Lydiate Parish Council under Labour – Our way or no way?

The Aintree & Maghull Champion reported in its edition of 20th May on the election of a John Bailey as the new Chairman of Lydiate Parish Council.


All well and good but prior to last night (26th May) I had never met the chap. Yes, I am a member of the Parish Council but according to the papers I had been sent the AGM, where a new Parish Council Chairperson would be elected, was advertised to be on Tuesday 26th May so how did the Champion report on his election 6 days before it actually happened?

My concern was that we could have been in one of those elections that are held in undemocratic states, who like to pretend they are democratic but the election results are always known before the ballot takes place, if you get my drift! Had the just Champion misreported the matter or had a meeting taken place which the paper had reported on but which the 3 Lib Dem members of Lydiate Parish Council knew nothing about?

So on to last night and clearly a number of us wanted answers. The explanation from the Chairman, who was indeed elected last night I might add, was that it was the Champion that had got it wrong and that journalistic license had crept into a Labour Party press release that had not claimed he had already been elected as Chairman.

So that’s alright then but I will return to the new rulers of Lydiate Parish Council soon.

Ormskirk/Preston Railway Line – ‘A lightly used rural line!’

A topic I have commented on often in the past but am drawn to again because I have been reading a report to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority dated 16th April.

Agenda item 10, item 3.7 points out that low priority for electrification lines, such as Ormskirk Preston, are ‘lightly used rural lines’.

End of the line from Liverpool - Ormskirk Station. Beyond the buffers is the line from Ormskirk to Preston which is virtually designed to be a lightly used rural line!

End of the line from Liverpool – Ormskirk Station. Beyond the buffers is the line from Ormskirk to Preston which is designed to be a lightly used rural line!

Well yes, but that’s because it is a rubbish infrequent service with no Sunday trains at all. What’s more it is deliberately not connected to the Liverpool Ormskirk service meaning folk have to change trains at Ormskirk. It would be very different if it was a through Liverpool – Preston service. Do the powers that be never think outside the box? Give me strength!

It would have been nice to read that our local rulers were making it clear that they had ambitions to once again make it a through Liverpool – Preston service. Lack of vision? Lack of ambition? Too far away from Liverpool for anyone to be bothered?

New Mayor of Sefton – Cllr. Steve Kermode

The Southport Vister newspaper has the story – see link above.


Labour Councillor Steve Kermode is the new Mayor of Sefton and I wish him well. I have known Steve for 3 or 4 years now and he comes over as a decent and genuinely community minded chap. I would add that he also seems to break the mould of many in the Labour party who are wedded to tribal politics. Steve rises above such negative politics and I hope that he and his wife Gwen have a good year as ambassadors for the Borough of Sefton.

1958 Ordnance Survey Map – North Liverpool and Bootle

North Liverpool & Bootle

Click on map to enlarge it.

This is my last posting, at least for now, about the 1958 Ordnance Survey map of Liverpool (which I picked up for a song on Bewdley Railway Station not long ago) with particular reference to its lost railways.

The former line from Seaforth and the North Mersey Goods Yard past Linacre Road (closed April 1951), Ford (Closed April 1951) and Aintree Racecourse (closed March 1962) onto what is now the Liverpool Kirkby Merseyrail line is interesting. Most of it is just about still there; well at least the section from Aintree to the Liverpool – Southport line between the Strand and Seaforth & Litherland is. Indeed, there is still a single track here with trees and bushes growing through it. Merseytravel often used to talk of it being reopened but sadly this seems to be little more than vague speculation that gets repeated every 5 years or so.

Looking east in the direction of the former Ford Station from Hawthorne Road, Bootle in 2014.

Looking east in the direction of the former Ford Station from Hawthorne Road, Bootle in 2014.

On the former Cheshire Lines route around Liverpool Clubmoor station (closed November 1960) is there as is Warbreck Station (Closed November 1960) and Aintree Central (Closed November 1960) but used for race traffic until March 1963. The line closed in December 1964.

As with my last posting I recommend Rob Gell’s ‘An illustrated Survey of Liverpool’s Railway Stations 1830 – 1985 as a good point of reference.

A tribute to Dave (Mr. Lydiate) Russell

No this is is not a obituary, Dave is still very much alive and kicking but it is a tribute to a man who has done so much for Lydiate over the past 25 years or so. I made mention of Dave in part of a recent posting about the recent local elections but here is a more detailed tribute to him.

Lydiate environmental campaigners presenting Dave Russell with a petition to try to save the Green Belt from development around Lydiate

Lydiate environmental campaigners presenting Dave Russell with a petition to try to save the Green Belt from development around Lydiate

Dave lost his seat on Lydiate Parish Council in the recent elections and whilst this is the way things can go once you stand for public office I was genuinely shocked that my fellow Lydiate residents (in Lydiate North Ward) decided to show Dave the electoral door so to speak.

Dave and Pam Russell

Dave and Pam Russell

Dave has been Chairperson of Lydiate Parish Council for as long as I can remember and with his lovely wife Pam is a leading light in the Maghull & Lydiate History Society. Here are just a few things that Dave has done for Lydiate:-

* He led the campaign to get Lydiate Village Centre built together with the then Clerk to Lydiate Parish Council and Andrew Blackburn. In doing so they brought in a £500,000 lottery grant.
* Dave has been passionate about the upkeep and maintenance of St Catherine’s Abbey and has been pushing and shoving all kinds of organisations to do their bit to help preserve and maintain this famous local Lydiate landmark.
* He started Lydiate Civic Day which has now been taken over as Lydiate Festival.
* As a passionate walker he has campaigned for the upkeep of the local footpath network.
* Dave is also a passionate about Lydiate as a community and has fought to retain it’s unique semi rural nature and character. Battling against property developers and Sefton Council he led the Parish Council to become a prominent environmental campaign group.

I really don’t know why the good people of Lydiate North Ward decided to ask Dave to leave and close the door after him but whatever the reason’s I think all we Lydiate residents owe Dave a huge debt of gratitude for his selfless campaigning for the community he loves. As a Parish Councillor Dave did not not get paid for his work, he did it because he thought Lydiate was worth fighting for.

Whatever you decided to do next Dave do it with the knowledge that we think of you as a good and decent man who more than did his bit for Lydiate – Mr. Lydiate is indeed the right title for you.

Maybe in 25 years another Mr Lydiate will have come along – Let’s hope so.

Aintree Station – the disused lines/platforms

Disused r

Behind the Ormskirk bound platform of Aintree Station on Merseyrail’s Northern Line. The tracks were probably last used for a freight connection with the Metal Box Company whose factory was nearby. Prior to that they would have been used, together with two additional platforms, for Grand National trains etc. This once great station is now sadly a concrete and steel one that could pop up anywhere on the rail network.

The photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-