2019 Parish Council elections in Sefton Borough – Some interesting situations

I’m a bit of a parish council nut as I’ve been a parish councillor since 1985 and always seek out quirky things on the notice boards of parish councils when I travel around England.

This year was the year in which all parish councils were potentially up for re-election. Unlike most district and Borough councils (who tend to elected in thirds) parish councils are elected once every 4 years when the whole of the council is potentially at the mercy of the electorate. Some parish councils however never really have elections as only enough or too few nominations are forthcoming and candidates are elected unopposed.

There are 10 parish councils within Sefton Borough – they are:-

Little Altcar PC – had an election
Formby PC – had an election
Ince Blundell PC – no election
Thornton PC – no election
Hightown PC – no election
Sefton PC – had an election in one of its 2 wards
Melling PC – had an election
Lydiate PC – had an election in all 3 wards
Maghull TC* – had an election but only in one of its 4 wards
Aintree Village PC – no election

* There is no real difference between a Parish or Town Council other than a Town Council can elect a Mayor instead of a Chairperson

Here are a few highlights from the elections which took place on 2nd May at the same time as the Sefton Borough elections

Little Altcar Parish Council (7 seats) – Formby Residents Action Group 6, Green Party 1

Formby Parish Council (15 seats across 2 wards) – Formby Residents Action Group 11, Conservatives 3, Labour 1

Ince Blundell Parish Council (5 seats) – Only 3 nominations for the 5 seats on this council – Independents 2, Formby Residents Action Group 1 (all elected unopposed), vacancies 2.

Thornton Parish Council (7 seats) – Only 2 nominations for the 7 seats on this council – Conservative 1, Green 1 (both elected unopposed), vacancies 5 * – potentially the additional 5 seat can be filled by the 2 unopposed/elected councillors co-opting up to another 5 councillors? Could be time to consult the Bible of Parish Council administration by Charles Arnold-Baker.

Hightown Parish Council (7 seats) – Only 5 nominations for the 7 seats on this council – Independents 5 (all elected unopposed) Vacancies 2.

Sefton Parish Council (7 seats across 2 wards) – Independents 6, Green Party 1

Melling Parish Council (11 seats) – Melling Resident 8, Labour 1, Independent 1, Asst Leader Cub Scouts 1 – Labour put up 12 candidates for the 11 seats but only got one elected. However, a Labour Borough Councillor for Molyneux ward (which includes Melling Parish) stood as a Melling Resident and came top of the poll.

Lydiate Parish Council (9 seats in 3 wards) – Labour 7, Lib Dem 2

Maghull Town Council (16 seats in 4 wards) – Labour 12, Conservative 2, Independent 1, Vacancy 1 – Labour effectively lost 4 seats having previously held all 16 on this council. It seems that a candidate elected under the Labour banner subsequently declared as an Independent after the elections. It also looks like a Labour member of this council sits on Melling Parish Council as well but as a Melling Resident not as a Labour councillor.

Aintree Village Parish Council – (12 seats across 2 wards) – Independent 8, Green 2, Labour 2 (all elected unopposed)

My thanks to Andrew Blackburn who helped me trawl through information on Sefton Council’s and other websites to pull together this information. I hope the information is correct but if you see an error please flag it up so that I can correct it.

Oh and one final note – Vacancies on Parish/Town Council can be filled by an election being held, however, if no candidates come forward to stand in an election then the council has the power to co-opt people to fill the vacancies.

Southport – Vandalism to Pier

Southport viewed from the end of its pier

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

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/southport-pier-smashed-up-man-16315281

A bizarre story in many ways and you can’t help but wonder what help the chap involved in this incident must require.

Southport Pier and its much missed pier tram

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Lydiate – Parish Council notes for May

* Lydiate Parish Council was in effect no change as a consequence of the local elections held on 2nd May – 7 Labour and 2 Lib Dems although 4 of the Labour members are new to the Council. Cllr. Edie Pope and myself are the two Lib Dem members. I think we all hope that the Parish Council can continue to work well for the community as has been the case for many years now. I’m sure that it will.

