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10th December 2012
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Macmillan Cancer Support are a national organisation which improves the lives of people affected by cancer. They are a source of support, helping with all the things that people affected by cancer want and need. It's not only patients who live with cancer, they also help carers, families and communities. They guide people through the system, supporting them every step of the way. They fund nurses and other health care professionals and build cancer care centre’s, but they give so much more than medical help. People need practical support at home, so they provide anything from some precious time off for a carer, to a lift to hospital. People need emotional support, so they listen, advise and share information though their own cancer support specialists, website and trained professionals. People need financial help to cope with the extra costs cancer can bring, so they give benefits advice, and grants for anything from heating bills to travel costs. Together they listen, learn, and act to help people live with cancer.

There is a Macmillan committee for Hesketh Bank, Tarleton, and Banks. The committee comprise Kate and David Maughan, Sandra Johnson, Angela Jenkins, Lyndsay Howard, Sue Hodgkins, Jean Ross, Anne Leadbetter, Anne White, and Georgie Dagnall. New committee members are always welcome and anyone interested please contact Kate or David on 01772 811662

The local committee organise about four fund raising events per year in this area. These consist of;

  • a January Burns Night Supper (held in the Wellington Lodge venue in Leyland),
  • an event in the Spring (fashion show, flower arranging, bingo),
  • a late Summer Hog Roast or similar
  • an Autumn event of some description

The aforementioned events are in addition to the annual ‘Worlds Biggest Coffee Morning’ (which tend to be privately organised local get togethers, albeit very lucrative for our deserving cause)

The Autumn event was held recently at The Cock & Bottle in remembrance of Robin Bryan and raised £869 and took the total raised in 2012 to £8,500

Wellington Lodge has already been booked for Burns Night. All those who went last year will no doubt try to get there again so availability of tickets will be at a premium as numbers are limited by the size of the room – first come first served. If you are a business, why not consider taking a table – great entertainment idea and the bonus is it is allowable against profits to offset tax!! Win/Win and tax efficient. Get the date Saturday 26th January 2013 in your diary in anticipation

As far as the Coffee morning is concerned, Sandra Johnson normally holds one in Hesketh Bank, Jean Ross has one in Tarleton and there are normally another one or two held elsewhere in the area.

We trust this update has been useful, get the date in your diary or on your calendar and we look forward to seeing you all at upcoming events in the future. Many thanks for all your support

The Committee

3rd December 2012
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On Saturday the 8th of December , Mere Brow Farmers Market, held at Mere Brow Village Hall will
be holding an Xmas Special.

Open from 10am until 2-30pm there will be a variety of local Food, crafts and gift producers

Christmas Wreaths, Holly Pots, Grave Pots , Chestnuts and Mistletoe will be on sale. Along with
Fresh Herbs for your Roast Christmas dinner and gifts and presents for Xmas.

The Market will contain 20 plus stalls with entertainment:

  • Morris Dancing by Southport Swords and Argameles Clogs
  • Birds of Prey by falconer Stephen Green
  • Siberian Huskeys with Hug a Huskey

The Cafe/Lounge in the Village Hall will be serving hot Mulled wine and mince pies

19th November 2012
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The Twelve Days of Christmas is the theme for this year’s Christmas celebrations at Rufford Old Hall, together with Christmas concerts Christmas shopping Days and a visit from Father Christmas himself.

Catherine Hazely is Rufford’s Events Co-ordinator.  “We’ve really gone to town on decorating the hall this year” says Catherine.

“In the Tudor Great Hall there’ll be a real fire, along with a mistletoe ball and hoped garlands across the windows. We’ll also have 12 drums lined up in front of the 16th century wooden screen – which will be the start of the story of The Twelve Days of Christmas. The carol has links with the Tudor era: it was supposedly written to help young Catholics remember the various threads of their religious faith as, in the late 1500s’s, Catholicism was outlawed and anyone found practising the religion could be put to death. For example the ‘partridge in the pear tree’ refers to Jesus, and the two turtle doves are the Old and the New Testaments.

The Tudors celebrated the entire 12 days of Christmas, (25th December - 6th January) but not every day was celebrated equally. All work stopped except looking after animals, spinning was even banned as this was the most common occupation for women and flowers were placed around the spinning wheels. People would visit friends and it was seen as very much a community celebration. Work re-started on Plough Monday  - the first Monday following 12th Night”

Outside in Rufford’s garden, see if you can spot 11 pipers piping before heading back into the School Room to discover 10 drummers drumming. The Great Hall will be displaying 9 decorated Christmas trees with 9 ladies dancing in the form of Christmas fairies on each tree: the trees have been decorated by local schools, U3A and local Trust Association groups. You’ll find 3 French hens in the tea-room,  2 turtle doves over the shop entrance and of course the partridge in the pear tree.

Meanwhile, Rufford’s dining room will be set out for a candlelit Christmas Day evening feast – you can see the extravagant menu and make ‘7 swans-a-swimming’  out of origami to float on a sea of blue green jelly which forms part of the dessert course. Over in the study write last minute festive greetings on a card printed with the Hesketh family of Rufford’s own coat of arms, which staff will post if you donate £2 to conservation fundraising at Rufford.

Father Christmas will be visiting Rufford each weekend from 24 Nov – 16 Dec – so make sure you take your Christmas list along and let him know what you want! You’ll find him by the fire keeping nice and warm!

The splendid setting of Rufford’s 16th century Great Hall is the venue for a concert by Tapestry of Music on 1 December at 7.30pm. Dressed in Tudor costume, they’ll be performing festive music from the past 100 years, including medieval carols and songs. Tickets are £17 and booking is essential on 01704 821254.

Finally, for those who want to do their Christmas shopping without the hassle of crowded shops – and even more crowded car parks, then Rufford’s Christmas shopping days are just for you!  “These were very successful when we ran them for the first time last year” says Catherine, “ so we’ve organised more this year:  Weds – Fri, 5 – 7 and 12 – 14 December, 11am – 3pm.  It’s a chance for people to shop in relaxed surroundings and take their time choosing gifts from our fantastic Christmas range in the shop. The tea-room and garden will also be open – so when you’ve finished shopping, treat yourself to a delicious mince pie, coffee, cake or lunch – and then take a wander around the winter garden”.

