Maghull – New cycle track from Switch Island towards Maghull on A59

I have commented before about the narrow and completely inadequate cycle/footpath out of Maghull towards Switch Island and it seems someone has been listening as construction work on a much wider path has been taking place in recent weeks from Switch Island up to the pedestrian/cycle crossing just before the Maghull boundary.

I do hope that the highway powers that be Highways England and Sefton Council are going to keep the new path construction going to the junction with Liverpool Road South as there’s no point in stopping at the cycle/pedestrian crossing. This is view from the crossing towards the Liverpool Road South junction – still a very narrow path at present but I will have more news soon on it:-

Of course what Maghull and Lydiate really needs alongside the A59 Northway is a safe cycle route from Switch Island through to Robins Island and Lydiate Parish Council has acknowledge this need in its draft Neighbourhood Plan.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Bootle – Sefton’s Monopoly Money

Rear view of Bootle New Strand shopping centre

If your Council was strapped for cash and was having big trouble funding vital community services would you speculatively spend what we have been told amounts to £32.5m buying a shopping center, seemingly via off-shore companies and borrow the money to do it? Well most probably you wouldn’t but it’s exactly what Labour-run Sefton Council did in Bootle in 2017

This is of course not a new story but even with the passing of a few months since the purchase it still beggars belief. Whilst Labour refuse to reveal how much the Strand officially cost, newspapers have reported the deal at £32.5m.

But the big question, amongst many that the Labour-run Council refuse to answer, is why buy the Strand Shopping Centre. Why not Maghull Square Shopping Centre, Central 12 Shopping Centre in Southport, a retail park in Aintree etc. etc.

We all know that because of on-line spending retail is not doing well these days and the trend is likely to continue towards more on-line and less retail shop spending. So why is buying a shopping centre in Bootle, which has been troubled by lowering footfall and empty shop units, a good deal for the Borough? Indeed, would the admittedly rather down at heel Maghull Square shopping centre have been a better bet for a speculative purchase as it has not suffered the large number of vacant units that the Strand has since the recession hit us?

You see the stated reason for purchasing the Strand is to bring in rental income that will both pay off the massive loan taken out on the shopping centre, pay for maintenance and future investment in the property and leave money to spare to help run essential public services.

There are huge areas on the Strand that you can no longer access where shop units used to be and a walk downstairs to the lower retail area reveals many vacant shop units. So again I ask the question, if gaining a return to fund Council services was the real objective why not pick a shopping centre in the Borough that is thriving or at least performing better than the Strand is? But then again why buy a retail development at all, aren’t there better property investments around?

Frankly, the purchase of the Strand still does not add up and if, as seems likely, the removal of thousands of civil servants from Bootle and into Liverpool has the predicted big reduction in footfall where will the Labour Party hide its face then?

Clieves Hill – Beautiful views and huge potholes

Clieves Hill in Aughton provides wonderful views over West Lancashire and Sefton to the coast, views like this:-

But beware if you try to park your car in the viewing lay-by as there are some monster sized potholes in it:-

Note:- Lay-by potholes reported to Lancashire County Council 21 04 18

Click on the photos to enlarge them

The lead photo is also amongst my Flickr shots at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Maghull – Frank Hornby Trust displays in Meadows Leisure Centre

Clearing out the Hornby display items at Meadows Leisure Centre

The Frank Hornby Heritage Centre within Maghull’s Meadows Leisure Centre is now temporarily closed pending removal of display cases from the ground to first floor of the Centre during a remodeling of the building.

Everything was safely packed away by Trustees today and information on reopening will be made available soon. It is anticipated that the closure will only be for a few weeks.

Meadows Leisure Centre & Library – Frank Hornby Trust Displays

If you live in the Maghull area you will have seen the headlines in this week’s Aintree & Maghull Champion about the contraction of the Town’s library into a space only about one third the size of what it was when the new library was opened in 2010.

The demise, reductions and contractions of public libraries is sad in any circumstance and it is a matter I have blogged about on many occasions. However, this particular posting is more about the consequences of the major changes at Meadows Leisure Centre and Library. In particular the remodeling of the Centre/Library is having a significant impact on the Frank Hornby Heritage Centre which is based within the building.

The Heritage Centre is run by the Maghull based charitable trust – The Frank Hornby Trust – and it helps celebrate the life and works of Maghull’s most famous resident. On display in the Frank Hornby Room on the ground floor of the leisure centre has been a large museum quality display case with many Hornby related artifacts within it. Here’s a photo of it:-

There are a lot of Meccano, Hornby Trains and other items on display and every one has to be carefully cleaned now and again.

But the Franky Hornby Room is being repurposed into offices for Sefton Council so our display cases are on the move. They are moving upstairs into part of what was the 2nd floor of Maghull Library and the move starts tomorrow Saturday 21st April when Trustees will be packing up the items ready for the display cases to be moved. This means that for a period of a few weeks, whilst the works are ongoing, there will be no access to the Hornby items.

The good news however, is that when the works are complete the display cases will be accessible whenever Maghull Library is open. This is a significant improvement on the present situation because the Frank Hornby Room has always been multi-use, so access to the displays has depended on other activities in the room.

Since Michael Portillo visited the Frank Hornby Room on one of his Great British Railway Journeys the Frank Hornby Trust has had many enquiries from folk across the UK who want to see the display of Hornby items:-

In the Hornby Room at Meadows Leisure Centre – Michael Portillo with Frank Hornby Trust Chairman Les French as seen on TV this year.

There’s much work to do over the next few weeks but the Trustees hope that following the move the displays will be back up and accessible for people to see towards the end of May this year. More publicity will follow.

Lydiate – Sefton Council introduces new traffic calming measures using hedges! :-)

This looks like an April 1st posting but its not. The photo below is real and was taken on Lydiate’s Bells Lane on 4th April:-

It looks like an innovative new method by Sefton Council to calm traffic speeds at first glance using hedging! In fact the sign has been spun around 90 degrees by the recent high winds making it side on to the road.

Sefton Council were informed and it is now pointing the right way.

Click on the photo to enlarge it

The photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-

https://www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/