Maghull – 8 days notice to speak to Town Council meeting

I was a Maghull Town Councillor for 30 years (until 2015) and in my experience residents would just turn up at a Council meeting to vent their concerns etc.

But the other day it came to my attention that the Town Council now expects residents to give 8 days notice if they want to speak during the public participation part of any meeting or if they wish to address a matter that is on the agenda of a Town Council meeting.

So what’s that all about? Why 8 days notice? Why can’t residents just turn up when they want to ask of the Council whatever is on their mind? For goodness sake its only a parish council meeting they are going to address; they are not giving evidence at the High Court!

This process would seem to follow one used by Sefton Borough Council to some degree but as I say its only a parish council meeting when all is said and done. Why not just welcome anyone who wants to have their say when they want to have it?

I’m on Lydiate Parish Council these days and as far as I’m aware residents are welcomed to have their say at the monthly meetings without the need to give advance warning.

Maghull – Habitat Regulations – Town Council has an in and out relationship with them or so it seems

The irony of Maghull Town Council taking out hedges (otherwise know as a habitat for wildlife) in Glenn Park only yards away from other hedges along Eastway, which they have previously left uncut despite complaints from pedestrians, due to Habitat Regulations is not lost on me.

This saga goes back a while now (to 2015) and I have posted about it previously. Here’s my most relevant previous posting:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/11/30/maghull-i-keep-getting-asked-why-maghull-tc-does-not-cut-its-hedges/

What’s brought the matter back into focus now is the removal of a couple of quite long hedges from within Glenn Park by Maghull Town Council in the past few days. My understanding is that the stated reason for removing them is to introduce sight lines across the park to assist with anti-social behaviour issues there. Well the motive seems sound then at one level but hang on a minute.

Glenn Park – Where until recently there was a hedge/wildlife habitat

Firstly, a bit of history. Glenn Park has long had ASB issues associated with it; I can trace them back into the mid 1980’s at least, as that is when I became a Maghull councillor. Various things have been tried to tackle the problem. For example the former tennis courts were floodlit to provide a caged ball area in the 1990’s. Another initiative between Maghull Town Council and Sefton Council’s Youth Service was the youth facility that operated within the park making use of the former bowls hut. I also recall The Town Council introducing Park Rangers across all of Maghull’s parks to tackle ASB. The demise of the youth facility and the Park Rangers must have had a negative impact on ASB issues.

Anyway back to the present. As you may have guessed by now the Town Council pointed to Habitat Regulations when they were challenged over uncut and overgrown hedges along Eastway. As I have pointed out in my previous posting (linked above) they were being selective in their interpretation of the regulations because where a hedge is close to a footpath it can be cut back on the side causing access issues for pedestrians.

So what we have established is that the Town Council are aware of the appropriate regulations. Here’s a link to those regulations which seem to be more properly known as The Hedgerows Regulations (1997):-

www.gov.uk/guidance/countryside-hedgerows-regulation-and-management

So how do we end up in a situation where the Town Council takes out hedges seemingly without reference to the hedgerow regulations it was merrily quoting when it came to the non-cutting of hedges only yards away not so long ago?

I am aware that a Maghull resident has referred the matter to Natural England and that a response is awaited but frankly I can’t see why the environmental and habitat considerations were seemingly not taken into account along side the ASB issues before action was taken to grub out two lengthy sections of what would have been mainly Hawthorne hedging.

Yes of course the ASB issues need to be addressed again at Glenn Park but to do so whilst removing habitat for wildlife is solving one problem to effectively create another. There must have been a viable alternative (reducing the height of the hedges comes to mind as is happening in other places presently around Glenn Park) so why was it not pursued? Surely an Environmental Impact Assessment would have been the first consideration would it not?

The Town Council may well get away with removing the hedging and the home it provided for wildlife but surely a public body should be approaching such matters with the green and environmental consequences of any park management changes being its first thought.

As an environmental campaigner I am so saddened by this turn of events.

The challenges of youth – The Icelandic way/solutions

www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05mw7rd

The BBC has some innovative youth solutions on its web site – see link above

I have not been one to watch the demise of local youth facilities without saying that we are headed in very much the wrong direction and that there are and will continue be negative consequences for the wider community and the young people left wandering on our streets.

The closure of Maghull’s innovative Youth Coffee Bar set up by local youngsters for local youngsters comes to mind. On the positive side though volunteers are working to set up a new youth facility which will soon operate from within Lydiate Village Centre.

But this a is not another rant about the the failed political processes in Maghull/Lydiate that have led to the demise of publicly funded youth facilities, its a call to say hey look at what the Icelandic nation is doing and could we not do something similar?

The alternative i.e. to continue to let our young people wander the streets getting into trouble and keeping our over-stretched police force busy is hardly offering them a happy, healthy and positive future now is it?

Social Care for the elderly – A disaster that is worsening every day

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/social-care-crisis-latest-governmet-delays-slow-dragging-feet-labour-damian-green-a8058776.html

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

Norman Lamb MP

Quote from the article:-

Liberal Democrat former care minister Norman Lamb said: “This Government is completely failing to address the social care crisis which has left over a million vulnerable older people without the support they need.

“It is outrageous that they are now kicking the can further down the road, leaving the social care sector in a state of uncertainty.”

This vital issue affects every section of society as we will all potentially need social care when we are elderly. That means this is an obvious cross-party issue that should be addressed by the coming together of political foes for the benefit of the common good; something Norman Lamb has tried to bring about previously. Sadly, our ridiculously partisan political system leads to politicians opposing each other even when they agree but every day that this social care crisis is kicked down the road more of the elderly in our families will suffer from inadequate care.

Yet we still like to call ourselves civilised……..

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

Lydiate – Parish Council’s winter planting at Nedens Lane

The piece of land at the junction of Nedens Lane and Southport Road always looks good and has done ever since Lydiate Parish Council took over the maintenance of it from Sefton Council.

Winter planting of the flower beds in this landscaped area has been completed recently by the Parish Council’s grounds staff who are doing their bit to assist with the recently launched Lydiate in Flower volunteer group who will hopefully be starting work on other flower/environmental projects next spring.

Liverpool – Looking up, up, up!

Liverpool Waterfront Panorama 2016

www.placenorthwest.co.uk/news/special-report-liverpool-aims-high-but-can-it-deliver/

I came across this piece recently and it is indeed very interesting. Liverpool and its property developers seem to be aiming very high and the landscape of the City is changing fast. Will this race to the sky really lead to the City’s World Heritage status being withdrawn as many seem to think/fear?

Click on the photo to enlarge it