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SKELMERSDALECELEBRATINGCOULSON FLOORING25 YEARSBEST PRICE , BEST QUALITY , GUARANTEED • CARPETS • VINYL • LAMINATE FLOORING OVER 20 YEARS EXPERIENCE DOMESTIC & COMMERCIAL0151 924 4710 • 07919 531 658 171 COLLEGE ROAD, CROSBY, L23 7TZ Open Mon - Sat 9.30am - 5.30pm14 August 2019Vol 26  Issue 33Animal therapy centre to open in town Report by Kenny Parker A COMPANY which uses animals to provide therapy for people with various mental health issues and disabilities is to set up its base in Skelmersdale . Home Safari has provided Animal Assisted Therapy to the NHS and private healthcare providers for the last ten years. It is now locating at Peel House Commercial Hub, Peel Road, and will hold an open day on Saturday, August 17, giving the public a chance to meet the animals. Using a variety of animals from dogs and rabbits to skunks and lizards, the therapy is said to be beneficial for people diagnosed with learning disabilities, post-traumatic stress disorder, mental health issues, autism, dementia and behavioural problems. The new Home Safari hub can be accessed privately, self-funded or via the social prescription service through a GP. Along with pet therapy sessions it will also provide arts and crafts activities. Continued insideSteve Mannion.www.champnews.comASBESTOS FIND BRINGS SITE WORK TO A HALT Report by Henry James A HOUSING developer has been forced to pause construction on a new 72 homes site at the former Skelmersdale Sports Centre on Digmoor Road following asbestos concerns. Residents feared there may be asbestos contamination on the site and contacted MP Rosie Cooper, who immediately contacted the council. The site, which has been empty since 2013 following the closure of the sports centre and subsequent fire and demolition, has since been purchased by the property developer Gleeson Homes. Gleeson were successful in securing planning permission from West Lancashire Borough Council, which included a financial benefit to the council of over half a million pounds through the New Homes Bonus. However, having set up an on-site cabin and appearing to have begun initial remedial works, the cabin was suddenly removed, and workmen cleared from the site. MP Cooper told the Champion: “Local residents approached me afterNew homes developer removes workmen from former Digmoor Sports Centre land amid concerns over contaminationThe site of the Gleeson Homes developmentthe workers and the on-site cabin had gone, with some saying it was due to the discovery of asbestos on the site. “I immediately contacted West Lancashire Borough Council’ Planning Department to find out what washappening to the site and if there were any health or safety concerns for local residents, many who use the open area as a short cut, to walk their dogs or for children to play. Continued insideINSIDE THIS WEEK...More stop and search powers for policeRosie’s rail plea to Boris CROSSWORD See Page 32SKEM EXPRESS CARS01695 50005 • 01695 722551 the App Store and search DOWNLOAD OUR NEW APP Go to 'Skem Express Cars'Download • Register • Book / Or Pre-book in Advance • Track... It's that easy and takes less than 30 seconds!THE UK’S LARGEST LETTERBOX CIRCULATION BY AN INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER! 164,579CHAMPION SERIESJAN-DEC 2018 100% FREEThe Champion  Wednesday 14 August 20192  Visit us @ www.ChampNews.comPolice boost one: Officers given extra stop and search powers Report by Henry James LANCASHIRE Police have been given enhanced stop and search powers, as part of government efforts to crackdown on violent crime. The Home Office is making it simpler for all forces in England and Wales to use Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, which empowers officers to stop and search anyone in a designated area without needing reasonable grounds for suspicion if serious viol-ence is anticipated. The nationwide pilot has been extended from a smaller pilot within the seven forces worst affected by knife crime (the West Midlands, London, South Yorkshire, Merseyside, South Wales, West Yorkshire, and Greater Manchester), following an urgent review commissioned by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “We are experiencing a knife crime epidemic and I am determined to put a stop to it. “Police chiefs are clear - stop and search is a vital tool in combatting the scourge of serious violence and keeping people safe.Police have been given extra stop and search powers“I am giving them my full support and more police authority to approve stop and search to halt this terrible crime in its tracks.” The rollout will see the Home Secretary lift all conditions in the voluntary Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme over the use of Section 60 by reducing the level of authorisation needed for officers to deploy and extend Section 60 from senior officers to inspectors and superintendents It will also lower the degree of certainty required by the authorising