Southport and Sainsburys – A saga from which Southport’s Lord Street shopping center can only lose from surely?

Southport’s famous Lord Street shops

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

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/taking-long-new-sainsburys-store-16665281

Looking up – Some of Lord Street’s frontages are quite beautiful but empty shop units are a worry.

Kirkby – ‘Made on Merseyside’ Exhibition

I’m always happy to promote local history events and this looks to be one to check out between the 23rd September and 16th November:-

Poster for Made on Merseyside Exhibition at Kirkby Gallery

Click on the poster to be able to read the text on it.

And here’s a map showing how to access Kirkby Gallery:-

The Frank Hornby Heritage Center, based in Maghull’s Meadows Leisure Center, is pleased to be lending some items to Kirkby Gallery as one part of this exhibition will cover the Binns Road Meccano Factory in Liverpool and its products.

Access to the Port of Liverpool – 15 years on from Strategic Access Study – Time to reassess due to Climate Crisis

I was recently asked to assist a campaigner who is a part of the fight against Highways England’s plan to build a new road right through Rimrose Valley Country Park. The ask was for me to help with obtaining a copy of a 2004 report on the options for transport access to the Port of Liverpool.

Rimrose Valley Country Park on a lovely Sunday morning. A Lone cyclist can be seen in the distance.

Firstly, I had to obtain a copy of the report and with a little help that was achieved.

The report is titled ‘PORT OF LIVERPOOL STRATEGIC TRANSPORT ACCESS STUDY Phase 3 Final Report’. It looked at 3 options for providing improved access to the Port of Liverpool and it comes down on the side of putting a new road through the Rimrose Valley. This is of course the option now being pursued by Highways England and which is causing so much controversy and objections.

I think it fair to say that I’m a big supporter of Rimrose Valley Country Park and love cycling through it, so it could be said that my opinions are somewhat biased in favour of the campaign group Rimrose Valley Friends who are leading the fight against the new road. In other words I’m not claiming that this piece is of an independent nature.

The report summarises the work undertaken by a team of consultants, lead by FaberMaunsell, for the study’s steering group comprising: • Sefton Borough Council; • Liverpool City Council; • Highways Agency (now Highways England); • Strategic Rail Authority; • Merseytravel; and • Atlantic Gateway.

Three strategies emerged from this work:

• Strategy 1 (Modal Transfer, Mitigation And Management) – to maximise the benefits and improvements where major highway investment is considered either unacceptable or undeliverable. This strategy combines rail and public passenger transport initiatives with traffic management, environmental mitigation and policy and enforcement but no significant investment in highway infrastructure which would generate additional capacity.

• Strategy 2 (Highway – A5036(T) On Line Improvements) – taking the best elements of Strategy 1 and combining them with link and junction improvements principally on the A5036 (T) to improve capacity within the corridor and therefore reduce delay and congestion.

• Strategy 3 (Major Highway – Rimrose Valley) – taking the best elements of Strategy 1 and combining them with the construction of a new road through the Rimrose Valley from Switch Island to the Princess Way/Bridge Road roundabout to relieve the existing key routes of a significant proportion of the port-bound traffic.

Clearly, there’s a danger of reading a 15 year old report and thinking that all it looked at then (agree with its conclusions or not) is just as relevant now. The big issue is of course the climate change/crisis we are facing and the need to restrict/cease use of petrol and diesel engined vehicles. This is now a matter of public policy, as opposed it being an issue within scientific and environmental community as it was back in the early 2000’s. For me this very real green issue is, without considering any other matter, a clear reason to re-examine what the options should be to improve access to the Port of Liverpool. And of course the recent delay in constructing the new road, caused by the legal action taken to stop it, has created a time frame which could be used to conduct a reassessment, so there really is no excuse for pursuing a project that in effect predates our climate crisis.

All walking and cycling destinations from the main cycle path in the Country Park.

I don’t think I learned a great deal more than I knew already from re-reading the report (with 15 years between reads) but all the same it was useful to reacquaint myself with the detail. I hope the report is of use to the Rimrose Valley Friends in their campaign work.

