Gales bring down tree to block canal tow path

Tree down just south of Bells Lane swing bridge, Lydiate

Tree down just south of Bells Lane swing bridge, Lydiate

The high winds of a few days ago brought down a tree along the Leeds Liverpool Canal through Lydiate. This was the scene yesterday when walkers were having to turn back or scramble through the downed tree.

I have asked the Canal and River Trust to do what they can to get it removed ASAP.

Has Formby Parish Council found a solution to declining maintenance standards? Grass verges for example.


Readers will know that I am a keen supporter of Parish Councils because they are the very bed rock of grass roots democracy. Why every community in the land does not have one beats me.

Anyway, a recent chat with a member of Formby Parish Council got me thinking. There, a simple but potentially effective and sustainable solution to the problem of trying to halt the decline in street maintenance standards may well have been found. Frankly, it is so sensible and straight forward you wonder why it took so long to surface but maybe all good ideas come up like this.

The Formby solution? Well, they identify high profile parts of their community, such as entry roads into the Town, and then look at say the grass verges. Now Sefton Borough may only be able to afford to cut the verges say 6 times per year but for Formby’s leaders this is simply not enough to present their community well in prominent roads/areas. On that basis Formby Parish Council says to Sefton Council, we will pay your contractor the same rate you pay them but that will be for be X number of extra cuts. No need to tender as that has already been done by the Borough Council, no form filling other than the very basic required and hopefully no declining standards.

A good idea whose time has come I would suggest.

Green Waste Recycling – Sefton Council plans to charge you

My thanks to Cllrs. Sue McGuire and Pat Keith (both Cambridge ward of Sefton) for giving this ill thought out policy some prominence. You can read their concerns, which I share I would add, via the link to their blog above.


My old chum and former Maghull Lib Dem Cllr. Roy Connell has also raised concerns with me recently about the consultation process on Sefton’s web site. Roy’s concern, and again I share it, is that it is consultation after the event which does not give residents who participate in it any real opportunity to comment on the principle of charging for the collection of green waste.

Roy is of course right and the policy move is clearly not consistent with the Council’s green agenda as previously outlined by its former Lib Dem Cabinet members for the Environmental portfolio David Tattersall and Simon Shaw. Indeed, Sefton under Labour is clearly moving away from such a green agenda.

Save our Green Belt – MP asks an odd Parliamentary question indeed

This recent question asked by our Sefton Central MP had me wondering why on earth he asked it. Read on:-

Bill Esterson (Sefton Central, Labour)

A developer in Lydiate in my constituency has made clear his plans to build in the green belt, despite the existing urban development plan making it clear that it is against the policies. Is not the best way to protect the green belt and valuable urban green space to go back to a system with a more regional approach so that there is not this push for development in the green belt?

What Bill is seemingly asking for here is a return to the way Labour approached land use policy when they were in government. Then we had a Regional Strategy which clearly said that Sefton Borough had to build 500 houses per year. In turn this meant that Sefton would have to start to allow building in the Green Belt!

My advice to Bill is be careful what you wish for!

Pilling Lane, Lydiate – Canal & River Trust say they will repair the closed steps October to December 2013.

I took this shot during the last snow in Lydiate

I took this shot during the last snow in Lydiate

I have posted previously about the closed pedestrian steps that lead from the Leeds Liverpool Canal towpath to Pilling Lane in Lydiate. They have been closed for many months now but getting a timescale for the required repairs from the Canal & River Trust (previously known as British Waterways) has proved difficult.

Step forward Barbara Keenan the new Clerk to Lydiate Parish Council because she has gained the answer. In an e-mail to Barbara dated 4th February Andrea Barrett from the Trust says that ‘Funding has now been sourced and these works are currently planned to be completed in October to December 2013. The repair works will include the bridge, canal wash walls and steps.’

I suspect that with another summer of the steps being closed that the timescale will hardly be one to make folks happy but at least it looks like we can at last see an end to this problem.

Lib Dem Deputy Leader Simon Hughes visits Maghull

Simon Hughes the Lib Dem Deputy Leader was in Maghull last Saturday discussing with campaigners how local communities are coping with the consequences of Labour’s massive overspending whilst in government. He also wanted to know about how Lib Dems are fighting developments on Green Belt land.

Simon heard how Labour run Sefton Borough Council had targeted local libraries and public toilets for closure and how campaigns had been launched to save them both. He also heard about Labour voting to build on Green Belt land in Lydiate whilst at the same time saying they wanted to save Green Belt.

We told Simon about our campaigning across the Borough to save libraries from Labour’s closure plans whilst working with groups such as Aintree Ratepayers and other special interest groups. He was concerned that despite huge pressure from concerned residents Labour was still pushing for closure of more than half the Borough’s libraries.

He was however pleased to hear that a Lib Dem campaign to stop Labour closing all the Borough’s public toilets had been a success with the comrades sounding the retreat on their closure plans in the face of campaigns like the one launched by the Lib Dems to save the toilets at Maghull Square.

The team who fought to keep our public toilets in Sefton

It was the Lib Dems who fought to keep our public toilets open in Sefton

Cllr. Bruce Hubbard says “We took Simon to a Green Belt site off Maghull’s School Lane which has previously been under pressure from developers to let him know how concerned we are to see high grade agricultural land coming under threat of being concreted over. As a keen environmentalist Simon understood our concerns.”

Fighting for our Green Belt

Fighting for our Green Belt

The Saturday afternoon visit ended with Simon taking a look at Maghull’s Central Square shopping area where we discussed issues around charging for car parking and how it can discourage shoppers to use local shops.

At Maghull Square discussing car parking charges

At Maghull Square discussing car parking charges