Ian has recently completed his first 4 year term as an OWL Councillor for Bickerstaffe Ward during which time he has been active on a number of local concerns impacting the community across the Ward. With the new election in June 2023, the boundary changes mean that the new Ward of Rural South will grow, however Ian believes that the expansion will not change the nature of the issues that challenge the rural nature of the Ward.
The Labour plans to build on large areas of Bickerstaffe and Lathom South, aborted in 2019, was hard fought and Ian acknowledges that the strong support from residents during the consultation process was a huge factor in achieving a re-think. However, the recent Local election results will now see a renewed push from the ruling Labour group to push ahead with a new Local Plan, and the early indications are that housing numbers could potentially equal those put forward in 2018. Ian was re-elected on June 22nd and hopes to continue to represent OWL on the Local Plan Cabinet Working Group, and to continue to challenge and influence the direction of those policy areas that are important for Rural South.
The next 2 years will be a formative period as the scale and ambition of the Local Plan evolves. It is important that Rural South maintains its strong support and involvement during the upcoming public consultations and Ian will continue to encourage and support a strong response from the local community. Retention and protection of the Green Belt and the preservation of the rural landscape and agricultural heritage remain crucial in defence of the challenge of increasing industrial development along the M58 corridor.
Simonswood continues to be blighted by the lack of control of the operations on the Industrial Estate and Ian has worked closely with the Parish Council to raise and push these concerns to the County Council who have the responsibility for the site as the lead waste authority. Included in this has been the challenge to the proposed medical waste incinerator and despite the Counties support of the application, the challenge continues with both the Borough Council and neighbouring authority prepared to support a judicial review of the decision.
Good news for the Simonswood Moss is the potential for the regeneration of the area following years of excessive peat removal. The new owners have committed to an ambitious nature recovery plan and Ian is happy to support this initiative in any way possible.
Progress on the HGV issues has been slow and despite early success in securing police intervention with a small number of stop and check exercises, breaches of the weight restrictions on our rural roads continues unabated. A review of the Traffic Restriction Order (TRO), deemed unenforceable by the police, is now underway, but this is a slow process and Ian will continue to work to support the changes necessary to better protect the amenity of residents blighted by this.
Litter and fly tipping is an issue that has been a regular concern for Ian over the last 4 years and many residents have brought repeated incidents to his attention. The rural and remote areas of the Ward mean that it is an easy target for fly tippers to deposit their waste with limited risk of being caught in the act. Ian has achieved a positive working relationship with the Council’s Clean & Green Teams and there is now a faster response to dealing with reported incidents, achieving a timely removal of unsightly rubbish where it is within the Council’s powers to do so. Improved detection of fly tipping is also being trialled by the Council through the deployment of CCTV cameras and Ian is keen to ensure any local ‘Black Spots’ are included for consideration as part of this exercise.
Ian is the OWL Council Group Leader and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ian is an active litter picker and is happy to support any groups that wish to start up groups to tackle litter in their own locality.