Lydiate – Dog fouling of park surrounding Lydiate Village Centre site

A few weeks ago Lydiate Parish Council took a tough decision that it would very much rather have not made. It closed the open space around Lydiate Village Centre on Lambshear Lane at times the Village Centre itself is not open.

Lydiate Village Centre

The reason? Excessive dog fouling of the grassed area leading to young children being put in conflict with the fouled area. Not surprisingly the move has upset local dog walkers who do clear up after their dogs. As with many anti-social activities it is the actions of the few who care little for our communities that ends up compromising the activities of people who do care, in this case the vast majority of dog walkers.

The Parish Council is looking for a long-term way keeping the open space accessible 24 – 7 whilst being able to control the fouling in a way that does not put playing youngsters at risk.

Southport Hospital – It needs management stability

www.southportvisiter.co.uk/news/southport-west-lancs/revealed-shocking-history-new-southport-12885775

The Southport Visiter has the story – see link above

Above all else Southport hospital needs some stability after all the well documented senior management troubles of the recent past but clearly the Southport Visiter has its reservations.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting.

Wheres Ya Bin (lorry)? – Try looking at Maghull Town Hall

Now this is an odd story and I am not sure that I have all nuances of it, but here goes anyway with corrections and updates as they come to my or indeed your attention.

The story seems to start about 3 weeks back when the sign below started to appear in the car park of Maghull Town Hall on a Tuesday morning:-

The car parking at Meadows Leisure Leisure Centre and Maghull Town Hall can be rather tight at times, with there being more cars trying to park than there are spaces available. This space shortage leads to cars having to be parked half on/half off the access roads and this in turn narrows the access roads so that getting around the joint site can be a real pain if not impossible at really bad times.

This last Tuesday morning there were indeed cars parked half on/half off the access road but you would have expected there to be spaces just around the corner in front of and just past the Town Hall. However, the sign above was in effect cutting the amount of spaces available there in half.

But what was the event last Tuesday morning from 8am to 1pm and indeed, so it seems, every Tuesday morning now that causes half the car parking spaces to be closed? You will be surprised by the answer.

The following photos show why:-

Half of the Town Hall car park had been turned into a bin lorry parking area, although clearly some car drivers felt the need to use the closed to cars area – because there was nowhere else to park?

Former local councillor Cliff Mainey picked up on this rather odd situation and he tells me that the same thing may well be happening on the Monday mornings when the green bins are collected in the Maghull area.

Cliff’s view is that there is no need to turn the much in demand parking spaces at the Town Hall into a bin lorry park as just up the road, literally yards away, is the Maghull Salt Depot which like the bin lorries is run by Sefton Council. So why has Sefton Council asked Maghull Town Council to use the Town Hall car park to gather their bin lorries on a Tuesday and also possibly a Monday morning?

The car park has been there for years and the bins have also been emptied for years without the need to consider use of the Town Hall car park.

On the wider front the intention of both Maghull Town Council & Sefton Council when the Leisure Centre was opened in 2010 was to run the Town Hall and Leisure Centre as one seamless community facility despite the two buildings being under differing ownership. That aim seems to be slipping for reasons I can’t understand. Why connecting doors were even built into the project so that Leisure Centre users could easily park in the larger Town Hall car park and simply walk through the buildings to gain access to the Library and/or Fitness Suite. Oddly these connecting doors are locked at times – what’s that all about?

It will be interesting to see what happens now that Cliff has in effect said that using the car park to park bin lorries is not a sensible use of scarce parking places.

Maghull – Changes to its circular bus routes and numbers

A 231 circular bus parked in the drop off area of Maghull Station on 28th December 2015. This route will now be numbered 31 from 23rd April.

If you use Maghull’s circular buses be prepared for changes from 23rd of April. Some routes are changing and the numbers of the buses are too.

A visit to the Merseytravel website (see link to timetable below) will show the newly posted timetables.

www.merseytravel.gov.uk/travelling-around/timetables/AllTimetables/31%20Maghull%20circular%20(from%2023%20April%202017).pdf

If I am reading it right the last train from Liverpool is to be met by a No.31 bus (until 23rd this is the 231 route) and it departs at 00:03. This is something I and others have called for over a number of years.

In addition, during school days, the 31 will operate via Eastway rather than Deyes Lane and Damfield Lane. Is this due to congestion outside Maricourt & Deyes High and St. Andrew’s Schools? – I guess it is.

But could be issues with the 231 (now to be 31) serving Liverpool Road down to Robins Island in Lydiate? Residents campaigned for it to serve that part of Lydiate a few years ago.

Also, the 32 & 33 (new numbers) will operate via Green Lane rather than running past the old Library site.

If I have anything wrong here please shout.

With thanks to Kevin for help with this posting.

