Liverpudlians not interested in homes for a pound

The Times newspaper carried this article today:-

Less than half of the houses made available in Liverpool City Council’s “Homes for a Pound” scheme have been sold. The scheme set up in April last year as part of plans to help regenerate the Granby and Picton areas, released 20 neglected terraced houses, each in need of between £30,000 and £40,000 of work. The council said that initially more than 4,000 people signed up for the scheme, but 16 months later contracts had been signed for only five homes, with a further three expected to go through in the next few weeks. A similar scheme launched last year in Stoke-on-Trent has almost sold out, with just one of 33 properties left.

With thanks to the LGiU for the lead to this story.

Prescot (Clock) Museum, Merseyside

This is one of those places I had been meaning to visit for years but somehow not got around to.

www.prescotmuseum.org.uk/

My attention was drawn back to it because of of a controversial move of the Museum from its historic Georgian building into a shopping centre! You can see why it was controversial.

This is the old and seemingly now unused Georgian building:-

rsz_img_1392

It really is quite a nice building and very much one that would befit a museum. So why the change? Obviously, local government funding issues were at the heart of the move but whilst having sympathy with Knowsley Borough Council for its financial dilemma I am told by Prescot locals that the Borough Council does not have the best of records in its governance of historic Prescot. I know that Cllrs. such as Ian Smith, and more recently Carl Cashman, have been fighting battles with Knowsley Borough for years to try to preserve the traditions and history of Prescot but the Kirkby/Huyton power-bases of the Borough always have had the bigger say for the socialist Borough.

The dead hand of local government can be a poor defender of traditions and local communities with its ‘Big Brother knows best’ approach to sensitive and very local issues. Here the solution is at best a halfway house because the old building is left empty and the setting of the new museum is at best odd. The comments on Trip Advisor give a flavour of what people think although not all are negative, I would add.

www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g1096785-d215456-Reviews-Prescot_Clock_Museum-Prescot_Knowsley_Merseyside_England.html

The photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Chorley bid for UDI – On the West Lancs slow track or steaming ahead?

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-28411619

The BBC has the story – see link above.

There really is little future for small District Councils in England and those that are left will be left behind if they don’t try to become Unitary councils which look after all the services in their area. The days of District Councils and separate County Councils must be numbered.

This is a well trodden route and one which, in my view, Chorley are right to take. West Lancs Council has been pondering this for a long time, probably too long, and they need to get their band wagon moving as well.

Labour’s vast Maghull/Lydiate Urban Extensions – They are truly massive

Visitors to this blog site will know how concerned I am about the proposed building on Green Belt and high grade agricultural land across Sefton Borough. As an environmental campaigner I look upon such building as taking away excellent food growing land from future generations. Once it has gone it is gone for good.

MAGHULL TO GET 25% BIGGER

By a long, long way the biggest site in the Borough that our Labour-run Borough Council wants to build upon is to the east of Maghull. Indeed, this site is so large it is spoken of as being an urban extension as it will increase the size of Maghull by nearly 25%!

The site is bounded by the M58 Motorway, Poverty Lane, the Merseyrail railway line from Liverpool to Ormskirk and School Lane. This is a vast tract of land and it is presently being farmed as you would expect of high grade agricultural land.

But to get the scale of this piece of land have a look at the photo’s below:-

A massive urban extension site. It is all of this and even more to the right of the photo

A massive urban extension site. It is all of this and even more to the right of the photo

Poverty Lane can be seen on the right. Just look at the crops that will no longer be grown there if Labour has its way!

Poverty Lane can be seen on the right. Just look at the crops that will no longer be grown there if Labour has its way!

ENVIRONMENTAL CATASTROPHE FOLLOWED BY AN INFRASTRUCTURE MELT-DOWN

But it’s not just the loss of high grade agricultural land, appalling though that is. The other effects will be building houses that are beyond the financial reach of young folk wanting to get a foothold on the property ladder and with so many houses being built it will put dire pressure on the Town’s infrastructure.

LYDIATE COULD GET 35% BIGGER UNDER LABOUR’S PLANNING!

This really is a lose, lose plan for Maghull and Labour are potentially going to repeat it in Lydiate where the urban extension to that community could reach a staggering 35%!

1st Mersey Tunnel 80th Birthday – Queensway

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-28372224

The BBC has the story – see link above. The 80th anniversary of the opening of the Queensway tunnel is being marked.

Merseytravel produced a booklet about both Tunnels about 10 years ago. This is the front page of it.

Merseytravel produced a booklet about both Tunnels about 10 years ago. This is the front page.

The 2.13 mile (3.4 km) tunnel linking Liverpool and Birkenhead was opened by King George V on 18 July 1934.

Another page from the Merseytravel booklet gives  some fascinating facts about the Queensway Tunnel

Another page from the Merseytravel booklet gives some fascinating facts about the Queensway Tunnel. Click to enlarge

It was the first road tunnel under the River Mersey and took almost nine years to build.

This reminded me of the 2nd Tunnel being opened in 1971 when I walked through it with my parents gathering autographs of the people who worked on it. Here are a couple of interesting photos of that event:-

This is the front page of the booklet produced to celebrate  of the opening of Kingsway Tunnel

This is the front page of the booklet produced to celebrate of the opening of Kingsway Tunnel

These are the tickets my family were given when we walked through the new (2nd) Tunnel in 1971

These are the tickets my family were given when we walked through the new (2nd) Tunnel in 1971

Labour – devolution and trust (of Labour Council Leaders)

On devolution

Hilary Benn, the Shadow Local Government Secretary, has said a Labour Government would give councils more freedom but austerity would continue.

The fact that Labour now seems very keen on the long-held Liberal policy of devolving power from Whitehall is often spoken off these days but the fascinating words here are that ‘austerity would continue’. A common sense remark of course but its not the message that Labour delivers locally, indeed if you believed Labour’s local utterances you would think that the election of a Labour government would end austerity and reverse all the cuts in public expenditure. Saying one thing nationally but quite another at a local level.

Labour must trust [its own] local leaders

A group Labour council leaders, including Cllr Lib Peck of Lambeth Council, Cllr Jim McMahon of Oldham Council and Cllr Sharon Taylor of Stevenage BC, have written in the Guardian recently that the Labour party needs to trust its local leaders. The leaders urge the Labour party to share power and work with them to deliver the future that communities want.

This is very much linked to the potential devolution of power from Westminster. The problem is that Labour does not trust its own local leaders and has not done for many years.