Maghull – Former Town Mayor Jane Day RIP

I am sorry to have to report that former Maghull Town Councillor and indeed Town Mayor Jane Day has died.

Back in September 2017 I posted about Jane leaving Maghull to live nearer to her daughter and the book we produced to mark her many years involvement in the local community. Here’s a link to that posting:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/09/03/jane-day-leaving-maghull-after-50-years/

An amusing incident Jane got me involved with was to do with her fire alarm at her house on Liverpool Road South (she later moved to Mayhall Court on Westway before her move down south in 2017) which had gone off and Jane could not make it stop. She called me and I went to her house and unscrewed it from the hall ceiling. I was expecting to find a battery to remove but it was one where the battery was built in and not removable. We ended up in Jane’s back yard with me bashing hell out of the damn thing until it finally stopped. We were both doubled up laughing at the situation and how stubborn the alarm was.

RIP Jane day, I will miss you and your at times wicked sense of humour.

Want to stop Brexit? You’re not alone – Andrew Adonis in Ormskirk Saturday 23rd Feb’

Andrew Adonis a senior Labour party figure who is opposed to Brexit and all the harm it will create, indeed the harm it is already creating across the UK, is speaking tomorrow 23rd Feb’ at Ormskirk Civic Hall at 2pm.

Here’s a link which gives more information:-

www.europeanmovement.co.uk/lord_adonis_public_meeting_in_ormskirk?fbclid=IwAR0CA-8-5qZSP_l1Osporoa6Q5l8UkOe6Bu1nVzJM2wEqvfo1Y6fDISiPCo

Yes he tends towards tribal Labour in my opinion which makes it all the more fascinating that he is openly taking his own party leadership to task because they are still backing/enabling the Tories job loss Brexit.

Sadly, I can’t get along to the meeting as I’m otherwise engaged but please consider going if you, like me, think that Brexit is an utter disaster for the UK.

Rimrose Valley – Sadly it’s under threat but here’s a lovely tribute to it

Rimrose Valley Country Park map.

Some years back Sefton Council’s then Technical Services Traffic Services Unit produced, in conjunction with The Countryside Commission, a quite beautiful set of walking booklets* which are pieces of artwork in their own right.

I blogged about another of the walks (No.7 in the series – The Maghull Trail) not so long ago – here’s a link to it:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/02/06/whats-the-connection-between-mellings-waddicar-lane-and-maghulls-woodend-avenue/

But back to the Rimrose Valley, which I cycle through regularly. The threat is of course a new road to the Port of Liverpool that Highways England says it is going to build down through the County Park despite almost total opposition across the community and political spectrum locally to the project. But this posting is not another of my rants against the ruining of this lovely countryside oasis but a celebration of this green lung in the densely populated southern part of Sefton Borough.

Here’s the cover of the walking booklet:-

And two pages which to me are a lovely tribute to Rimrose Valley Country Park:-

The Rimrose Valley Friends are a volunteer group who promote the Valley and who lead the campaigning against the new road, here’s a link to their work:-

www.rimrosevalleyfriends.org/

Click on the map and the scanned pages of the walking booklet to enlarge them for reading.

An idyllic view of Rimrose Valley Country Park

* Sadly the booklets are out of print now

Council housing, social housing, housing associations – What’s gone wrong and why we have a housing crisis on our hands

I was taken by this recent speech by Lord Tony Greaves in the House of Lords where he squarely nails why we have a housing crisis on our hands:-

Lord Tony Greaves – For all the faults of local authorities over the years and some of the major mistakes that were made, council housing is one of the great success stories of the last century. The more that that is said, the better. I remember when social housing was a new term introduced from America and we did not like it, because in America it meant housing for the down and outs and people at the bottom of the pile. Council housing at its best was housing run by and provided by the local community for the local community. It provided so many families with a decent quality of life.

The same was true of local housing associations when they started. They were set up as locally controlled and relatively small, providing for local needs. Nowadays, a lot of housing associations have simply turned into large non-profit-making housing companies. Why it is thought that affordable and social housing should be provided by companies like this, rather than by democratically elected local authorities, is a mystery to me.

Yet many local authorities, including my own I regret to say, were bribed and bullied—by the Labour Government in our case—into a stock transfer to a housing association. We were bribed because of the vast amount of money the Government gave us. Some of it was for housing improvement, renovation and repairs, which was fine, but a lot of it was just money handed out to the council to bribe us to do it. We were bullied into doing it because, if we did not, we would not even get the money to repair the housing. Initially, it was okay, and it was a local housing association with local representation, but it has now become part of a large north of England housing company.

