Thornton Action Group

Chair’s Report 2019

Presented at the AGM 15th January 2020

1 It has been a troubling though interesting year on the national and world stage but in TAG we continue to follow the objects of our association as expressed in our constitution i.e.

Inform residents of Thornton and, where appropriate, surrounding districts about proposals affecting the environment and other associated issues.

Consult with residents about such proposals for development and feed such information back to appropriate statutory and other bodies.

Foster community spirit and engagement within Thornton.

2 These objectives guide the actions and activities of TAG and as Chair I wish to express my gratitude for the hard work, dedication and support of our committee members. Howard Phillips – Vice Chair specialisation Public Inquiries and Christmas Lights; Audrey Jenkins super efficient Secretary; Mona Whelan financial guru; Philip Jenkins Flood Action Group Leader; John Quine, Peter Kayley, and Peter Tarrant physical effort, intellectual and research expertise. See them all in action and be amazed!

Add to this our loyal members who are adept at ferreting out issues, concerns, problems and sometimes even good news, and respond willingly to requests for help and we have a community group of which to be proud. We have been in existence since 2001 and I think we now have good working relations with Wyre Council Officers, Councillors and County Councillors and our local MPs.

3 So what have been the main issues for Thornton in 2019?

Looking back on my report for last year’s AGM it is clear the main issues never seem to go away. As always the main topic is the increasing use of open spaces for housing developments and the resulting increasing pressure on all aspects of our environment - roads, open spaces for recreation, flood risks from pressure on our drainage systems and public services such as schools and medical facilities. Of course these issues are not unique to Thornton and both LCC and Wyre Council have considerable financial constraints. However, we now have a Local Plan in place (published February 2019). TAG contributed to the Public Hearing in 2018. The housing at Thornton Fields in North Thornton is firmly established and Phase 1 of the Wain Homes development on Lamb’s Hill is well under way. However, yet again, there is a Public Inquiry, taking place at this moment, over a lack of a Masterplan for the whole of the Lamb’s Hill site including a new school, or the possible use of Kenyon Trust Land for an extension to Stanah School. TAG is expressing concern on two fronts. Firstly, the use of the Joseph Kenyon Trust Land given to the people of Thornton for recreational open space and secondly the problems associated with surface water drainage which is already a concern for the Flood Action Group given that the planned drain to Ramper Pot has yet to be started. Our FLAG members are monitoring this and other flood issues across Thornton as well as organising advice events on flood damage prevention for our homes.

4 Now for the good news.

A Christmas Lights

Once again for the 14th year we have organised the Christmas Lights, and the second year the Thornton North Co-op has had lights. Last year we were rather worried that donations from traders were down and we always have to match fund Wyre Council’s grant. NPL, Andy Pilley, AGC and the Co-op had been very generous but we needed our local traders on board and we have been delighted to welcome the owner of Maison of Beauty, Barbara Bentley on our ‘team’. Her organisation of the raffle and the banners round the tree brought in over £800 – a huge boost. Having Santa’s Grotto in her shop extended the festive spirit beyond the switch on with the children, the big red button, carols and mince pies at Baines School. A big crowd and lots of community spirit in action. Thanks to everyone who helped.

B Open Space for Recreation

There is good news and potentially further good news for funding for the improvements to King George’s Playing Fields and the Wyre Estuary Country Park. TAG is playing an important role here as we are the Community Group through which Mark Fenton (Wyre Council) is seeking funding from outside sources. In September TAG received a provisional grant of £16,220 from the Walney Extension Community Fund for paths for KGPF and we have also applied for funds from the ‘Pocket Park Funding’ (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) for the Country Park and KGPF. This all builds on the co-operation which has been so essential for the success of Hawthorne Park.

C Norcross Roundabout

We hope that this will be ‘good news’. The works began mid July and are supposed to be completed by March this year. I think we must agree that the organisation of the scheme has been better than the ‘chaos’ which was feared at the beginning. If the promised funding for the Singleton By-pass is approved in March-April we must turn our thoughts to the Skippool junction. Traffic problems are always with us.

So – after nineteen years Thornton Action Group is still going strong – our community objectives are still valid and we do need the support of our community to stay positive.

Welcome to 2020 – a Happy New Year.

Jenie Phillips January 2020