Melling Parish Plan
Approved 14 September 2010
The idea of a Parish Plan for Melling is that markers should be set down for the progressing of actions that will improve the quality of life for residents of the parish. This document sets out how the Parish Council went about its production.
The contents include a brief history of Melling and an overview of the Parish as it is today, as well as reference to a number of recent issues. The Action Plan, at this stage is more general than we would wish but the desire is to get a broad working document out and the hope is that this will generate further input from residents. Actions that are initially investigative should result in more detailed plans which can be quantified and costed. The timeline, in this respect, is influenced by the need to set the precept for 2011/12 before December 2010.
The Parish Council currently comprises nine Councillors drawn from the Parish. Six of the present Members were elected unopposed in May 2007 and serve for four years. Three further members have been co-opted to replace Councillors who have left office since 2007. Unlike District and County Councils, the Parish Council is not divided along political party lines with all but one of the present Members declaring an "Independent" status. The Council normally meets on the second Tuesday of the Month but there is not normally a meeting in August. Meetings are held in the hall of Melling Primary School (Wheelers Drive) and commence at 7:30pm with the opportunity for public participation at an early stage of each meeting. Public participation gives residents of Melling the opportunity to address the Council regarding matters that concern or interest them. As a result, the Council may take on board suggestions put forward or act on matters causing concern. It should be remembered however, that the Parish Council can only take action on matters that fall within its areas of responsibility; However a good working relationship exists between the Parish Council and officers of Sefton MBC and issues are often dealt with successfully through this channel.
The Parish Council has a long history of local action and of support to local groups, often without recognition of the role played by volunteer councillors. During 2009/10 we have seen some improvements to the “traffic-calming” measures in Waddicar Lane and, after many years of frustration, the dangerous junction at the Pear Tree Public House has finally been addressed. In both cases we now wait to see how successful the measures taken will be. Speeds on Spencers Lane continue to give cause for concern and, more recently discussions have taken place in respect of similar problems reported on Brewery Lane. In Rainbow Park work has been done to reduce anti-social behaviour affecting residents of Archers Fold.
In 2009 the Parish Council began a concerted effort to address a significant list of outstanding issues that were not of the council’s making and it is pleasing to report that most of those identified have been resolved during the year. The Parish Council would wish to express appreciation of the efforts of the officers of Sefton’s Neighbourhoods Division in addressing the problems raised. Unfortunately there remain one or two significant issues, in particular the non-adoption of the Satinwood and Village estates with the problems caused to residents. Those problems persist despite strenuous efforts by the officers concerned and by both Ward and Parish Councillors but it is our determined hope that these issues will be resolved in the very near future.
Within the context of voluntary action it is heartening to report the successful work of Melling in Bloom, a local initiative which is supported by the Parish Council, we look forward to seeing the efforts of that group rewarded by an ever improving look to the parish. Perhaps their efforts might be mirrored in other areas of life in this community; the Parish Council will wholeheartedly support all efforts that are seen to be of benefit to the people of Melling.
Early in 2010, in considering its role in the community, the Parish Council made decisions that, it is hoped, will increase awareness of the functions of the council amongst the residents of Melling. A website has been set up and is being developed slowly; also new notice boards are to be provided to give greater visibility to the work of the council. Perhaps the most significant step was the development of the Parish Plan process.
The driving force behind the decision to undertake the production of a Parish Plan was the recognition of the many advantages that community led plans can bring to a local community. Such plans can have the potential to bring groups and individuals in the community together to work towards a common goal.
What is the Parish Plan
This Parish Plan will be an evolving document, outlining how the community of Melling would like to develop over the next 10 years. It presents a vision for the future, an expression of the residents’ views and an action plan detailing how these developments can be achieved. It will enable the Parish Council and the community to have a say in how services are managed
Why do we need a Parish Plan
It is government policy to increase individual participation in public life and to give more power to Parish Councils to decide what is best for their communities. This plan should increase the chances of getting support to enhance the parish’s economic, social and environmental well-being. It should give the Parish Council the evidence to help inform policy-making and to develop and maintain effective working relationships with all outside bodies which provide services to the community now and in the future. It is hoped that the parish plan will provide residents with a greater sense of community and an awareness of how they can contribute as individuals.
Having resolved to develop a Parish Plan, the Parish Council set up a small steering group to decide on how to gather data for the plan. It was agreed that a questionnaire should be used and this was designed, produced and then distributed to each household in Melling. Some of the deliveries were made by Council members but the larger part was done by Melling Scouts and Cubs and the Parish Council would wish to record its thanks to all concerned.