Rufford Old Hall is open weekends from 24 Nov – 16 Dec, 11am – 4pm and Weds – Fri, 5 – 7 and 12 – 14 December, 11am – 3pm for Christmas shopping days.  For full details of the Christmas programme go to or call 01704 823812.

9th November 2012
becomE a governor of your NHS trust
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Are you interested in becoming a governor of your NHS trust?

Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust is hosting a series of events for people who are interested in becoming a governor of the Trust.

Across Southport, Formby, West Lancashire and beyond, the Trust currently has around 1600 members. Once appointed, governors will act as the main point of contact for those members and will meet in public several times a year to feedback members’ views to the Board of Directors. The Council of Governors will act in a shadow role until the Trust is authorised as a foundation trust.

There will soon be elections for public governors to represent the views of members in the following areas:



Formby and Maghull


Ormskirk and Western Parishes                


Skelmersdale and Southern Parishes       


Northern Parishes                            


Rest of England and Wales


Anyone over the age of 18 can nominate themselves for election if they are a member. Nominees can only stand for election in the constituency in which they live.

Four events will be held across Southport, Formby and West Lancashire:

Monday 19 November, 6.30 – 7.30pm
Edge Hill University, The Business School, Ormskirk L39 4QP

Tuesday 27 November, 6.30 – 7.30pm
Formby Christian Fellowship, Church Road, Formby L37 3NB

Wednesday 5 December, 6.30 – 7.30
Southport Family Life Centre, Ash Street, Southport PR8 6JH

Wednesday 12 December, 6.30 – 7.30
Tarleton Academy, Hesketh Lane, Tarleton PR4 6AQ

If you would like to attend any of these events please let us know by phoning 01704 704714 or e-mail

All are welcome to attend but they must be a member in order to stand as a governor. Join for free at or by phoning the above number.

20th October 2012
2012 Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Show
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The 2012 Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Show winner

The 2012 Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Show proved to be a close affair with only a few pounds separating first and second place. Mark O'Hanlon retained the title with a 849 lb pumpkin closely followed by Gerrald Wright who managed a massive 801 lb. Jess Wilson claimed third place with a personal best of 724 lb.

Click here for the full Giant Pumpkin Show weigh off results.

5th October 2012
Mere Brow Farmers’ Market Oktoberfest!
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Following the mouth-watering success of the pint-sized Beer and Wine Festival at Mere Brow Farmers’ Market in July, a Mini Munich Oktoberfest will be a major part of the next market on Saturday, October 13.

Opening hours at market held at the Village Hall are from 10.00 – 1500 and it will feature song, dance and a Hog Roast . . . washed down with beers from local micro-breweries plus a continental.

Organiser Kelvin Pye said “Popular demand from our last Beer Festival has created our Oktoberfest In addition to the beers, wines, ciders and food, visitors will be able to shop, watch two Morris Dancing Teams ‘slugging it out’ and even admire magnificent Hawks at our Bird of Prey stall.”

The event has the enthusiastic support of the local Southport and West Lancashire branch of CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale) who will be manning an awareness and membership stand.

While for the more adventurous – or thirsty - a Home Brew beer stand showing visitors how to Local Morris Dancing teams the Southport Swords and Argameles will be battling it out and S & R Hawks will adding to the medieval flavour of the Mere Brow Oktoberfest.

On the bitter front new-comers such as Ruck & Maul and Cyclone, both from Southport Brewery will be competing with established favourites such as: Wild Oat Stout, Dishy Debbie and Ice Maiden from Prestons Hart Brewery to Black Canon Stout and Mug Billy from Burscough Brewing Company.

Or for a taste of the Continent, Southport’s Inn Beer Store will be selling European and there will be fruit wines, ciders, sloe gins, strawberry and elderflower vodkas, all from Yorkshire’s Orchard Fruit Wines; and even non-alcoholic herbal punches from The Punch Brew Co.

Thwaites Wainwrights and Lancaster Bomber will be available to taste and buy in the Mere Brow Village Hall bar for visitors who want to sit down and rest in pleasant surroundings and Thwaites Brewery will be giving away free Promotional pen-drive, memory stick, bottle openers.

While for the more sober-minded, the new tea-room will also be supplying light, non-alcoholic, refreshments including home made cakes.

The Festival is free and also offers free car parking. There are stalls inside and outside the hall. All enquiries to 01704 212 734 (office hours only).

24th September 2012
Source: South Ribble Borough Council

There will be an increased risk of flooding across the North West over the next two days.

Up to 100mm of rain is expected across the region in 24 hours from Monday to Tuesday this week. The Environment Agency says there is the possibility of significant disruption, with strong winds increasing the risk of flooding as wind-blown debris has the potential to block watercourses and drains.

You can check the Environment Agency website for the latest information:

Anyone concerned about potential flooding should sign up for free flood warnings via the website or by calling the Environment Agency Flood Line on 0845 988 1188.

Steve Moore, Regional Director for the North West Environment Agency said "We are expecting persistent and heavy rainfall for much of today and Tuesday. We strongly urge people to sign up to flood warnings, keep a close eye on local weather forecasts and be prepared for the possibility of flooding. We also ask that people stay safe, by staying away from swollen rivers and not attempting to drive through floodwater.

"The Environment Agency already has teams out on the ground checking on flood defences and clearing any blockages in order to reduce the risk of flooding as much as possible."

You may also find the following 24-hour emergency contact numbers useful:

Lancashire County Council (roads flooding): 0845 0530011

United Utilities (drainage issues): 0845 7462200

21st September 2012
Statement from Cuadrilla Resources
Source: Cuadrilla Resorces

Francis Egan, Chief Executive of Cuadrilla Resources, said: "We note the publication of two important reports into shale gas in the UK by two highly respected organisations, the Institute of Directors and the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. We note that other respected institutions have come to independent conclusions about shale gas that give positive assessments of the potential economic impact and creation of skilled jobs."

