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Mere Brow Village News Archive 2008

11th December
Source: Lancashire Trading Standards

Residents are advised that canvassers were in the Penwortham area on 9 December selling tea towels and other items door to door, the group consists of several staff being driven around in a White Transit van. They are all believed to be from Mansfield, currently staying in the Blackpool area, and may be in Lancashire for some time.

Please be warned that these people are believed to be targeting the elderly and that they should not be allowed into houses on any pretext.

We strongly advise consumers never to deal with cold callers. However, consumers who do should be aware that they will have a seven-day cooling off period for any purchases made at the door costing over £35. Also be aware that the contract will not be enforceable against the customer unless information about your right to cancel is given in writing. Please refer any complaints or information to Lancashire Trading Standards Service, 56-58 Guildhall Street, Preston, Lancs via Consumer Direct tel 08454 040506. If there is any loss of money the matter should also be referred to the police.

6th December
WLDC try to ban Motorbikes on Leisure Lakes
Source: Southport Visiter

MOTORCYCLISTS are being banned from using land at Leisure Lakes by WLDC council officials after the planning department issued an enforcement notice stopping them from using the area.

The notice alleges a breach of planning control where the land has been used for ‘recreational motor activities, including bikes and cycles, and for motor vehicle racing activities, including bikes and cycles’.

Officers claim having motorbikes using the land for this purpose is inappropriate and that there is ‘the potential for noise generation adversely affecting the amenity of local residents’.

Tarleton Parish Councillor Dave Rydings said: “The parish council has raised an objection to the use of this land as a cycle track. Residents are fed up of the noise.”

Philip Whitter, boss at Leisure Lakes, has appealed against the decision on behalf of the people who organise the activities.

Click Here for the complete Southport Visiter Article

7th November
Source: West Lancashire District Council

A farmer from Mere Brow has been hit with a massive fine for setting fire to caravans and burning dangerous waste.

Ormskirk Magistrates gave Timothy Edwards, of Banister House Farm, the maximum fine of £5,000 on 30 October after they found him guilty of allowing dark smoke to be emitted from his land.

Officers from West Lancashire District Council were called to Mr Edwards’ farm on the 16 May 2008 after a fire the previous evening. Upon their visit they found the remains of what looked like a caravan and other materials that would have given rise to dark smoke.

Dark smoke is a clear indicator that serious environmental pollution is being caused and under the Clean Air Act 1993 it is an offence to do this.

Magistrates were so incensed by his activities and the fact that he failed to turn up in court they dished out the maximum fine allowable. Together with court costs, Mr Edwards will have to pay a total of £5,225.

Cllr Geoff Hammond, Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: "This is an excellent result for us and demonstrates the seriousness of the offence. The magistrates clearly recognised this, which is why they dished out the maximum fine to make an example of his irresponsible behaviour. This should act as a warning to others thinking of burning waste in this hazardous manner and of detriment to the environment. I hope this case will encourage other people to dispose of their waste properly."

Over the last couple of years, the Council has successfully prosecuted a number of people for dark smoke cases, particularly on farmland.

7th November
Source: Lancashire Trading Standards Service

Residents are asked to be wary about three separate traders currently operating in the Preston, and Chorley areas at the moment.

We have reports of a tree service company cold calling and leaving leaflets in the Chorley area (6 November 2008), the trader is believed to use insufficient safety equipment and precautions, and does not give required cancellation rights. He has recently dumped grass cuttings on the consumer’s drive when payment for work was refused.

There is also a trader with an Irish accent driving a plain white 55 registered van, working in the Fulwood, Preston area (6 November 2008) approaching and cold calling consumers and using pushy selling practices to sell allegedly left-over tarmac. He gives out a Liverpool (0151) landline number.

Finally, we have a roofing contractor in a white transit van cold calling elderly residents in the Ribbleton, Preston area, handing out paperwork with a 0800 number and a mobile number, and offering to replace or install plastic guttering and fascias.  Again written cancellation rights are not provided and the traders appear to be uncontactable on the numbers we have.

