Who are we?


Highfield-Moss.jpg Highfield Moss Lowton at dawn   – Photo Pete Astles

Our Local Voice – What are we about? (and Who’s who?)

Our Local Voice is an independent local community group.  We are entirely made up of volunteers from the local area motivated only by an interest and concern for the area in which we live and its environment.

Our region is the area around Newton Le Willows, Burtonwood, Winwick, Golborne, Croft, Culcheth, Lowton and immediate surrounds.

Our concern is our local environment such as our green belt, heritage and infrastructure.

We are not connected with any political party nor do we have any parent or support organisation of any form.

View from st petersView from top St Peters Church spire – Newton-Le-Willows

So why the name Our Local Voice?

Local people who live in areas on the periphery of local authorities, due to the boundary changes of the past, often feel unrepresented by their specific governing authority. Those people may also wonder how the aggregate activities of all the bordering authorities affect their lives.

You may be a feeling that there is uncontrolled random development or you may simply be unaware of what changes are in the pipeline. Perhaps you are wondering whether the nice place you live now might not be so nice in ten years time?

You may feel you would like to understand a little more about the environmental and health aspects resulting from development?      Because, after your family and your home, what could be more important than the environment in which you choose to live your life and raise your family in?


The two guys

People matter – Is your local voice heard ?  – Photo Dave Green

It is against this backdrop  that Our Local Voice was formed and the name of an unheard local voice among much of the local population seemed most appropriate to us.

What are the aims of our group?

We do meet up regularly and exchange ideas but essentially we are an online group.

Essentially it is to inform you (as much as we are able to do) of major change to your environment and the potential impacts upon you and your family. We also seek to inform a little about the history, heritage, landscape and wildlife that still exists today.

Before you understand what you might lose, it is important to understand what you have.

We promise not to rant too much on about what you should oppose. That is for you to decide based on the information we provide to you. But like everyone else we do have our opinions too!

Martin Mere Shoot - 12th November 2013-21Photo Pete Astles – A male Whooper Swan puts a miscreant in its place.   Whooper Swans migrate 1000 miles to the UK in one single crossing taking about 13 hours.   The patriarchal males lead the flock in small family packs across the perilous Atlantic crossing.    Swans cross our area every year following the green corridors they are not alone hundreds of species of birds and insects rely on green infrastructure and they were here first.    One thing stops, the Whooper swans heavy rain they like to see where they are going.   A decision the cobs don’t take lightly as getting airborne again takes precious life persevering energy particularly if they drop to shelter in the Ocean.   Like the Cob Whooper Swans, we in OLV, also like to see where we are heading.

Change is not all negative. Most of the change is for the good and we explain as much as we can about the infrastructure changes that will impact you and your family’s environment in this region. Some of this change is at the planning stage, some not even at that stage and some rumoured. We aim to be the early watch over these categories as much as we are able.

We have started with a small website which we intend to evolve as situations develop and as we feel is appropriate. We do not cover all change- we are concerned only with the large scale developments that have a fundamental influence on the area we live.

On selected issues we campaign and lobby.

Child and gorrila 2 - DGPeople matter – this young man deserves both a prosperous future and an environment he can share with his children just as his parents did with him.   Photo Dave Green

What is the approach of the group?

Our group does not and cannot act in isolation.

By the very nature of things, developments that affect one area will also will have “knock on” effects in another local area. With that in mind we are a very affiliated group and have strong connections with other groups in our local region.

We also have strong links to the national position and we are in the process of application for membership of both the Campaign for Protection of Rural England and Civic Voice.

Singer - DGPeople matter – we need housing so young people can get on the housing ladder but let us build it first on brown belt, deal with the unoccupied housing and vacant town centres before destroying our landscape and  heritage.   Photo Dave Green.

So you are against development generally?

No, we have a housing crisis and we are desperate for strong economic growth.

There is little point in living in a beautiful clean area if there is no work!  On the other hand what is the point of living in an area with work when you live in absolute unbroken urban sprawl?

Baby hog - DGPeople matter – we dont need to lose our green heritage to development. By sensible planning we can achieve both. Mankind has a duty of care both to the green environment, to ourselves and to future generations  – Photo Dave Green

We say the two are not mutually exclusive.  We say that it is possible to actually have more jobs and retain a clean and beautiful area to live.

It is about the greater good (including jobs) not the profits of a developer in discrete (often competing) developments with no overall holistic plan for the area. We also believe green belt build should be the final option after brown belt is exhausted -a principle that should be primary over the profits of a developer often domiciled far away from our local area.

Two plus two we believe can equal five if you get it right!

MAN SMILIMNG - dg People matter – the right to sustainable development  – Photo Dave Green

To quote from the Ministerial opening forward in the Government’s latest planning laws- the NPPF (National Planning and Policy Framework).

  “Our natural environment is essential to our well being, and it can be better looked after than it has been. Habitats that have been degraded can be restored.  Species that have been isolated can be reconnected.  Green belt land that has been depleted of diversity can be refilled by nature – and opened to people to experience it to the benefit of body and soul”

Stirring stuff by Greg Clark MP. I am sure in principle we would all embrace that.

H M Government’s NPPF is peppered with the phrase “Sustainable Development”.  In essence meaning strong economic development but preserving our green belt and historic heritage.

Who could disagree with that?

We in Our Local Voice, for our region, say let us hold them to that!  And if they don’t then be sure we will do our very best to let you know!

Water splash - DGPeople matter – are you not better knowing something in advance of it happening and importantly what might happen? – Photo Dave Green

In terms of the future and our viewpoint we would not expect you to agree with us on everything. Some things you may agree with and some things you may profoundly disagree with.

That is fine by us but we hope you appreciate that it is nice to be aware of it in the first place.

That is what we do as a group.

Welcome and we hope you enjoy our website.




One thought on “Who are we?

  1. Anthony Bowers

    Hi and thanks for your website, Both my wife and I visited spike island @ Widnes today not the first time but on return we decided to look up further information about the canal as we wondered what the 2 buildings where on the side of the canal (we know now that they where Kilns) but on return I managed to click on your site and about the history of the canal from spike island to canal street, where i used to work at Pilk’s (transport) its been very interesting and thanks to all who have worked so hard restoring the walk ways and bits of the canal, we are looking forward to now walking part if not all of the canal. regards Tony & Carolann Bowers.

Comments are closed.