Silverdale Level Crossing

There have been quite a few occasions when the barriers have failed and vehicles have eventually crossed the line, despite the barriers being down. There have also been several incidents where the barriers have been raised, but vehicles have accidentally driven off the crossing and onto the railway line (the recovery services have encountered considerable difficulties, and trains have been held-up for long periods).

Both types of incident have led to a great deal of concern, and much letter-writing. In desperation we have referred the problems to our MP – Geraldine Smith. She shares our concerns and has now referred the matter to the Minister of State at the Department of Transport. Maybe he will be able to get things sorted out, before Tony Blair has to express his condolences, and state that “lessons have been learned”.

Onwards from the Parish Plan

The “Village Centre Action Group” is beavering-away, and members have had useful discussions with the Chief Planning Officer. The next step is to develop a design guide, probably by working through a ‘planning for real’ project. More about this in due course.

The Action for Silverdale Children group is well on with the design phase for the new (replacement) playground area of the playing field, at Cove Road. Progress on seeking grant-aid is currently held up, because it has been discovered that the Deed of Trust, that should have been executed soon after the land was purchased, in 1962, has either been lost without trace, or was never executed at all. To rectify the matter, our Clerk has been negotiating with the Charity Commission for the formulation of a new Deed, and we have now received approval of the draft version. We just need to execute the document (probably early February), deposit it with the Charity Commission, and then the members of ASC can swing into action with their grant applications. There will be a lot of work involved, but we are sure it will be well worthwhile in the end.

Christmas Tree and Lights

Two years ago, we had a village Christmas Tree in the grounds of the Day School, at Bleasdale House School. Regrettably some vandals decided to smash quite a few bulbs, which gave rise to considerable concern about broken glass being lodged in the grass, and possible injuries, as a consequence. The next year we went for a much more modest affair at the front of the Gaskell Hall, but it wasn’t really up to the standard we would expect (and it was vandalised!). This last Christmas we secured agreement with the Acting Head Teacher and the Governors of Bleasdale House, to move back to the School grounds again, provided that we did our best to try to thwart the vandals. It was decided to purchase a large set of “vandal-resistant” lights, when we received a very welcome offer from the Horticultural and Gardening Society to pay up to £100 for the set. Arthur Graves donated a tree, and then erected it, and installed the lights. It seems as though the display was very successful and was so well appreciated that the Horticultural and Gardening Society insisted on paying the full cost of £125.60. We are extremely grateful to the Society for their generosity, and similarly to Arthur…. maybe he has access to another tree for this next Christmas? Our thanks also go to the staff at Bleasdale for kindly hosting what turned out to be a very successful seasonal feature.

Will it be all change?

The Government wants us to have ‘regional government’, here in the North-West. They don’t want this to be an additional tier, in areas where there are two levels of Principal Authorities (as in Lancashire), so one tier has to go. The Boundary Committee has studied the options and has published its provisional preferences. Although there are three options for Lancashire, in practice there are only two for the top end of the County. If the plans go ahead, we will either find ourselves controlled by a unitary authority for the whole of Lancashire, or a more localised one encompassing the current areas of Lancaster, South Lakeland and Barrow-in-Furness. Given that those are the only options, and that a single authority for the whole of Lancashire would be very large, this Council has registered a preference for the combination of North Lancashire and South Cumbria, which is already being referred to as the “Morecambe Bay Unitary Authority” (although the Boundary Commission prefers not to use this name).

What will it mean for this Parish Council? Well, we don’t know for sure, but there is a strong probability that parish councils will be invited to take on some additional duties, delegated from the new authority. If there is a chance to do a better job (no complaints inferred), then this Council will try to rise to the challenge.

Our Chairman

John hasn’t been very well for the past few months, and has had to hand-over leadership to our Vice-Chairman, Peter Roberts. Peter has done an excellent job, and we thank him for his efforts, but we would also like to see John return to good health, and re-join the team. He is now ‘bionic’, with his new pacemaker pushing up his pulse rate (or whatever), so it won’t be long before we see him around the village again.

Your Councillors

If you feel the need, or desire, to contact any of our Councillors, please feel free to telephone any of them. Their names and telephone numbers (all preceded by 01524) are:

Chairman John Eden 701678
Vice Chairman Peter Roberts 702315
John Burrow 702784
Bernard Fryer 701734
Arthur Graves 701284
June Greenwell 701610
Ralph Henderson 761594
Tony Houghton 701416