Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Aughton Annual Parish Assembly Photos & Report 14th May 2012

Aughton Annual Parish Assembly 14th May 2012. The parish councillors gathered tonight at the Aughton Village Hall, may have been surprised, when they arrived for the annual parish assembly, to see so many middle aged male residents crowding the entrance hall.  However, this eager group was actually the Aughton Male Voice Choir attending a rehearsal and not a flash mob hitting the parish council meeting.

Created with flickr slideshow.

In fact, when everyone was seated, it turned out that only two Aughton village parishioners were in attendance.

I don't know why this was the case, but the Chairman of Aughton Parish Council, was certainly apologetic to the invited guest speakers and also a little embarrassed at the sparsity of local residents.

At a time of cuts to local services, such meetings are an opportunity for the people to hold local politicians and decision makers to account for the decisions they make on one hand and to inform them about our needs and priorities on the other.

If Aughton Parishioners had turned up they would have had the opportunity to meet and ask questions of their new local beat policeman - Police Constable Ivan Leivers.  His boss Chief Inspector Kevin Boyce, sat next to him, could have been quizzed on local policing strategy.  

Aughton Parish Councillor Mrs Una Atherley and Chief Inspector Kevin Boyce
Aughton Parish Councillor Mrs Una Atherley and Chief Inspector Kevin Boyce

One of the two local parishioners, an 86 year old sprightly chap, did in fact ask a question; he complained, rightly so, about his inability to take his wife out in her wheelchair.  Inconsiderate drivers were parking on the pavement, forcing he and his wife to walk on the road and he asked what were the Police going to do about it.

An elderly Aughton resident asking a question of local police at the Parish Council Meeting
An elderly Aughton resident asking a question of local police at the Parish Council Meeting

Although this might seem a minor issue, this is what local policing is typically about; not all anti-social behaviour is by drunken louts.  The elderly can feel unable to participate in the community due to fears about their safety.  These fears real, imagined or exaggerated can partly be addressed by the intervention of the "local bobby on the beat".  He or she can listen to these fears and provide reassurance by taking prompt action to address the problems.  PC Leivers had recently dealt with a similar problem at the local school; several inconsiderate parents parking irresponsibly had received parking tickets.

Perhaps the biggest issue concerning the community is health.  It's not often you get the opportunity to quiz the chief executive of an organisation, with a budget of £184m and employer of 3,300 local people.  Jonathan Parry, Chief Executive of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust - came to the parish meeting and gave a presentation on the future of healthcare in the area.  A couple of questions were asked, but this was a missed opportunity to inform this health boss about the priorities and concerns of local residents.  Reading survey results is one thing, but getting quizzed face-to-face by your "customers" is something entirely more tangible and perhaps more effective for all concerned.

If you want to find out about future Aughton Parish Council Meetings, you can contact the Parish Clerk, Mrs I Roberts.

To find out information about policing in your area visit the Lancashire Police - My Area website and enter your post code for localised information.

Do you have some community news from around the Ormskirk area to share or a story to tell? Yes!

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