Sefton Central Area Committee meeting held yesterday

Don’t worry, this is not another rant about the ridiculous size of this enormous Area Committee, it’s a report on a few of the interesting things that happened at the meeting held in Formby.

In reality the agenda was rather dry but the questions from the public were of more interest:-

LIBRARIES – Independent Aintree Village Parish Councillors Peter Gill and Bill Honeyman asked questions about the future of the now closed (by Labour) Aintree & College Road Libraries. The answer Peter Gill got, drafted by an officer of the Sefton Council, was something along the lines of we do not know what we are going to do with the buildings or when. Frankly, the 3 line written answer was insulting to campaigners in Aintree and Crosby who have done all they can to both save their local libraries and run and them with volunteers. Labour had already ensured that neither would happen.

What’s more Bill Honeyman had submitted his question on the 14th April and he still awaits an answer after being told last night that investigations would take place as to why he had not been sent/given a response!

You got impression that the Labour councillors at the meeting found Peter & Bill and their questions about as welcome as snow at Harvest! I told the meeting that they were entitled to a proper answers but I wonder if and when that will happen?

ELECTION OF INDEPENDENT CLLR. MARIA BENNETT – A member of the public from Formby asked whether the main political parties would work with Maria. A bland answer from a Labour member was followed by me saying yes, I and my Lib Dem Group on the Council would work with her, indeed we welcome her election.

GREEN BELT – A member of the public from Maghull asked if the Labour dominated Area Committee would listen to the public of the Borough and oppose the draft Local Plan for Sefton which proposes to build on acres of Green Belt and high grade agricultural land.

This question also seemed to go down like a lead balloon with the Labour members, a representative of whom said in effect said they would not comment as they may be perceived as pre-judging the issue. In other words he got no answer.

A similar question from a Formby resident got a similar response.

At the end of the public questions it seemed to me that the Labour comrades had seen off another attack by impertinent members of the Sefton Borough community with the score being Labour at least 10, residents Nil. As an exercise in local democracy where the public try to hold their elected representatives to account it was far from inspiring.

I told you the comrades were having another set to – Labour resignation No.8!

My posting of 15th May refers:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/05/15/more-trouble-within-sefton-central-labour-party/

Yesterday I received a call from Maghull Town Council telling me that Labour Cllr. John Jarvis had resigned his seat. He had been elected to the Council at one of the many by-elections, which have followed previous Labour resignations, in March 2013. Originally, he had won a seat for the Conservative’s on Melling Parish Council in May 2011 but he resigned that position and stood for Labour in March 2013.

Incredibly, there have now been 8 Maghull Town Council Labour resignations since they snatched control of the Council from the Lib Dems in May 2011. It’s only a 16 member council altogether so half of the Councillors have resigned in just 3 years ago. The present balance of the Council, following this latest resignation, is 10 Labour, 5 Lib Dem and 1 vacancies.

Of the 13 Labour members elected in May 2011 8 have thrown in the towel although this is complicated by the fact that 2 of the newer Labour members who won by-elections, caused by their colleagues resigning, have resigned themselves.

The last 3 resignations of Labour members led to the Lib Dems gaining 2 Labour seats in the July 2013 by-elections.

Can there possibly be another Council in the UK where 50% of the councillors, all from the same ruling political group, have resigned? Answers on a post card to Maghull Town Council, Maghull Town Hall, Hall Lane, Maghull, L31………….

Leahy: Britain undersells its regional cities

Sir Terry Leahy explains in the Telegraph why he believes that the UK’s regional cities are being undersold and remain hidden in London’s shadow. He says that if we are to rebalance the economy then we need to get better at articulating our strengths and demonstrating the unique opportunities of doing business in British cities. He adds that most of the UK’s regional cities are well equipped with talent and capital but what are the missing is the boldness and belief to unlock potential and capitalise on the growth opportunity.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 2 (27th May)

– But Liverpool undermines itself

Well yes, but in Liverpool/Merseyside the big problem is appalling political leadership with Labour Council Leaders at war with each other as to whom is going to be the local top dog. I saw it first hand when I was Leader of Sefton Council – then it was all about trying to unseat the Labour Chairman of Merseytravel. Now it’s a damaging row about which Labour Council Leader/Elected Mayor is going to be top dog. It’s gone on for years on Merseyside and Labour’s factionalism has been to the obvious gain of Greater Manchester just down the East Lancs Road/M62.

With thanks to the LGiU

You know what I will be doing today – Voting Liberal Democrat

Lib Dems fighting for Sefton's Libraries

Lib Dems fighting for Sefton’s Libraries

Fighting Labour's proposed £46 Green Bin Tax on Sefton households households.

Fighting Labour’s proposed £46 Green Bin Tax on Sefton households.

Working with the community to try to save our Green Belt from Labour's development plans.

Working with the community to try to save our Green Belt from Labour’s development plans.

3 very good reason for me (and you?) to vote Liberal Democrat today.

Lib Dems defend our Green Belt, fight for our libraries and oppose Labour’s £46 Green Bin Tax

For anyone who cares about our environment, the amount of local taxation we pay and closure of libraries supporting the Labour Party would be simply out of the question this year in Sefton.

Since Bootle Labour grabbed control of the Council they have:-

* Voted to build on the Green Belt and high grade agricultural land
* Tried to bring in an additional £46 Green Bin Tax on every household in the Borough
* Closed 7 local libraries and stopped volunteers from running two of them.

We Lib Dems have fought Labour all the way over all these policies and so have two prominent local independent candidates – Peter Gill in Molyneux Ward (Aintree Village, Melling and southern Maghull) and Maria Bennett in Ravenmeols Ward (Formby). We have been happy to work with these two community activists.

What have the Tories done? Does anyone know? In the Sefton Central Constituency wards the options, in my view, are very clear :-

* back the Lib Dems to fight for our Green Belt
* support the Lib Dems to say ‘NO’ to Labour’s £46 Green Bin Tax and
* and stand with the Lib Dems to send Labour a very clear message that we will not put up with library volunteers being treated so disgracefully

However, in Molyneux and Ravenmeols wards, where the Lib Dems have stood aside, I suggest you Support the independent candidates (Peter Gill – Molyneux and Maria Bennett – Ravenmeols) because they are fighting the same local battles that we Lib Dems are fighting.

Lydiate Village Festival

This years event, held yesterday, benefited from good weather and a big turn-out of locals. It took place behind the famous Scotch Piper Pub and in the adjacent grounds of Lydiate Abbey.

cropped-Lydiate-Parish-Council-Logo-e1372273297819

It was the second weekend in a row that I listened to Maghull Wind Orchestra although playing in a large tent in Lydiate could not be much further from the grand surroundings of Sefton Park’s Palm House of last week! Of course they were just as good though.

Maghull Wind Orchestra

Maghull Wind Orchestra

There was a display of owls and what wonderful creatures they are. Sadly some of them had previously been mistreated and others injured making their return to the wild impossible.

Tawny Owl

Tawny Owl

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Eurasian Eagle Owl

Eurasian Eagle Owl

A battle re-enactment was also taking place which certainly made the owls all a flutter when the guns went off!.

Battle Re-enactment

Battle Re-enactment

All in all a good day out and the organising committee deserve great credit for their efforts which must be year round.

The owl photos are amongst my Flickr photo’s at
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/