"For some time Cuadrilla has been working alongside other local employers, academics and local authorities in the Fylde Coast to plan for potential future skills requirements and we are committed to ensuring that local people are given the chance to train for and then take up the skilled jobs that we hope to create with a move to gas production."

"We remain focussed on the engineering challenges of exploring the distinctive geological potential of the Bowland formation, and demonstrating to regulators and Lancashire’s communities that shale in the UK can set a world standard producing onshore gas safely and sensibly."

19th September 2012
concert performance of HMS PINAFORE
Reported by: Ian Wells

Calling all Gilbert and Sullivan enthusiasts! It is with great pleasure that Holy Trinity plays host to The Hoghton Players autumn tour, this year a concert version of HMS Pinafore, one of the most popular of the Savoy Operas.

The cast includes members from Tarleton and Hesketh Bank. So roll up at Holy Trinity (Church Road, Tarleton) on Saturday October 6th for the performance starting at 7.30pm. Tickets are just £7 (£6 concessions) available from Diane Mackley on 01772 815508 or Phil Clieve on 0754 0768160

For this and more local events in and around Tarleton please visit the event section of this website.

18th September 2012
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Southport Golf Academy fundraiser for Macmillan Coffee MorningRichard Carpenter, the director of Southport Golf Academy is organizing a coffee morning with a twist to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. On Friday 28th September, at Leisure Lakes Golf Complex at Mere Brow there will be two activities going ahead for any ladies wishing to take part and have a fun morning with friends.

The first is a challenge for any ladies who are part of a team in the local area, each team will pay an entry fee and compete to be the champions of the Macmillan Shield. Not only that but there will be medals for the winners and prizes for the runners up, which of course will then be followed by tea, coffee and cakes.

The second activity invites people to have a taster session on the driving range, whilst being supervised by the golf coaches. This is a fantastic opportunity for people to sample the sport as well as having fun with their friends and raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Anyone is welcome to come along, whether you are a complete beginner, an expert or even just a crazy golf fan. Again this will be followed by teas, coffee, cakes and the chance to chat about the morning’s activities.

Tickets are being sold for this event at £7.50 per person, which includes the loan of all the equipment needed. For tickets please contact; Leisure Lakes Golf Complex, Mere Brow, Tarleton, Lancashire, PR4 6JX. Phone: 01772 815842

17th September 2012
Source: Press Release

Lorraine Fullbrook, Member of Parliament for South Ribble, has announced that she will be holding an informal advice surgery in Hesketh Bank on Friday 21st September 2012 from 11am – 1pm at Hesketh Bank Bowling Club,  Station Road, Hesketh Bank, PR4 6SR.

Local residents of Hesketh Bank and of Lorraine’s constituency of South Ribble, who have any concerns that they wish to discuss with Lorraine, are invited to pop in and have a chat.  No appointment is necessary.

As well as her regular appointment only advice surgeries that Lorraine holds in her office, Lorraine also likes to get out and about and hold more informal advice surgeries across the South Ribble constituency.

Lorraine said: “As well as holding my Friday surgeries in my office, I do like to meet local people out and about across the constituency.”

“If you are in the area on Friday, please do pop into Hesketh Bank Bowling Club and have a chat.”

12th September 2012
Cuadrilla Resources – update on local operations
Source: Cuadrilla Resources

In July this year, we announced that small pieces of sensitive monitoring technology would be installed around our Banks site, to enable us to undertake comprehensive seismic monitoring.

This installation work is currently underway. Practically, it involves fitting the monitoring equipment in to 104 specially prepared holes across a wide area to the north and south of the river estuary, in Fylde and West Lancashire. Preparing these small holes takes between 2 to 4 days per hole and uses mobile drilling equipment, the same kind used to drill water wells.

There should be no surface impact once this technology is installed. The majority of these locations are away from residential areas, in fields surrounding the Banks site. Unfortunately, the wet weather we’ve had means the ground conditions can be soft and some mud is transferred on to the roads when the equipment is moved.

We understand that this was an issue in the Becconsall Lane area on Friday 7th September and we have worked hard to rectify the situation with full road cleaning carried out. We apologise for the inconvenience this might have caused residents here. To keep residents informed we have delivered information letters to houses in the area explaining what this work involves.

We’d like to assure people that this is temporary work to install passive monitoring equipment which will have no impact at the surface. It is permitted under national planning regulations and has been agreed with Lancashire County Council, as well as all land owners whose property we are working on.

Our website – – is regularly updated with information about all of our work and is a great place to find out more. If residents have specific questions they would like to ask, or perhaps have an issue that needs to be resolved, they should contact us directly on our Freephone information line 0800 170 1115 (weekdays, 9.00am to 5.30pm).

8th September 2012
Homestead Farm Coffee Morning Extravaganza
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Homestead Farm Macmillan fundraising extravaganza including Nick Park Watercolour auctionHomestead Farm Restaurant is hosting a fundraising coffee morning and charity dinner to raise charity cash for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Jenny Parker and Margaret Seddon, the organisers, are urging locals to join them in helping Macmillan make this year’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning, the biggest ever.

The pair are hosting their Coffee Day on Saturday 29th September from noon until 4pm. £1.00 from each coffee sold will go directly to Macmillan, but Homestead Farm have made sure there’s much more to their coffee morning than refreshments

Local Artist Anton Dolders will be involved, providing a percentage of his painting's sales towards the charity from the Coffee Day and through October. He is also set to be painting something special on the day. Wood carver, John Mercer will also be selling work for Macmillan, Malcolm Mentha, photographer, can give you some photo tips.  Everyone is helping to make this coffee morning a little bit more unique. 

The star of the show will be a separate auction, held for an original pen and watercolour of Wallace and Gromit from Nick Parks. Parks, along with his family, is a regular patron of the Restaurant and was keen to offer an original piece to help raise money for Macmillan.

However, Jenny and Margaret didn’t want to end their coffee morning there. Therefore they have included a charity 2 course dinner and dance, with live artists and a raffle from 7pm onwards, for just £20 a ticket.

Margaret said "We felt that with the space we have here at Homestead we could do so much more with our Coffee Day. All of our staff are working for free on this day and the atmosphere is going to be fantastic."