officer so they must reasonably believe an incident involving serious violence ‘may ’, rather than ‘will’, occur. Furthermore, it will extend the initial period a Section 60 can be in force from 15 hours to 24, and extending the overall period an extension can be in place from 39 to 48 hours Last year almost 7,000 arrests for offensive weapons and 900 arrests for firearms were made following a stop and search. National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Stop and Search, Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock, said: “The extension of this pilot to all 43 police forces, and British Transport Police across the rail network, will help to reduce bureaucracy and allow officers to use Section 60 controls much faster when it is clear it is in the public interest to do so.”Police boost two: £3m fund to tackle knife crime and serious violence LANCASHIRE’S Police and Crime Commissioner has secured almost £3million in government funding to help tackle and prevent knife crime and serious violence across the county. Lancashire is one of 18 areas across the country to be allocated funding, with £1.82m from the Knife Crime Fund and £1.16m for the setting up and running of a Violence Reduction Unit (VRU). Lancashire's proposals have now been signed off by the Home Office and funding is already being actioned resulting in a 146% increase in stop search activity across the force last month, with 679 stop searches in July 2019 compared with 276 in July 2018. The money will be used to fund extra police patrols in areas affected by knife crime and crime prevention initiatives including knife surrenders and work with schools, colleges and other partner agencies. Additional knife wands and bins are also being purchased and new youth zone buses will be operational in every division, offering engagement and diversionary activities. Chief Supt Sue Clarke from Lancashire Police, said: “We are committed to keeping our communities safe so we welcome this extra funding to help us tackle violent crime. “We’ve already stepped up patrols in key areas increasingly using powers like Section 60s [for stop and search] to address identified local issues but this extra funding will enable us to do more of this work, along with other activity like crime prevention work with local schools and colleges.”itastone™“Turn your thoughts to quartz”Luxurious quartz worktops Available from all leading kitchen retailerswww.itastone.co.uk Champion Media Group is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK’s magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors’ Code of Practice and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards and want to make a complaint please contact the editor on 01704 392402 or email malcolm.hindle@champnews.com. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors’ Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit www.ipso.co.uk.The Champion  Wednesday 14 August 2019Jimmy Matthew from the Skelmersdale Veterans with Heidi from the Royal British Legion Poppy AppealVeterans attend Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal seminar MEMBERS of Skelmersdale Veterans’ Association were at St Mary’s Parish Centre in Ambleside for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal seminar. Association members met other poppy appeal volunteers from all over the North West and took a look at the new school pack that the appeal will be sending out in early October. The packs includes key rings, bands and jacket zips. This year the veterans will be selling new poppy pins. The new poppy also has a lighter poppy leaf. Alan Lewis, chairman of the Skelmersdale Veterans' said: “We will be selling poppies again and are looking forward to meet old friends we have made selling poppies in the past. “Billy Duncan, Jimmy Matthew and myself receive support from other association members. We are also backed by the staff at Asda, in the shop, and in the cafe. Everyone at the Concourse has always been very helpful too. The shoppers and young people at each location have supported us as well. “Our fundraising has always been successful, but we are hoping to raise more money this year through our Poppy Appeal. “If you can support the Poppy Appeal in 2019, please let us know. We are looking for companies to sell poppies for us. “The association would like to thank Tommy Hart for organising a social evening at the Polo public house and a big thank you also to Arron Martin, the manager of the Polo, for laying on a disco and karaoke.”