Formby and Little Altcar Parish Council Elections 2019

Eagle-eyed voters will notice the significance of this year's local elections for Parish Councillors.

Polling Station 2Formby Parish Council and Little Altcar Parish Council will eventually become a ‘Grouped Council’

The following extract from the Little Altcar PC website explains it clearly  [Note: Formby Parish Council website and their Facebook have been inactive for months]

Following the last parish council meeting the Clerk has been exploring alternative options for the amalgamation of the 2 parishes and a Grouping Order would appear to provide a way forward without the necessity of obtaining over 2000 signatures"

The extract continues with the following:

Using the Law: Grouped Parishes

A more formal way of enlarging resources through partnership is by grouping a number of adjacent parishes. Provision for this exists in the 1972 Local Government Act. A grouped parish is a way of pooling resources whilst preserving the identity of each of the individual parishes or settlements within it. It is also a way of avoiding the hassle of a boundary review.

Under the 1972 Act, a group of parishes can apply to a principal authority (the District in a three-tier area) for a grouping order. The order must name the group and must provide for the separate representation on the council of each parish on the council. It is as if each constituent parish were a ward in a principal authority’s area, with representation on the Council. Units which previously had no council can be added to the group, also with representation. A group cannot be formed without consent of an electors’ meeting in each of the parishes or units concerned. A group may apply to the principle authority for a dissolution order or for a single unit or parish to be separated from the group, again with the consent of an electors’ meeting.

Extract from LGIU and SLCC publication “Parish and Town Clustering” Sept 2006

(Source Little Altcar Parish Council Website, accessed 9th April 2019)

According to Sefton Council, the Grouping Order is likely to be made later this year. So for the time being each Parish Council in Formby is a separate entity.

I'm intrigued regarding the eventual governance structure. Formby PC consists of 15 members [Note the odd number] and Little Altcar PC has 7 members. But if all 22 members are de facto members of the principal body then voting could become an issue. I suspect that the new Council may form an executive body with representation from each of the wards. But who knows?

Watch this space!

In my next post, I have a closer look at the range of candidates standing for election and how, apart from two unaffiliated independents, all the others are linked with Political Parties.


Parish Council April Meeting

Formby Library
Formby Parish Council meets at Formby Library tonight for the last meeting before the local elections. This Parish will be dissolved and replaced by re-elected or new members at the May Meeting

Notice of Meeting
All members of the Council are hereby summoned to attend the next Ordinary Meeting of the Parish Council,
which will be held at Formby Library, Duke Street, Formby, on Tuesday 2 April 2019 at 7pm
Claire Jenkins
Clerk to Formby Parish Council


1.0 To receive Apologies

2.0 To Receive Declarations of Interest

3.0 There will be no Public Forum at this meeting as the Parish Council are in the period of Purdah (that is
the pre-election period)

4.0 Previous Minutes

4.1 To consider and approve the Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting held on 5 March 2019.

5.0 Matters of Report from Previous Meeting – for information only

5.1 Direction Request to Secretary of State and Sefton Council minute reference 112.2 refers

6.0 Planning Applications – (Sefton’s weekly list email, also available on Sefton Council’s website).

6.1 To note current position on Formby Development Sites in Sefton’s Local Plan.

7.0 To discuss and resolve the following:

7.1 To consider the Community Fund Application for Formby Floodwatch Group for £500 to purchase dip
monitors for installation at selected areas around Formby to provide monitoring information and develop an
alert procedure.
7.2 To approve the quote for the Bite System to improve the health of the 4 horse chestnut trees on Chapel
Lane at a cost of £440 plus vat. (Environment minutes refer)
7.3 To consider the Community Fund Application for Formby Sports and Social Bowls Club for £1,400 (or
amount to be agreed) to provide fencing following the demolishing of the Royal British Legion Club – this
building formally provided a perimeter wall.
7.4 To undertake a review of the Risk Management Arrangements for the Parish Council

8.0 To authorise Payments (enclosed)

9.0 To receive the following reports – enclosed for information only

Clerk’s report
Environment Minutes
Finance and General Purposes Group minutes

10.0 Date of the Annual Meeting is Tuesday 14 May 2019 to be held in the Meeting Room, Formby Library,
to follow the Annual Parish Meeting to be held at 7pm.

Members of the press and public are welcome to attend

For the agenda complete with sub-committee group meetings see:


Will the Formby Neighbourhood Plan Pass its Final Inspection?

Finally, after six years in preparation, Formby and Little Altcar Parish Councils have submitted the Formby Neighbourhood Plan to Sefton Council.

Neighbourhood Plan Title Page

Six years is a very long time but presumably, the plan is the very best the two Parish Councils can produce?

So it's disappointing to note that the Sefton Council reception seems to raise some doubts. I've highlighted them in bold.

The Sefton document starts by setting out the Parish Councils'  purposes. Almost immediately they add some notes of concern. You can read them in the following extract. 