The live performances are set to include New Dawn, a local gospel group of seven ladies,who perform voluntarily throughout the year for charity across West Lancashire. 15 year old Chloe Mcloughlin will also be performing, alongside local singer Jenni Eckersley.

One of the organisers Jenny said, "The entertainment is sure to be superb. Chloe was the first person to sing in the House of Lords during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June, so we couldn’t be more delighted to have such a talent at our charity dinner."

Macmillan fundraising manager for West Lancashire Grace Higgins said: "We are very grateful to Jenny and Margaret for holding a coffee morning for Macmillan. "I hope they inspire other people to hold their own coffee morning for Macmillan to help us raise the money we need to fund our vital services."

The idea behind the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning is that people hold their own coffee mornings, or days, in their homes, work places or local community.  They ask for donations in return for drinks and cakes and then pass on the proceeds to Macmillan.The money raised from the event will then be used to fund Macmillan’s support services for people with cancer and their families.

To contact Jenny or Margaret call 01704 821358.

29th August 2012
Cuadrilla seeks to extend use of temporary site
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Cuadrilla Resources, the British company exploring for gas in Lancashire, is to submit an application to Lancashire County Council to continue work at a temporary site near Hesketh Bank.

A 10,500 feet deep well was drilled between August and November 2011 at the West Lancashire site. After the well was completed, the company removed its drilling rig and secured the site which has since seen a low level of activity.

Cuadrilla is set to ask for a 36 month extension to allow the company to complete testing and analysis work in a gradual and responsible way, as part of its exploration programme which seeks to establish whether it is viable to recover gas trapped within Shale rock deep beneath the surface.

The existing planning permission, which was granted in October 2010, allows Cuadrilla to drill and hydraulically fracture a well at the site. However, the company has said that it cannot carry out the fracturing process without the approval of the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

In a letter to residents living near to the site, Development Director Mark Miller said: “Extending the existing planning permission would not change the fact that the site will be returned to its original condition once operations are complete.”

Residents interested in the application or Cuadrilla’s operations generally have been advised to contact the company on its Freephone Information Line, which can be called on 0800 170 1115 (Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.30pm), or to visit for detailed information about all of the company’s operations.

5th July 2012
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Award-winning micro breweries, cider and wine-makers near and far afield will be travelling to Mere Brow Farmers’ Market on Saturday, July 14th when a brand new Mini Beer and Wine Festival will will be adding some extra fizz and sparkle to the regular Farmers’ Market which is held every 2nd Saturday in the month at Mere Brow Village Hall from 10.00 – 14.30.

Visitors will be able to sample organic beers, Lancashire bitters and milds, stouts, ciders, fruit wines, sloe gins and even a fruit-flavoured vodka to lift the spirits.

New-comers such as Dishy Debbie and Wild Oats Stout, both from Preston’s Hart Brewery will be competing with established favourites such as: Natterjack, Old Shrimper and Mug Billy.

While others to tickle the taste buds include: fruit wines, ciders, sloe gins and strawberry and elderflower vodkas, all from Yorkshire’s Orchard Fruit Wines; the Lancashire Heroes Off Licence – supplying beers from the Southport Brewery, Liverpool Organic Brewery and George Wright Brewery; the Burscough Brewing Co., micro-brewed in the cobbled courtyard of the village’s Hop Vine Pub; plus a selection guest beers from Mere Brow Village Hall including Wainwrights, 13 Guns (American-style IPA) and Thwaites ales and even non-alcoholic herbal punches from The Punch Brew Co.

Banks resident and business man John O'Hanlon will be giving Home Brew Demos and allowing sampling of three different brews: “I like a pint of Real Ale more than any one but with all the austerity measures coming in Home Brewing is exciting and you save some money. I am looking forward to showing people how easy it is to brew beers,’ he said.

The event has the enthusiastic support of the local Southport and West Lancashire branch of CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale) who hopefully will be manning an awareness and membership stand.

Organiser of the Festival, Market and Southport Country Fair, Kelvin Pye stated: “We wanted to spice up the Farmers Market with themes and a Summer Beer Festival seemed a good idea. By inviting micro-breweries and small vineyards we are ‘inn keeping’ with our small local food producers and if it goes down well we will repeat it in the autumn.”

In addition to the Beer Festival, regular farm producers selling their goods and giving away free tastes, producers include: Shirley's home made pies, world famous Goosnargh duck and duck liver pate, award winning Dalesbred finest meats, Lancashire cheese, olives, French bread, local cup-cakes, herbs and plants, chillis, tomatoes, Southport Shrimps and fresh fish.

For craft lovers and shoppers there will be some local woodcrafts, cards and gifts and home made leather hand bags and accessories For the more sober-minded, the new tea-room will also be supplying light refreshments including home made cakes.

The Festival is free and also offers free car parking. For more information contact Kelvin on 01704 212 734 (office hours only).

More local events

2nd July 2012
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On Saturday the 7th of July The New Fleetwood Pub in Banks marks its 50th year of opening by holding a fun packed Family Fun Day from 12 noon until 6pm

The Fleetwood House as it was originally called, opened on the 4th of July 1962,when it was bought by Tetley Walker, originally a house, it was owned by local resident Mr Hugh Cropper.

Before 1962 there had been two other pubs in Banks, which did not survive the strong Methodist tradition of Teetotalism amongst locals, keeping pubs out the village. By the 1950's with traditions changing and a demand for a local Pub, the Fleetwood House, arose.

Over the years the Pub has become the hub of the community, changing its name to The Royal Oak and then recently to the New Fleetwood Pub.

The pub under new management is owned by Mrs Linda Weatherby who also owns The Shrimper in Marshside, The Thatch in Blowick, The Cock and Bottle in Tarleton and the Old Ship in Southport Town Centre.

Managers of the pub, Carl and Marie wanted to celebrate its 50th anniversary by giving something back to the Regulars and the Local Community.

