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Monday, May 16, 2016

Council statement re Channel Four programme All Man featuring artist Grayson Perry

West Lancashire Borough Council has moved swiftly to back the town of Skelmersdale and its people after the broadcast of a recent television programme.

Skelmersdale is a great place to do business; with its fantastic connectivity and high quality green business environment, the town is home to a growing number of high performing UK and international businesses which are committed to, and passionate about Skelmersdale.

25% of all West Lancashire’s businesses are based in Skelmersdale and include well-known names such as Hotter Comfort Concept shoes, PepsiCo Walkers, SCA Hygiene and DHL. An increasing number of smaller entrepreneurial businesses are also choosing Skelmersdale as a business base, and overall the town supports 43% of all jobs in West Lancashire making it a major economic driver. The town’s industrial areas are booming and most premises are full which demonstrates that Skelmersdale is a great place to do business.

The Council would like to point out that the vast majority of Skelmersdale people are hardworking and proud to live in their town. Each area within Skelmersdale has a thriving community spirit as shown by the success of local community organisations and community events organised by the Council and its partners.

The Council is committed to ensuring the long-term success of Skelmersdale as a place to do business and is currently embarking on a high-profile project to create a strong brand for the town. Together with members of the business community and other key partners, a significant amount of work is being done to help shape a successful and prosperous future for Skelmersdale.

Young people across the town are involved in many positive activities through a number of organisations and venues including Skelmersdale Action for Youth, the Artz Centre in Skelmersdale, uniformed groups and the £2 million West Lancashire Youth Zone.

The Council, Lancashire Police and other members of the West Lancashire Community Safety Partnership have a track record of successfully working together to tackle crime and community safety issues in Skelmersdale and across the borough.  Operation Nemesis which was featured in the programme successfully seized more than £1.9 million worth of drugs and resulted in more than 390 arrests across Lancashire Police’s South Division, which includes Preston and West Lancashire.

In terms of prevention a new film warning young people about the dangers of getting involved in gang culture was recently commissioned by the partnership and will be shown in schools across the borough. The film aims to ensure teenagers and even younger children are more informed on this subject and to deter them away from becoming involved in organised crime.

The partnership also helps to provide activities for young people, including around Mischief Night in October, Halloween and Bonfire Night. These activities provide more positive activities for young people to discourage them from getting involved in anti-social behaviour. The Community Safety Partnership is working with Wigan Athletic Community to organise Football 4 All sessions which are currently being run at Glenburn Sports College for young people aged between 12 and 19. These new evenings are an extension of the Kicks Soccer Project where more than 100 children aged between eight and 17 regularly enjoy football activities with coaches from Wigan Athletic Community Trust at Skelmersdale Fire Station and the Evermoor Hub.

The Community Safety Partnership organises Community action days which aim to improve working relationships between local groups, the voluntary sector and statutory agencies, as well as increase community confidence and reduce the fear of crime. These events are a great success, proving that community spirit is alive and well in Skelmersdale.

The Community Safety Partnership is grateful to the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for funding a number of these projects.

Councillor Ian Moran, Leader of West Lancashire Borough Council, said: “The programme doesn’t paint an accurate picture of Skelmersdale as whole. I live in Skelmersdale and I am proud to come from the town. I would have hoped that the programme could have shown many of the more positive aspects of the town, including the great community spirit there and the large number of schemes and activities set up for young people. Skelmersdale is also a great place to do business.”

One of the priorities in the recently adopted Council Plan for 2015-18 is to retain and grow jobs, increase skill levels and encourage business and wealth creation. 

The Council is working with businesses and partners to provide land, premises and finance, match training opportunities to skill needs, and to improve transport.  The recently adopted Economic Development Strategy concentrates on priorities for driving the borough’s economy forward for the next 10 years and contains numerous actions to do this, which are already starting to be implemented.

In particular the Council is working with private and public sector partners on the Skelmersdale town centre regeneration project. This will create a new high street in the town, bring a new cinema and leisure and retail facilities and create up to 500 new jobs.

The Council is currently in the latter stages of its record £65 million investment in its housing stock, the majority of which is being spent in Skelmersdale. This investment will benefit thousands of tenants and their families for many years to come. The Council is in the process of transforming the Firbeck Estate as part of the Council’s Revival Scheme which includes 42 new homes in Firbeck as part of our £8M investment.

The Council is also working with the HCA on developing land at Whalleys for high quality housing which will deliver monies to be invested in the further regeneration of the Town.

Skelmersdale has some excellent leisure facilities and over the last few years the Council has made a number of improvements to Stanley Coronation Park, and Beacon Country Park which is a Green Flag Award winning park. Works on other exciting parks and leisure projects include a new cycle route through Skelmersdale’s Tawd Valley Park.

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