Maghull – Frank Hornby wins Borough of Culture local poll

MySefton has the article on its website – see link below:-

mysefton.co.uk/2020/01/27/hornbys-in-the-driving-seat-for-the-sefton-stories-project/

Quote from MYSefton website – ‘Frank Hornby has steamed ahead, reinvented himself and engineered top spot in the Sefton Stories Project launched as part of Sefton’s Borough of Culture year!

The inventor from Maghull, topped the list of 10 stories synonymous with Sefton, by claiming 28% of the total vote.’

A great piece of model Meccano engineering

Obviously the Trustees (I’m one of them) of the Maghull based Frank Hornby Trust who run the Frank Hornby Experience exhibition within the Town’s Meadows Leisure Centre and Library are delighted by the result of the poll of local people. Maghull, as demonstrated previously by one of Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys TV programmes being filmed in the Town, is becoming well known for having a world famous toy maker as it’s most famous former resident.

Maghull – Those hugely contentious planning applications for its urban expansion

The vast Maghull East site seen from Poverty Lane presently used for growing crops but under Sefton Council’s Local Plan it will become housing


Place North West has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.placenorthwest.co.uk/news/sefton-defers-decision-on-1700-homes/

The deferment was of course associated with the Special Planning Committee meeting held last week in Bootle Town Hall.

I guess those of us who fought against this vast former Green Belt/high grade agricultural site being designated for housing in Sefton Council’s Local Plan (I fought it twice – 1998 WON, Most recently – LOST) will be sad but resigned. Resigned to the fact the battle to save the land from development was actually lost when Sefton Council approved its Local Plan on 20th April 2017.

On that date we lost the battle to save the land

The issues at stake now for Maghull are all about how the site will be developed, drained, laid out, the effect on the local infrastructure, the timescale for the building etc. etc. There can be no doubt that an urban extension to Maghull of the scale of 1,600+ houses will have very significant impacts on the highway network, public transport, health facilities, school places, land drainage, you name it.

It was for all these reasons that I fought to to protect this high grade agricultural land, which grows the food we eat, and engaged with the two campaigns to stop the development in 1998 and then again up to April 2017.

Yes clearly Sefton’s Planning Committee now has some huge decisions to face up to/tackle following the Council selecting the vast Maghull East site to build upon. But as Sefton decided to designate such a huge area for housing the problems of actually delivering on that site are a direct consequence of that designation. No ifs, no buts.

Maghull folk, particularly those living around/close to this massive development, have now been pulled into all kinds of issues which concern and worry them. Yes they are trying to influence the Council and developers but I fear that with the planning system in the UK being set up the way that it is that soon Sefton’s Planning Committee will give the green light whilst many issues of concern in that community will be left unaddressed.

Frankly, I have never liked the way town and country planning takes place. It’s too remote from communities, its full of jargon and complexities that seem to be in place to keep ordinary people at arms length. My two years on Sefton’s Planning Committee up to May 2015, when I came off Sefton Council, confirmed this to me. And no this is not a dig at Sefton Planning, its a dig at the whole set up of planning across the UK for generations.

I deeply regret not being able to save both Green Belt and high grade agricultural sites across Sefton Borough from development but I enjoyed working with community campaigners like Maria Bennett, Peter Greener and many many others who put their every effort into those campaigns.

Maybe one day, hopefully soon, Government will value high grade agricultural land more highly than bricks and mortar

Press cutting from 1998 as we fought to protect the Maghull east site from development. We won back then but could not win in the recent re-run of the battle for Maghull East.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

No moral compass, quite a bit of prejudice

From a very early age I recall wanting to know facts so I could make my mind up about things. I’ve never been one to take what is said to me as anything but one side of a story and possibly it’s utterly wrong and even prejudiced nonsense.

I’ve mentioned before that antisemitism was sadly an issue within my family with both my Dad and his mother being prone to make anti-Jewish statements/remarks. I’m not sure when on hearing these remarks I became curious about them but I was probably subject to them all my childhood. Did we know any Jewish people? Had they done my family some wrong? What was it all about? Not content with being antisemitic my grandmother was also anti-Catholic too and would not go into a Catholic church.

It was only later in life that it dawned on me that there were no credible reasons for some of my family being antisemitic and anti-catholic – they were simply prejudices handed down from one generation to another but not spoken of in polite company in case others thought them prejudiced!

It makes you wonder what on earth those of my grandparents and parents generations, who held such appalling views, thought they were doing fighting against Hitler when they seemed to hold some views of a similar nature!

I had been discussing such matters with my independently thinking feminist daughter who seemed a little surprised that I’d been asking some people I know if antisemitism had been an issue in their families and that I was interested in getting people to tell me what their prejudices are, why they hold them and who handed the prejudices on to them. Her point was that most people never think about their prejudices they just hold them and repeat them when they think the occasion requires.

I think antisemitism and anti-Catholic were the two big prejudices that I picked up on in my Dad’s family who were working class Tories. I think you could also include supporting the Tories and indeed the Church of England as family prejudices as they seemed to be handed down generation to generation too. They all stopped with me though.

