Bootle – 100 new homes planned for canal-side development near Strand Shopping Centre

Place North West has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.placenorthwest.co.uk/news/ellis-williams-appointed-to-33m-bootle-community-housing/#.XkqyV7noJh4.twitter

And the Liverpool Echo carried an article about the refurbishment of the Lock and Quay pub (mentioned as an integral part of the planned housing development in the Place North West link above) recently – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/rough-ready-old-school-boozer-16015668

Below is a photo of the Pride of Sefton Trust barge near the site this posting is about. The photo dates back to 2010 as do the other photos.

Could Heathrow Climate Change victory cause a Rimrose rethink?

Friends of the Earth has the article on its website – see link below

friendsoftheearth.uk/climate-change/heathrow-third-runway-uk-government-actions-ruled-illegal

Rimrose Valley Country Park.

The FotE court victory is very welcome news indeed but it immediately got me thinking about the potential knock-on effects of the ruling for other transport projects in the pipeline which need to be rethought because of the Climate Emergency that has been declared.

Unsurprisingly my thoughts have turned to the Highways England plan to build a road right down the Rimrose Valley Country Park to create better freight access to the Port of Liverpool and I’m sure I’m not the only one having such thoughts.

It also makes you realise that Sefton Council’s Judicial Review of Highways England’s Port of Liverpool Access Road was utterly on the wrong grounds. If they’d made the challenge on basis of climate change as opposed to wanting a road tunnel they could well have won!

And there was my old school – Maghull’s Woodend Primary

The Liverpool Echo has an article on its website, which prompted this posting as Woodend is not amongst the schools listed – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/nostalgia/72-closed-demolished-schools-arent-17782814

The photo above was taken in April 2018 and shows the former Woodend Primary School on the right. It was, on closure, merged into Maghull High School, as it shared the same grounds, and became its 6th Form Block.

I only did my final 2 terms of primary school there when we moved into Maghull in December 1968 yet I have happy memories of that short time – Mr Hadaway the Head teacher and Mrs Hughes my form teacher. I then, almost literally, walked across the playing field into Ormonde Drive Secondary Modern School in September 1969. Woodend School opened in 1968 just months prior to my going to it

My other memories of Woodend are sad though as I was involved in helping my good friend Andrew Blackburn in a campaign to try to save it from closure. Another of the campaigners, Pam Edwards, was given the Maghull Civic Award in 2001 (see photo above) for her efforts in setting up a nursery there. Sadly the number of children attending the school was falling in the late 1990’s and Sefton Council’s Education Department had their eye on it for closure.

A significant campaign was put together by people such as Andrew and Pam to try to keep the school going. Leaflets were printed advertising the school which were distributed by the campaigners across Maghull and parts of Aintree but we just could not drum up the numbers needed to save the school. As the end came nearer children moved to other schools locally and closure became an inevitability.

What was so sad about the closure was that the school was a good one, with a great Head (Alex Blythin) and a team of very dedicated staff & teachers. It’s big disadvantage though was that it was all but hidden behind housing in Ormonde Drive and Liverpool Road South so if you were not aware of it you’d hardly be likely to stumble across it.

That it continued to have an educational use was a bit of a blessing but I’m sure there must be many Maghull residents who remember it fondly and regret its demise.

Maghull Town Council recognised the contribution the School had made to the Town when they had this photo taken and distributed to each person in it. It was taken in early 2002, the School closed in July 2002:-(

Please click on the photos to enlarge them

Maghull – Heavy rain reminds us of the potential peril of building on agricultural land locally

The recent heavy rain got me thinking about the soon to be built and vast urban extension to Maghull of @1700 houses. I went to have a look at the site on Sunday 23rd February. The photos below really speak for themselves as they start with the waterlogged site as I saw it followed by where the water eventually drains to i.e. Dovers Brook and the River Alt.

Maghull East Site from Ashworth Motorway junction 23 02 20

Maghull East Site from Poverty Lane 23 02 20

Dovers Brook at Sefton Lane looking north 23 02 20

Dovers Brook at Sefton Lane 23 02 20 – the bridge is all but lost under the floodwater.

River Alt 23 02 20 looking south from Bridges Lane.

Having lived locally for over 50 years I can’t say I’m surprised by this situation as our low-lying land has always been liable to flood after heavy rain. Of course climate change is making those floods more regular and at times worse than they have been in the past.