Residents should be aware that several roofing companies are currently using the 131 Friargate address on paperwork, this is simply an accommodation address where mail may be collected from time to time, no roofers are actually based there.
Consumers agreeing to deal with traders where the contract is agreed at the consumer’s home should be aware that they will have a seven-day cooling off period to cancel any work agreed to, or any purchases made over £35, although in certain circumstances the customer may have to pay for any goods installed or work carried out so far. Also be aware that the contract will not be enforceable against the customer unless information about your right to cancel is given in writing.
We advise residents never to deal with cold-callers, to ensure you obtain full name, address and landline details from all workmen, and to double-check identification and references from other customers- do not assume credentials are genuine. Also ensure any price you are quoted is fair and genuine by obtaining estimates from other traders, and by ensuring the work agreed and the price to be charged is written down on a quotation before you agree to the work starting.

Please refer any complaints and further information to Lancashire Trading Standards Service, 56-58 Guildhall Street, Preston, Lancs via Consumer Direct tel 08454 040506. If there is any threat or fear of burglary contact the police at once.

28th October
Source: Chester Cronicle

A Chester restaurant has commissioned some spooky artwork using one of the massive Mere Brow Giant Pumpkins.

Chris Baker, owner of an Italian restaurant, bought the 535lb pumpkin from Josh Whiteside, from Hesketh Bank. The mammoth pumpkin was placed outside the front of the restaurant for all to see. Chris commissioned tree surgeon and wood carver Simon O’Rouke from Wrexham to carve the monster pumpkin into a spooky face.

Chris added: “It’s fantastic - we are really pleased with the end result, it makes a great feature for the restaurant and will hopefully get people popping in to have a look.”

Click here For the full Chester Chronicle Article | Mere Brow Giant Pumpkins

27th October
Source: Press Release

Lorraine Fullbrook the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Tarleton, Banks, Hesketh Bank and Rufford has launched a campaign to help small shops in the villages save money by claiming Small Business Rate Relief.  

Roughly half of eligible local businesses do not claim the relief, according to the Conservative Party. The reason is that many of them simply don't know it exists. Yet it could save local shops up to £1,100 per annum. So the Conservatives have created a simple online tool to help firms check their eligibility and print off the form.

Lorraine urged local small businesses to go to

If a business is eligible it can then print out a form, fill it in and send it to their local council.

Lorraine comments,

Our local shops and businesses are facing tough times but they are the life blood of our economy and our community. I want to help them and this new online tool is simple way I and the Conservative Party can help firms survive."

19th October
A whopping 717lb was enough to secure the NFU Mutual All England Shield for Clive Bevan who travelled up from Wellingborough, Northamptonshire with his pumpkin. The Mere Brow & District Shield was won by Josh Whiteside who's giant pumpkin weighed in at 535lb.

Clive Bevan winner of the NFU All England Shield at the Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Competition
Clive Bevan
2008 Winner of the
NFU Mutual Insurance All England Shield
Josh Whiteside, winner of the Mere Brow & District Giant Pumpkin Competition
Josh Whiteside
2008 Winner of the
Mere Brow & District Shield

For the full weigh off results please see

Mere Brow Giant Pumpkins Video Report

6th August 2008
Source: Nicola Cubbin

A school reunion for the Tarleton High School class of 1998 has been organised.

If you attended Tarleton High School from 1993-1998 then you are invited to the 10 year reunion which will be held at Mere Brow Village Hall on Saturday 27th September.

Tickets cost £5 each, and are available from Sarah Bridge at Chameleon (the printing shop), Church Road, Tarleton or via Nicola Cubbin at nic_noc1 (at) More details and the latest information can be found on Facebook.



Alan Johnson has been given a MBE in the 2008 Queen's Birthday Honours List. Alan received the award "For services to Vintage and Veteran Vehicle Restoration and Heritage."



Source: Sunday Times Online

The Sunday Times Online today reports that local MEP Sir Robert Atkins used his parliamentary expenses to fly to his son’s wedding in America. Sir Robert Atkins has claimed that the wedding “coincided” with an official invitation, making it possible for the taxpayer to pick up travel and hotel bills.

Atkins has insisted that he has fully complied with parliamentary rules for the wedding trip. He said the event coincided with an invitation from the Republican National Committee and in a statement this weekend emphasised that his expenses were approved by the parliamentary authorities.

