www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/transport-authority-cannot-say-merseyrail-7697049

The Echo has the story – see link above:-

Mind the (funding) gap?

Mind the (funding) gap?

Well this one has certainly done the rounds in recent years and the Echo is right to be sceptical of what will happen. Sadly, this fits with my long held view that Merseytravel has a history of over-promising and under-delivering. Having said that I am more confident about the running of it since Liam Robinson took over.

The £70m lost on the appalling Merseytram project could well mean Merseytravel is less confident these days but either the aged rolling stock is fully refurbished to last say another 10 years or it will need to be replaced. A decision can’t be put off for ever!

The photo above is amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

I made mention of the Coalition Government funding 90% of the cost of Maghull’s second railway Station in a recent posting and them previously throwing a large amount of money at the presently being built Switch Island – Thornton (to be called Broomscross Road) link road. But there is a also a 3rd project that will ‘benefit’ Maghull and district that the Coalition has recently stumped up £5.5m (again around 90% of the cost) for.

Makes you wonder why the Coalition seemingly loves throwing so much money at the East Parishes part of Sefton, does it not, especially as the previous Labour Government did not put a penny into the pot for any of these three major transportation projects.

The third major project is to make the M58 Motorway junction near Ashworth Hospital/Kennet Prison a full junction as opposed to it being half of one as it always has been. I assume the half junction was a cost cutting saving when the Motorway was originally built?

I recall that my former Lib Dem councilor colleagues Cliff Mainey & Roy Connell campaigned for it be made a full junction some years ago. Cliff/Roy you have got your wish even though it took a few years!

BUT this 3rd project, welcome though it may be at face value, is probably tied to getting that huge piece of land to the east of Maghull developed for housing and business use. Readers will recall that Labour have already voted to build what can only be termed as a massive ‘urban extension’ on a truly enormous scale on that land in the Draft Local Plan for Sefton. Have Labour now inked out the building on that site even before the Local, Plan is finalised? I think we should be told.

Separately, the site Maghull North Station is to be built on can only be said to be confusing because at face value Labour are seemingly opposed to building houses on it (it is called the Ashworth South site) for some odd reason. My previous posting refers at:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/07/22/ashworth-south-site-the-proposed-maghull-north-station/

You see the remainder of the funding for the new station (or quite a bit of it anyway) will most likely come from ‘planning gain’ associated with the building of houses on the rest of this site. Interestingly, all the environmental campaigners locally that I know are quite content for this site to be developed because it has been developed before – Moss Side Hospital previously stood on it. So why Labour have cold feet about developing it when across the road (literally across School Lane) they are ‘ploughing’ on with building more houses on Green Belt land than you can shake a stick at remains a mystery. Can Bootle Labour Party please issue clear guidance and instructions to Maghull Labour, so they know what they are doing please!

So there you have it or put it another way:-

* Switch Island – Thornton Link Road – Not funded by Labour but by The Coalition – It has all-party support and should be finished by Christmas.

* Maghull North Station – Not funded by Labour but by The Coalition – seemingly has all-party support but Labour can’t make their minds up about developing the rest of the Ashworth South site which would enable all the funding to be in place.

* M58 Ashworth Junction – Not funded by Labour but by The Coalition – but have Labour done a deal to build an ‘urban extension’ to Maghull (on Green Belt land) to get the money?

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My old chum and former Sefton Councillor for Maghull’s Sudell Ward, Roy Connell, has just completed a 50 mile cycle ride to help raise money for Clatterbridge cancer charity. He is pictured above (right hand side) with a fellow cyclist and an Ainsdale friend of Roy’s.

I understand Roy was ‘knackered’ after today’s ride which started in Banks and went out to Houghton Tower and back. Well done to all the exhausted cyclists, the cause is worth it indeed.

A website launched recently by the Cabinet Office urges members of the public to find neglected government-owned buildings that could be sold. The site lists around 31,000 publicly owned assets and is intended to encourage individuals and organisations to challenge central and local government about underused property. Under a “right to contest” introduced in January, anyone can now force the government to explain why a building or plot is not being used fully and, if the department that owns it cannot justify its current use, it will be forced to release it for sale.