The Family day includes Fairground rides and stalls, bouncy castle, face painting by Fab Fun Face and Sand Art for the children. There will also be an array of fine foods with a small Farmers Market including cheese, ice cream, cakes and biscuits, vegetables, herbs, plants, chutneys and preserves and local crafts.

The Fun Day is free, with free parking and a sizzling BBQ will be open from 12 noon. The New Fleetwood Pub will be serving food and refreshments all day. For further information contact Marie on 01704 809493

26th June 2012
Alty’s Move Update
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A date has now been set for the relocation of all Building & Timber sales from Hesketh Bank to Hoole.

The huge investment in Warehousing, Timber Machining, Racking, Offices and Machinery at Hoole is almost complete and the final phase will be to move the Stock and Staff.

The Woodyard and Weighbridge will trade as normal up to Lunchtime on Saturday 21st July. As from Monday 23rd July, Chris, Wayne, Ken, Matt, Eric, Steve, Allan and Michael will all move to Hoole for the launch of the ‘All New’ Altys Builders Merchants.

Although this marks the end of an era in Hesketh Bank, Alty's are very excited about the new operation and customers will benefit from a one stop shop with wider product ranges as well as improved prices and service.

Alty's will also offer an unbeatable, FREE, delivery service into the Hesketh Bank, Tarleton and Banks area.

The Horticultural Department is completely unaffected by any of these changes. The Head Office will remain open and there are no changes to Telephone numbers, e-mail addresses etc.

25th June 2012
Source: Formby Times

MP Rosie Cooper issues challenge over funding reforms that have sparked fears for small rural schools.

Funding reforms which have sparked fears for the future of small schools were challenged by West Lancs’ MP at the House of Commons.

Last month, the Visiter revealed how rural schools with fewer than 100 pupils – including five around Southport – could be affected by government proposals to change the way schools are funded.

Banks methodist, Tarleton Mere Brow CE, Pinfold primary, Scarisbrick St Mark’s CE and St Mary’s Catholic Primary in Scarisbrick all have fewer than 100 pupils.

Currently, Lancashire County Council is able to control funding arrangements to reflect the needs of pupils in small schools, allowing them to provide extra cash to deal with their costs.

But if the proposals to simplify the system go through it could cut back the council’s flexibility in setting school budgets – including those relating to the needs of small schools.

Click here to read the complete Formby Times article

23rd June 2012
MP Welcomes EA Response to Flooding Consultation
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Malcolm Barron, Lorraine Fullbrook, Jane Houlgrave and William Cropper outside Crossens Pumping StationLorraine Fullbrook, Member of Parliament for South Ribble, has welcomed the report released this week by the Environment Agency in response to the consultation relating to flood risk management in the Northern Parishes, and believes that it is a significant victory for local campaigners. 

The consultation response confirms that coastal defences that protect residents from tidal flooding will not be affected and the key pumping stations of Altmouth and Crossens will continue to be operated by the Environment Agency for ‘the foreseeable future’.

The issues raised in the consultation will form the basis of a further twelve month engagement after which further recommendations will be made before the Environment Agency make a final decision in Autumn 2013.

Lorraine said: “This response to the consultation is re-assuring and shows how the vocal support for this campaign has once again led the Environment Agency to listen to views of residents and businesses in the Northern Parishes and commit to continuing to operate strategic flood and land defences for the foreseeable future.”

“This is a victory for local campaigners and really does show the importance of residents submitting a response to this consultation and making their views known.”

 “Every local grower, business owner and resident who submitted a response to the consultation should be proud of the significant part they have played in ensuring that, for now, the flood and land defences will remain.  But, there is more work to do. I need them to continue to stand firm with me and local councillors over the next twelve to eighteen months to ensure that a workable solution can be reached to manage land drainage in the area.”

18th June 2012
patients told TO Keep appointment on STRIKE DAY
Source: Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust

Keep your appointment on BMA day of action, patients told

Patients should attend appointments with Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust unless told otherwise during the British Medical Association’s national day of action on Thursday.

Chief Operating Officer Sheilah Finnegan said: “The BMA has made a commitment to protect patient safety and ensure emergency cover continues on 21 June.

“Doctors’ representatives have been working with us to make sure any disruption was known about well in advance so patients could be told as soon as possible.

“I am pleased to say that, because of their cooperation, we will be operating normally in many departments. In a small number of areas where non-urgent care can be safely delayed, we have told patients and postponed their appointment to a later date.”

West Lancashire Health Centre at Ormskirk and Skelmersdale NHS Walk-in Centre will be open as normal on Thursday.

The Accident and Emergency departments at Southport hospital for adults and Ormskirk hospital for children will be also operating normally. However, they should only be used for urgent injuries and serious medical conditions that cannot be dealt with by a pharmacist, GP practice or NHS walk-in centre.

15th June 2012
Source: Press Release

Cuadrilla Resources, the British shale gas exploration and production business, has announced the appointment of Francis Egan as the company’s new Chief Executive.

Egan, who will take up this post on 9 July, has been appointed to lead Cuadrilla through its next stage of development, as the business gets ready to further explore the Bowland shale. He brings extensive experience in exploration & production, most recently as President of the Global Production Division of BHP Billiton Petroleum. At BHP he has also held numerous leadership roles in the UK, US, Australia, Pakistan and Algeria.

Mark Miller, Cuadrilla’s current CEO, will stay with the company as Director of the Bowland Shale exploration and development programme. On his change of role Mark Miller said: “The appointment of Francis as CEO demonstrates that Cuadrilla is investing in the very best people as we continue to strengthen our management team. This move will allow me to focus on our operations in Lancashire and I’m looking forward to continuing to work with the local communities that I and my team have come to know so well.”

Commenting on his appointment, Francis Egan said: “I am delighted to be returning to the UK to join Cuadrilla at this exciting time for the energy industry in the UK. Cuadrilla has led the way in unlocking the potential of shale resources reserves in the UK, and we hope that the next few years will be about starting to realise that potential in a sustainable and responsible way. As CEO my fundamental commitments are to safety and environmental protection. I appreciate that there are still important questions about shale exploration in the communities in which we operate, so my first priority will be to ensure Cuadrilla continues to listen to and work with our local communities in Lancashire.