The response to the questionnaire was a little disappointing with 155 returned from a distribution of almost 1400, but we are advised that that is not a bad result at all and we also received letters from pupils of Melling Primary School expressing their concerns over one or two specific items which occurred in the questionnaire feedback. The responses given and comments made by those who did take the opportunity have been evaluated and assessed and form the basis of the completed plan. It is unfortunate that the Parish Plan, with proposals for addressing issues that could have a significant bearing upon the quality of life in Melling for years to come, arrives in the midst of a climate of massive cuts in public expenditure, the challenge of 2011 and beyond will be to realise the aspirations expressed by Melling residents within the context of considerable financial constraint.
The Parish Councillors have a vision that Melling should be a place in which people feel safe and are happy and proud to live.
Historically, apart of Lancashire, its name originates from the Anglo-Saxon roots for "The homestead of Maella", (or Malla). Lying close to Liverpool, the area was first settled by Maella's family in the 6th century. A 'Headless Cross' is located in the Parish Church. The village was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Melinge. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal passes the village, and during the years of the Industrial Revolution the village flourished through passing trade. Melling is largely rural but in addition to farming the local economy has had some industry – a quarry, a pottery and, most recently the BICC factory, sadly all are no more than historical, the area now being primarily a farming area in which a significant number of residents commute to work in Liverpool or other surrounding towns.
The local Melling Tithebarn Arts Association is, unsurprisingly, based in Melling Tithebarn, which is used as a music venue. The building also serving as St Thomas' church hall and community centre. The Melling Residents and Community Association (MRCA) dates from the 1930sand its base on Waddicar Lane was originally a builder's shed which it was given to the people of the village. Caunce Hall houses the Scouts organisation. Melling Primary School has a good reputation and provides education for children from parts of Kirkby as well as for Melling residents.
In responding to the question "what do you like about Melling most people cited the rural or semi-rural nature of the area?" This was closely followed by positive comments about the community spirit, so there is good work to build on.
Population features The village has changed dramatically since the late 1990s with the demolition of the cable factory to make way for new housing. The population has increased accordingly. However the 2001 census provides the following data:
- There were 1,056 households
- 14% of Melling’s resident population were over 65 (the National Average was 15.89%, the North West Average was 15.99% and the Sefton Average 18.92%)
- 22% of Melling’s resident population were under 16 (National Average 20.15%, North West Average 20.69% and the Sefton Average 20.19%)
The 2011 census will show how much overall change there has been in the demography of the parish. However we remain a relatively small community and the cohesiveness of that community is somewhat impaired by the fact that there are three distinct areas of population, addressing that issue is a task worthy of effort!
Transport: Bus services in the town are provided by Arriva, Stagecoach and Merseytravel. However the quality and frequency of the services provided has long been the subject of criticism and is referred to within the plan.
- Traffic management: Recent actions in respect of Waddicar Lane and the Pear Tree junction need to be monitored and liaison with police maintained. Actions to reduce dangerous and inconsiderate parking to be considered.
- Traffic calming: Further consideration of speed limit reductions on local roads to be pursued along within investigation of means of reducing the volume of heavy goods traffic travelling through the village.
- Roadside hedge maintenance: this is the responsibility of Sefton MBC but the Parish Council will press for earlier and more frequent trimming of overgrowth where highway safety is being compromised.
- Bus Services: The Parish Council will seek to press MPTE to improve services in Melling that provide access to hospitals and links to other local transport. Options for the introduction of “community transport” services to be explored.
- Melling In Bloom will be supported and appropriate expansion of activities encouraged. Christmas tree and decorations to be considered for provision by the Parish Council subject to suitable site availability.
- Other Environmental: a number of concerns were registered by respondents, including dog fouling, numbers of litter bins, public seating etc, the Parish Council will identify improvements that are necessary and liaise with the South East Parishes Area Committee over provision.
- Open Spaces: The Parish Council will discuss with Sefton MBC the appropriate arrangements for management and development of Rainbow Park and the play area at Satinwood Crescent. The use of Wheeler Drive Field and The Delph will be reviewed with a view to improvement of facilities.
- Anti social behaviour: Regular liaison with the local police to be maintained.
An Action Plan Working Group has been established by the Parish Council to identify specific elements in each area for action. This group will pursue the actions required and update the plan regularly. The updated Plan will be maintained on the Website. The Parish Council will review the Plan annually in addition to formally approving the proposals of the sub-committee.
SEE THE 2012 Updated Action Plan here: Updated_Plan_1.docx
The Parish Council would wish to place on record its appreciation of the work put into the Parish Plan so far. In particular to Sally Rylands of Sefton’s Neighbourhoods Team for help in production of the questionnaire and other advice, Melling Scouts and Cubs for their help in distribution of the questionnaire and to all who responded.