Liverpool’s 1965 Shankland Plan

The Liverpool Echo has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/business/gallery/eye-popping-walkways-sky-liverpool-15874583

This is an interesting piece of Liverpool’s history which the Echo has resurrected. It shows how different the thinking was back in the 1960’s about how a city should develop and radically change.

I guess we are grateful that much of it was not implemented.

Sefton Borough Council – Fly-tipping costs us all a fortune

The Liverpool Echo has a story about it on its website – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/shameful-photos-show-disgusting-piles-15929007

I’ve had a good rant about this on many previous occasions and the problem is rampant across the country of course, so Sefton is sadly not in any way unique.

But what really gets me is that between Councils and the Environment Agency there’s far too little mobile covert CCTV coverage of sites where regular fly-tipping problems are the greatest. And I admit that in my time as a Sefton Councillor I failed to push the powers that be into more intelligent reactions to this ever seemingly worsening situation.

Regular convictions of fly-tippers in the local press would work wonders because it would deter others from following them. What makes the situation all the more ridiculous is that because of my cycling around Sefton and West Lancs I see what has been dumped and very often it is stuff that could easily be disposed of at local Recycling Centre at no cost at all! Yes I know there are those businesses tipping tyres, asbestos and indeed even the by-products to cannabis farms but much of what I see on my travels is ordinary household rubbish, furniture and building rubble and it strikes me that the dumpers are just too idle to take it to a Recycling Centre.

I realise that it would cost money to set up a mobile covert CCTV unit but surely the Councils across say Merseyside, working with the Environment Agency could put something in place which would eventually pay for itself by far less fly-tipped rubbish having to be removed from back alleys and country lanes. This is not rocket science surely, is it?

Rant over, for now……..

Ormskirk and its traffic jams

I’ve blogged before about why Ormskirk needs and east-west by-pass for its own sake and indeed to enable better access to Southport. My November 2013 posting on this matter is an example – here it is via this link:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2013/11/21/ormskirk-traffic-congestion-solved-by-the-new-switch-island-thornton-link-road/

Having been stuck in one of Ormskirk’s traffic jams a few days ago my thoughts turned to the East Lancashire town of Colne where a motorway just pours out into it and the ever gridlocked Harrogate over the Pennines in Yorkshire. Together with Ormskirk, they all seem to suffer from the same problem – traffic being funnelled right through a busy town as opposed to each having a bypass of some sort.

My mind then, being in a mischievous mood, stated to think about a new town entry sign for Ormskirk and its twin northern towns. How does this look?

Well yes, just a bit of fun on one level but also a nudge to Lancashire County Council on another. Oh, and by the way, it would also help a lot if trains were run from Ormskirk to Southport via reconnecting the Burscough south curve.

Maghull – ‘Truce’ 1914-1918 Great War Sculpture

I was in Maghull Town Hall’s Council Chamber a couple of weeks back for a meeting of the Maghull in Bloom Volunteers and could not be anything other than impressed with the scaled-down sculpture/piece of artwork that is on display there:-

The original life-size version of this lovely piece of remembrance sculpture is in the grounds of Liverpool’s famous bombed out church – St Lukes at the top of Bold Street and it looks like this:-

Lydiate – Some notes from the February Parish Council meeting – Donations and Dogs


We agreed to make donations to both Lydiate in Flower and Lydiate Village Festival.

Remember the trouble over dogs on Sandy Lane Playing Field and the dog walker getting fined* for their dog being on the football pitch from a few weeks back? Well since then the Parish Council has been creating and fencing off an area of the park where dogs can be walked without fear of fines. The fencing is now mainly in and it looks like this:-

We also discussed appropriate signage for the park so that dog walkers and indeed all park users know what the rules are surrounding dogs being banned from sports pitches. The rules are probably too involved for a simple notice so we discussed the possibility of a straight forward notice with the detail being available on the Parish Council’s web site.

* The fine was subsequently rescinded

An OPSTA meeting in Croston – So are things looking brighter on the recently appalling (for cancellations) Ormskirk – Preston line

Ormskirk’s Station where Merseyrail and Norther trains meet

Croston is a lovely largish village which is somewhat isolated in public transport terms with few if any local bus services. And those that do run seem to be permanently under threat.

But what Croston does though have is a railway station on the Ormskirk – Preston line, a line that in the early 1980s was under threat of closure itself and the reason the then OPTA (Ormskirk Preston Travellers Assn) campaign group was formed. That battle was won although there were some amusing reminiscences at the meeting held last Wednesday about politician Den Dover having to leave a campaign meeting because his stance was not seen to be one that helped the then beleaguered line.

Croston Station

But as readers of this blog site will know the performance of Northern Trains on the line was in the utterly appalling category during 2018, indeed it got so bad that it made the BBC national TV news. That the BBC got hold of the story was down to OPSTA (notice the change of name to include Southport) and some very determined Croston residents. Thankfully performance has very much improved in recent weeks but OPSTA continues to monitor the on-time performance of every train and Northern know it.

A guest at the meeting was Cllr. Keith Iddon the Transport portfolio holder on Lancashire County Council. The impression he gave to the meeting was one of optimism for the Ormskirk – Preston Line. He clearly backs the idea of Merseyrail trains running through Ormskirk on to Preston, indeed if anything he came over as more optimistic about that happening than Liam Robinson (the Chair of Merseytravel) did at a similar OPSTA public forum held in Southport a few months back.

Burscough Junction Station

We pressed Keith on the need to run trains on the Ormskirk – Preston Line on Sundays whether or not the line is eventually taken over by Merseytravel – they would do that as a matter of course. He promised to take that request away and speak to Rail North about it. Rail North is in effect the northern branch of the Department for Transport.

If I recall correctly Cllr. Iddon referred to himself as someone from a truck driving background and thereby hangs an ever-present problem in Councils – their engineers are 99 times out of a hundred from a roads/highways background so they know little of the ways of the railway industry. Bearing in mind that many councils are responsible for transport in all its forms this must put them at a disadvantage, indeed they must miss opportunities because of the lack of expertise in railways. By the way, I’m not criticising Cllr. Iddon here, his working background is just as worthy as anyone else’s, I just use what he said to help illustrate a point that has long concerned me and which I witnessed when serving as a councillor on Sefton Borough Council.

Rufford Station

So are things on an upward curve for the Ormskirk – Preston Line? We can only hope so because so many passengers were left stranded day after day during Northern’s troubles, which are not at an end even now. Terrible communication issues with passengers, very poor rail replacement buses and a feeling that that Northern look upon the Rail North/DfT as their real customer who has to be satisfied rather than poor travelling public whom they let down day after day. The only way is upwards and please get the line into the Merseyrail system ASAP, it really is a no-brainer…..