Footpath sign at Sandy Ln – There’s a similar one off Moss Ln

* A site meeting took place today to try to resolve issues surrounding the public right of way from Sandy Lane to Moss Lane (Lydiate Footpath No.14) – my posting of 14th May refers – see link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/05/14/lydiate-footpath-no-14-and-a-dog-run-may-be-a-conflict-of-uses/

The outcome was, I understand, inconclusive as the presently held legal documentation is not detailed enough for Sefton Council’s Footpath Officer to determine the exact route of the public right of way. More detailed research will be required using the deeds of Sandy Lane Playing Field. More news when I have it.

* A suggestion was made at the last but one Parish Council meeting that an outdoor table tennis facility could be provided by the Parish Council on the Village Center site and the idea met with general approval. If it comes off it may look something like this:-

Maghull – Now about that vast urban extension to the east of the Town

The vast Maghull East urban extension (presently high grade agricultural land) site as seen from Poverty Lane, Maghull

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

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/housing-company-banned-joe-anderson-16287342

I wonder where this is heading and will Sefton Council take the same approach to these developers as Liverpool City Council seems to be doing? It feels like a long time now since Sefton Council picked the vast Maghull East site for an urban extension to the Town on what is presently high grade agricultural land. And it was a hugely controversial move which created a significant environmental protest movement in the Town and indeed across the Borough of Sefton, which I was a part of – see my many previous posting about it on this Sefton Focus Blog Site.

But there is danger here in thinking that Sefton Council or indeed Liverpool City Council can achieve much on land which is in private ownership. Yes, if the land to be sold is owned by a Council it gives it far more leverage as to the use it is put to otherwise, if the land is in private hands, the leverage is far, far less.

Like many I want to see the end to leasehold and ground rents etc.

Lydiate Footpath No.14 and a dog run may be a conflict of uses

On the map of Lydiate’s public rights of way/footpaths (above) No. 14 is towards the bottom right. It effectively follows the boundary of Sandy Lane Playing Field from Sandy Lane to Moss Lane.

When the Parish Council agreed to set aside a part of Sandy Lane Park for a dog run the wedge shaped corner of it was agreed as the site. Subsequently, the appropriate fencing was erected recently. But it was only when using the path the other day that I realised that the route of the public right of way seemed to be through the dog run area. See photos below:-

Footpath sign at Sandy Ln – There’s a similar one off Moss Ln

Dog run area seen looking towards Sandy Ln. The public right of way is to the left where the corner fence post is

Looking down the line of the public right of way from Sandy Ln.

My concern is that footpath users may have to walk through the dog run area as the boundary of its fence is right up against the field boundary which is overgrown. Clearly some people would not want to walk through an area where dogs are running free.

I’ve asked Sefton Council’s Footpaths Officer and the Clerk of Lydiate Parish Council to have a look at this issue with a view to resolving it for both dog walkers and those who walk the local footpath network. I’ll blog about it again when things are clearer.

Click on the map and photos to enlarge them

Maghull – Hedges removed at Pimbley Field because they are dangerous?

The story was scooped by the Aintree and Maghull Champion newspaper on 8th May and what a seemingly bizarre story it is too.

You see I was a member of Maghull Town Council for 30 years (until) 2015 and chaired it’s former Amenities Committee for many of those years and I can’t recall anyone asking for the hedges at Fieldway/Bridge Road to be taken away. I’ve also spoken with another former chair of that committee, former Maghull Town Councillor Andrew Blackburn, and his recollection is like mine.

The hawthorn hedges have been there literally for generations so how on earth can they be a danger to pedestrians or even vehicles? With regular trimming and clearing up those trimmings all should be fine, birds can nest there and all should be well with Maghull’s world.

When I went to have a look at the grubbing up of the hedging (Sunday 12th May) the part of it along Bridge Road was still in place although it looked to be in desperate need of a hair cut so to speak:-

Is it that a lack of maintenance has caused complaints to the Town Council? If so surely all that was required was a trim rather than complete grubbing up of the established hedge?

I’ve come across some bizarre stories in my time but this one is right up there and it’s so sad and unnecessary too. What were you thinking Maghull Town Council? I think our local MP Bill Esterson needs to get into this environmental disaster story. I’m sure he would like his photo taken with the residents who are upset with the actions of Labour run Maghull Council.