February Newsletter

When Lancashire County Council (Lancs. CC) announced that they were closing our library last year we formed a sub group to evaluate the feasibility of reopening the library as an Independent Community Library and Village Information Hub. The sub-group (made up of representatives from the parish council and the community) have been, and still are, working hard on putting together proposals for the library and liaising with Lancs. CC who have made an offer for the library to be run as an Independent Community Library (ICL).
The estimated costs of running the ICL are £6K pa and we agreed to include this figure in our 2017/18 budget and precept request. The increase in the precept equates to approximately £10 per household pa (depending on the council tax band for each property). Estimated costs include routine repairs, electricity supply, water/ waste water bills, maintenance of burglar and fire alarms, testing of electrical appliances, insurance etc.
Lancs. CC will hand over the current stock of books to the community library, give a start-up grant of £5K and a grant of £1K per annum for Information Technology. A free service is also offered for delivering books ordered from the Lancs. CC stock to the Silverdale library building, supplying books for home deliveries, scripts for plays and scores for choirs and the help of a Community Support Manager for a minimum of two years.
When available, Lancs. CC’s lease will be scrutinised and a thorough survey of the library building carried out before a final commitment is made.
We are very grateful to the sub group for all their hard work.

The precept request for 2017/18 is £30,942.

Emergency Plan
Following a talk by Mr Mark Bartlett, Civil Contingencies Officer, from Lancaster City Council (Lancaster CC) in June last year about the Community Emergency Plans and local resilience measures we are forming an emergency plan and have made a successful bid for funding for equipment to the Community Foundation. The equipment includes a generator at the Gaskell Hall. The wiring to the Gaskell Hall has been completed ready for the generator (and enclosure) to be fitted and checked and low power lighting has been ordered – this will be funded jointly by the Gaskell Hall and the Emergency Plan grant. It is hoped that the works will be completed by the end of March.

Public Toilets
We are currently locking the ladies’ toilets at night following recent incidents of vandalism. The incidents were reported to the police and we have asked them to patrol the area and look into who the perpetrators might be (the Co-operative store has some footage of materials being purchased in connection with the vandalism). In view of the running costs, and time spent managing the toilets, we reviewed whether or not we should continue with the toilets. We decided to carry on, but will ascertain how much they are used by installing people-counter sensors – one for each external door.
We are inviting tenders for the cleaning of the toilets and the weekly replenishment of the dog waste disposal bags for the year 2017/18. The tender document can be found on our website and is displayed on the notice board outside the Gaskell Hall.

Sports and Recreation Committee
Last year we resolved to resurrect the Sports and Recreation Committee to look at what opportunities there are for different sports in the village. Councillors Bond, Houghton and Sandiford will represent this Council on the Committee and the Silverdale Institute and Gaskell Hall Committees have put forward a representative each. Our focus has been on the library of late, but we will be arranging a meeting soon.

Roadside Verge Maintenance
As there were safety issues on the roads last year, when the roadside hedges and verges became very overgrown and our reports to Highways were not acted on quickly, we have agreed to report any critical areas to Highways when they arise and look at prices for a contractor to be on call to cut back the vegetation on or behalf (at our expense) if, and when, necessary.

Bus Service
We are delighted that the service will continue into 2017/18. We are, however, aware of several issues with the service and Councillor Bennett will be arranging a meeting with the bus service operator to discuss these. Please remember that the service is heavily subsidised and may be untenable in future years so it is important that we all promote and use the bus service.

BT Broadband cabinets
Last year we were given details of the proposed sites for BDUK High Speed Broadband Cabinets at The Chase and Stankelt Road and contacted BT with suggestions for more suitable sites. Morrison Utility Services (acting on behalf of BT Openreach) have said that, for various reasons, they cannot put the cabinets on Stankelt Road and The Chase in the locations we suggested so we are asking for a site meeting with them.

Annual Parish Meeting
We have booked the Gaskell Hall for Wednesday, 15th March for the Annual Parish Meeting. Mr Andrew Frankish from the Environment Agency (Waste water/sewage disposal) will be our speaker. More details will be announced nearer the time.

A new bench has been installed at Burton Well made with wood (from Eaves Wood) donated by the National Trust. The person who made the bench wishes to be anonymous.
Three benches have been identified as in need of urgent repair – at Hazelwood, the War Memorial and opposite the Royal Hotel. The bench frames/ ends will be shot blasted and repainted and we have has some oak replacement slats ready for the benches to be repaired.

Local Plan
A series of consultation meetings about the new Local Plan are being held on various dates across the district including one at Carnforth Civic Hall, North Road on 21st February (3-6pm). The closing date for comments is 24th March.

Mr Tony Orrell, Chairman of Silverdale/ Community First Responders (CFRs), came to speak to us at our meeting this month as we were considering the possibility of installing another defibrillator in the Elmslack/ Cove Road phone box (which is no longer in use as a phone box). Mr Orrell described how the ‘Community Public Access Defibrillator’ (CPAD) works and explained that in instances of cardiac arrest the chances of a successful recovery are reduced by 10% a minute until a CPAD is used and so it is essential that, if one is needed, that it is near at hand. Mr Orrell offered to use Silverdale CFR’s funds to pay for a CPAD should the Council decide to have one. We discussed whether or not Elmslack Lane was the best place to house a CPAD and agreed to consider other sites for one (or 2) more CPAD(s). Once a site(s) has been identified the CFRs will be contacted regarding their offer to fund a CPAD. Meanwhile we will approach the North-West Ambulance Service about the possibility of a Co-Responders scheme in Silverdale (where the Fire & Rescue Service and the Ambulance Service work in partnership).