Now this can challenge your will to live as readers of my previous postings on the subject will realise.
I really did think I had found the obvious solution after months of wrangling and procrastination i.e. to add the Maghull boundary sign on the two posts that already exist in the photo below. Then the Maghull in Bloom volunteers could reinstate one of their flower troughs which they place on all the Town’s boundary signs.
BUT………….. then I am told that Maghull Town Council has told the Maghull in Bloom volunteers that Sefton Borough Council has objected to the plan on the basis that folks will walk into the sign and possibly injure themselves!!!!! The fact that the poles are within a shrubbery area where pedestrians don’t walk would seem to have passed someone by.
So, I am back on the case yet again seeking explanations and trying to get this ridiculous farce sorted out. If anyone is going to bang their head on something it is probably me in utter frustration following months of being mucked about by Councils who should have resolved this problem without all this carry on!
Dr. John Pugh Lib Dem MP for Southport and former Leader of Sefton Council is not known for irrational outbursts; indeed he is a thoughtful man who does not crave media attention as do some politicians. On that basis when someone like John waves a flag of concern we should all take notice.
John waved his flag on the BBC North West Politics TV Programme last Sunday and you can see what he said by popping over to my colleague Iain Brodie-Browne’s Birkdale Focus Blog Site to watch a short video from the show.
Sadly, John has a point as Labour run Sefton is becoming very much like a communist regime. It does not like answering questions put to it at Council meetings and does its utmost not to do so. It will not engage in debate about the policies it is pursuing and it fears being scrutinised by its backbench and opposition councillors.
Take the Full Council meeting held last Tuesday. There were two debates initiated by the oppositions Lib Dems. The first was an attempt to open up the Council’s scrutiny process by having some of the scrutiny committees chaired by opposition councillors. The comrades opposed this but failed to give a single reason why they opposed it. Yes their Leader ranted on, for the benefit of his all too quiet troops who are rarely allowed to engage in debate, about this that and the other but he failed to address the point of the debate. Labour then voted to keep their closed shop very much closed.
We then moved on to a second debate where we again pressed for a 10% reduction in the wages paid to the 7 Cabinet members of the Council to assist with the Council’s need to make savings. Unsurprisingly, the comrades were having none of that even though the money we were trying to save was targeted at bringing back some decent democratic representation in the centre of the Borough where Labour have merged 3 Area Committees used by residents to raise concerns about very local matters. The merger was sold as a cost cutting measure but makes no sense at all – what on earth have communities like Formby, Maghull and Crosby got in common apart from all being within the vast middle of the Borough? So Labour again opposed the proposals but without giving a single reason why they thought that keeping more money in the Cabinet’s pockets is more desirable than improving engagement will local communities. No Labour member representing Crosby, Formby or Maghull rose to back their communities but they all voted to keep money in their Cabinet bosses pockets.
And it’s not just on Sefton Council where Labour closes down information channels. Take little Maghull Town Council where a matter was referred to the Police by the Labour run Town Council a few months ago but we opposition members have been unable to obtain the background documents (despite an FoI request) or the detailed reasons for that referral. Yes, the Police decided to take no action but who was under investigation – staff, people who worked for or with the Council? And what about Maghull Cricket Club? We think Labour are trying to use it as a cash cow to gain higher rents from but even another FoI request has yet to reveal what the Town Council’s objectives are in trying to change a legal agreement with the Club.
On a wider Merseyside platform you can also look at what went on with Labour run Merseytravel in the very recent past and where it seems another big financial scandal is about to be dragged from the undergrowth any day now.
So John Pugh MP has a significant point to make even though at face value it may seem like he is a politician simply throwing a little mud at his opposition. Unless Labour start to open up the local councils they run they will end up being accused of more North Korean type approaches to local democracy.
It is always a pleasant and enjoyable process installing the Borough’s new Mayor. This year the Mayor is Maureen Fearn (who has done it twice before) and everyone who knows Maureen (or M to me) will know she is just made to be a Mayor.
This year’s official ceremony was held at Southport Town Hall yesterday with a celebration meal (£30 a ticket – not on the rates!) following at the Ramada Plaza Hotel.
I must say that the staff and meal at the Ramada were both great and an enjoyable evening was had by all. Here I am with daughter Jen and M.
Since the owners of the northern half of Maghull’s shopping Centre gave the charity notice to quit their regular pitch a few weeks ago the charity have gamely been fighting to find another site for their stall.
And they are well thought of too as 5 letters in the last three week’s editions of the Aintree & Maghull Champion, backing the charity, show.
I have been into bat for the charity discussing options with Sefton Council officers and liaising with the charity but so far a sustainable solution has not been found.
The Westway battle ground where the Animals in Need charity want to pitch their regular fund raising stalls.
There are still two options on the table but one, using a small area of land owned by Sefton Council, seems to be an uphill struggle as I am told that as soon as the charity makes a bid for the site the managing agents of the northern side of the Shipping Centre are likely to register objections on behalf of their shopkeeper tenants. The other option, gaining permission from the other major land owner, remains a possibility but nothing has been heard from that land owner.
You could have put money on local residents rising up to support the charity when they were told to hop it but even I have been taken aback by how many people have mentioned this issue to me.
It looks like this battle is going to rumble on with those who are holding the charity at arms length gaining nothing good from their stance. Come on, taking on a British animal charity was always going to create a storm.
This was the scene as work to install the outdoor gym equipment was all but finished at Lydiate Parish Council’s Village Centre site on Lambshear Lane.
It is looking good and is NHS funded but I remember when a far seeing Lydiate Parish Council suggested installing such items a few years ago. It was attacked in the press for even thinking about it! How times move on.
I have been liaising with one particular resident for quite some time now following concerns about cars destroying the verges very close to the School’s Gainsborough Avenue entrance.
Finally, we have been able to get Sefton Council do a small amount of work (installing posts and shrubs) to protect the worst affected verges bearing in mind the small budget available.
Frankly I would like to have extended the work further but accept that there is no more money available at present – maybe more can be done at later date should wider problems persist.
Here is a photo of the works:-