All posts by John Keegan

Malicious Complaint

I have received a letter from Lancaster City Council Planning Department acknowledging a complaint, made in my name, about signage at a property in the Arkholme Parish.

I didn’t make the complaint but it was dated about the same time as one anonymous contributor to this Blog was taking issue with comments regarding Newton and Docker.

As they provided fictitious email addresses both in their correspondence with this blog and in their complaint to the Planning Department, one can only assume that they lack the courage of their convictions.

As far as this Blog is concerned it doesn’t matter, providing they are not telling untruths, using inappropriate language, being offensive or anything similar.

In my view making planning complaints in someone else’s name is fraudulent. There were a few people commenting on this Blog back in February who used false email addresses and anonymised names.  In fact, they were all supporters of the work of the Parish Council, but that is probably a coincidence.

I have reason to believe that the person making the malicious planning complaint was one of these people.

Sad isn’t it?

John Keegan

SpID Update

The Minutes of the PC Meeting held on the 29 March state as follows: “Re-evaluation of Speed Indicator Device due to concerns of residents. Statistics requested from Lancashire County Council from recent traffic volume and/or speed strips (under the Freedom of Information Act). Parish Champion Grant application refused, to re-apply in April 2017.

If the PC read the recent Planning Application for the Dragons Head they would see that seven day speed surveys were carried out at the Village Hall Bus Stop (04/09/2015 to 10/09/2015) and The Old Post Office (26/08/2015 and 02/09/2015).

At the Village Hall, the northbound speed was recorded as 28.6mph and southbound as 29.1mph.

At The Old Post Office, the northbound speed was recorded as 28.3mph and southbound as 29.4mph.

These figures are in line with the report presented to the Parish Council by PC Knowles in Jan 2008 when he reported that the maximum speed recorded during the seven day survey that the Police carried out was 32.8mph and the similar report in Sept 2009 when there were no recorded speeds in excess of 30mph.

This suggests that the “concerns of residents” results from confusing an individual’s perception of speed with actual speed.

It has been stated elsewhere that SpID’s have the effect of confirming to drivers that they are OK continuing at their current speed when they are driving within the legal speed limit when in fact they need to be encouraged to drive at speeds less than the speed limit.

John Keegan

Open Meeting Results

I am pleased to be able to report that the Open Meeting called to discuss the series of complaints, featured in the Whittington Blog, about various matters concerning the performance of the Parish Council, have now resulted in some positive actions.

The Minutes of the PC Meeting held on the 29 March report that the PC have now agreed to provide a £50 donation to Wagtail.  And about time too.

Another matter that pleases me greatly is that the PC decided to reduce the rent they pay to the Village Hall Committee to £100 “in line with many other Parishes.”  Chairman Eric Pelter and Councillor Barbara Atkinson declared an interest in this matter and did not participate in the discussion, or vote.  I have been pointing out, for a couple of years, the irregularity of Councillors voting on matters in which they had a well known interest.

The PC now needs to consider if it is acceptable to permit two Councillors to also be members of the Village Hall Management Committee.  A quorum of the PC is three.  There are only five Councillors, therefore if two Councillors are unable to participate in votes on matters involving the Village Hall and a third Councillor is unavailable to attend a meeting, there would be no quorum.  As the meetings are only held at two monthly intervals it seems to me that the number of Councillors that should be permitted to participate in Village Hall affairs should revert to the original one member that was called for under the 1994 Village Hall Rules.

I am also relieved to see that there are to be discussions about Parishioner’s establishing an Official Parish Council website and propose to include news and information from the Parish Council, the Village Hall, the Church, Wagtail Parish magazine and general village news. Costings and funding are to be proposed and discussed when confirmed figures have been put to the Parish Council.

I have gradually reduced the amount of news and activity content, together with the diary of village events, from the information contained on my web since it was introduced thirteen years ago because of the lack of participation from the Parish Council and others organising events in the village.  I have been forced to rely solely on information published in Wagtail, which is not a satisfactory state of affairs.

As soon as a Parish Council website is established I intend to remove everything other than the basic pages about the history of the village, Whittington Hall, walks around the village etc, including the historical photo’s and images.  I will of course, continue to publish Gerald’s Musings.

The Village Blog will continue exactly as it is, and continue to provide a vehicle for people’s views.

John Keegan

Dragons Head Planning Application

I am delighted to see that Simon Nutter has represented his planning application fo the Dragons Head. Let us hope that he has been able to satisfy the observation made opposite the original application and that this time he is successful.
John Keegan

My plans for the ‘dragon’ are obviously to turn an empty closed shell into a thriving asset to myself and the community.
Upstairs will be refurbished to provide high end bed and breakfast accommodation (we have ties with the Plough Hotel in Lupton who have shown a willingness to send overflow residents to us) whilst on the ground floor we intend to be open during the daytime providing light meals, snacks and drinks but also a small village store area for
basics such as newspapers, bread, milk, bacon, meat, eggs etc. which we would stock for our own use anyway.
I also propose to contact the post office who may wish to visit once a week, but we would stock stamps as a basic service to the area anyway.
During the evening we intend to phase in different ideas and see what does or doesn’t work; we have plans to operate a pizza night on a Friday evening, so that eat in or take away pizza is only available one night a week, thus making it a ‘special’ night in the village.
Acoustic folk nights, domino nights are all easily organised and bring people into the place.
None of this is tricky or clever it’s just straight forward, providing good food at the right price and making people welcome, which I have been doing for the last thirty years or so.
Years ago my family and I used to visit the Dragon and never used the rear beer garden at all and with its situation detached from the Pub my idea is to move the sitting out area to the front of the pub which will provide a sunny area for customers and also provide a subliminal invitation to anyone passing that (a) we are open and (b) look popular.
I foresee it as a pleasant place to eat during the sunny days of summer. We are also planning the ‘smoking area’ to be away from this area (I hate seeing smokers by a pub front door).
With regard to the access view to and from the proposed car park. I have spoken to my neighbour, Eric Pelter, and he has agreed that the small hedge on his corner to me can be reduced to whatever
height required.
Simon Nutter.

Anyone wishing to view the complete set of Planning Documents can do so on the Planning Department section of the City Council Website Website at  The application number is: 17/00352/FUL

The drawing below shows the proposed layout of the ground floor of the Public House, with the smoking area moved to the side of the premises, where the existing fire escape is situated.  The internal stairs are being replaced with stairs having access from the rear of the building.  The door at the side of the premises, not used for many years, will provide access with a disabled ramp.

The following drawing shows the proposed 1st Floor changes.  Looks like an excellent B&B to me.

And the Artists Impression of the appearance of the front view of the premises.

Finally the layout of the Dragons Head in respect of the site and Main Street.