who have been bitten by the Lathom Bug and who devote much of their spare time researching the history of Lathom and doing all that is possible to protect its natural and man-made features for the benefit of this and future generations" http://www.lathom-park-trust.org.uk/home.html
Lathom Parish Council http://www.thelocalchannel.co.uk/Lathom/home.aspx
Tawd Vale Scout Camp http://www.tawdvale.co.uk