I am convinced that the potential of shale resources in the UK is significant, with the prospect of real and lasting benefits for local communities, the wider Lancashire economy, and to the UK as a whole.”

Lord Browne of Madingley, Chairman of Cuadrilla said: “I would first of all like to thank Mark Miller for the outstanding job he has done as CEO of Cuadrilla over the past two years. He has led the company through a critical period, helping Cuadrilla to grow and develop while working very closely with the local community in Lancashire. I am delighted that he will be remaining with the business.

As Cuadrilla prepares to fully explore the potential of shale gas in the UK, Francis’ extensive industry knowledge will mean that the company will be well positioned to unlock the potential of shale gas and most importantly set the very highest standards of safety.”

4th June 2012
New Tea Room Opens at Mere Brow Farmers Market
Source: Press Release

Mere Brow Village Hall, the Venue of the Mere Brow Farmers Market will be opening a new Tea Room in the Village Hall, this Saturday 9th June 2012.

The Secretary of Mere Brow Village Hall John Caunce said “there is a demand for Teas, Coffees and slices of home made cakes at our Farmers Market. From this Saturday we will be serving Cream Teas, and home made cakes in the Runner Platt Bar as well as soft drinks and Real ales.”

Mere Brow Farmers market organiser Kelvin Pye explained “The demand for sensibly priced teas and cakes has been there since we started last November. Visitors will now be able to relax in pleasant surroundings and think about what local food they are going to purchase”

This month there will be new stalls to include Tumbling Tomatoes, Herbs, Chilli Plants and Indian Cuisine of  baltis, curries, somosas and onion bhajis

Mere Brow Village Hall is a modern village hall, situated just of the A565, Southport to Tarleton Road, Sat Nav PR4 6JX.

The next market is Saturday the 9th of June, 10am to 2-30 pm.  Admission is free and there is plenty of free parking.

Click here to see more local events

29th May 2012
Source: Lancashire Evening Post

Pregnant women are being urged to take care at a Lancashire school following an outbreak of “slapped cheek syndrome”.

Two children at Little Hoole Primary School on Dob Lane, Walmer Bridge, near Preston, have been confirmed as having the condition while four or five others showed symptoms.

The illness, also known as Fifth’s Disease, is commonly dubbed slapped cheek syndrome because it causes the cheeks to become red and inflamed as if they have been slapped.

It is caused by a virus called parvovirus B19 and in children, it is usually mild with no symptoms in some cases, while some youngsters can suffer mild fever and flu-like symptoms.

However, if a pregnant woman becomes infected, the virus can cause problems and in around 10% of cases of mothers infected in early pregnancy, the baby does not survive.

A spokesman from Little Hoole Primary School said: “Two children at the school have been confirmed as having slapped cheek syndrome and four or five others showed symptoms so we contacted parents.

“We gave advice in our school newsletter on what symptoms to look out for and warned about the risk to pregnant women.”

Dr John Astbury from the Cumbria and Lancashire Health Protection unit, said: “Slapped cheek syndrome is very infectious.

“For most people, it is a mild and self-limiting disease, but there is a risk to pregnant women.”

Read the full LEP Article

15th May 2012
Rock festival will go ahead
Source: Lancashire Evening Post

The organisers of a summer rock festival are celebrating after the event was given the go ahead.

The Rock the Lakes Festival at Leisure Lakes in Mere Brow, was thrown into doubt after West Lancashire Council’s licensing sub committee ruled that only country and western music could be played at the venue.

It followed four complaints from last year’s event regarding noise.

However, organisers appealed the decision.

The appeal was heard at Ormskirk Magistrates Court where it was decided to delete the statement ‘country and western’ and ‘re-enactment’ events only from the council’s original document, therefore allowing the Rock The Lakes Festival to go ahead.

Click here to read the complete LEP article

3rd May 2012
Source: Southport Visiter

HUNDREDS of homeowners could be unable to insure their homes when a deal between insurance companies and the government over flooding cover ends next summer.

Insurance firms currently insure homes at “significant” risk of flooding in an agreement called the Statement of Principles (SoP).

However, that pact is set to end – potentially leaving homeowners in threatened areas unable to sell their properties.

The joint Statement of Principles on flood insurance between the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the government sets out how ABI members will consider flood risk when managing insurance requests from property owners and occupiers.

Flood risk is based on Environment Agency data, and areas considered at “significant” risk are those where the risk is greater than 1.3% (1 in 75) each year. Taking into account flood defences, 469 homes in Southport, and more in Banks and Hesketh Bank would be among those hit if a new agreement is not reached. With the flood risk often changing, a further 5,000 more homes currently at “moderate” or “low” risk could also be effected.

Click here to read the complete Southport Visiter article

22nd March 2012
Source: Southport Visiter

A MUSIC festival planned for this summer will have to be cancelled unless a West Lancashire Council decision to refuse permission for the event is overturned.

Rock the Lakes was due to take place at Leisure Lakes in the summer.

But an application to West Lancashire Council for a premises licence at the Mere Brow venue was only partially successful. The new licence only allows for country and western music events to take place. The venue hosts a country music festival each year.

Click here for the complete Southport Visiter article

22nd March 2012
Source: Lancashire Evening Post

Controversial plans to turn a green area in a village into a motorcycle racing site could be given a repeal after planning bosses decided to hear the appeal of the site’s owner.

Lee Walsh, of Leisure Lakes, The Gravel, Mere Brow, Tarleton launched an appeal after West Lancashire Council turned down his plans for the green belt site.

The site previously sparked anger from locals after motor activities were held there without planning permission.

West Lancashire Council issued the site with an enforcement notice in 2008.

The Tarleton based leisure complex appealed against the enforcement notice over a breach of planning control relating to motorbike racing on the land, and last year a government planning inspector ruled against the owners after they appealed.

But in June the owners of Leisure Lakes submitted a planning proposal for the change of use of the land which include a change of use for recreational motor vehicles activities, including bikes and cycles, and motor racing activities.

These plans were turned down by the council but have been appealed by Leisure Lakes.

