Maghull – Parking for its new North Station – Some observations

Maghull North Station car park

Firstly, like virtually every railway opening/reopening project across the UK the number of people using a new rail facility is always greater than anticipated. In the case of the newish Maghull North Station project the greater than planned for issue is without doubt the size of its car park, which on working weekdays is full by around 8am.

Some of us with long memories and residents who live around the other Maghull Station will say something along the lines ‘we knew this would happen’. The history of Maghull Station’s now pretty large car park is that each time it has been expanded it has always filled up and the consequence has been commuter’s cars being parked on surrounding residential streets. Sefton Council addressed the latter issue by putting a 1hr morning parking restriction on the nearby streets who’s residents voted to have such a restriction. The effect has been to deter all day commuter parking.

So on to Maghull North Station where history is clearly repeating itself it seems. I hear that some residents of the Poppy Fields Estate and the more established nearby residential roads on the other side of the railway line are up for trying to stop commuter parking in their roads. At face value a solution similar to the one used at Maghull Station should be possible in the established roads and that could be surely be undertaken (with prior consultation of course with residents) by Sefton Highways at any time. The Poppy Fields estate presents a different problem though as I’m guessing that none of the roads there are yet adopted by Sefton Council. If this is the case the Council can’t do anything until after the contractor/builder hands over the roads, pavements etc., in a suitable condition, to the Council.

This matter came to mind again now (I’ve mentioned it in previous blog postings about the new station) because I’ve experienced difficulty in parking at Maghull North Station myself at times and it’s also on a regular cycling route of mine so I can see how full the car park is each day. On top of this I’ve read social media posts where folks are expressing frustration with the situation. Finally, the issue came up in a conversation with an old friend of mine, former local Sefton Councillor Cliff Mainey who is now well retired from local politics. I mention Cliff because together with fellow former Sefton Councillor for Sudell Ward, Roy Connell, they worked up (with Sefton’s traffic engineers and residents) the scheme brought in around Maghull Station around 10 years ago.

I suppose the next step for concerned local residents is for them to lobby Sefton Council to take action.

And to close this posting a bit of history which I don’t think needs repeating but I will anyway. One of the major problems is that the two stations north of Maghull North Station have either very little in terms of car parking facilities (Town Green) or nothing (Aughton Park) and this obviously causes folks to drive down to Maghull to try to get a parking space at either of its stations.

3 thoughts on “Maghull – Parking for its new North Station – Some observations

  1. Gerry Hartnett says:

    Great article. I live close to the new station, ( not the new estate) and at the time of planning mentioned the parking issues that would arrive, and was ‘poo pood’ away saying ‘nonsence’ . We have been proved right and now have to go through the process of getting restrictions set up. Do you know how we do this?

  2. Bob Jungels says:

    First off, Tony, can I just say, not *all* new stations get off to a flyer like quite like Maghull North. For one, ticket sales in its first year of opening weren’t quite as high as Merseyrail were expecting, and secondly, there are a number of white elephants around the country that have only given rise to the cynical motor lobby to shout from the rooftops about rail investment being a waste of money. As you know, they don’t need any ammunition to scream about “the war on the motorist”, but not all new stations are as rampant as Maghull North.
    (It should also be noted that Brunswick and Wavertree Tech Park also got off to slightly underwhelming starts, in terms of revenue).

    Alas, Maghull is a big commuter town serving Liverpool, and what the new stations shows is just how much appetite there is in the area (and from as far as the Wigan and Chorley districts) to use the Merseyrail services to reach Liverpool and yonder. This is a great position for Merseyrail to be in, as I’m pretty sure Lancashire CC would give their right arm for the case of Midge Hall to be as compelling (this despite 1000 new homes being built nearby?!).

    However, for me, there are some disappointing after-thoughts about this station that only reinforce my long-held position that investment in the rail industry has long been redundant, and that our neglect of the industry as a whole has brought about these wild imbalances within the network, ranging from the over-crowded (Merseyrail, Northern Rail (into Manchester)), to the under-used (Preston-Ormskirk, no Sunday services).

    The new Merseyrail rolling stock is long over-due and is an issue that should have been addressed 20 years ago, ahead of the anticipated rises in population, housing development and subsequent increased demand to travel. It was inevitable more pressure was going to put on the existing network, and now the need for sustainable travel is greater than ever before, Merseytravel have got to taken even more responsibility for their network, to ensure new solutions can be found to this over-whelming demand.

    The new stock has got to provide more seats and standing space and from what I hear within the inner circles is that this isn’t going to happen – at least straight away anyway. Which is why the new stock is most likely going to kick off on the Kirkby line, or possibly the quieter Wirral branches. Without an 8-car solution, the new stock won’t address the current over-crowding on the trains between Liverpool and Maghull, likewise on the Southport line up to Crosby.

    Thus, Merseytravel has a problem here: Without 8-car trains and a rise in demand, the natives are going to get restless. And what happens when this happens? Of course, people get back in their cars. Which is why the next 5 years is a sensitive time for MT – because on the one hand, the rail network offers great potential and opportunity to get people out of their cars and onto rail, but on the other, if they don’t improve their services, and if they don’t address these car parking issues, they will have missed a fantastic opportunity to make the train the #1 choice for suburban commuters travelling into Liverpool.

    The car parking issue merely highlights the fact there is huge appetite for people to park and ride. The demand is there, but the infrastructure isn’t. It never is. And so collectively, SMBC and MT have got to take responsibility for this. They had their chance to create a Newton-le-Willows style car park at Maghull North but instead gave up some of their land to the shark-like developers, who bite every single bit of available land and churn into the most mediocre housing a primary school pupil could draw up.

    Where they go from here, God knows. This is their mess to clean up. You know what my holistic solutions are to get people out of their cars and its not too late for them to create a proper cycle network around this area while its still in development, but otherwise, maybe they need to look at improving bus links to the station, or perhaps even more drastically, have a look at the overall design/layout of the station itself and perhaps consider a full redesign. Better they admit its been a disaster and to start again than to allow it to turn into a car boot sale of cars sprawled out around the estate (as if there weren’t enough parked cars on pavements from the existing residents).

    Alas, perhaps MT/SMBC should also consider a new car park at the Old Roan on the site of the derelict pub. Knock it down (eyesore), get some car park spaces in, perhaps even make it permit only. Make some money out of it to help pay for the demolition. Once paid off, make it free again.
    Of course, this is unlikely, but look at Maghull North. Build and they will come.

    In their droves.

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