Councillor Ian Moran, Leader of West Lancashire Borough Council, would like to wish everyone a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.
He added: "As Christmas is almost upon us I would ask people in West Lancashire to remember that while this is a joyful time for many, we should all spare a thought for those who may need a helping hand over the festive period.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Council staff for their hard work over the last 12 months. Our employees are among our greatest assets and they deserve praise for the commitment they show to working for the people of West Lancashire.
"I would also like to praise the work of people in voluntary sector organisations who give up their time to help others in the local community, some of whom can be very vulnerable.
"The authority adopted a new Council Plan earlier this year and this exciting document proves there are exciting times ahead for the whole borough.
"The Council is ambitious to ensure the conditions are in place for the people of West Lancashire to live healthy and fulfilling lives. Our Health and Wellbeing Strategy has been officially launched and staff involved in the strategy are working with partners to tackle the health inequalities that exist across the borough.
"Another important initiative showing the Council's ambitions around health is our proposal to have new health and well-being centres in Ormskirk and Skelmersdale. We are hoping to go out to consultation on this earlier in the new year.
"West Lancashire Borough Council is ambitious for the economy. Progress is being made on the exciting project to create a new Skelmersdale town centre. The Council is working well with St. Modwen and Homes England on this hugely important regeneration project which will benefit not only the people of Skelmersdale but the whole of West Lancashire. We are looking forward to building work starting on site in 2019.
The Council's is also working with businesses and communities across the borough to promote and enhance West Lancashire, including through the Ormskirk Town Centre Management Group, the Skelmersdale Place Board and the Skelmersdale Ambassadors. More than 100 businesses have attended Ambassadors events.
"As well as the new town centre project for Skelmersdale the Council is leading a fabulous scheme on Skelmersdale's green oasis, Tawd Valley Park, which shows one of the authority's other key priorities which is to be ambitious for the environment. A number of partners are involved in this scheme, including Groundwork and West Lancs CVS, and work is progressing on the Masterplan, with a community orchard being planted and excavation works starting on the new fishing pond.
“In 2019 the Council will face financial challenges, like many other local authorities across the UK. The Council manages its budgets effectively to ensure the authority provides excellent value for money, and in previous years we have made savings while minimising any effects on services, but now these options are more difficult to find.
“But overall the future looks very bright right across the Borough. The Council will continue to be ambitious for the borough, ambitious for its people, businesses and places and continue to strive towards achieving the goals in the Council Plan as it aims to make West Lancashire an even better place to live, work and do business."