I had another lovely cycle ride through Rimrose Valley on the 4th August.

Lydiate – Route of Sandy Lane – Moss Lane footpath identified

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

I’ve blogged a few times over the issues surrounding the route of this public footpath/public right of way and the fact that this matter came to light as a consequence of Lydiate Parish Council creating a fenced in dog-run area on its Sandy Lane Playing Field earlier this year.

Anyway, there was a site meeting a few days ago between Lydiate Parish Council and Sefton Council’s Rights of Way Officer, which I was unable to attend but now know the outcome of.

Firstly, the legal line of the public right of way is not affected by the fence of the dog enclosure. Investigations (by Sefton’s ROW Officer) have shown that the path (looking at it from the Sandy Ln end) runs to the east of the fencing, in an area of overgrown vegetation but as the path heads towards Moss Lane it straddles the edge of the mowed grass of Sandy Lane Park and the overgrown vegetation. I’m told there are some metal posts within the vegetation that appear to correspond with the eastern edge of the footpath.

The consequence of these findings is that the legal line of the path will need to be reinstated, which Sefton Council will lead on. The legal line has clearly not been used for some years and as a result some of the vegetation has become well established. I’m told it was agreed that setting out the footpath and a full assessment of the works required is difficult at the moment due to the growth of the vegetation and that the Parish Council remains happy for people to continue to use the edge of the park until the matter is resolved.

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

I understand that Sefton Council will review the required works in early autumn, with the Parish Council, and agree the extent of them. The Parish Council expressed a wish to try and keep some of the more established trees. Sefton will consider this where possible.

I’d like to thank Sefton’s ROW officer for his efforts to resolve this issue working with the Parish Council. It seems like a mutually agreeable way forward has now been found.

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

Whatever happened to the last LMS Class 503 ‘Wirral’ Unit?

The only surviving Class 503 ‘Wirral’ EMU was at the Electric Railway Museum in Coventry but that closed not so long ago meaning the rolling stock in the care of that museum had to found new homes. Merseyrail’s Class 503 now has a home at the former Hornby Factory in Margate of all places. The link below has the story :-

www.railadvent.co.uk/2018/06/class-503-train-arrives-alongside-steam-locomotive-bittern-at-former-hornby-site-in-margate.html

Quote from the article linked above:- The Class 503 trains were built in two batches. The first batch was built in 1938 by Met-Cam and BRC&W Co., their use was on the newly electrified route between Liverpool Central and the Wirral Peninsular or Rock Ferry via the Mersey Railway but run by the LMS. The second batch was built in 1956 to replace the original Mersey Railway stock. The one preserved today is from the earlier LMS stock, all were withdrawn from traffic in 1985.

How to object to fracking on Altcar Moss

If like me you want to oppose fracking on Altcar Moss then you can do so by using the website of Lancashire County Council (LCC) who will determine the planning application before it’s Planning Committee to either agree to or oppose the fracking.

The LCC planning representations form is available via this link:-

lancashire-self.achieveservice.com/service/Development_Control_Have_Your_Say_Process?F.Name=jqTfXn9isB4&HideToolbar=1

The planning application number is LCC/2019/0037 and the site is ALTCAR MOSS WELLSITE, SUTTON’S LANE, GREAT ALTCAR. You’ll need to put this information on the generic form that the link takes you to

Lydiate Parish Council, of which I’m a member, has already objected to fracking on this site, which while it’s in Lancashire is situated between Formby, Ince Blundell and Lydiate.

My own submission to LCC via the link above is:- I have grave reservations about fracking taking place at this site, which whilst being in Lancashire is likely to also have detrimental effects on the surrounding Sefton Borough communities of Lydiate, Formby and Ince Blundell. Earth tremors are to be expected from this site if the other one in Lancashire at Preston new Road is anything to go by. I hope that LCC will stand firm against fracking so the political tide can be turned against further fossil fuel extraction.