4. Public Services

4.1 Consultation Results

The doctors, fire brigade, Post Office, school, first responders, community policeman, Internet access at the library, and recent upgrading to provide wheelchair access at the Methodist Church, were widely celebrated as examples of good services in Silverdale. Difficulties however included: cramped accommodation in the library; having to rely on first responders in place of a good ambulance service; power cuts; paying council tax at city rates. To improve public service provision in Silverdale, many people asked for: a bigger library, help for the disabled and elderly to get to health services; more police; mains sewage; broadband Internet; and more street cleaning.

4.2 Action Group Report

The Group focussed on three main issues:

The Library, for which there are short, medium and long-term actions proposed
Emergency ambulance cover
Assisting the Police to combat vandalism and petty theft

The Library

The group began by identifying and collecting all available information on how the library could be improved, possibly re-housed and brought up to standard. This included finding out from the Parish Council about recent history concerning library improvement (including previously indicated capital and revenue funding levels) and the location of appropriate or parish or charitable lands; and from the village librarian about usage, perceived user and staff requirements for improvement, future target opening hours and current stocking levels to meet user requirements.

The group has since carried out a survey of library users.  This revealed a great deal of useful information and showed a very high level of satisfaction with the librarian amongst all users.  The level of satisfaction with the library as a whole was also high with adult only householders, but only about 50% of children and adults with families were generally satisfied.

The highest priority for improvement was more space (one of the top two priorities among about 40% respondents) followed by more choice of material for library users within that space.  Apart from some demand for longer opening hours, these priorities far exceeded other options.

Although initially focusing on the possibility of relocating the library to new or converted buildings, the group found that the level of funds likely to be available and the small size of Silverdale’s catchment population meant that this is unrealistic. Instead the group looked at the possibility of extending the existing library onto the “courtyard” area that is currently unused behind the double doors to the south of the building.

Emergency Ambulance Cover

It is not feasible to locate an ambulance permanently in Silverdale and so a volunteer First Responder Scheme has been set up to provide an initial response to emergencies, with members trained in first aid and the use of a defibrillator. However they are unable to administer oxygen.

There is a continued willingness by the Silverdale Fire Service to attend any medical emergency in the village, a stance supported by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Headquarters. The firefighters are already trained in first aid and resuscitation, and carry identical oxygen equipment to the ambulances.  Defibrillators will also be carried on all Lancashire fire appliances in the near future.

Government Reviews and the Bain Report into the modernisation of the fire service have recommended that fire engines in rural areas should attend medical emergencies, providing first aid, oxygen and basic life support until an ambulance arrives. It would be a considerable advantage to the residents of and visitors to Silverdale if these changes in working practices were to take place.

Assisting the Police

It was found that cases of vandalism and petty theft are under-reported in the village. In consequence, the police lack important information they need to reduce such crime.  This is in spite of sustained work by Silverdale Neighbourhood Watch over many years to encourage such reporting. Any initiatives that remind residents of the importance of reporting vandalism and crimes of all kinds should be encouraged.

4.3 Actions

4.3.1 Short Term


  1. Discuss with the Parish Council and village librarian the history, current usage and future plans for the library.
  2. Design and carry out a questionnaire survey into user aspirations for the library.
  3. Meet with the county library service to identify:
    • Funding sources and criteria for assessing competing claims
    • Restrictions on capital and revenue funding
    • Assessment criteria for the extension of library services (e.g. usage, population, age distribution, stocking criteria, shelf space etc.)
  4. Identify guidelines that would relate to any proposed new or extended library for Silverdale, including:
    • General form of building
    • Achievable floor area
    • Constraints such as underground services
    • Legislative requirements
  5. Explore sources to supplement local authority funding, e.g.
    • Bequest
    • Charities
    • Lottery
    • Corporate / private sponsorship

Emergency Ambulance Service

  1. The Parish Council to press for the changes in operational practice recommended by the Bain report.
  2. Maintain a close and active monitoring role to ensure that every encouragement is given to implementing the changes as soon as possible.

Assisting the Police

  1. Prepare a village notice to encourage people to report acts of vandalism and petty theft to the local police officer and place them at key locations in the village and in the parish magazine

4.3.2 Medium Term

  1. Explore in more detail additional third party capital and revenue funding to provide financial security for the library.

4.3.3    Long Term

  1. Develop the new Library building extension.