Petition Tag - ormskirk

1. End our looming student town funding gap

Student landlords do not pay for the local public services their tenants use because student accommodation is currently exempt from business rates and student households are exempt from council tax. Yet, student landlords have need of the police, fire and other services 365 days a year while their tenants generate much need of local council services, e.g. extra street cleansing, waste management, and environmental health demands (noise abatement and poor housing conditions).

West Lancashire currently loses £1.3million in council tax annually from student accommodation which is exempt from council tax. Presently, the Government provides a grant to cover this loss, at least in part. However, there will be no grant funding by 2020 meaning further reductions in local services. Inevitably, this will mean fewer street sweepers, more litter, and longer waiting times.

Students are a very welcome part of our community and our local economy, but live in concentrated areas of the Borough in densely populated conditions. This has a big impact on services in these parts of the Borough.

Student households should continue to be exempt from council tax, as students are on low (and loaned) incomes.

Student landlords are profit –making businesses, and should pay properly for the demands their business model makes on public services.

Therefore, councils should be given powers to bring student landlords within the scope of business rates in the same way that hotels, self-catering and holiday lets are within the scope of business rates and this petition is to be sent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer requesting this change.

2. Say No to "Search and Fine" Cameras on Ormskirk Car Parks

In January, the Labour council cabinet excluded the public and press from the cabinet meeting and then agreed to negotiations with a private company, Bemrose Mobile, to install Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras on the Ormskirk Town centre council car parks. The Conservatives did not oppose these plans.

We’d like to tell you more but the council report remains confidential.

However, Bemrose Mobile’s website says of their Enforcement Cameras:

“Our intelligent solutions work towards the provision of a perfect parking operation. Using sophisticated analysis, we can alert Enforcement in real-time of parking infringements – whether vehicles have:

* stayed beyond the maximum free allowance
* haven't paid
* stayed beyond the amount of time for which they have paid

Our specially designed software will collect parking payments and track and identify parking infringements. We send instant alerts to the Enforcement team. The enforcement then continues as normal, with PCN’s placed on vehicles.”


3. Keep the Ormskirk Town Circular Bus Service

Lancashire county council are proposing to end all funding for the bus service 5/6 which serves estates in parts of Ormskirk and Aughton. Our West Lancashire Scott ward spokesperson, Jane Thompson is campaigning and representing local residents on this issue. Many have signed the petition on the doorstep or on the bus.

More than 275 people signed the petition face to face and these have been dispatched to county hall in time for the 18 January consultation deadline and these further people online.

On Thursday 11 February, Labour confirmed their funding cuts, but Jane Thompson has written again to the highest levels in the county council pressing for a Town Circular service to be retained.