The Liberal Democrats have pledged a statutory measure on gender pay that will see large companies (more than 250 people) fined £5,000 if they refuse to publish the difference in pay rates between men and women. The party claims the voluntary system on gender pay differences has been a failure and points out that in 2013 the median pay for a woman was 19.7% less than the median for a man. The average hourly wage for women was £10.33 while men were paid £12.97.

As someone who was a long time trade union officer for IRSF, PTC & PCS I am pleased to see this pledge from my Party. Women have been disadvantaged over pay for far too long.

With thanks to the LGiU for the lead to this story

Today is judging day for for the hard working volunteers of Maghull in Bloom, Maghull Station Volunteers and indeed Melling in Bloom. A year of dedicated work will be looked at, commented upon and rated by judges from North West in Bloom.

Usually, these volunteer groups do very well indeed and I hope 2014 will be another successful year.

As I have said before working with the In Bloom volunteers is a delight. My small contribution is to chair their monthly steering group meetings and help them out when ever I can.

Here are 4 photo’s of work that has been inspired by the volunteers around Meadows Leisure Centre. It must bring a feeling of great pride in Maghull from all who see it:-

Fruit Meadows plants in KGV Park. When fully grown locals will be able to pick the fruit.

Fruit Meadows plants in KGV Park. When fully grown locals will be able to pick the fruit.

The interpretation Board at the Fruit Meadows.

The interpretation Board at the Fruit Meadows.

Spectacular hanging baskets on Meadows Leisure Centre.

Spectacular hanging baskets on Meadows Leisure Centre.

Even the car park at Meadows is in bloom.

Even the car park at Meadows is in bloom.

Maghull in

This site is rarely photographed as it is surrounded by fencing but the railway bridge that takes School Lane over the Liverpool – Ormskirk Merseyrail line gives a decent view.

The first photo shows a train passing the proposed Maghull North Station site. Just look how close the gardens on the left hand side are to the railway line; it’s going to be a squeeze to get a platform in there! I would not be surprised if, when the station gets to the detailed planning stage, that this will be a sticky problem to resolve. The photo is looking northwards with the Park Lane railway bridge in the distance.

rsz_maghull_north_station_site

The second shows the wider vista of the Ashworth South site that was once where Moss Side Hospital stood. It was then down, under the last Labour Government, to be the site of a new prison but the Coalition decided not to build one there.

rsz_ashworth_south_&_proposed_railway_station_sites

Of course the Ashworth South site is where Labour refuses to say whether they support house building on it or not. Odd this especially as they are determined to build a truly massive urban extension to Maghull just across School Lane. Maybe they have other plans for the Ashworth South site? Whatever, they are not for saying despite local environmental campaigners and the Lib Dem Party openly supporting development on Ashworth South whilst opposing Labour’s vast urban extension across the road. Ashworth South has been developed before so building houses on it seems a sensible thing to do especially as doing so will provide a financial contribution towards the cost of building the new railway station.

I will return to Maghull’s proposed urban extension in due course.

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

Going back to the early planning stages of this Link Road, which is presently being built, I made a plea for the historic Brickwall Lane wall to be sensitively taken down and properly rebuilt.

A small matter you may say but that wall is a part of the heritage of historic Sefton Village and its a wall I have had to badger Sefton Council to maintain in the past.

But my pleas, which I worried had not been heard, have been acted upon and the wall is being rebuilt at an angle where the new road will have a junction with Brickwall Lane. As you can guess the Lane was named after the rather unique wall with its triangular stone cappings. This is a rebuilt part of the wall and its looking great:-

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This next shot shows how the wall is being angled to form a feature on the southern side of the junction that is yet to be constructed:-

rsz_1img_1591

It seems a long time ago that, in my then capacity as Leader of Sefton Council, I met the Roads Minister Mike Penning (at Switch Island) after he had announced that the Coalition was going to put up the Government’s share of the money to build the road following years of the previous Labour Government not stumping up the cash. In fact it was less than 4 years ago. Here’s a photo taken at the time:-

27th October 2010 - having just agreed the deal to build the Link Road with Coalition Roads Minister Mike Penning MP.

27th October 2010 – having just agreed the deal to build the Link Road with Coalition Roads Minister Mike Penning MP.

Here is another posting about war memorials and again it is supplied by my old chum Ainsdale resident Roy Connell.