‘Safari therapy centre’ to open rom page 1The company was founded by Steve Mannion and his wife Cheron. Steve explained why he chose to establish his company’s base in Skelmersdale and how he hopes to take on more staff. He said: “We picked Skelmersdale for a few reasons: firstly because of its location Cheron Mannion. to the motorway, secondly, because of its choice of spaces to work in, and lastly because of the opportunity to work alongside some of the other fantastic companies already in Skelmersdale, such as Midstream and Twinkle House who are already doing amazing work. “We hope to grow the hub which in turn will generate a few jobs in the area and also give people the chance from places like Midstream to engage in some voluntary work.” There will be a chance to meet the team and the therapy animals at the open day on Saturday August 17 from 12pm until 3pm. There will be light refreshments available and also an opportunity to do some arts and crafts ‘with the animals’ help.” For more information see the company’s website www.homesafari.co.ukVisit us @ www.ChampNews.com  3MP presses Boris on need for train station in town New government’s commitment to the project must continue, says Rosie Cooper Report by Henry JamesWEST Lancs MP Rosie Cooper has wasted no time in lobbying new Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the need for a train station in Skelmersdale. Ms Cooper has approached Mr Johnson together with his cabinet colleagues, Chancellor Sajid Javid and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to seek assurances that the Government’s commitment for a rail hub in the town will continue. She has pressed Mr Johnson’s numerous predecessors over many years to ensure that ‘this longterm project does not lose significance’ when changes at the top of Government take place. Having last year received some projected dates for the scheme, which included the completion of the feasibility study by mid-2019, Ms Cooper wants to ensure that the Government, as potentially the main funders of the project, continue to earmark future funding for a station. Ms Cooper said: “Residents have waited decades for adequate transport links and I have been cam-MP Rosie Cooper. Inset: Prime Minister Boris Johnsonpaigning for a train station for Skelmersdale since being elected here in 2005. “However, the project will only proceed to the final development stages if supported and funding is made available by the secretary of state for transport. “I will continue to lobby the Department for Transport and this new secretary of state, just like the last, to ensure they prioritise Skelmersdale Railway as a significant infrastructure project deserving of DfT investment. “Having launched the campaign for a railway sta-Raid at garage POLICE are appealing for information after a garage in Halsall was broken into by raiders using sledgehammers and high powered tools. Around 12.30am on Sunday (August 11) a number of offenders raided Halsall Garage on Halsall Road and took a quantity of cigarettes, alcohol and cash before making off from the scene. The garage was closed at the time of the offence, with no staff members present. Detectives are appealing for information and are keen to speak to anyone who may have saw what happened. Det Con Kelly Rosenthal, of Lancashire police, said: “The offenders caused substantial damage to the exterior of the property in order to gain entry, using sledgehammers. “They then used high-poweredtools to access secure parts of the building once inside and stole a quantity of cash, alcohol and cigarettes. “The offence took time and would have generated a large amount of noise and it is likely a vehicle was used. “While this is a rural location, the garage is on a main road and it is possible there are witnesses who saw activity but might not have realised an offence was in progress. “If you saw anything unusual, or have any dashboard mounted camera footage from outside the garage, please come forward.” Anyone with information can contact police on 101. Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.orgAsbestos fears at new housing development From page 1“It appears that Gleeson believed that two thirds of the site is contaminated. “The council had stated that they understood that all asbestos from the structure has been removed from the site. “When I took this up with the council, they provided me with studies and ground investigation reports from April 2016. “The council have assured me that there is no suggestion in any of the survey information that the presence of low amounts of asbestos in the soil poses any risk to residents neighbouring the site.“The council tell me that due to the cost associated with remediation, Gleeson Homes have paused development at the present times. “Gleeson’s Chief Operating Officer has recently updated me to confirm the pause, but assured me they remain intent on developing the site. In the meantime, an order has been placed by Gleeson to secure the site with fencing panels. “I will continue to monitor the situation and would ask local residents to keep me informed of any concerns they may have.” Gleeson Homes and West Lancashire Borough Council have been contacted for comment.tion with local residents when we were standing collecting signatures on petitions in the shopping centre, we have demonstrated the support for this scheme. I have spoken in Parliament on the subject and I take every opportunity to press the case