SAVE OUR LIBRARIES – Big protest at Sefton Cabinet meeting puts Labour under even more pressure

The message is clear but will Labour back down or swing their axe

The message is clear but will Labour back down or swing their axe

Residents, campaigners, Aintree Ratepayers and Lib Dem councillors protested outside Southport Town Hall last Thursday morning as the all-Labour Cabinet of Sefton Council were about to decided whether they really were going to close more than half the Borough’s libraries.

Whether they bottled it, were having second thoughts or simply did not know what to do we will probably never know but the end result was that they decided not to make a decision. The matter will now be decided at the next Cabinet meeting on 28th February so we are told.

Maghull’s famous Youth Coffee Bar faces funding threat

The unique Youth Coffee Bar in Maghull Town Hall that was set up by Maghull and District Youth Council and the then Lib Dem run Town Council is facing an uncertain future as Labour run Sefton Council has turned down a bid for its continuing funding. This despite the Borough Council saying is has £40,000 available to spend on such projects across the East Parishes in the next financial year.

Lib Dem campaigners are worried that if things are not sorted out soon this valuable youth facility that has won nationwide plaudits, could face the chop. Says Lib Dem Cllr. Andrew Blackburn “We have to do all we can to get the funding in place and if Labour run Sefton will not fund it then Maghull Town Council should put its hand in its rather deep pockets; we can’t let it simply drift away.”

Maghull Cricket Club – Labour are after their money!

Some time ago (July 2012) I posted that I had been made aware that Labour run Maghull Town Council had maybe seen an opportunity to try to make a few bob from Maghull Cricket Club by upping the Club’s rent.

This club really is a first rate community organisation that does a lot with its numerous youth teams. On that basis I decided to put a marker down at the last Town Council meeting. I asked what the Council’s objectives were and as far as I could work out from the answer it was all about money.

If this excellent Club is damaged by the Town Council’s fishing expedition to see if there is any money to be had I would bet on there being quite a reaction; one that the Council may not have bargained for.

Knowing the price of everything but the value of nothing comes to mind.

SAVE OUR GREEN BELT – What the Leader of Sefton Council said at the Maghull Town Council meeting last week

The Leader of Sefton Council put down what looked to me very much like a clear marker at the Maghull Town Council meeting last week and it was a marker that will not go down well with Green Belt campaigners.

Labour Councillor Peter Dowd, who I have known for many years and on a personal level get along with, told the Town Council (which he isalso a member of) that in relation to future house building he was very much of the view that some of it would be built on land that is Green Belt.

He was clearly trying to put a message across and I must admit that I wondered who Peter was really speaking to. He did not make his remarks in a party political way what so ever, indeed he seemed keen to ensure that no one thought he was doing so. But the more I have pondered on what he said the more I have wondered if the message was meant for his own followers and indeed the Sefton Central Labour MP. I say this in the context of Labour doing some pretty outlandish things in relation to the Green Belt in recent times. My posting of the 11th of February refers.

I have known Peter long enough to realise that what he said was said with a purpose.

SAVE OUR LIBRARIES – What on earth is going on at Birkdale Library?


My colleague Cllr. Mike Booth has this story on his blog site at

Frankly, it is all rather odd. Why has Sefton Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) come up with their ‘idea’ of moving into the Library seemingly after Labour run Sefton Council closes it. Talk about stamping up and down on the grave before the patient is even dead! I thought CVS was supposed to support the voluntary sector not to look for opportunities to do the Labour Council’s bidding by providing it with a tenant (CVS) should Labour go ahead and close this excellent community facility.

Please read what Mike has to say and then have a look at the document below that was put together by a group of non-political people working towards a common goal of saving the Library.


BLAG. Birkdale Library Action Group.

In response to consultation by Sefton Council regarding proposed closure of Birkdale Library.


