Monday, December 13, 2021

The Leader of West Lancashire Borough Council’s Christmas and New Year message

Councillor Ian Moran, Leader of West Lancashire Borough Council, said:

“Being at the sharp end of the ongoing pandemic has made 2021 one of the most challenging years yet for the Council. We have risen to that challenge and continued to provide the people of West Lancashire with the service they deserve wherever possible. Council staff have worked incredibly hard towards this end and I extend my sincere thanks to them.

"Volunteers, community groups and partners have also travelled with us on our journey through the pandemic, providing help for those in need and keeping our communities safe. I would particularly like to give special mention to two projects I have been personally involved with – a big thank you to Margaret Highton and her team at the Evermoor Hub and Stella Connell and her team at the Birchwood Centre for their hard work and tireless commitment. The generosity of spirit within our communities is incredible and something of which I am very proud.

"We have also seen our communities become more empowered. Banks Leisure Centre is now operated by the local community following a successful asset transfer and will be run by the community, for the community as a hub for local residents. I congratulate them and wish them every success.

"At this time of year, our thoughts automatically look towards the future. We have seen real and tangible progress on our major development and regeneration projects. Following significant financial investment, the Skelmersdale Town Centre plan is now well on its way to providing the people of West Lancashire with a fantastic shopping and leisure experience from spring 2022. Tawd Valley Developments, our house building company, is also now delivering new, quality council homes for residents that will help alleviate the current housing crisis, and an ongoing refurbishment programme is upgrading our current housing stock.

"These initiatives and ongoing improvements to Ormskirk town centre, will further secure a prosperous future for the Borough, providing employment opportunities in the area, but also better transport links so that residents can take advantage of the jobs market in the wider area more easily. As a council, we are committed to making the Borough the place to live, work and do business, and we are delivering on that promise. The news of a proposed rail link for Skelmersdale will further support our work.

"With COP26 still visible in our rear-view mirror, the Council's journey towards carbon-neutrality by 2030 is ever-more urgent. The measures we have already taken include investing in new more energy-efficient refuse collection vehicles which are helping us explore the viability of new ways of operating in a cleaner, greener way. We have also created 32 new electric vehicle charging points in the Borough that will improve our air quality as well as our carbon footprint and all sites within the West Lancashire Borough Council portfolio are now supplied by a 100% renewable electricity tariff.  We have also invested in better green infrastructure, improving paths and cycleways to encourage people to leave their cars behind.

"But we don’t want to just follow what others are doing, we want to lead by example and that's why our wholly-owned development company Tawd Valley Developments recently hosted a virtual Low Carbon Homes conference to open up the conversation with industry experts about how we can develop new techniques and approaches to the greener homes our future residents, and planet, need.

"The next twelve months will undoubtedly bring challenges, but seeing the incredible way in which our communities have come together to support each other and the many exciting opportunities on the horizon, I am in no doubt that we will not only overcome these challenges, but we will move towards an ever-brighter future. Residents can count on us as a council to continue to serve them in the very best way we can.

"I would like to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year."