Green Belt – Battle lines are being drawn

Tonight at Lydiate Parish Council’s meeting campaigners who want to defend the Green Belt attended to ask for the Parish Council’s support. They got that support and of course we Lib Dems have already launched a petition to try to stop development on Grade 1 and 2 agricultural land in the East Parishes.

The attending campaigners have their own petition going and now the public consultation phase of this battle for land, which comes under the vague title of ‘Core Strategy’, has commenced.

The issues at stake here are huge and when they are finally resolved the future and nature of Sefton’s communities will be set for many years to come. I hope that Sefton residents will engage in the consultation process but as was pointed out by the volunteer campaigners tonight there is a fear that Joe and Jane Public have not so far had the significance of the process made clear to them. As I said ‘Core Strategy’ is hardly a catchy stapline or one that readily indicates what the real issues are. We will see but the bottom line, especially here in the East Parishes part of  the Borough, will be defending the Green Belt from development

Maghull in Bloom

Today I chaired another meeting of the Maghull in Bloom Steering Group and was pleased that the new Leader of Maghull Town Council, Maurice Byrne, was able to be there. I must admit that having been the Leader of the Town Council for 23 years it does seem odd to be saying that someone else is now doing the job. However, I wish Maurice well, I am sure he will do his best for the Town.

Returning to Maghull in Bloom, things are progressing well and if you are not a regular train commuter from Maghull Station please take a moment to look at the wonderful display of flowers organised by Maghull Station Volunteers who are a part of the wider ‘In Bloom’ local grouping. I took this photo only a couple of days ago:-

An odd thing at W H Smith in Southport yesterday

I was in W H Smith in Southport yesterday getting my regular fix of railway magazines. Nothing odd there unless you think buying railway mags is odd of course!

When I got to the till I got a 60p discount and was given a copy of the Sun newspaper for free. Being from Merseyside I declined the newspaper for reasons we can all recall. I was then told that I had to have a copy or I would not get the 60p discount! I said OK, paid the required amount and then gave the Sun back to the shop assistant.

I don’t read national newspapers and have not done so for many a year but to have a copy of the Sun foisted upon me on Merseyside was I feel an inappropriate activity for W H Smith and one that was not good for their local business. This was confirmed by the lady behind me in the queue who was not only supportive of my stance but was going to do the same thing herself.

Home Watch in Lydiate

I went to an informal meeting at Lydiate Village Centre on Friday morning where representatives of Maghull & Lydiate Home Watch (Incorporating Sefton Village) were talking to residents at a coffee morning organised by Lydiate Parish Council about the work of Home Watch.

A very interesting discussion that looks like it will lead to a campaign to encourage more Lydiate residents to both join Home Watch and become active in the organisation.

Home Watch is a very important volunteer organisation in many communities and the Maghull & Lydiate group are particularly active in trying to help to combat crime via advice and help for local folks. Definitely a ‘Big Society’ thing is this.

Check out my link to their web site.

A battle with a smoke alarm

My good friend Jane, a retired lady with a disability, had a smoke alarm fitted by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority a couple of years ago and pleased with it she was, well until last Tuesday anyway.

Last Tuesday the thing became faulty and let out a loud screeching noise every 10 minutes and would only be calmed down by the pressing of a button. Trouble is this button needed pressing every 10 minutes!

Jane rang the designated number and asked for some urgent help. She was promised a visit that day/evening. It did not happen and she was up all night with the damn thing going off every 10 minutes. Then all through Wednesday and Wednesday nights. She mentioned her trouble to me on Thursday evening so I went around and put the alarm out of it’s and her misery.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority own Jane an apology for not turning out; they have let her down and she is far from happy with them.

Not a good start for the new Labour Leadership on Sefton Council

Returning to the subject of Sefton Council’s AGM where the Labour Leader on this balanced authority (where no one party has a majority) became the Leader of the Council as his Group is presently the largest on on the Council. For the record the seats are split 28 Labour, 23 Liberal Democrat, 11 Conservative, 3 Independent Conservative and 1 UKIP.

Just before the meeting Labour made a bid for more power demanding an extra seat on their favorite local gravy train Merseytravel, which is the Transport Authority for Merseyside. Their action was designed to take a seat which had already been allocated to the Lib Dems, under a long standing agreement, which they said they are entitled to under a mathematical formula. Obviously we opposed their bid but the Tories backed Labour and the issue will now go on to the Cabinet to resolve. The ‘old pals act’ (Lab and Con) worked against us again!

Then Labour backed a motion from an Independent Conservative  councillor which was promoting the interests of the rich against the poor! I am sure Labour did not fully understand what they were voting for as the motion was aimed at letting rich students off paying back tuition fees costs with the consequence being that if the policy was ever enacted the poor would end up paying more to compensate! A funny sort of socialism going on here with us Lib Dems backing the poor and the ‘old pals act’ backing the rich.

Hardly the best start for the newly Labour led Council i.e. blatant self interested power grabbing whilst backing rich folks and ditching the poor. We could be in for a very interesting year indeed.