Merseytravel

I have often posted on this subject as this troubled Integrated Transport Authority has been in the news for all the wrong reasons too many times. The two links below to articles in the press seem to indicate that Merseytravel’s troubles are once again surfacing and that at least some of their powers may be sucked into the new elected Mayor of Liverpool’s grasp. Whether this latter point will be to the detriment of Sefton, Knowsley, St Helens and Wirral Council areas we will have to wait and see!

http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/liverpool-news/regional-news/2012/05/10/district-auditor-warning-over-possible-broken-contract-laws-by-merseytravel-99623-30933520/

http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/liverpool-news/regional-news/2012/05/11/cities-minister-greg-clark-transport-powers-are-on-the-table-if-new-liverpool-mayor-joe-anderson-can-make-the-case-99623-30933529/

Maghull Town Council – the arrogance of our Labour rulers is astounding

Last night Maghull’s Amenities Committee met and on the agenda was an item about providing a skateboarding facility for local youngsters or more to the point not providing one.

The eyebrow raising moments were threefold. Firstly, the report to the meeting said ‘the Council have decided not to progress this project due to the costs involved’. Secondly, what a huge letdown for local youngsters who have long campaigned for such a facility. Thirdly, what’s all this about no money?

THE COUNCIL IS AWASH WITH HORDED TAXPAYER’S MONEY

Now let’s look at this carefully; the costs first. I don’t know how many times Cllr. Blackburn and I have pointed out to the comrades who run the Council that a decent skateboard facility would cost in the region of £30,000 to £50,000. Had they taken this advice on board they would not be suffering from feigned ‘shock’ now they have found out that such a facility will cost around such figures! BUT, what’s this about the implication that it will cost so much that the Council can’t afford it? The Council, as I have said before, is awash with money – £250,000 in spare cash and counting back in January when the 2012/13 budget was set! So it’s not shortage of money that is blocking the project no matter what Labour says.

YOUNGSTERS PROMISED THE EARTH THEN DROPPED ONCE THEIR PARENTS HAD TROTTED OUT TO VOTE LABOUR

Then we move onto the promises made to local youngsters, promises that are clearly being chucked in the bin. Maghull’s young people will have every right to be angry with Labour stringing them along only to ditch them when their parents have just trotted out to vote Labour only last week. The report, by the way, was posted out to councillors and arrived on Election Day – talk about trying to bury bad news!

MORE DECISIONS MADE IN SECRET

But what about that quote (above) from the Clerk’s Report to the Amenities Committee? You see it clearly points to a decision being already made. But who made it, when did they make it and behind which closed doors was it made? Shades of the recent secret co-option to the Town Council of a new Labour member with no one knowing what was going on. At the meeting, I am told, that Labour said the report was wrong only for a Council officer to tell the Committee that what had been printed had been dictated to them – by a Labour member!!!!

The problem behind all this is that Labour feel they are untouchable at present and politicians who feel the electorate will back them no matter what they do are dangerous people indeed. Their arrogance will eventually trip them up but how many more bad decisions will have been made behind Labour’s closed doors by then?

Maghull Hornby Festival

I went along to yesterday evening’s launch event for what is hoped will become a yearly celebration of Hornby and Maghull life. The first celebration will be on the 150th anniversary of Frank Hornby’s birth in 2013 and Maghull’s voluntary community; the Frank Hornby Trust and Maghull Town Council are on board for the journey.

Our Trust Chairman Les French gave an excellent talk which was a potted history of Hornby his life and his world famous products.

It is great to see Maghull folk getting behind this celebration

Maghull Square – Parking Charges – Latest News

I had a meeting with the Maghull Group today. They are the private sector owners of the northern part of Maghull Shopping Centre i.e. all to the north of Westway.

The meeting was about the recently proposed parking charges which have proved to be highly unpopular with local car drivers.

Some good news did come out of the meeting in that the charges are not to be levied 24 hours a day. This is good news indeed and I have already told those who have raised concerns about this particular aspect of the charges with me.

I also wanted to see how the company would approach enforcement as I don’t want to see a situation like that which came about just down the road on one of Aintree’s retail parks. To explain I have, over the past couple of years, been contacted by three disabled drivers who felt that the way they had been treated when they parked there was harsh. I took up each case and felt that not enough consideration had been given to the difficulties folks with disabilities have. All the cases were eventually resolved satisfactorily but never the less I wanted to impress on Maghull Group such concerns. To give them their due they said they appreciated the need for common sense to be used in enforcement. We will see how things pan out when the charges come in but let’s hope the wardens will be sensitive to those less fortunate with disabilities.

The third issue I wanted to discuss is the potential for drivers wishing to avoid charges parking in the roads behind Maghull Square. Readers will know that having chatted with residents of Leighton Avenue and Towers Avenue they have very real concerns. However, I am informed that the situation will be monitored and if Sefton Council feels that there is a problem the cost of resolving it (say by bringing in a resident only parking scheme?) will have to be met by the Maghull Group.

I hope this update is of use to readers but the news that you are probably expecting is that the charges are still going to be introduced. Parking charges seem to be like death and taxes; they are seemingly unavoidable!

City Elected Mayors are roundly rejected across England

It is good to see that this American fad for elected city mayors was roundly rejected in many English Cities last Thursday. Here on Merseyside Liverpool skipped the referendum and went straight to the election so all Liverpool voters were left to decide was who was to do the job not whether they wanted such a post at all.

In principle though I don’t like referendums as they do not lead to good governance. We have a representative democracy and referendums are actually only used when politicians don’t have the guts to make a decision themselves. But conversely if other English Cities had done what Liverpool City Council did and skipped the referendum they would clearly have had a Mayor they did not want and I strongly suspect that if Liverpool had held a referendum it would not have agreed to have an elected Mayor either. By the way referendums rarely change things as voters faced with change in a referendum virtually always vote to keep what they have got.

My second principle is that concentrating power in the hands of a single person is wrong. Yes, the person elected may be consensual, fair minded and clear thinking but the next Mayor may be dictatorial, too single minded, and barmy. With only one person to make the decision there is little to counter balance the poor decision making of a bad Mayor.

The other good thing about last Thursday is that there was not a Merseyside Mayor up for election. Goodness knows how bad that would have been for Sefton, St Helens, Knowsley and Wirral but certainly Sefton, St. Helens and Wirral said no thanks very clearly! They said it because they feared that a Liverpool centric Mayor would do nothing for their communities and they were right.

Taxpayer funded V local folks using voluntary fundraising

What on earth is Robertson on about you may wonder. Have the election results sent him around the bend?

Well no, I still have a modicum of sense (I hope) but a comment made to me yesterday about how the two campaigns (Labour and Lib Dem) were fought in East Parishes wards was food for thought. The comment?

You may have had a bad result in Maghull and district but remember yours is a locally based voluntary campaign group with limited resources, Labour on the other hand was able to call upon taxpayer funded resources and many out of town folk – it was hardly a fair fight!

Interesting words indeed