The Lydiate Parish Council Team at Coronation Park
Last Wednesday evening Lydiate Parish Council conducted an inspection of a number of its areas of public open space. Some are owned by the Parish Council and some are leased from Sefton Council.
The condition of play equipment, trees, fences etc. was on the agenda and the expedition was led by the redoubtable chairman of the Council’s Amenities Committee Cllr. Andrew Blackburn.
Andrew has, in a previous life, been chair of Amenities at Maghull Town Council and he would often lead such inspections across that Council’s vast acreage of land spread around some 15 or more sites so visiting 5 of much smaller Lydiate’s sites was a breeze for this seasoned campaigner.
The good news is that things were looking well, it was a great evening out and we had a chat with some of the many residents who use Lydiate’s parks. Here are some further shots of the inspection:-
Cllrs. Edie Pope, Robbie Fenton, Andrew Blackburn and Parish Clerk Barbara Keenan discuss an issue with Head Groundsman Steve at Mallory Avenue Park
Amenities Chairman Andrew Blackburn with Parish Clerk Barbara Keenan at Oakhill Park bowling greens
This is Kenyons Park
You don’t need me to tell you that Sefton Central Labour is in one hell of a mess at present because:-
7, yes 7 of their councillors have resigned in recent times
They are fighting pitched battles with people who are trying to defend the Green Belt
Their proposed Green Bin tax is about as popular as snow at Harvest!
But now the panic button has really been pressed hard as the comrades try to make out that black is white over the Green Bin tax and just about everything else. In a move that surely shows political fear (something you should never show to the opposition, I would add) they have produced a leaflet which is circulating in Maghull that is so over the top it is laughable.
As we all know (and this is on public record) Labour run Sefton Council proposed in its 2013/14 budget to introduce a Green Bin tax; a budget that Lib Dem councillors opposed.
Now, on the basis that if you are going to tell untruths tell whoppers, how about a Labour claim that ‘Labour has binned the Lib Dem proposals to introduce a green bin tax which would have hit us here in Maghull hardest’! From ‘which would have hit us in Maghull hardest’ I agree with but to claim that Lib Dems proposed a Green Bin tax and that Labour binned it is turning black into white!
How rattled can you get to try to pretend that your own policy which has proved so unpopular is that of another party!
I spotted the above probelms recently and have asked an officer of Sefton Council to try to track down the owner of the wall and hard standing concerned so that reapirs can be undertaken. It is in fact the frontage of a short row of shops in Liverpool Road North Maghull between Gordon Ave and Granville Ave. Whilst the hard standing and wall is private land the reality is that the area is a public place. I hope we can find the owner and get things sorted out soon.
Lydiate Parish Council, as I posted recently and as many folks also read about in a recent edition of the Aintree & Maghull Champion, has challenged Sefton Council’s plan to stop making ‘Double Rating’ payments to the 4 Parish Councils in the Borough that maintain their own parks and gardens.
Residents should not be paying twice
The challenge is of course right because if Sefton Council goes ahead with its plan Lydiate, Maghull and Aintree Village residents (and to a lesser extent Melling) will find that they are paying Sefton Council to do a job in their community (maintain parks and gardens) only for that money to be spent by the Borough Council elsewhere in Sefton! This will happen because the 4 Parish Councils covering these communities legitimately raise Council tax money to maintain their park and gardens.
Lib Dem Lydiate leads the fight for fairness
Lydiate is leading the charge for fairness but what will Maghull Town Council do? Will they fight for the money that should be fairly paid to their community or will they follow Bootle Labour Party orders and keep their heads down saying nothing?
Will Labour Maghull put its community first or keep taking orders from Bootle?
It’s a big challenge for Maghull Labour who are used to being told what to do by either Bootle Labour or MP Bill Esterson’s office.
Following Lib Dem campaigning which highlighted what we all knew already i.e. that folks will not be ‘volunteering’ to pay Labour’s back door Council tax rise, it seems that the comrades are sounding the retreat and looking for a way out.
Frankly, why Labour ever thought residents would pay to have their green bins emptied beats me. What’s more whilst the comrades on the cabinet that runs Sefton are all from Bootle, where there are fewer gardens, the biggest losers under the plan would be communities like Maghull where many houses have big gardens. Sudell Ward (North and East Maghull) for example was going to feel the hit of Labour’s green bin tax as would the two Formby wards and indeed virtually all the wards outside of Bootle.
This all makes you think that the myopia of looking at things from a Bootle only perspective leads the comrades into not seeing the bigger picture.
We await some firm proposals from Labour run Sefton to confirm that they really are ditching their garden tax but to date the Lib Dem campaigning has certainly given them a lot to think about; indeed Labour’s lawn really has been given a low cut!
Sparks have been flying between Council Officers and local environmental campaigners over Sefton’s launch material published as a wrap-around to the Borough’s newspapers this week.
Having seen both sides of the dispute I fear that the Council is not providing information that is clear and understandable. It is obviously the case that their words are open to different interpretations.
Sadly, the first round of consultation, held in 2011, did not go too well and with the second round of 12 week consultation having just started my fear is that it will not go well either.
I have said before that the ability of the Council to put Local Plan information clearly before the public is the problem. I have no doubt that some of the issues are complex and interrelated but if there is to be a successful 2nd period of consultation it needs to be via a process whereby all those who wish to engage can reasonably easily get to grips with the important issues. My former councillor colleague David Tattersall, an expert in communicating messages, always said the council was not good at explaining things clearly to residents.
The Council will do itself no good at all if it looks like all it is doing is blinding folk with stats and information that residents can’t make any sense of.
And the facts are important as we are talking about a document that will have a huge impact on the Borough for many years to come. Our Green Belt is under threat again, high grade agricultural land could well be built upon and Labour, who run Sefton Council and have said they would not support Green Belt developments, has been voting to do just opposite.
The fact that the lid has come off already is sadly no surprise.
I think I will be returning to this subject quit a bit……………………….