2019 Parish Council elections in Sefton Borough – Some interesting situations

I’m a bit of a parish council nut as I’ve been a parish councillor since 1985 and always seek out quirky things on the notice boards of parish councils when I travel around England.

This year was the year in which all parish councils were potentially up for re-election. Unlike most district and Borough councils (who tend to elected in thirds) parish councils are elected once every 4 years when the whole of the council is potentially at the mercy of the electorate. Some parish councils however never really have elections as only enough or too few nominations are forthcoming and candidates are elected unopposed.

There are 10 parish councils within Sefton Borough – they are:-

Little Altcar PC – had an election
Formby PC – had an election
Ince Blundell PC – no election
Thornton PC – no election
Hightown PC – no election
Sefton PC – had an election in one of its 2 wards
Melling PC – had an election
Lydiate PC – had an election in all 3 wards
Maghull TC* – had an election but only in one of its 4 wards
Aintree Village PC – no election

* There is no real difference between a Parish or Town Council other than a Town Council can elect a Mayor instead of a Chairperson

Here are a few highlights from the elections which took place on 2nd May at the same time as the Sefton Borough elections

Little Altcar Parish Council (7 seats) – Formby Residents Action Group 6, Green Party 1

Formby Parish Council (15 seats across 2 wards) – Formby Residents Action Group 11, Conservatives 3, Labour 1

Ince Blundell Parish Council (5 seats) – Only 3 nominations for the 5 seats on this council – Independents 2, Formby Residents Action Group 1 (all elected unopposed), vacancies 2.

Thornton Parish Council (7 seats) – Only 2 nominations for the 7 seats on this council – Conservative 1, Green 1 (both elected unopposed), vacancies 5 * – potentially the additional 5 seat can be filled by the 2 unopposed/elected councillors co-opting up to another 5 councillors? Could be time to consult the Bible of Parish Council administration by Charles Arnold-Baker.

Hightown Parish Council (7 seats) – Only 5 nominations for the 7 seats on this council – Independents 5 (all elected unopposed) Vacancies 2.

Sefton Parish Council (7 seats across 2 wards) – Independents 6, Green Party 1

Melling Parish Council (11 seats) – Melling Resident 8, Labour 1, Independent 1, Asst Leader Cub Scouts 1 – Labour put up 12 candidates for the 11 seats but only got one elected. However, a Labour Borough Councillor for Molyneux ward (which includes Melling Parish) stood as a Melling Resident and came top of the poll.

Lydiate Parish Council (9 seats in 3 wards) – Labour 7, Lib Dem 2

Maghull Town Council (16 seats in 4 wards) – Labour 12, Conservative 2, Independent 1, Vacancy 1 – Labour effectively lost 4 seats having previously held all 16 on this council. It seems that a candidate elected under the Labour banner subsequently declared as an Independent after the elections. It also looks like a Labour member of this council sits on Melling Parish Council as well but as a Melling Resident not as a Labour councillor.

Aintree Village Parish Council – (12 seats across 2 wards) – Independent 8, Green 2, Labour 2 (all elected unopposed)

My thanks to Andrew Blackburn who helped me trawl through information on Sefton Council’s and other websites to pull together this information. I hope the information is correct but if you see an error please flag it up so that I can correct it.

Oh and one final note – Vacancies on Parish/Town Council can be filled by an election being held, however, if no candidates come forward to stand in an election then the council has the power to co-opt people to fill the vacancies.

Formby/Little Altcar – Their Neighbourhood Plan Proposals

A Red Squirrel - What could be more symbolic of Formby and Little Altcar

A Red Squirrel – What could be more symbolic of Formby and Little Altcar

Being involved with the Lydiate Neighbourhood Plan, although still reasonably sceptical of the limited scope of Neighbourhood Planning generally, I thought looking at a plan that was at a pretty advanced stage from a local perspective would be useful. Here’s a link to the joint Neighbourhood Plan of Formby and Little Altcar Parish Councils:-

www.formbyparishcouncil.org.uk/images/Development_Plan_-website.pdf

I have always looked upon the Neighborhood Planning process in a similar way to how I look at the Merseyside Devolution Deal – They are both too subservient to powers and plans above them in the democratic hierarchy. In other words they are hand me downs giving the feeling of more local control when in fact the additional local control is actually quite negligible.

A protest placard demanding that Sefton Council takes notice of Formby views.

A protest placard demanding that Sefton Council takes notice of Formby views.

In Sefton I have often said that the Labour-run Borough Council has promoted them more as an apology for it allocating acre upon acre of high grade agricultural land and Green Belt for building development. You may also recall that at one point Labour sources locally seemed to be trying to put out the message that a Neighbourhood Plan could restrict the development on Green Belt! I right old made up story if I ever heard one.

Anyway that’s off my chest again so back to the Neighbourhood Plans that are being put together locally. Formby and Little Altcar seem to have tried very hard to make a successful and influential Plan but it still has to go via a Planning Inspector and a referendum of electors in those two Civil Parishes.

The section of the Formby Plan copied below struck me as I know only too well how flooding concerns in that community are significant and how there is a great concern that proposed developments may well inadequately tackle what is in reality a Countrywide concern:-

Producing this Plan has been extremely difficult taking into account the various constraints on the land and concerns of local people.
Unfortunately, the planning system, in its current form, is unable to take an holistic approach when addressing flooding and flood risk to the
community. As this plan has not allocated any land but works with land already allocated via the emerging Sefton Local Plan, we reserve our
right to object to any application that does not demonstrate that it has fully addressed the flooding issues. The evidence base and flood
management section of this Plan demonstrates beyond any doubt that the community is determined to do something meaningful with
regards to addressing the very real ongoing risk of flooding in Formby.

I will post about Lydiate’s progress along the Neighbourhood Plan route in the not too distant future.