For the full article click here

Sir Robert Aikins Website



Submitted bt Shirley Rooney, Tarleton High School

On the 9th April 2008 Tarleton High School’s Governing Body made the decision to consult parents, pupils, staff and the community about their plans to become a Trust School. Tarleton High is the first Lancashire secondary school to take this step. The implementation of these plans will result in Tarleton High being a pathfinder within the County for the Government’s flagship education programme that sees schools harnessing the energy and experience of external partners to raise standards.

What does this mean for Tarleton High School?

Trust Schools are maintained foundation schools supported by a charitable Trust. They:
• are part of the maintained family of schools with funding on the same basis as other local authority maintained schools and subject to the same accountability regime;
• are similar to Voluntary Aided (VA) and existing foundation schools with foundations – the Trust holds the school’s land and buildings, the Governing Body employs staff and sets admissions arrangements (in accordance with the law and the Admissions Code);
• must adhere to National Curriculum / School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions document.

There are now 42 Trust Schools up and running. Tarleton High’s decision brings the number of schools currently working towards Trust Status to over 390, exceeding the Government’s aspirations and proving the popularity of the scheme with schools and local authorities.

Representatives of Runshaw College, the International Aid Trust, Preston and Lancaster University’s Department for Educational Research will form the Trust in partnership with the school. They will work together to build on the current successes of the school and develop further the quality of education within it.

The school will also form a Parents Council to seek the views of parents about important decisions in relation to school matters. These may include school uniform, healthy eating, enabling parents to have realtime reports about their children’s progress and further developments in pupils’ learning.

Headteacher Anthony Hardiker said “This is an exciting development for our school. Our Trust partners will offer their encouragement, expertise and support in helping us to offer the best education for all our pupils. We hope that the consultation process will gather widespread agreement with our proposals and enable us to build on our past achievements and fulfil our ambitious vision for the school.”

The Reverend Bernard Cocker, CEO and Founder of International Aid Trust said “Since the tsunami in December 2004 Tarleton High School and International Aid Trust have successfully worked together on various projects, so we at IAT are both blessed and excited with this latest initiative.

Indeed, it is a privilege to be in partnership with the students, governors and staff, who so obliviously follow with a passion the lead and example of their Headmaster.

We look forward to an exciting and challenging time of supporting and encouraging Tarleton High to reach these ambitious but achievable targets.

Working alone we are all very limited, but when we bring our gifts, talents and resources together we can make a huge difference, not just to our own particular organisations, but also to the ever growing needs in the world around us. May God bless this venture “

The school is having an Open Meeting at Tarleton High School on Wednesday 21st May for discussion on the school moving to become a Foundation with Trust School. The meeting will commence at 7.00pm in the School Hall. All are welcome.



Submitted by Lancashire Trading Standards Service

Residents are alerted to concerns about a high pressure sales team selling carpet cleaners.

The company is contacting residents and offering to clean carpets for free in return for comments on the cleaning performance. However, once in the house to provide this free service, the salesmen refuse to leave until they have sold one of the cleaners. In one house they stayed for over two hours until the sale was finally agreed.

They are believed to be targeting elderly and vulnerable consumers with hard line sales techniques.

Be warned that if you or your neighbours deal with this company you may end up paying £2000 for an unwanted vacuum cleaner.

We advise residents never to deal with cold callers.

Anyone who does deal with a tradesman who cold-calls will have a seven-day cooling off period to cancel any work agreed to, or any purchases made over £35, although if the trader has already begun to carry out any job when you cancel, you may have to pay for the work carried out so far.

Also be aware that the contract will not be enforceable against the consumer unless information about this right to cancel is given in writing.

Please refer any complaints to Lancashire Trading Standards Service, 56-58 Guildhall Street, Preston, Lancs via Consumer Direct tel 08454 040506. If there is any threat or fear of burglary contact the police at once.



A group of six pupils from Tarleton High School are working with International Aid Trust to produce a video on the disadvantaged children in the Ukraine. The aim of the trip is to produce a video to help promote the work of International Aid Trust and inform people of the rescue work they do in the Ukraine. The video will be shown to a range of audiences.