Following a proposal by Sefton Council to close down 7 Libraries in Sefton, BLAG set up an action group to investigate ways that a library service could continue to operate in Birkdale. Various BLAG sub groups have carried out research on library issues, which was co-ordinated into an overall plan by a central steering group. A petition was signed by just under 2,000 people demanding that Birkdale Library should be saved.


• To maintain a valuable Public Library/Reference/Information Service.
• To create a more cost effective & manageable service.
• To maintain an accessible library service for all.


It is essential that the library service in the Southport area should be accessible to all people and for this reason thought must be given to disabled and elderly people who can only access a library by car.
Birkdale is the only library in Southport with a dedicated car park containing reserved spaces for the disabled. ( The councils chosen library option for Southport – The Atkinson – will have the worst possible access for anybody arriving by car.)
It is felt that if Birkdale library were to close, that this user group could be victims of discrimination.

Another group that would be greatly affected by closure are pupils of the 8 local schools who would not be able use a library without travelling by public transport out of the area. By removing the “convenience factor” of not being able to use the library on the way home from school, it is thought that most of these children would be lost to the library system at the expense of their educational needs.

BLAG have investigated how Birkdale Library could remain open at a reduced cost to the council. This report contains details of how a saving of 48% can be made to the current revenue budget reducing the net annual cost to £43,460.

This report also contains details of how Birkdale Library could provide an improved service in meeting local community needs whilst generating increased income which would contribute towards library running costs.

The submission above is much more detailed but I have not produced the whole of the excellent document here. However, my point is why have Sefton CVS not been working alongside the volunteers who made the Birkdale Library submission. To throw in their own curved ball after the volunteers have spent hours working on their plan is frankly a disgraceful way to treat volunteers.

SAVE OUR GREEN BELT – Labour hype about Green Belt/Green Spaces – what brass neck!

I mentioned not so long ago a Labour publication that is doing the rounds in the Sefton Central constituency called Sefton Voice and the frankly ludicrous article about the closure of Sefton Council’s libraries which is being pursued by the Labour run Council.

But there was another but this time more subtle attempt to spin a bit recent history. In an article about the Green Belt we see a picture of three Labour councillors who represent Maghull walking across a green space. The impression that Labour wants us to pick up from this is that they are fighting for Green Belt and green spaces. The other picture shows Sefton Central’s Labour MP and his 3 Formby Labour councillors. Again a pro-Green Belt impression is being pushed yet the independent Green Belt campaign group in Formby seems highly unimpressed with what all 6 of Formby’s Borough Councillors (there are two Tories and one Independent in addition to the 3 Labour councillors) are doing to protect their Green Belt.

If we cast our minds back to two quite recent events, one in Lydiate and one in Maghull the actions of Labour, as opposed to their spin, has not been as ‘green’ as that Party seems to think we are.

This snow covered field is where Labour councillors voted to allow a canal marina to be built off Bells Lane, Lydiate

This snow covered field is where Labour councillors voted to allow a canal marina to be built off Bells Lane, Lydiate

In Lydiate, Labour councillors on Sefton Council’s Planning Committee voted to build a canal marina on Green Belt land. The only reason it did not happen is because at that time Labour did not control the Council and opposition parties voted together to stop it. It then went to a Planning Appeal where the developer tried to overturn the Council decision. No Labour councillors turned up at the two day hearing and it was left to residents and Lib Dem councillors to fight the developer. The battle was won but under Labour the planning permission would seemingly have been given.

In Maghull, Labour brought residents together to fight a development on a significant piece of urban green space in the heart of the community, off Damfield Lane. Labour brazenly marched them up to the top of the hill and then abandoned them by voting for the planning application!

The more they spin the more they expose their ‘say one thing do another’ approach. Oh and by the way, in case you may be thinking that I would be saying this because I am in opposition to Labour, consider this. A lady, who said she was a Labour Party member, got up to denounce the actions of Labour at a Planning Committee meeting that dealt with the Damfield Lane project; I know because I was there!