Roy tells me that the commandos used to train in and around this famous Scottish mountain range.

Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis 2

Remember my posting of yesterday about some folks wanting to sweep away Planning rules, well here is a more balanced approach.

Richard Rogers, architect and former chair of the Urban Task Force, writes in the Guardian beseeching developers and the government to cast their eyes away from greenfield sites and instead build in the UK’s cities. “With intelligent design and planning, we don’t need to overflow into new towns on greenfield sites; doing so would damage the countryside and – more importantly – wreck our cities. We do need to make more of what we have, unlocking a million development opportunities, and building new places that mix uses, tenures and people, rather than slowly churning out identikit housing estates. Our urban renaissance does need new towns, but they must be new towns in our existing cities,” he argues.

But are local authorities like Sefton in the mood for listening or are they still hell bent on building on high grade agricultural land come what may? Sadly, I think I know the answer!

Visitors to this site will realise that I have a great love for trains and I was delighted to purchase an old photo of a place where my Grandad Walter used to take me as a toddler to the watch trains go by.

41940 Kirkby in Ashfield Station 1951 P

This is the very spot in Kirkby In Ashfield as Walter Calladine lived only yards away down Urban Road. I would think my visits to this now long gone station and level crossing started when I was around 2 in 1960. This shot was actually taken in 1951 some 9 years earlier but I bet the scene remained pretty much the same.

Credit for the photo goes to Frank Ashley, a local Kirkby historian, who is sadly no longer with us I understand.

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

NHS will be seven-day service by 2017

Sir Bruce Keogh, the medical director of NHS England, has pledged that by March 2017 patients will get the same level of treatment at weekends as they receive during the week. In an interview with the Times, Sir Bruce said: “The acid test for people working in the health service is to … ask themselves if they genuinely think the service at the weekend is as good as they would like for a member of their own family. Most people tell me that they don’t think that it is and that is why they are keen to help improve it. That is why this is an unstoppable movement.” NHS figures have shown that patients can be up to 16% more likely to die if admitted to hospital at the weekend.

Today in The Sunday Times, Page: 15

This is one of those ‘no brainers’ to me. Of course the NHS should operate in the same way every day of the week; people get ill at weekends too!

Planning rules should be abolished

Architect Karl Sharro writes in the Times that with the provision of new homes at historically low levels, we must sweep aside all planning rules and let people build what they want. He explains that the planning system continues to artificially restrict the supply of land available for development, while also making the process of obtaining a planning permission lengthy, complicated and costly. He says the planning system was created for a different era, initially its aim was for the construction of new towns and homes. However, today planning is more concerned with controlling development rather than encouraging it. As well as abolishing planning controls, Mr Sharro suggests that planning departments are transformed to regain their original purpose: creating development rather than stifling it.

Today – The Sunday, News Review, Page: 7

How on earth does this makes sense? Instead of us trying to sensibly control what is built where this ‘plan’ is to seemingly to let anything happen anywhere! We need more control over building on Green Belt and high grade agricultural land not less. Indeed, we need a total ban on building high grade agricultural land if we are to leave any food growing places for future generations.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-28372224

The BBC has the story – see link above. The 80th anniversary of the opening of the Queensway tunnel is being marked.

Merseytravel produced a booklet about both Tunnels about 10 years ago. This is the front page of it.

Merseytravel produced a booklet about both Tunnels about 10 years ago. This is the front page.

The 2.13 mile (3.4 km) tunnel linking Liverpool and Birkenhead was opened by King George V on 18 July 1934.

Another page from the Merseytravel booklet gives  some fascinating facts about the Queensway Tunnel

Another page from the Merseytravel booklet gives some fascinating facts about the Queensway Tunnel. Click to enlarge

It was the first road tunnel under the River Mersey and took almost nine years to build.

This reminded me of the 2nd Tunnel being opened in 1971 when I walked through it with my parents gathering autographs of the people who worked on it. Here are a couple of interesting photos of that event:-

This is the front page of the booklet produced to celebrate  of the opening of Kingsway Tunnel

This is the front page of the booklet produced to celebrate of the opening of Kingsway Tunnel

These are the tickets my family were given when we walked through the new (2nd) Tunnel in 1971

These are the tickets my family were given when we walked through the new (2nd) Tunnel in 1971

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