The site is reached via the link below and it is quite interesting to see what information is held on it if you put in a community name and search for Government owned land:-

www.gov.uk/find-government-property

The Guardian originally ran this story

With thanks to the LGiU for the lead to this posting

It is probably true to say that few people living outside of Maghull know much about the Town but with all the publicity in recent years about Frank Hornby, the world famous toy maker, living there it is possibly ‘on the map’ now more than locals may think.

One aspect of Frank Hornby’s work was inventing Meccano in additional to his model railways and Dinky Toys. Here are some shots of some great models made from Meccano which were displayed at various Maghull exhibitions organised by the Frank Hornby Trust in recent times:-

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rsz_meccano_2

rsz_meccano_3

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Jim Gamble of Nottingham is the world’s expert on Meccano and some of the models above are his.

The photos above are amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

/www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-28882312

The BBC web site has the story, which is well worth a read about how Norway has coped with the wealth of oil.

But what got me was that a Norwegian Professor was able to say that the folk in Norway trusted their politicians. Quite the opposite of the UK where we seem to distrust just about everyone involved in the political processes and public life in general!

A couple of quotes are worth reflecting on:-

“For this kind of system to work, you need to have an enormous level of trust,” says Prof Cappelen. “Trust that the money isn’t going to be mismanaged – that it’s not going to be spent in a way you don’t like. As a result of social democracy and egalitarian policies it is a homogenous society and has built up an enormous level of trust.”

and

“We trust the government. We believe our tax money will be spent wisely. Once you start trusting that others are contributing their share then you are happy to contribute yours.”

In the seemingly far more cynical UK our response to the Professor would probably be along the lines of ‘which political party put him up to say that?’

Maghull’s shopping centre on the northern side of Westway is split in two by Leighton Avenue where it has a junction with Westway.

Trouble is that shoppers want to cross the top of Leighton Ave to access other shops but they have to run the gauntlet of traffic which, at times, can speed into Leighton Ave from Westway. The elderly and disabled find it particularly difficult to cross here. Indeed, one elderly gent told me that he does not even try to cross because he walks very slowly and fears being run over.

Only the other day I witnessed a lady who had clearly had a stroke being helped across the top of Leighton Avenue by a young man and they were having to keep a close eye on the traffic which was all around them. Sadly, some drivers just don’t seem to realise, or care, that pedestrians are the most important thing on our highways!

This is the spot, right next to Maghull's Costa Coffee Shop. Westway is just to the left out of the photo.

This is the spot, right next to Maghull’s Costa Coffee Shop. Westway is just to the left out of the photo.

With these thoughts in mind I have asked Sefton Council’s traffic engineers to look at this site for the potential installation of a pedestrian crossing and they have agreed to take it into their next assessment of where to put new crossings.

rsz_stripped_of_bark_-_strand_bootle_08_14

How very sad that someone decided to try to end the life of this formerly healthy tree which is outside Bootle’s Strand Shopping Centre. Why would anyone do such a thing? It beggars belief to me as an environmental campaigner.

Manchester looks to overhaul public transport

Greater Manchester Council is calling on the government to change the law so it can re-regulate how public transport works within the region, giving poorly-connected communities more service. It has suggested tying together bus, tram and train systems to allow Get Me There ticketless passes to work on all of them, similar to London’s Oyster Card, as well as reworking timetables so they match up.

Report above in the Manchester Evening News

This has to be the right way forward. Remember when buses were deregulated across the Country in the 1980′s and the powers that be in London realised they did not want it inflicted on the capital city! Places like Melling in Sefton Borough now have terrible bus services, whilst London has excellent ones. Manchester continues to lead the north in public transport initiatives

With thanks to the LGiU for the lead to this story

birkdalefocus.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/chapel-street-chuggers-action-at-last.html

Cllr. Iain Brodie Brown covers this subject in his recent blog posting (see link above) and he is right to do so.

Shopping in Southport’s Chapel Street can be a pain at times because of the activities of the young paid charity collectors who are known as ‘chuggers’. I would not be surprised if shoppers are being put off from shopping in Chapel Street so Iain is right to raise the profile of a matter that Sefton Council seems to have turned a blind eye to.

And its not only Southport where ‘chuggers’ are a concern. An internet search pulled up this newspaper article in Gloucester:-

www.gloucestercitizen.co.uk/Calls-ban-chuggers-Gloucester-amid-claims/story-22728824-detail/story.html

Collecting for charities on our streets is a long standing tradition which we all support but ‘chugging’ is going too far. It has to be regulated in Southport.

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