Every year that passes seems to generate as many if not more issues which affect the well being of the residents of Thornton and therefore TAG. Some of these concerns go back a long way with few or no improvements being achieved. Others spring up with little warning and need immediate attention.
In 2011 we saw the consultation process by Halite stretch across the whole year, ending with the formal application to the IPC at the end of November. TAG as a member of PWG has been fully involved in this process.
The proposal in January by Wyre to surrender the lease of Marsh Mill, led to TAG’s involvement with the North West Mills’ Group to alert the Council as to the deteriorating state of the Mill and the need to act quickly to make repairs taking account of the 2* listing of the building.
Through the Wyre Strategic Partnership, money was made available for additional litter bins at strategic locations in Thornton chosen by TAG members. The Forums were abruptly terminated in the Spring although some elements of the Wyre Strategic Partnership continue. The Stronger Communities Theme Group also ceased to exist. The community groups are now part of Wyre Together and still a part of the WSP. A big thank you to Jenie as Chair of the Theme Group and now Wyre Together for making sure TAG views are known on Wyre Council.
Hawthorne Park started as an idea which came from TAG. In the Spring, the superb mural depicting scenes from across Thornton was painted on the concrete walls on either side of the Park entrance. In co-operation with Wyre Council, the Park was awarded the covetous Green Flag Award in August. A big thank you to the Trustees for 8 years of hard work which is still ongoing.
We are pleased that Wyre has listened to TAG concerning the amount of recreational space for children and teenagers in Thornton by providing activities at Stanah Country park and the small play area by the Medical Centre although there are evident problems of drainage here.
TAG keeps a record of flooding in Thornton and I am pleased to say that nothing was reported in 2011. We did support residents on Fleetwood Road North in opposing the Tesco Express development at Marsh Mill. Our concern was specifically on the danger of flooding from Royle’s Brook. The development went ahead – raised well above the level of the car park and the adjacent residential properties.
The developments in North Thornton approved under the Area Action Plan are going ahead – Hawley Gardens (800 houses in total) on the PS1 site but no start has been made on the shopping centre on Fleetwood Road North. Just recently approval was given to the Nursing Home adjacent (but no new medical centre).
All this development is proceeding without any of the proposed improvements to the junctions on the A 585. The Highways Agency seems to have forgotten about the Route Management Plan (2005) and intends to start with the Norcross roundabout although the most recent scheme does not involve traffic lights nor the diversion of traffic down Skippool Road.
The Christmas Lights shone again in Thornton for the 6th consecutive year – in the trees at the Shopping Centre, outside the Little Theatre and by the Medical Centre. A big thanks to the sub-committee who helped plan the lights and the switch on, to the Primary schools of Thornton and to everyone who helped to collect and gave money.
And also thank you to Mellonie Thomas for once again raising the profile of Thornton in Britain in Bloom North West and gaining a silver-gilt.
I am deeply indebted for the support I have received this year from our Vice-Chair Mona Whelan, our Secretary Peter Tarrant and our Treasurer Henry Bee.
As I indicated at last year’s AGM, I am standing down as Chair of TAG, having held that position now for 10 years. We began as a small group of 6 or 8 people who came forward as a result of a meeting in December 2000 called by our MP. We arranged to meet the Chief Executive and the Chief Planner of Wyre to find answers to the questions raised at the meeting and in the Spring 2001 we reported back to the residents who filled the Lecture Hall. TAG was born.
Over the ten years of its existence TAG has achieved and continues to achieve its objectives – to find out what is happening or being planned in Thornton, to inform residents, to find out what the residents think about the changes and to communicate these opinions to the Councils (Wyre and Lancashire) – members and officials – and to the Statutory Bodies.
In these 10 years TAG has successfully opposed at Public Inquiry the development of 550 houses on Poolfoot Farm green space and been a vital and active part of PWG opposition to the Canatxx proposals for gas storage. At the Public Hearing into the Area Action Plan, TAG presented a very well argued case which persuaded the Inspector to modify the proposals. TAG has spawned the Hawthorne Park Trust and the Farmers’ Market and been vigorous in its call for improvements to the A 585 and for calming measures for Thornton streets. TAG participated in 2 Clean Sweeps in Thornton, identifying locations of poor road surfaces and dangerous pavements, areas of graffiti and fly tipping. All this led to the award of Best Community Group in Wyre 2010, a trophy which we still hold.
I would pay a tribute to TAG members who have held office during this time. To Jim Stansfield our first Secretary who later became Vice-Chair, to Don Tempest and then Irene Horner who took over from Jim, to Keith Lester our first Treasurer and to Henry Bee who took over 6 years ago and is now stepping down.
I believe this is an appropriate time for me to be handing over the reins. Halite has just published its final proposals and we have only a short time to study these documents and to write a detailed response in opposition. At the same time we have to make residents aware and encourage 10,000 to write in opposition to the proposal just as they did to the previous three. I would seek your approval to continue to act as the TAG representative on the PWG. If I am to do this it will be extremely time consuming and leave no time for me to be involved in any other issue which concerns TAG – notably the Core Strategy which will have to be analysed and commented on.
Also the recent proposals from Wyre Council for Community Engagement in response to the Localism Bill, mean that TAG should consider operating in a new way whilst still keeping the objectives set out 10 years ago. It needs new people to direct this operation in order for TAG to adapt to changing circumstances and still be a force to be reckoned with 10 years from now.
I would thank everyone – past and present members of TAG who have given me such wonderful support over these 10 years. I shall not cease to work for TAG in trying to make Thornton an even better place in which to live.
Howard Phillips January 10th 2012