I first realised that I was an atheist by not being able to get my head around why on earth I was being sent to Sunday School and Church as a child and young teenager. Of course I was being sent because of my Dad’s religious prejudices – he was a C of E protestant so he thought I should be too. I thought otherwise and having looked at religion decided it was not for me at all. However, at the same time I realised it was for some people and that they held many differing religious views which they were quite entitled to hold. I don’t hold prejudices against religions.

And what about politics? Well having realised that I wanted to get involved in it which party should I join or more precisely what do I believe in? Together with an old friend, who has since died, we found it interesting that he came from a Labour working class background and I came from a Tory working class background but we were both looking to form our own political views. What we did was to get hold of the party political manifestos of Labour, Liberals and Conservatives from the 1979 General Election and we read them. When we’d done that we both had decided that we were in fact Liberals and we’d come to that decision separately. We both joined the old Liberal Party in 1980 and via it, the SDP/Liberal Alliance and then the Lib Dems we perused socially progressive radical liberalism. My friend died in 1999 but I’m still a Liberal. I hope that does not mean I’m prejudiced in favour of the Lib Dems as I try not to be too loyal to them as they are simply a vehicle for delivering Liberalism. If a better vehicle comes along who knows……

To me religion, like politics is something we should all be confident about choosing for ourselves. I don’t think either are for passing down through the generations. You won’t be surprised therefore that I oppose state support/funding for religions and religious schools/education. For our Head of State to be the leader of one particular religion is frankly ridiculous to me in our multi-cultural society.

And what about that phrase ‘moral compass’ which is normally used when talking about politicians/political parties when there is a question about their ethics? There’s probably always been questionable ethics when it comes to political parties because they are tribal and some politicians will stop at nothing to either gain or retain power. The phrase moral compass is used quite often these days as our politics goes through a particularly rough patch. The lies and misrepresentations over Brexit are a clear example where many politicians have been accused of losing their moral compass. And here’s the rub, politicians with no moral compass will delight in playing to voters prejudices. In other words when voters have fixed, you might say ill-informed views, over a hugely complex issue like the EU that will be exploited by politicians who will feed them messages that they will want to hear. The complex issues don’t really get an airing at all as it suits both the some voters and politicians to stick to talking about and building on the prejudices.

Prejudices are learned; we are not born with them. Young children are not bothered by other children with different coloured skin. However, as they get older and if they come from families who hold racial prejudices then the racist behaviour of their family can and often will be picked up by their children who will think it normal to hold such appalling views.

Let’s face it I could have grown up to be antisemitic based on my family prejudices. Makes you think does it not………

40 years old – I’ve just re-watched my favourite ever railway programme

I’ve been a railway enthusiast ever since my Grandad on my Mother’s side took me to watch trains in Kirkby-In-Ashfield Nottinghamshire as a toddler. Unsurprisingly, I watch most railway programmes that come on the TV but every now and again I have to go back and watch my favourite one from the original 1980 BBC series of Great Railway Journeys. It’s called Coast to Coast and is in my view a masterpiece with my all time TV presenter Ludovic Kennedy at the helm throughout the 1 hour programme.

I’ve blogged about it before and here’s a link back to that previous posting

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/03/30/american-railways-amtraks-first-40-years-ludovic-kennedy-bill-withers/

So why raise it again now? Well to celebrate the episode’s 40th birthday and why not. If you would like to watch it here’ a link:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tsNhK6vlwc

Merseyrail’s review of 2019

Merseyrail Class 508 EMU at Maghull Station

The story is on Merseyrail’s video which you can see via the link to You Tube below:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3lEe-ZATeA&feature=youtu.be

A Merseyrail electric unit at Bootle New Strand Station.

Nice to see Maghull’s award winning Station Volunteers featuring on the video…….

Maghull – Historic maps on display in Town Hall

A while back a lady contacted me saying she had a 1930’s map of Maghull which she was happy to donate for public display. I put her in touch with the Town Clerk of Maghull Town Council and the matter then passed me by so to speak.

Imagine my delight then when I went into the Council Chamber of Maghull Town Hall (for a Maghull in Bloom volunteers meeting) recently and saw 3 historic maps of the Town up on the wall where there had been none before. A closer inspection made me realise that one of them was from the lady I whom I had spoken to a few months ago.

I love maps, always have done since I discovered Ordnance Survey maps as a late teenager for country walking. Here are the 3 on display in Maghull Town Hall:-

This is the one (above) the lady mentioned to me, it’s dated October 1933 and intriguingly said to be the work of the ‘Maghull Advisory Committee’. James Longridge, whose name appears on the map as the Hon Sec of this committee was also Chairman of Maghull Parish Council from 1934 to 1938. My guess is that it was put together as part of the work to significantly expand Maghull in the 1930’s and after WW2.

The Town had other periods of rapid development in the 1960’s and 70’s and it is all happening again with the vast urban extension to the east of the Town having been designated for @1600 additional houses and business premises via the Sefton Council Local Plan adopted in April 2017.

This one is a 1908 Ordnance Survey map

I’m struggling to make out the date properly on this map but think it is 1840 – correct me if I’m wrong please.

Really pleased that Maghull Town Council has displayed these historic maps as they are a part of the heritage of a community that I lived in for 43 years and represented as a councillor for 30 years.

Click on the maps to enlarge them