about the transformation a railway station would bring to Skelmersdale. “We have come a long way in our aim of securing a railway station in the town and I have consistently said that a railway station in the heart of Skelmersdale will open up a world of economic and social opportunities for the town and its residents.”YOUR KITCHEN TRANSFORMED Doors, Drawer Fronts, Handles and Worktops changedFor a FREE, No Obligation Consultation, please phoneNEW LOOK KITCHENS01704 233777now on or Mobile 07736115110Repair, Cleaning & Restoration carried out on any leather or vinyl... Furniture, Auto Interiors, Handbags, Marine & Aviation Interiors Cracking & Peeling Rips & Tears Scratches & Scuffs Burns Pet DamageColour Loss Dye Transfer Ink & Stain Removal Deep Cleaning Protection Treatment✓ Fully qualified leather technicians ✓ Fully mobile service available ✓ Free estimates ✓ Leather cleaners, protectors, care kits & ink removal kits available CALL JAMES PRESTON on 07840 598450 or Email leatherrepairspecialist@hotmail.co.uk www.leatherhospital.co.ukThe Champion  Wednesday 14 August 20194  Visit us @ www.ChampNews.comChance to have your say on proposed changes to borough licensing policy Residents, businesses, public services and representatives of cultural and community groups invited to give their views MEMBERS of the public are being given the chance to have a say on the official document the borough council uses when licensing pubs, bars and other licensed operations across West Lancashire. The authority is inviting local people and businesses to comment on its draft Licensing Policy. This document provides all interested parties and the public with guidance on the approach that the council will take under the Licensing Act 2003. People have until Thursday, October 31 to give their views on the draft policy as council chiefs say they want to ensure it reflects the opinions of residents and all businesses - not just licensed premises - within the borough. The document covers the sale and supply of alcohol in pubs and clubs, late night refreshment and the provision of regulated entertainment. The council is proposing to change the policy to ensure it reflects current legislation andAfter having gone through a rigorous professional assessment process. Checkers of Churchtown Have been accredited for providing a first class service for fitting and after sales. Backed by theguarantee.As Advertised On Television. British made (in Small Factories) Flat Pack Furniture of a higher standard Unsurpassed by Rigid built Guaranteed for 5 Years.Councillor Kevin Wright.guidance, as well as the licensing issues that are evident across the borough. Councillor Kevin Wright, the council’s portfolio holder for health and community safety said: “To ensure our licensing policy remains a practical working document, it’s essential that we get as much feedback from local people and business as possible.“We We are proposing to make W changes to the licence review process to outline the options available, which includes setting out explicit expectations for licence breaches and/or criminal activity. We are also proposing to provide a clearer definition of public nuisance, which will help the authority to consider a wider context when examining contested applications.” The council is also writing to the police, fire service, members of the West Lancashire Community Safety Partnership, representatives of the licensed trade, residents’ groups and cultural organisations to get a wide range of views across the borough. T see the draft policy, visit To www.westlancs.gov.uk/licensing. A limited number of hard copies are available on request. You can submit your views via email licensing.enquiries@westlancs.gov.uk or in writing to lancs.gov WLBC Licensing Service, Robert Hodge Centre, Stanley Way, Skelmersdale WN8 8EE.The Champion  Wednesday 14 August 2019Visit us @ www.ChampNews.com  5Council stalls on market support to deal blow to traders Our West Lancs group question sudden move following claims it could affect businessThe Liverpool Road Meeting RoomCommunity groups asked to take over management duties for meeting roomReport by Kenny Parker TRADERS at Ormskirk’s outdoor market have been told the council is to stop providing stalls for them and, in a double whammy, council workers will no longer be responsible for erecting their stalls. Currently, West Lancs Borough Council staff provide the stalls and put them in place for the market traders but this will end next April. The controversial move has been approved by the council’s cabinet, but has been blasted as ‘unfair ’ by members of the Our West Lancs group. The council has defended the move, however, saying that it brings the market into line with other markets and that the decision was reached with the agreement of the traders. However, the Champion believes not all the stall holders are happy with the pending arrangements and some believe the decisi
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