International Aid Trust is a UK Charity, based in Much Hoole. It has charity shops throughout the UK and helps underprivileged people, in Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia. Much of the work International Aid does is in Eastern Europe; they have created orphanages for street children and rehabilitation centres for adults. Tarleton High School’s student Council decided to adopt International Aid Trust as one of the two school’s charities. Previously the school has provided shoeboxes for the charity, created publicity material and helped out at the local warehouse.

More recently there has been a rigorous selection process from 320 years 9 and 10 pupils. 21 pupils applied for the trip with a letter addressed to the Head teacher who together with Mrs Sides (senior at Tarleton High School), Mr Bernard Cocker (IAT Founder) and Mr Stringfellow (Chair of Governors) whittled it down to just 6 members of the team, and further roles were decided with an interview process. The six selected members were:

Joel Briscoe – selected candidate to go to the Ukraine
Rachel Goulding – selected candidate to go to the Ukraine
Chris Meadows – reserve to go to the Ukraine
Ruth Malcolm – reserve to go to the Ukraine
Claire Tetlow - press officer
Natalie Firth-Cook – press officer

Tarleton High School is working with International Aid Trust to create a video to highlight the plight of European countries trapped in extreme poverty. The two pupils will travel to Kiev to film the footage and talk to families in desperate need of help, children living in orphanages and also children living on the streets.

All six members will be working as a team to create the video when the chosen two candidates return from the trip. The edited video will then be used by International Aid Trust to show people of all ages the work International Aid does helping the children of Ukraine.



Approximately 90 residents and users of the Leisure Lakes clashed during a lively meeting held at Mere Brow Village Hall. The open meeting had been called by Cllr Rosie Evans and Cllr Joan Hunter to discuss recent developments at the Leisure Lakes.

County Councillor Malcolm Barron chaired the meeting with Cllrs Jim Kay, Rosie Evans, John Mee and Parish Council Chairman David Rydings answering questions from the floor.

Residents were vocal in expressing their concerns over present nuisance and proposed developments. Questions about the noise and legality of a number of different sports operating from the Leisure Lakes were raised.

Cllr Evans responded saying that the Leisure Lakes had been issued with a noise abatement order on the 3rd of Jan and there was a court hearing due shortly. There had been several enforcement notices served and the Council Officers had asked Mr Witter (the owner) to come up with a business plan. The situation was unsatisfactory and she was in constant touch with the planning Department at West Lancashire District Council.

Supporters of the sports said that they should leave the owner alone and just ask him to keep the noise down. Mrs Dedman from the Ribble Valley who regularly takes Youth Groups to the Leisure Lakes site also spoke in favour of the many activities being undertaken at the site.

Cllr Jim Kay said he wondered if planning permission had been granted for the new developments and asked residents to pass on their concerns to the planning department. Residents blamed the council for not taking enforcement action but Cllr Evans said there had been no response to complaints about the site from the owner. Cllr Barron pointed out that if any one in the room wanted an extension to their house they had to have planning permission and the same procedures should apply to the Leisure Lakes.

Mrs Lorraine Fullbrook the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate and a resident of Tarleton said there appeared to be many issues about the site; semi built buildings, environmental issues and licensing issues. The best way forward would be for Cllr Evans and two other Cllrs to meet with the owner of the site to arrange for proper planning applications to go forward taking into account the concerns of residents and that Cllr Evans should call another meeting to discuss the proposals and she would attend and advise.

Cllr Evans agreed and the meeting was closed.



Trevor Wilson presents Jackie Northover with a cheque for £1311.50 for the North West Air Ambulance
A picture of Trevor Wilson parting with money

The Mere Brow Giant Pumpkins have once again helped to keep the North West Air Ambulance flying.

On Saturday Trevor Wilson handed over a cheque for £1311.50 which was raised at the October 2007 Giant Pumkin "Weigh In" competition.

Jackie Northover received the cheque on behalf of the Air Ambulance.

Click here for details of the 2008 Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Competition.



The police appeal to help trace the male identified in the CCTV photo (see 17th January below) has successfully led to an arrest.