Maghull – Land, money & maintaining Old Hall Park

Ive seen a couple of threads on the Maghull Community facebook Page recently raising concerns about the poor standard of maintenance of Old Hall Park and thought a full review of the issues leading up this unfortunate state of affairs was required.

Old Hall Park

Firstly, when Old Hall Park was created following the demolition of the former Old Hall High School Buildings (originally it had been Maghull Grammar School) the park was laid out and run by Sefton Council. Of course houses were also built on around one third of the site at the same time. This became Sefton Council’s only park in Maghull, all the others being run by Maghull Town Council. In fact Sefton did and still does own one other small grassed/wooded amenity area called Bobby’s Wood, which is at the junction of Liverpool Road South and Northway down at the Woodend area of the Town.

Maghull Town Council then hatched a plan. It thought that all the parks/green spaces in the Town would be better maintained to the same standard and by its own local maintenance team, rather these two areas being maintained by the Borough Council’s separate contractors. Negotiations took place and it was agreed that Old Hall Park and Bobbies Wood would in future both be maintained by Maghull Town Council, this was something like 10 years ago if memory serves.

Things remained like this until Maghull Town Council made a policy decision, not that long ago, to hand the two pieces of land back to the Borough Council – this was when the standard of maintenance started to fall.

But there is another back story to this and surprise, surprise it involves money!

Firstly, all communities in Sefton Borough pay the same levels of Council tax, but some don’t benefit from a full range of services. The stand out one is maintenance of parks and gardens. For example Aintree Village only has one park (Harrow Drive Park) which is maintained by Aintree Village Parish Council, who raise a separate amount of Council tax (called a precept) to pay for that work. However, the good folks of Aintree pay the same amount of Council tax to Sefton Council as say Formby where all the parks are maintained by the Borough Council. You are probably getting my drift here but in case you’re not the fact is that Aintree Village Council tax payers are in effect paying their Parish Council who do the maintenance of their only park but they are also paying the Borough Council who don’t do any parks maintenance for for them. They are paying twice for the same job in reality.

That situation is mirrored in Lydiate and Maghull. In Lydiate all their parks and gardens are maintained by their Parish Council, none are maintained by Sefton Council. And so we get to Maghull where the vast majority of it’s parks and gardens are maintained by Maghull Town Council with just Old Hall Park and Bobby’s Wood being maintained by the Borough Council. So Lydiate and Maghull Council tax payers are, like their Aintree Village chums, in effect paying twice for the work to be done – Once to their Parish/Town Council and again to Sefton Council.

The solution that seems obvious to most who look into this is that Sefton Council should charge a lower amount of Council tax in Maghull, Lydiate and Aintree Village but for reasons I can’t quite fully recall this has never happened. But an alternative solution was put in place in the years following the formation of Sefton Council in 1974. It was called ‘Double Rating’ payments and it led to a formula being constructed which paid money to the Parish Councils who maintained their own parks and gardens.

When a Maghull and Sefton Councillor I looked at this deal and decided it was poor and did not reflect the real costs. I set about renegotiating it and eventually it was significantly improved (around 2007 I think?) to reflect what Sefton would be paying to its contractors if it was doing the work. All was fine then for a few years.

But trouble came with the financial crisis with the Borough Council being hit by massive cuts to its grant from government to run local services. As one of many cuts to its services the Borough Council then decided to stop paying the ‘Double Rating payments to the parish councils. So in effect Aintree Village, Lydiate and Maghull are back to where they were in 1974 i.e. paying twice for parks and gardens maintenance. A very unjust situation in my book.

What happened next was that Maghull Town Council said to Sefton Council if you will not pay us the Double rating we are handing back your parks and you can maintain them. Trouble is the Borough Council’s maintenance standards are low because they are running out of money so residents of Maghull who use Old Hall Park and Bobby’s Wood are not only paying twice for their green space to maintained they are suffering the far lower maintenance standards that are now common across the Borough.

And yes Maghull is the highest rate of Council tax in Sefton (it always has been since 1974) not least now because its Town Council is having to find more money to replace the Double Rating payments that it used to get. An every which way but lose situation you could call it.

I understand, please correct me if I am wrong here, that Maghull Town Council is looking at the possibility of taking over Old Hall Park and Bobby’s Wood once again so to improve the maintenance standards.

I hope this rather lengthy explanation is of use to those interested in this matter.

Southport – Manchester trains – An update on the campaign by Southport Rail Transport Forum and OPSTA.

Southport Rail Transport Forum logo

OPSTA logo

www.facebook.com/southportrailtransportforum/posts/794494200726543?notif_t=notify_me_page&notif_id=1491391584755932

SRTF has an update on the long-running campaign to ensure that Southport and West Lancashire passengers are not disadvantaged by changes to trains into and out of Manchester. See the link above for the full update.

Parbold Level Crossing on the Southport – Manchester Line