There are two major scandals associated with [what has happened with social housing]. One is the fact that something like two out of five houses—probably more now—sold under right to buy are owned by private landlords. This is not a property-owning democracy where people own their houses under owner-occupation. It is simply a policy of the Tories handing over all this stuff to their mates and to private landlords. I have mates who are private landlords, and there are lots of good ones. But the large private landlord companies, particularly in the big cities, are responsible for a shocking deterioration in the housing stock occupied by the poorest people.

I do not have time to discuss the second scandal, the question of land. Until the question of land is sorted out—in the cost of a new house in London and the south-east, something like 70% or more of that is for land; it is payment for nothing other than the uplift to the people who own the land—it will remain an absolute disgrace. The land ought to belong to the people. It does not, but we need some policies that move in that direction.

Paying your bus fare on Merseyside cashless but there have to be concerns about the move towards a cashless society

Cash is of course still accepted on buses, but the option to pay by the Contactless method has to date only been available on Merseyside via Stagecoach buses.

However, Merseytravel want to make this option more widely available, which helps both passengers and the bus companies, as they don’t have deal with so much cash at the end of each day. Plus, there’s less chance of ne’er-do-wells robbing a driver.

Cumfybus have recently upgraded their ticket machines in order they can accept Contactless payments. However, there do not seem to be any notices on the buses to inform cash passengers of this payment option.

An Arriva 300 bus at the Meadows bus stop, Maghull.

My understanding is that the new machines are owned by Merseytravel and rented out to Cumfybus (and HTL in the near future) so the cashless revolution can progress. Arriva are getting the same ticket machines later this year, so they can finally join the 21st Century!

The new ticket machines Merseytravel are providing to Cumfybus & HTL also have a tracking system which allows Merseytravel to check on the punctuality of their sponsored services as well. I’m also told that there’s a website which allows the public to check where buses are at anyone time and the registration of said bus. Handy for seeing if the 31/31A (Maghull/Lydiate circular buses) is coming and if it is on time!

Of course all this progress could potentially lead up to totally cashless buses and even trains locally, indeed that may well be the long-term aim? But I must admit to having reservations about a cashless society as it may not be a very inclusive one. Hence campaigns like this by Which?:-

‘The UK is drifting into a cashless society that risks leaving millions of people behind.

People like Gem, who has brittle bone disease:

I use a powered wheelchair and I have to get a taxi to and from work, which I pay for in cash. We’re definitely heading in the direction of being a cashless society. I’m a very digital person myself, but I think it’s important to realise that there are still barriers out there for a lot of people.

Bank branches and cashpoints are closing at an alarming rate. More than 3,300 UK bank branches have closed since 2015, leaving people struggling to access the cash they rely on.

That’s why we’re launching our new Freedom to Pay campaign. We want the government to set up a regulator to protect our access to cash and make sure nobody is left behind.

Support our campaign now and demand urgent action to protect cash for as long as people need it.’

campaigns.which.co.uk/freedom-to-pay/?utm_source=whichcouk&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=freedometopaylaunch

My thanks to Kevin Duggan for the lead to this posting

Talk on the Cheshire Lines Extension Railway at The Atkinson, Southport

I attended what turned out to be a packed out talk about the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway, which ran from Aintree Central Station, through Sefton & Maghull & Lydiate Stations and on through rural West Lancs to terminate at Southport Lord Street Station. The talk was given by Keith Hick on 13th February and when I say packed out I mean it! The studio at The Atkinson seats 260 we were told and they had to put extra chairs out to accommodate everyone wanting to hear and see it. Seems there are many railway enthusiasts in and around Sefton Borough:-)

Closed now since 1952 the line was never profitable but there were people in the audience who clearly still recall it. I’ve blogged about the line many times and one of my postings was about Lydiate Station signal box – it’s accessible via the link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/08/01/lydiate-signal-box-southport-cheshire-lines-extension-railway/

Keith Hick is a wonderful story teller and the huge number of photos that he produced brought out many which I had not previously seen despite my having a big interest in the line for many years. He also brought along a beautiful steam engine nameplate:-

The plate is from Ex-LMS rebuilt Patriot Class 4-6-0 No 45527 ‘Southport’. Here’s a link to photo of the loco and more information about it:-

www.warwickshirerailways.com/lms/lnwra3630.htm

All in all a great and well received talk by Keith Hick, indeed the staff at The Atkinson told us it was the largest audience they had ever had for a local history talk.