Switch Island – Too complex and the junction with Brooms Cross Road does not work

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-42946503

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

During my time as a Sefton Councillor I was involved in pretty much all the activities which eventually led to the building of Brooms Cross Road.

It all started with us marching through Thornton to try to get the new road project back on the agenda of Sefton Council. It had previously fallen off that agenda with the demise of what was then called the ‘Blue Route’. That former project would have seen a great deal of tree loss through Ince Woods and it fell pretty much for that reason. Here’s a couple of photos of us marching back around the turn of the century:-

Cllr. Geoff Howe and a young me on this shot marching with Thornton residents. My placard says ‘83% of Thornton residents want a relief road’.

Thornton residents marching to get the new road built.

The campaign gathered momentum and we managed to get all-party support for the new road (without damaging the woods) on the then balanced Sefton Council where no one party had a majority. Then I went, as Sefton Leader, to try to gain support from regional governmental bodies which existed at the time but are now defunct. We got that support.

I’ve read recently that some folks think that Sefton Council was asked to make a financial contribution to the project late on. In fact Sefton was always putting money into the project, indeed it was the promoter of the new road knowing full well it was going to have to put money in the pot.

The junction of the road with Switch Island has of course been the big issue especially as so many accidents have occurred there since the new road has been open and connected to an already complex junction.

Photo taken during the construction of Brooms Cross Road This is the Switch Island end of the yet to be completed road

I recall being shown a computer programme by the Highways Agency (now called Highways England) which predicted traffic flows and how they would change with the new road in place. I must admit to being sceptical at the time but the professional engineers said they had taken account of all the issues and that the plan would fly. It didn’t.

With the benefit of hindsight and the experience of watching what goes on at Switch Island my view is that the junction is simply too complex. What I mean by this is that new or irregular drivers encountering it have a bewildering array of signs and road markings to take on board. Unsurprisingly, they get things wrong and then have to swing across lanes, often without the due care required. Add into this the small minority of irresponsible regular users who expect to be able to fly through the junction at high speed (often running red lights) then you have a heady brew and accidents are always going to be on the cards.

The new lane indicator lights are innovative but how much they will actually help is yet to be seen. What I can’t get my head around is why speed/red light cameras were not been installed a long time ago. Surely dropping the vehicle approach speeds and taking the manic red light running out via such cameras would dramatically reduce the accidents, would it not?

Does Switch Island need fly-overs? Well yes it does and it has needed them for a long time now. Surely A5036/Dunningsbridge Rd docks trucks should be able to access the M58 without having to negotiate the island/junction and the same with traffic coming off the M57 wanting to travel down Brooms Cross Road.

And a final thought, beware of those promising to sort out Switch Island because with increased traffic it may only get worse, especially if no speed/red light cameras are installed.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

The curse of scrambler bikes

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/catalogue-tragedy-shows-war-scrambler-14244568

The Liverpool Echo has the story on its web site – see link above

I’m sure I saw one in Aughton’s Winifred Lane last Sunday and the Police helicopter was buzzing around above at the same time.

Liverpool & Merseyside Gun Crime – Why is it rising?

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/revealed-toxic-cocktail-led-shootings-14213654

The Liverpool Echo has the most worrying of stories on its web site – see link above

This is a very good article by Joe Thomas and its worth reading it through to gain a better understanding of the worrying and seemingly ever rising gun crime crisis across Merseyside in recent years.

What the Merseyside Police & Crime Commissioner costs Council tax payers

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/staggering-amount-money-paid-merseysides-14183626

The Liverpool Echo has the story on its web site – see link above

When the post of Police and Crime Commissioner was imposed on Merseyside, as indeed with the post of Mersey Metro Mayor, many of us probably said oh no yet more political mouths for our Council tax to feed, or words to that effect. Neither post was requested by local people, neither seemed wanted yet both were imposed.

Since then I think it is fair to say that the majority of us are still scratching our heads wondering what these additional layers of political bureaucracy actually do to make the lives of Merseysiders any better.

Here the Liverpool Echo, rightly in my view, looks at the cost of us having a Policing and Crime Commissioner. Having read what the Echo has uncovered I bet all we can do is to scratch our heads even harder wondering why on earth we are spending out to fund such a post especially when that money could be funding extra police on our streets!

Maghull – Shooting in Parkbourn

Parkbourn Square

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/police-show-house-damaged-shotgun-14210142

The Liverpool Echo has the story on its web site – see link above

If memory serves I seem to recall a previous shooting in Parkbourn from 2013

With thanks to Keith for the lead to this posting

Merseyside Policing – Dig deep as you’re being asked to pay more

Seen In Merseyside Police HQ

www.southportvisiter.co.uk/news/southport-west-lancs/police-boss-ask-residents-more-14168914

The Southport Visiter has the story on its web site – see link above

Whilst this plea for Merseyside Council tax payers to cough up more to counter the lack of government funds for our local Bobbies is hardly going to go down well, as our Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy obviously knows, there are some other interesting issues to look into.

I covered this issue not so long ago and my previous posting is available via this link:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/12/20/policing-more-cash-but-theres-a-catch-your-council-tax-is-going-up/

But one aspect of the Commissioner’s press release, as quoted by the Southport Visiter, caught my attention – her reference to the cost of the increased policing on Council tax bills at band ‘A’, which she tells us is the most common Council tax band on Merseyside.

That Band A is the most common highlights a big problem that many urban local authorities have who raise money via Council tax. You can’t raise much money when many of the properties in your area are only contributing at Band A. Just think how much easier it is for those local authorities where the majority of households are in band D and above. Another example of how unfair Council tax is – we need a local tax that works and is fair, a local income tax based on the ability to pay not the value of your property.

Oh and by the way the other point about Jane Kennedy quoting tax at band ‘A’ is that in my experience the illustrative band used over many years has been at band ‘D’. Why did she choose to illustrate the additional cost at band ‘A’ other than for the reason she has stated of course?

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting