Southport – Planning for a positive future

Above is a link to the blog site of my good friend Cllr. Iain Brodie Brown, please take a moment to click the link and read his posting. It is pure community politics to my mind.

Southport viewed from the end of its pier

Southport viewed from the end of its pier

Click on the photo to enlarge it

There can be little doubt that the towns/boroughs surrounding Liverpool have not benefited from being a part of the Liverpool City Region. Indeed, my own view is that centralising power in Liverpool as both Tories and Labour are planning for, with a Metro Mayor, could well be the road to ruin for places like Southport St. Helens, Birkenhead, Maghull, Formby, Prescot etc.

Whilst Iain’s posting is all about what needs to be done to give Southport a bright future his fundamental concerns could well be about any of Liverpool’s satellite communities that sit outside of the Liverpool City Council boundary.

Centralising power and influence in Liverpool will just not work, except for Liverpool itself. Unlike the Greater Manchester communities, which mostly seem look towards Manchester, the same can’t be said of Merseyside. Southport has always seen its connections with Preston and Lancashire as being of great importance but it was wrenched away from such historical links by local government reorganisation in 1974. Much of Wirral Borough has historic connections with Chester and Cheshire but it too was forced into Merseyside.

Merseyside because of its odd geographic shape was never likely to be a runner as a viable unit of local government and the years that have passed since 1974 have only proved that theory correct. Sefton, itself a strange collection of diverse communities, realised this some years ago and it began a process of decentralisation. Bizarrely though Labour then slammed this process into reverse when its Bootle based party took control of the Council. What was their motivation to say ‘the Borough will work well as a one size fits all because we say it will’ not least because this approach had failed miserably when first tried?

Presently we are seeing the start of a process to take 1000’s of civil service jobs out of Netherton, St Helens and Bootle for them all to be centralised in Liverpool. Liverpool’s gain will be big losses for Sefton and St Helens Boroughs.

Make no mistake the Tories are wedded to cities being made more powerful at the expense of their surrounding towns and boroughs. What’s more Labour are pretty much behind this process, why else did the 6 Labour Council Leaders on Merseyside sign up to a 3rd rate devolution deal?

Towns surrounding big cities need investment, public and private, not dependency on the nearest City because that is the road to ruin except for the big cities of course.

The photo above is amongst my Flickr shots at:-

2 thoughts on “Southport – Planning for a positive future

  1. D Jones says:

    Mr Robertson,

    I usually agree with a lot you say but constantly carrying a torch for your chums in Southport wears a bit thin. Southport is not being openly welcomed into Lancashire for the same reason many people in Other areas of Sefton would like to see it cut free from Sefton. Considering it’s size and population Southport has a huge homeless problem, a massive drugs problem add to this alcoholics roaming the streets all day long also domestic abuse a massive elderly population who are draining the NHS and a huge number of immigrants from every Baltic state. Go shopping on any weekend and the town is almost empty the sooner they are cut loose the better Sefton would have more cash to spend in other areas.

    • Well of course I carry a touch for liberalism, you should not be surprised by that and my friend Iain Brodie Brown is steeped in it as indeed he is of Southport his home town. Southport, like many seaside communities will have its problems and challenges but their councillors are trying to map a way to a more prosperous and sustainable future for the Town. We should welcome such forward thinking in my view.

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