3.1 The Formby Neighbourhood Plan sets out a shared vision for Formby and Little Altcar Parishes. The whole of both Parishes were designated as a neighbourhood area’ for the purposes of preparing a neighbourhood plan and approved by Cabinet Member on 12th September 2013. The plan contains policies on the following areas

 General Policies
 Housing
 Working and shopping
 Getting around
 Community, leisure and wellbeing
 Environment, sustainability and design
 Flooding

3.2 Consultation on the draft plan (known as Regulation 14 Consultation) was undertaken by the Parish Council between 31st October 2016 and 12th December 2016. The Parish Council took account of comments received during this period in the submitted plan.

3.3 There are some concerns about some of the submitted documents and whether they fulfil some of the basic conditions. 

In particular:

 The Neighbourhood Plan needs have regard to the National Planning Policy Framework and the Local Plan. The Neighbourhood Plan and the Basic Conditions Statement repeatedly refer to the 2012 NPPF that has since been superseded.

The Neighbourhood Plan includes some policies that are contrary to strategic policies in the Local Plan, this includes a radical change to the affordable housing policy.

 The consultation framework is required to show people’s comments from the reg.14 consultation, what they said and how they have been considered. Whilst all comments are either summarised or included verbatim, it has not been shown how resident’s comments or the comments of other bodies have been considered, the statement simply says what they said.

3.4 The Neighbourhood Plan steering group did not accept the offer of advice from Sefton Council before submitting the plan.

3.5 It is up to the Examiner to decide whether the policies and content of the plan meet the basic conditions. The Council will make comments at the reg.16 stage.

(Source: Sefton Council: Report from Chief Officer Planning to Cabinet Officer Building and Planning Control for decision)

In my view, the most significant comment is item 3.4. It raises a number of questions.

  • Did both Parish Councils agree to 'disagree' with the Sefton Council advice?
  • Why did the Parish Councils reject the advice from the highly experienced Council officers?
  • Is there a conflict of views on some or all of the issues involved between Sefton Council and the two Parishes?
    • What are those?
    • Is this difference of views related to legal interpretations over the relative powers of Parish Councils and District Councils?
    • Has it to do with the Green Belt redesignation and the new housing developments, which have received official inspectors approval, thus confirming the status of the Local Plan?

Then there's the matter of the 2012 NPPF policy (National Planning Policy Framework)? Why have the Parish Councils not acted, after all, there's a seven-year gap between that change and now?

It is a remarkable passage of time, why have the Parish Councils not make the necessary adaptations?

Finally, on the question of the representation and response to the public views generated during the consultations is likely to compromise the whole plan. It is supposed to be a shared, collective and agreed public policy - not simply the Parish Councils policy.

Sefton Council closes in 3.5, with two observations:

  • A comment about the function of the Official Inspector, It's difficult not to draw the conclusion that the plan could be failed at this stage.
  • Sefton Council has also highlighted they will make comments at the 'Reg 16' stage of the process, could there more potential issues for the viability of the Plan? 

If you want to read more about the Neighbourhood Plan process I advise you to visit the Formby Parish Council website. There's a dedicated section with access to the various reports but following the plan through the Formby Parish Council minutes of meetings is more difficult. At one stage I noticed a reference to the near completion of the plan sometime in 2017, apparently, it just required some relatively small updates.

It seems to have taken over two years to make those additions and of course, the late submission date means that the current membership of both Councils is due for re-election, retirement or replacement, in the May elections. 

It begs the questions, why so long, what of the notion of electoral accountability, what has it all cost, what happens it the whole plan fails, who will be to blame?

To read the full report on the Sefton Council website follow the link:



Community Chat Event: Learn More About Your Community

Formby Community Chat
Learn more about your community


Thursday 7 March 2019
6pm to 8pm

A more relaxed way for residents to talk to community groups, partners, agencies councillors and Sefton Council departments

A chance to put your questions to people from these organisations:
At Formby PDC
225 Park Road, Formby, 137 6EW

Elected Members
Merseyside Police (Formby)
Police and Crime Commissioners Office
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Melling Parish Council
Sefton CVS
Youth Service
Green Sefton
Anti-Social Behaviour Team
British Transport Police
Formy Pool Trust
Formby Hub
Formby Parish Council Council
Little Altcar Parish Council
Aintree Village Parish Council
Melling Parish Council

Contact Sefton Council on 0151 934 3718


Time For Action


Are you a volunteer? Do you want to make a difference where you live? Have you got an idea to improve Formby?

Now is the 'time for action'
. Every Town and Parish Council across England and locally here in Formby will be up for election this May. There are 15 seats (elected members) on Formby Parish Council and 7 seats available on Little Altcar Parish Council. Not one of the existing Councillors has a right to stay unchallenged.

In my view, if you can't name your local Parish Councillor then you should choose someone else. They've had 4 years in office, it's 4 years of governing local life at the most immediate level.

If you don't know them by name or action by now they've failed you and it's time for new potentially more active and imaginative replacements.

Why not you?

Here's a recent Twitter from Lydiate Parish Council seeking new volunteers from within their community. Both our local Councils should be doing the same. The elections are in May and any resident can stand. It costs nothing all you need is ten signatures of support from your neighbours.