What has not, in my opinion, been effectively resolved is how the floodwater is dealt with as flooding of Sefton Lane is far from unusual each year these days. What worries me is how the local drainage network is going to cope after a vast area of presently agricultural land (the Maghull East Site) is put under concrete, brick and tarmac. The implications will not be just on that site, if the drainage issues are not fully addressed, but potentially to the west of it to the River Alt which takes a great deal of Maghull’s surface water run-off.

That the Maghull East Site site will be developed is a given as Sefton Council’s Local Plan has already designated it for building on but, and it’s a very big but, what guarantees are going to be put in place that this building will not make a presently unresolved flooding problem even worse?

Sefton Council and the developers of the land have to get this right otherwise those of us who fought against the vast site being designated for building will be reminding the powers that be that they were warned about the consequences.

My thanks to Andrew Blackburn for the lead to this posting

Climate Change & the Port of Liverpool

Daughter Jen and I attended a public meeting in Waterloo yesterday evening at Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre organised by Friends of the Earth. The subject of the meeting and debate was The Port of Liverpool & The Climate Crisis.

The meeting took the form of a panel of speakers making initial statements and then them taking questions which had been submitted prior to the meeting, although there was also some interaction with the audience of I would guess @150 people.

(The acoustics were not great in the room so I may have missed some points that were made)

The panel was Paulette Lappin (Sefton Councillor for Ford Ward & Cabinet Member – Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services), Stu from Save Rimrose Valley Campaign, Bill Esterson MP for Sefton Central, a representative of the Church Road & District Residents Assn, Craig from Friends of the Earth and the event was hosted/chaired by Dominic Browne, editor of Highways Magazine/ Transport Network.

Cllr. Lappin raised concerns about poor air quality associated with the area around the Port. She also said that Sefton Council was still pressing for a road tunnel to access it.

Rimrose Valley Country Park.

Stu from Save Rimrose Valley Campaign was disappointed that Peel Ports & Highways England were not at the event.

Bill Esterson MP said he was against both a new road down the Rimrose Valley or the alternative Highways England solution of upgrading the A5036/Church Road. He wanted a tunnel but but not a road tunnel, a rail tunnel.

The Church Road & District speaker (my apols I did not catch his name) said his group represented concerned residents from Millers Bridge to Switch Island. He also said his group would be taking Sefton Council to court for its failings. He wants digital air pollution monitoring at all the schools around the A5036 corridor.

Craig the FofTE speaker said a Health Assessment for the proposed new road down the Rimrose Valley needs to be made. He also called for Highways England to be scrapped in favour of sustainable transport solutions. He was clearly incredulous that the Port had been expanded and then the transport links to it were being considered.

Other comments – Why was Steve Rotherham the Metro Mayor not at the event? – The response from some was that he was simply a figurehead but with little power. FofTE called on Rotherham to come out clearly against the 2 road schemes for accessing the Port.

Why did Sefton Council not apply for government money (in 2018?) to enable it to conduct detailed air monitoring? – This was clearly a big issue between the Church Road & District Group and Sefton Council, indeed it led to the host saying he was glad the two of them were at different ends of the table.

What had Merseytravel been doing as the Transport Committee for the City Region? Had they been assisting Highways England?

Rebecca Hanson (from the audience) called for the only digital monitor in the Port vicinity to be put on-line so that anyone could access it for real time air pollution information. My understanding is that the Sefton Cabinet Member undertook to try to get this done.

Has a detailed assessment been undertaken for the 3rd alternative i.e. a rail tunnel? The MP thought not.

Reference made to early reports and investigations via Sefton Council and the Port Access Group it chaired, going back to 2003, but of course the Climate Crisis had not been the massive issue then that it is now.

A chap from the audience asked about the long talked of HGV parking-up facility for the Port and where this had got to – no one seemed to know the answer to this.

My thoughts on the event –

Why hadn’t Sefton Council sent a councillor along who was a member of the Port Access Steering Group which it had chaired from the outset? Cllr. Lappin said she had not been a member of it.

Why was the Sefton Central MP there when the vast majority of issues are actually within the Bootle Constituency?

What did the event achieve? Well it clearly led to information sharing amongst those who attended it but whether it will have contributed to changing of minds in government or elsewhere is a different matter. I got the impression that all of us at the event were opposed to what Highways England is proposing (either road scheme) so there’s a danger we were talking to ourselves and not really exerting that influence that is so clearly needed on the real decision makers.

If I have anything wrong here please let me know and I will correct. As I said the acoustics were not great.