Waterloo Level Crossing – A Blast from the past.


Click on the photo to enlarge it.

We all like to look at old photos. This one is from Waterloo and shows the level crossing in October 1906. The signal box was constructed in 1881. I recently purchased this photo from the National Railway Museum in York. The railway is now part of the Merseyrail Northern Line from Liverpool to Southport having originally been a part of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway.

The photo is amongst those on my Flickr site at:-

Guns on Merseyside’s streets, just how many are there?


Sadly, gun crime has been a a bit of a running theme on this blog site over the past couple of years and I see little to give me any confidence that it is being effectively managed in Sefton and more widely across Merseyside. Incidents of guns being discharged are now, dare a say, almost commonplace in the pages of the Liverpool Echo.

Above is a link to the BBC web site and at face value the story is good news because the weapons handed in can’t now be used on our streets but it does beg a very worrying question about how many guns are still out there!

Sefton Local Plan – Overview & Scrutiny Committee get first stab at it

This is Bob McCann of Formby making representations to the Committee from Formby Green Belt campaigners.

This is Bob McCann of Formby making representations to the Committee from Formby Green Belt campaigners.

Last night saw Sefton Council’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee take a reasonably detailed look at the latest draft of the Local Plan for Sefton. At this point I should say that I had half expected the majority Labour members of the Committee to want to close the meeting down without much scrutiny taking place and I was not the only one expecting that. Our fears were based on the same Committee not being willing to give Library closures the detailed scrutiny that many of us thought that issue deserved a few months back. However, on this occasion the delving into the Local Plan was reasonably detailed.

The meeting did not resolve anything really but then again that was not its purpose. Teasing out understanding of the Plan, highlighting potential errors etc. was more its purpose.

Two petitions were spoken to by Green Belt campaigners from Maghull/Lydiate and Formby. Bob McCann who spoke on behalf of the Formby campaigners is pictured above making his representations. Both Bob and Pat O’Hanlon from Maghull/Lydiate spoke passionately about how they felt the latest draft of the Sefton Local Plan would devastate the Green Belt and high grade agricultural land.

The Committee then went through many questions from members of it to Planning officers and some interesting exchanges took place,some of which stood out.

A couple of members, led by Lib Dem Fred Weavers, raised the school places pressures that they thought would flow from building large numbers of houses. They were hardly convinced by Officer assurances that the number of children locally would not really rise. Their concern was because as the majority of houses to be built will be likely to be 3 and 4 bedroom (where developers gain the biggest profit) then families would move into them thereby raising the numbers of children requiring school places.

A question about the huge urban housing extension (hundreds of new houses on high grade agricultural land!) to the east of Maghull together with a business/industrial park drew the response that the business park would in effect parallel the M58 Motorway to the east of the site. This had not popped out before to my knowledge.

Many other issues were raised, not least of which were flooding, capacity of roads and pressure on NHS services.

I had expected local MP Bill Esterson to be there, following his recent press release which I commented on yesterday, to put pressure on the Labour members but he was not.

Whether the Labour members, who are under a lot of pressure to to stop supporting the Plan, were given food for thought I don’t know. One can only hope.

The Local Plan now goes forward to the Council’s Planning Committee in January.

PS. The local press did not attend at all; most odd to me because of the importance of the issues being discussed.

Maghull Town Council – Now what about that new play equipment?

Not so long ago I posted about some of Maghull Labour’s wild and even wilder claims, the posting is via the link below:-


One of the issues I commented on was their talk of investing money in Maghull’s parks and gardens. Strange we in opposition on The Town Council thought, these are the very people who took money out of the Town Council’s budget for such expenditure! The extract from my blog posting above said:-

‘Maghull Parks – Labour says they are planning improvements to Maghull parks yet it was Labour-run Maghull Town Council who took the money for such improvements out of the Council’s budget! We Lib Dems opposed the money being removed.’

So if money is to be spent by Labour-run Maghull Town Council on the Town’s parks where on earth is it going to come from?

