Ian was elected as OWL Councillor for Bickerstaffe Ward in May 2019 and now has the opportunity to represent resident’s views on what will be the new Local Plan for West Lancashire.
The decision to abort the Labour plans to build on large areas of Bickerstaffe and Lathom South 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. Ian now represents OWL on the Local Plan Cabinet Working Group, providing greater opportunity to influence the direction of those policy areas that are important for Bickerstaffe and to encourage the local community to play a greater part in the development of West Lancashire over the next 15 years.
The next 2 years will be a formative period as the scale and ambition of the Local Plan evolves. It is important that Bickerstaffe maintains its strong support and involvement during the upcoming public consultations. 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.
How will the changes proposed by the Boundary Commission affect Bickerstaffe Ward? The final recommendations due in March 2022 are expected to confirm an expansion of the Ward to include Westhead and parts of Town Green and South Gillibrands. This change, brought about by the Labour decision to continue to elect by thirds, will mean that the Ward will be represented by 3 Councillors, all to be elected in 2023. Ian will continue to work to ensure that OWL representation is strengthened to offer continued support for all residents.
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 3 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 an active litter picker and is happy to support any groups that wish to start up groups to tackle litter in their own locality.