DC Joe Murphy has today said that as a result of the coverage given to this in the media and the response from the public, the male in the photo has now been identified and arrested and the matter is currently being dealt with. The laptop has also been returned to its rightful owner.



Lord Trimble pictured with Lorraine Fullbrook
Lord Trimble boosts Lorraine's Campaign to become next MP for Mere Brow

Nobel Peace Prize Winner and former First Minister of Northern Ireland, Lord David Trimble was in Leyland last Thursday supporting the Conservative campaign to get Lorraine Fullbrook elected as the next MP for the South Ribble Constituency that includes Tarleton, Banks, Hesketh Bank and Rufford.

Lord Trimble spoke to over 100 local activists including a number of West Lancs Councillors at the Annual Chairman’s Dinner of the South Ribble Conservative Association held at the Wellington Park in Leyland. During his speech Lord Trimble explained that Mrs Fullbrook was someone he wanted to support, because having seen her in action he was convinced of the contribution she will make at Westminster. He also spoke at length about his experiences in Northern Ireland, and his new role as a Conservative member of the House of Lords.

Commenting after the dinner, Mrs Fullbrook the Conservative candidate for the South Ribble Parliamentary Constituency said.

“It was a great honour to have the support of Lord Trimble for my campaign – to have him here in Lancashire shows just how serious the Conservative Party is about winning back this seat at the next election.”

Lord Trimble and Lorraine Fullbrook are pictured with some of the Conservative activists who attended the dinner at which the Nobel Peace Prize Winner was the guest of honour.



Lorraine Fullbrook, the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for the South Ribble Constituency (which includes Mere Brow), has announced that over the next four weeks, she is to deliver a “Have Your Say on Post Office Closures” petition form to the 45,000 homes she hopes to represent in Parliament after the next General Election. Mrs Fullbrook is determined to make sure that everyone of her future constituents has a real chance to have their say on the proposed post office closures that have been announced this week.

Commenting on her plans, Lorraine said, “The Labour Government has closed over 3,800 Post Offices since 1999 now they want to close 2,500 more, five of which are in the new South Ribble Parliamentary Constituency (the five are Eccleston Bridge, 106 Towngate Eccleston, 63 Bent Lane Leyland, 167 Liverpool Rd Hutton, 27 Gravel Lane Mere Brow and Smithy Lane, Much Hoole) and I believe that enough is enough!

There is no denying that numerous Post Offices are making a financial loss, but I still believe that many people, especially the elderly, consider their Post Office to be a lifeline, relying on it as a one-stop shop to access cash and benefits, pay bills, get advice and information, and socialise. For that reason I am against these closures.

The Post Office says they will listen to what local people want. I intend to give local people the chance to have their say”.



West Lancs Police release CCTV image of suspected Burglar
CCTV picture of man wanted in connection with a burglary in Ormskirk
Police in West Lancashire have released a CCTV image of a man they want to question in relation to a burglary.

The burglary happened at approx 1am on the 15th December at Orme House in Ormskirk when the male gained entry to the premises and stole a Sony laptop.

DC Joe Murphy at Ormskirk CID commented, ”We have a clear CCTV image of the offender and are confident that someone will know him. I would urge members of the Public who may know this person to come forward and contact the police.”

Anyone with any information can contact Ormskirk CID on 01695 566442 or via Southern Communications Centre on 0845 1 25 35 45.

Information can also be given about crime anonymously by telephoning Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.



Find out more about becoming a Special at event to be held at Skelmersdale Police Station.

Members of the public that live in West Lancashire will have the chance to find out more about the Special Constabulary next week.

An event has been organised at Skelmersdale Police Station on Monday 14th January from 5.30pm – 8pm. The event will give Members of the Public the opportunity to find out more about the Special Constabulary, the work these officers carry out and the training they receive.

You will also be able to speak on a one to one basis with Specials already doing the role and will be offered a behind the scenes insight into the work of Special Constables. You will also be able to register your full details and take home a full application pack.

Anyone interested in attending these events need to report to the enquiry desk on arrival and if they need any further information they can contact Laura Hesketh on 01772 412127.


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