Roy Connell


Well how about from Planning Gain money negotiated after Labour voted for the Ashworth South site to become a prison? Yes indeed, that is the source of the money even though the site is now going to be used for housing. However, the person who led that negotiation on behalf of Maghull’s local councillors was none other than former Lib Dem councillor Roy Connell. Not a single Labour councillor was even elected in Maghull back then!

So here we have Labour trumpeting that they are spending money on Maghull’s parks when in fact the reason the money is going to be there at all is down to Roy Connell and his Lib Dem colleagues who fought for the money back in 2008. I am sure that Labour don’t want folks to be told this as it rather spoils their plan of trying to look like generous benefactors but the truth will out and it certainly has outed Labour’s spurious claims!

Now what about the detail of where this money is to be spent? (This must be all Labour’s and Council Officer’s thinking as we Lib Dems have been kept out of the process)

* ‘Outdoor performance area in KGV Park’ – This is the park surrounding Maghull Town Hall and Meadows Leisure Centre. Readers may recall that Labour said they wanted to build a band stand there a few months ago for reasons most of us could not grasp, as no one had asked for one, and nearby residents seemed particularly unimpressed by the idea. Well it seems they are to get one whether they like it or not!

Illustrative only - Is this what Maghull Council has in mind for Maghull's KGV Park?

Illustrative only – Is this what Maghull Council has in mind for Maghull’s KGV Park?

* An ‘Infrastructure project relating to Plant heritage in KGV playing fields’ – No idea what this is, sorry.

* Balls Wood – New play equipment. This is the park next to the M58 Motorway.

* Extra pieces of play equipment in the following Maghull parks – Glenn Park, South Meade Park, Dodds Park, Lathom Gardens Play area, Round Meade Park, Moss Park, Mersey Avenue Park, Moorhey Park and KGV Park.

KGV Park - Maghull

KGV Park – Maghull

And how do I know all this? Well it is contained in a report going to Sefton Council’s Planning Committee on 10th December. And oh yes, the report to the Planning Committee also says that all this was fixed up via ‘Ward members were invited to meet with officers from Planning and landscape Services to discuss recommendations of where to allocate greenspace monies and to carry out tree planting’ – This should read Labour Ward members as I was certainly not invited!

It’s a funny old world being a councillor in Maghull these days under Labour-run Maghull & Sefton Councils. Maghull Council agendas are bland and rarely is there much to discuss but then things like this, which must have been decided in non-smoke filled rooms, then just pop out. Now what’s all that about transparency in local government?

Snow – Remember December of 2010? – Some in the press say it could happen again from tomorrow!

Britain braced for snow

Liverpool Road North, Maghull - December 2010

Liverpool Road North, Maghull – December 2010

Forecasters have warned that Britain could be hit with eight inches of snow that could bring travel chaos for motorists on Monday morning. The Met Office said that a bitter Arctic blast will sweep in from northern Europe late on Sunday with the potential to bring huge parts of the country to a standstill. Scotland, upland areas of northern England and the Welsh mountains will bear the brunt of the weather, which could last well into next week. Councils across Britain have already started sending out the gritting lorries as temperatures drop.

Maghull - Icicles December 2010

Maghull – Icicles December 2010

Poor old Sefton Council got a real hammering for not being able to cope with that spell of ice and snow. Surely it must be better prepared should it happen again………?

Maghull – Council cancels shops Christmas window competition – no it does not, oh yes it does, hang on it seems to be on again!

Well having been told it was off I am now told that it is on again.

A local shop keeper had been told it had been cancelled by Maghull Town Council, who have run the competition for many years now amongst the Town’s local shops.

I know not why they were told it was off even though I am a member of the Town Council. I found out about the original cancellation via a chance conversation between a former Maghull councillor and a shop keeper which was relayed to me.

The bottom line here is that the Council has never even discussed cancelling the competition so what has been going on beats me. Then again I am just a humble member of the opposition.

Oh the wonderful world of Maghull Town Council where no one seems to know what is going on or why.