Museum of Liverpool – Lydiate gets a mention

I have been to the excellent new(ish) Museum of Liverpool a few times but had not previously spotted the reference to Lydiate Hall and indeed the old timbers from it.

Here are a couple of photos (click on them to enlarge) I took on our most recent visit:-

Timbers from Lydiate Hall on display at the Museum of Liverpool

Timbers from Lydiate Hall on display at the Museum of Liverpool

History of Lydiate Hall.

History of Lydiate Hall.

Turn empty shops into homes – Lib Dems said this in Sefton months ago

Chris Blackhurst has argued in the Independent newspaper recently that empty UK shops should be given over to residential developers to address the housing shortage. He claims the benefits of this would be that “we would have a more realistic approach to future retail requirements; and people, at last, would have somewhere to live”.

This is an approach that Sefton Lib Dems have taken with regard to the Sefton Local Plan although whether anyone is listening to the numerous submissions made to the Council I don’t know – I fear they will simply have been put to one side whilst the Council continues to do just what it wants to do.

As an aside, the Sefton Local Plan process has presently been halted and meetings about the next stage have been cancelled whilst officials do more calculations. Calculations about what? – I hear you say. Well population predictions is the issue as that is the major driver for more house building. Were the original predictions wrong? Well we Lib Dems and independent environmental campaigners thought so and indeed we said so but Labour-run Sefton Council would insist on backing them. It will be interesting to see what the revised calculations look like but will they be any more reliable than the flawed originals?

Maghull – Morrisons/Health Centre/Old Library/Former Youth Centre – What’s going on?

Ever since Morrisons took over their Maghull store from the former Somerfield there has been talk of the store needing to be enlarged. It is clearly far too small.

rsz_img_2881

At one point a complicated but positive plan was put together involving the NHS who own the adjoining Health Centre, London and Cambridge Properties who own the land on which Morrisons sits (together with the other shops on the southern side of Westway) and the associated car park. The plan also included land that Sefton Council owned and in fact still owns. The land in question being that of the former Maghull Library (which moved to Meadows Leisure Centre in 2010) and that of the former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre.

rsz_maghull_health_centre

The plan was to redevelop the Health Centre which the NHS had authorised at a high level I was told by senior NHS and Sefton Council officers. Sadly, the NHS then backed out, why has never really been explained and Maghull residents with longish memories will recall us Lib Dems pressing at every turn for the new Health Centre to have an NHS Walk-In facility within it. Our contention is that Sefton Primary Care Trust (now abolished under NHS reorganisation) had undertaken to do all it could to provide an NHS Walk-In facility in Maghull after the one at Litherland Town Hall had opened. Of course it has never happened but then again the building it was supposed to be in was never rebuilt. Maghull and district residents have every right to feel aggrieved about this as Litherland Town Hall NHS Walk-In Centre is simply not accessible from the East Parishes part of Sefton Borough by public transport.

The closed Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and the old Maghull Library

The closed Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and the old Maghull Library

So the NHS element of the plan went west so to speak, but what of the rest of it. Surely Morrisions still needed a bigger Maghull store? Surely cash-strapped Sefton still wanted to dispose of the land it owned to bring some money in? Well you would have thought so in both cases but nothing has happened and all this has been going on for years and years. Indeed, it costs Sefton Council money each year to keep its two old buildings secure and safe.

Does it all come down to London and Cambridge Properties and Morrisons? What is the problem? Maghull & District needs a better range of food retailers. Just think about it in terms of the major UK food retailers (I appreciate that there are a number of excellent local convenience stores) this is all that there are in the East Parishes:-

Lydiate – None at all!
Maghull – A small Morrisons, Lidl, Iceland, a small Co-op
Aintree Village – A Tesco Metro, an M&S Food and a huge ASDA
Melling – None at all!

I was told quite some time ago that Aldi were actively looking for a site in Maghull and my strong suspicion was that they were looking at the old library/youth club site, but so far that has seemingly come to nothing.

What strikes me is that if Morrisons does not make a decisive move and sort out their long-term future in Maghull they are likely to end up with a competitor right on their doorstep as surely Sefton Council will not sit on its land for ever.

By the way I have written to Morrison twice asking them where their planning is up to but answers comes there none so far.

But could there be an other option on the table – one that has been the subject of considerable rumour in recent times? Read my posting next Wednesday involving the ‘The Old Bill’.

Litter – Deyes Lane shops Maghull

Litter around these shops is a problem; a problem caused by those who drop it probably from items they have purchased in the shops.

rsz_photo0971

A suspect that the Council could brush it up twice as often as they do now (if they could afford to do so) and some folks would still treat the pavement as a litter bin.

When you think of all the great work done by volunteers to spruce up Maghull (Maghull in Bloom Volunteers and Maghull Station Volunteers spring to mind) why do some residents volunteer to assist with creating a litter problem.

It reminds me of Bill Bryson’s quote about Liverpool when he wrote his book Notes from a Small Island and he visited the City in its darker days of the 1980’s. He said:-

I took a train to Liverpool. They were having a festival of litter when I arrived. Citizens had taken time off from their busy activities to add crisp packets, empty cigarette boxes and carrier-bags to the otherwise bland and neglected landscape. They fluttered gaily in the bushes and brought colour and texture to pavements and gutters. And to think that elsewhere we stick these objects in rubbish bags.

Austerity under Labour will be worse than under this Government

One thing I have noticed in recent times is that Labour don’t have the heart to go in for many shouting sessions about the Coalition Government and these days, the odd mumbled derogatory remark about the cuts is about all you hear.

Why is this? Well it’s because Labour councillors know that if Labour wins the next General election it will impose greater cuts in public expenditure than the present Government. It’s hard to rant and rave knowing this.

But only a couple of years ago Labour were condemning all the austerity measures (caused by their mismanagement of the economy and the recession I would add) and saying at a local level how Labour would reverse all the cuts and there would be money left over for just about any cause you could mention. Ed Balls effectively stopped such ludicrous commentary by saying how hard Labour would be in reducing the national deficit that they had done more than their fair share to create.

And I say this now why? Well on Thursday 2nd October I attended a meeting of Merseyside Fire Authority where some very significant savings have to be made involving merging/closing some fire stations to balance the books.

Yes, Labour had their little digs about the Coalition but frankly I got the distinct impression they were going through the motions and their heart was simply not in it. Not once did a Labour member say that come a Labour Government being elected more money would be handed out to stop the savings having to be made.

On the other hand the Fire Brigade Union was singing from the same hymn sheet that Labour lost a while ago. But then again they are genuine socialists who believe in common ownership and the kind of socialist governance of the UK that Labour ditched a couple of generations ago.

You get the impression that Labour still likes to pretend it is a socialist organisation despite it being more capitalist by the day. They like the comradely trappings of the Red Flag but their policies are very much wrapped in a free market flag.

Families at risk of air pollution

The Times newspaper ran this recently:-

New figures from the Government have revealed that people in most towns and cities are being exposed to illegal air pollution. A report submitted to the European Commission showed that the EU’s limit for nitrogen dioxide pollution was exceeded in 38 out of 43 areas of the UK last year. The only five areas to comply with the NO2 limit were: Scottish Borders, Highland, Northern Ireland, Preston, and Blackpool.

A big concern in my book and one that will affect the health of huge numbers of people.