The Secretary of State has decided the issue is not suitable to be heard solely through written representations and will now go to an informal hearing before an Inspector.

The date of the hearing is yet to be confirmed but it is understood both sides will be allowed to attend.

The site offers outdoor activities like jet skiing and paintballing to tourists and visitors.

21st March 2012
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on Facebook

J Webster & Sons of Tarleton are currently making preparations for a massive clearout of the Furniutre and Carpet departments beginning tomorrow.

Jonathan Webster said "We are closing our furniture department to make way for a whole new shopping experience."

Websters will be using the space to expand the clothing and gift sections and there are also exciting plans to create some new departments. More news about this will follow soon!

During all the changes, Whittles Farm restaurant will remain open as usual

20th March 2012
Hospital chief hosts ‘have your say’ meeting in Tarleton
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on Facebook

Patients and the public in and around Tarleton have the chance next week to find out more about plans for Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust to become a foundation trust.

Foundation trusts were created to put decision-making about healthcare into the hands of local people. Southport and Ormskirk trust wants to become a foundation trust by April next year.

The third in a series of public meetings will be held next week and hosted by Jonathan Parry, the trust’s chief executive. He said: “Foundation trusts have been around since 2004 and now the Government says all NHS trusts must become one. “It is important we have local people’s support for our plans and this is one of a number of public meetings I am hosting where people can learn more and have their say.”

The meeting will be held on Tuesday 27th March at Our Lady’s Parish Centre, 152 Hesketh Lane, Tarleton, PR4 6AS at 10.30am. Please call 01704 704714 if you have any special requirements the Trust can help with in advance of the meeting.

People can also make their views known by visiting the Trust website at

19h March 2012
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on Facebook

Lorraine Fullbrook, Member of Parliament for South Ribble, would like your nominations for the best South Asian restaurant in the South Ribble Constituency.   The annual Tiffin Cup competition celebrates the best of South Asian cuisine in the country.  And Lorraine wants South Ribble residents to help promote their favourite local Indian, Bangladeshi, Maldivian, Iranian, Nepalese, or Sri Lankan place to eat by voting in the competition.   Lorraine will choose the South Asian restaurant in South Ribble, which receives the most votes from local residents, as the nomination for this year’s competition.

The top ten entrants from across the country will be invited to Parliament for a cook-off, and all proceeds will be donated to World Vision, an international relief charity.

Please submit your nomination by 5:00 pm on Friday 30th March 2012. You can vote by emailing or via Lorraine’s website,

Lorraine said: “The Tiffin Cup is a great way to celebrate the best of South Asian Cuisine and support local businesses”

“It would be great to get a finalist cooking in Westminster from South Ribble so please help support local businesses with your vote!”

13th March 2012
Northern Parishes Family and Community Network
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on Facebook 

Following the success of the activity days held during the summer holidays of 2011 in conjunction with the local parents, the Children's Centre and Hesketh Bank Christian Centre, we are looking to develop a community network which will organise and raise funds for holiday activities across our local villages.

Initially the plan is to provide holiday activities for families with primary aged children. These events will be available for families living in Rufford, Holmeswood, Mere Brow Banks, Hesketh Bank and Tarleton and we hope to deliver activities in local venues. We hope to develop this work to provide services for local children and families.

If you are interested in being part of this network then we will be holding an Inaugural General Meeting on Monday 26th March at 10am in the Hesketh Bank Children's Centre, Shore Road Hesketh Bank PR4 6AA

At this event there will be an election by ballot of officers for the post of Chair person Secretary and Treasurer. Nominations forms are available at Hesketh Bank Children's Centre.

If you would like more information then please contact Anne Cookson on 01772 815021 or 01704 896424 or email

Click here for more local events and activities

12th March 2012
WLBC CONCERNS Leisure Lakes licensing plans
Source: Formby Times

LICENSING officers at West Lancashire Council believe controversial plans for live entertainment at Leisure Lakes should be refused.

Frederick Jorden, who runs bars at the Mere Brow site, has applied for licence to host live music performances and sell alcohol at them between 11am and midnight. The licence also covers recorded music and dance performances.

Wednesday’s licensing sub-committee meeting will decided whether the licence should be granted.

Click here to read the full Formby Times Article

10th March 2012
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on Facebook

As part of the programme to bring next-generation broadband technology to at least ninety percent of the UK by the year 2015, plans have now been drawn up for the Hesketh Bank exchange to be upgraded later this year.

The new service is already available in Ashton-on-Ribble, Broughton, Chorley, Fulwood, Leyland, Longton, Penwortham, Rossendale, Skelmersdale and Upholland.

10th February 2012
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on Facebook

Lorraine Fullbrook, Member of Parliament for South Ribble, has joined over 100 Parliamentary colleagues in signing an open letter to the Prime Minister urging a reduction in the amount of subsidy given to onshore wind power.

The joint letter also asks for amendments to be made to the National Planning Policy Framework to help protect the rural landscape and heritage sites across the country.

In the letter, Lorraine along with the other MPs are asking for the Planning Inspectorate to be told that these factors, as well as the views of local residents, are given more weight in planning decisions.

Lorraine recently helped local residents in their successful fight against wind turbines being built on green belt land between Little Hoole and Midge Hall. Lorraine’s efforts with the ‘Protect Little Hoole’ residents group resulted in the planning application being withdrawn.

Lorraine said: “I am delighted to have helped the local residents and to have added my name to this campaign. I’m keen to see the amount of money available in subsidy for onshore wind reduced, and spread equally across other renewable energy types.”

“Recent wind turbine applications in our local area, such as in Little Hoole, have received a very hostile response from local residents and I believe that it is important that the new planning regime ensures that local people’s views are taken fully into account.”

27th January 2012
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on Facebook

Clarke & Pulman Fendt Dealers, BurscoughLocal Plant Hire & Contractor Paul Taylor has been challenged to drive a new tractor from the Fendt Factory in Germany to Derian House Children's Hospice on a single tank full of diesel.

The challenge was set by Burscough Fendt dealer Clarke & Pulman and it is hoped that the event will raise a massive £7,000 for the Derian House Wish List which is used to buy much needed items that help make a difference to the lives of the children at Derian.

