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

                                     

  Apr 2017         Oct 2017      July 2018    Oct 2018

LOCAL PLAN

The latest news on the new proposed local plan will be updated here.

A map showing the local plan with WLBC preferred options on it can be seen here

Information from OWL (Our West Lancashire) who are supporting the parish and opposing developments can be seen here

The parish council objection can be seen here chapters 1-2     chapter 3   chapter 4   chapter 5   chapter 6  chapter 7   chapter 8

The objection by CPRE Campaign for Rural England which the parish partly funded can be seen here

Local Plan “Preferred Options” Consultation...This consultation has now closed.
There has been a hostile reaction to the proposals for employment and housing development land contained in this document. Since such developments would change completely the character of this Parish and a large part of Bickerstaffe Parish, such a reaction was highly predictable but the Borough Council has chosen to plough on, regardless.
The Borough’s planners are putting forward tired old proposals, dating back at least to the turn of the cen-tury, for regenerating Skelmersdale. Again they want to develop large warehouses and “executive” housing. The town remains a “regeneration priority area” be-cause this approach has failed.
We think that it has escaped the notice of planners and (Labour) politicians alike that warehouses are undergo-ing massive automation and that locating development in unsustainable locations close to, but not part of, Skelmersdale is more likely to increase commuting by car to Manchester, Liverpool and Warrington than to improve Skelmersdale.
The Infrastructure Delivery Plan, which is one of the Council’s base supporting documents, does not even consider major development in the areas proposed. Moreover, they do not even come into the settlement hierarchy which formed the basis of the Sustainability Study.
It seems that the protection of best and most versatile farmland and the Green Belt would be sacrificed on the altar of an economic gamble which includes the relocation of thousands of Merseyside residents to West Lancashire. The very long plan period, coupled with excessive forecasts of need, is at the root of the problem. This situation is self-inflicted because this is supposed to be a “Review” of the current Local Plan, not a completely new Local Plan lasting thirty years. There will be at least six General Elections and five more Local Plan Reviews before 2050!.
It is claimed by the proponents of this approach that it will lead to greater certainty but it will not. A major problem with the council’s approach is that local plans have a ratchet effect, so anything approved under this new plan – it is not a review – will lead to more and more land being allocated for development. All it will do, if adopted therefore, is set a minimum number of houses and warehouses to be developed by 2050. It will set off a race among developers to get the most profitable sites and develop them as soon as possible, without any time constraints. It is no accident that the plan makes no provision for infrastructure improvements. The planners and their political bosses want to leave such questions to “masterplans” and Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs). However, that would leave the provision, or non-provision, of essential facilities to the planners themselves and whichever political party happens to be in power at the time – a kind of “pig in a poke”.

The 2012 to 2027 Local Plan which WLBC propose to replace

The last local plan was for this Parish 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.

 The Borough Council then issued a draft development brief for the Firswood Road Development.

The proposal involved 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.

Objections were submitted by the parish council   Doc 1  Doc 2   Doc 3   Doc 4

South Lathom Residents Association also submitted further objections  Doc 1  Doc 2  Doc3  Doc 4  Doc 5   Doc 6   Doc 7   Doc 8 

A revised development brief was then issued

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 thus took a significant risk of partial development taking place, with the accompanying risk that important components of its plans will not be delivered and this is what happened.

Planning permission for a development by Bellway Homes of 94 houses was finally granted by West Lancs. Council’s Planning Committee in June, after being deferred twice. The traffic impact on Firswood Road was deemed to be acceptable after a reversal by Lancashire County Council of important aspects of its original advice. The Borough Council (WLBC) will receive a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) of just under £1 million, of which the Parish Council will receive 15% to invest in local infrastructure. WLBC will expect to receive a New Homes Bonus payment of over £6,000, for every house built, from the Government.
Only 12 “affordable” houses will be built, there will be no purpose-built housing for elderly people and no market-priced bungalows. There will be no direct link for pedestrians and cyclists to local amenities, all of which will have to be accessed via Firswood Road. A pumped drainage system will be constructed under Firswood Road and Blaguegate Lane and (for technical reasons) this will serve only the new houses.

CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) money. It has been decided to use some of the money from the Community Infrastructure Levy to upgrade the public rights of way throughout the parish. We are particularly keen to make them accessible to disabled residents if possible. A survey of the footpaths has been undertaken and can be seen here
 

Footpaths and Fingerposts

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.

Further fingerposts were erected were footpath 21 crosses the railway line and has fingers pointing to Plough and Blaguegate Lane and at the junctions of paths 21 22 23 with fingers pointing to Firswood Road Plough Lane and Blaguegate Lane

 

n 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. 

 

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.

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

Notice Boards were 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