Paul will begin the 1437km tractor trek on the 14th April, leaving Marktoberdorg, Germany on a brand new Fendt 700 Vario Tractor worth £175,000 and will hopefully complete the challenge the following day by arriving at Derian House Children's Hospice, Chorley at around 2.00pm.

Sponsors are urgently required (just £100 will get a sticker on the tractor) and a Just Giving account has been set up to receive donations.

For more information and updates see

22nd January 2011
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on Facebook

Cuadrilla have just installed a network of 21 'GasClams' to monitor their current exploration sites and are the world’s first company to use it as part automated early warning system.

If the instrument detects an increase in gas concentrations it automatically alerts an engineer allowing a rapid response.

The monitoring device will collect background gas levels and compare them between before, during and after our operations, according to Mark Miller, CEO of Cuadrilla.

Mr Miller anticipates that the data from the monitoring equipment will be made available to local communities via the Cuadrilla website.

GasClam was developed by Salamander, a University of Manchester spin out company and is a previous winner of the North West Innovation Environment Technology prize.

Dr Pete Morris, from Ion Science, the global distributor of the technology, said: “As gas occurs naturally from a range of sources, GasClam will provide reliable information to Cuadrilla and the surrounding community to show the level of gas and its origin.”

17th January 2012
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on Facebook

In Lancashire, the numbers of house fires and injuries from fires are at their lowest recorded levels ever. Despite this, six people have tragically died in their homes over the last month. As part of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service's response, the Service will hold a high profile Smoke Alarm Fire Education Roadshow (SAFER) at every Fire Station in Lancashire on Saturday 21st January 2012 between 11am and 5pm.

The campaign will see all fire stations open to the public who are invited to come along to collect a free 10 year smoke alarm and fire safety guidance, as well as having the opportunity to book a free Home Fire Safety Check.

Whilst the smoke alarms are being distributed, firefighters and community fire safety will be demonstrating how to install and clean the alarms. The videos will be placed on social networking sites, such as YouTube and the Service's new Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Many fire related deaths are caused by people being overcome by smoke and fumes, not just burns. Therefore, a working smoke alarm is essential. It provides vital early warning and extra time to escape if there is a fire. Every home should have at least one working smoke alarm.

When a smoke alarm has been fitted it is vital that it is regularly tested to ensure it works properly at least once a week using the test button. Every six months, the alarms need to be cleaned by opening the case and gently vacuuming the inside to remove dust from the sensor. If the smoke alarm doesn't open, vacuum through the holes.

Peter Holland, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service's Chief Fire Officer says; "Every single member of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service is devastated about the loss of life in recent weeks, especially when it is so needless. We are urging everybody to get a working smoke alarm and test it every week."

"This Saturday every available member of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service will be on the streets making sure everyone gets the message; Get a working smoke alarm and test it."

"If you can not attend any of the fire stations on Saturday and you still wish to get a free smoke alarm, call us on 0800 1691125 or visit our website to book a free Home Fire Safety Check."

11th January 2012
Source: Ellesmere Port Pioneer

TWO men have appeared in court charged with conspiracy to steal three tankers worth more than £300,000 from an Ellesmere Port industrial estate.

Timothy Edwards, 53, of the Marshes, Tarleton, Lancashire, and John Downes, 23, of Moss Lane, Lydiate, Liverpool, appeared before magistrates in Chester on Wednesday, January 4.

The men were arrested last May after three Scania articulated tanker lorries were taken from an industrial unit on North Road, Ellesmere Port.

The vehicles were stolen between 6.15pm on Tuesday, May 3, and 1.45am on Wednesday, May 4. Each was loaded with £45,000 worth of diesel, bound for various locations throughout the UK. Two of the tankers – minus their tractor units – were recovered by police the following morning at Mere Brow.

Enquiries by officers from Ellesmere Port CID subsequently led to the recovery of the three tractor units and third tanker in Skelmersdale, Warrington and Widnes.

All the vehicles have been returned to their owners.

Edwards and Downes will appear in Chester Crown Court on January 30.

5th January 2012
Source: West Lancashire Borough Council

The West Lancashire Local Plan Preferred Options Paper will be available for consultation from Thursday 5th January to Friday 17th February 2012.  

The West Lancashire Local Plan takes over from the Local Development Framework, and will eventually replace the current Replacement Local Plan as the planning framework for the Borough.  This change-over is reflective of national guidance to try and make the planning process easier for people to understand and get involved with.  As well as the planning policies, the Local Plan now also contains information about the specific sites we will allocate for future development, and new policies that will be used to help make decisions on planning applications.  All these policies and proposals are set out in the Local Plan Preferred Options paper.

The Preferred Options Paper sets out the policies that will guide development until 2027 and covers important topics such as housing, employment, transport, local services, Gypsy and Traveller sites and Edge Hill University.  The Local Plan also sets out the preferred option for Green Belt release in Burscough, with some additional Green Belt release in the north of Ormskirk.  Further sites of Green Belt will also be released but safeguarded from development unless a ‘Plan B scenario’ dictates they should be used to help meet Borough targets.

The Preferred Options Paper and accompanying documents will be available from 5th January in local libraries, Post Offices, the Council offices ( 52 Derby St , Ormskirk and the Contact Centre in the Concourse, Skelmersdale) and on the Council’s website (  The Champion papers’ cover pages will explain the proposed policies and plans and how to comment on them. Homes in rural areas that do not receive the Champion should receive their information through the post.  We are also holding a number of events including drop-in exhibitions and evening forums to which we would like you to attend.  Details of times and venues for these events are given below.  Places for the evening forums must be booked. You can also receive updates and news on our consultation events by joining our Facebook page – “Your West Lancashire 2027”.

The Borough Council would welcome your comments on the content and nature of the Preferred Options paper.  Comments can be made on the Preferred Options Paper, and accompanying documents such as the Sustainability Appraisal, via the Borough Council website at Comments must be received by 5pm on Friday 17th February 2012.

If you have anything to report in or around Mere Brow & Holmeswood let us know.
Please email us with your news, events or articles.


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