The much missed 311 bus route (particularly in Lydiate)

A visit to Merseyside Transport Trust’s open day in Burscough yesterday and what should I spot but a heritage bus in Ribble/North Western livery numbered for the now lost and much missed 311 route which ran from Liverpool through to Ormskirk taking in the Old Roan, Maghull and Lydiate.

It brought back memories of the campaign and petition to try to stop Arriva abandoning the route back in 2015. Here’s a link back to my postings about the matter back then:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/08/21/petition-to-try-to-save-the-311-liverpool-ormskirk-skem-bus/

Four years on since the bus was withdrawn and Lydiate residents without access to a car are still struggling to get to Ormskirk, which is just 4 miles away, with only the 310 bus to use and that just skims the very edge of Lydiate.

Climate Change – Getting Real

Despite the political and media obsession with Brexit and whilst it may seem like the biggest major crisis, the reality is that climate change will kill off the human race if we don’t take very serious action very soon.

At a local level I get sick of cycling behind pollution from diesel powered vehicles many of which could be electric powered because they only do local trips. The circular buses which serve Maghull & Lydiate and connect the community to railway stations and shopping center are just one obvious example where change to electric power should have happened years ago. And what about the Post Office’s local delivery vans too where similar very local runs must be being made day in day out. I’m sure there will be other examples…..

Air pollution is killing us all by shortening lives and it’s linked to dementia too. It’s a scandal that communities up and down the land, often the poorest ones, are being subjected to pollution levels that are simply far too high. Governments have know this for years but little has been done apart from a lot of wringing of hands.

That our present Government has dismantled virtually all the green initiatives brought in by the Coalition is astonishing when we have declared a climate emergency as those green cutbacks are taking place.

Another example is the lack of progress with building regulations. Why aren’t all new buildings being constructed with solar panels/tiles; they’ve been around for years, there really is no excuse.

I could go on but you get my drift………..

Lydiate – Making the case for reconsidering the circular 31/31A bus route

I made a point of getting to the Merseytravel bus consultation event at Maghull Square Shopping Centre this morning.

When I arrived a chap was already talking to the staff and I quickly realised he was making the very same point I had come to make i.e. that the 31/31A Lydiate circular bus should serve the new Maghull North Station rather than the old Maghull Station.

Our reasons? Since the loss of the 311 bus Lydiate folks have limited options to get to Ormskirk by public transport. Secondly, Maghull North Station is nearer to Lydiate so the journey to get to Merseyrail would be shorter.

This issue has been raised with me as a Lydiate Parish Councillor a few times now, indeed I raised it myself when the original public consultation took place about the building of the new station a couple of years ago or more. However, for some odd reason this quite workable change keeps falling on deaf ears. I hope someone is listening this time.

Here’s a link back to a previous posting of my on this matter from August 2017:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/08/26/maghull-north-station-so-which-local-buses-will-serve-the-station-when-it-opens/

To be a volunteer litter picker or not?

The other day I was in effect challenged to reconsider my actions by a local resident. My action? To have ‘adopted’ the public footpath which runs from Southport Road to Coppull Road and litter pick it/cut back over-hanging foliage now and again. Indeed, I’ve blogged about this previously – here’s a link back to a posting from October 2018:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/10/05/lydiate-coppull-road-southport-road-footpath/

I think I’ve tidied the path up 3 times now over the past year or so but the challenge is in effect to ask me not to do it as I’m giving Sefton Council the opportunity to get out of doing it. In other words we pay Sefton Council via our council tax so make them keep it clean and tidy. And from a slightly differing perspective but on the same kind of subject a Maghull resident, by coincidence, brought my attention to this recent article* in the Metro newspaper:-

Now I’m a trade unionist by instinct and I spent many years as a trade union officer in the civil service during my working years, so the last thing I would want to do is to compromise the jobs of council employees via my well intentioned volunteer litter picking activities. I hope such an approach would go for all the volunteer litter pickers across Lydiate and many other communities.

Of course we volunteers have started to litter pick because councils have not been doing the work as they once did and yes quite clearly austerity has been the underlying cause of reduced litter picking.

So there we have it. Do volunteer litter pickers stop what they are doing because a) the council is being paid via our council tax so should be forced to get on with the job or b) volunteers may be putting council workers jobs at risk? You could say that both these points could apply of course.

Like many things in life there’s no easy answer and for what it’s worth here’s my view. Sefton Council will not be able to keep this path in the condition that local residents would want to see it because it simply does not have the resources to do so. So on that basis it will only react to issues with footpaths like this when people complain and when the condition of the paths is well past acceptable to locals. It may not be how we want things to be but its how they are though.

Do I think I am putting council jobs art risk? No I don’t unless I see some evidence of this. Do I think the council will now step back in and make the work of litter picking volunteers unnecessary? No I don’t because they are struggling to pay for much bigger issues such as care for the elderly.

Click on the newspaper article to enlarge it

Note: There is a volunteer Lydiate litter picking group who travel across the Parish litter picking – I’m not a part of that group and my litter picking has been as an individual. I do support their work though.

* the article is about Leamington Spar volunteer litter pickers

My thanks to Kevin Duggan for his input into the posting

Sefton Council – Food Waste Collections Cease

3 users of the service, which is no more, have spoken to me in the past couple of days querying why it has stopped. Well apart from a few social media postings from Sefton Councillors, which I’ve have read, I had no more detail.

Clearly folks are both disappointed and more than a bit baffled by the turn of events. I was told by one resident that he had read the article in the Aintree & Maghull Champion a few weeks back saying the service was likely to stop but he was adamant that that same article was promising that folks would be informed when final decisions had been made. He was clearly more than a bit put out to have placed his waste bin outside his house this week only to be told (by a friend who had phoned Sefton Council when their bin was not emptied) that the service had indeed been ceased without the promised publicity.

We are told that the reason for the cessation is manly due to the falling number of residents using the service, but when and how have Sefton Council promoted it especially to new residents moving into the Borough? I’m told that folks have seen furniture vans being loaded with the food waste caddies when some people have moved; probably taking them to their new home within the Borough. But whilst not knowing the scale this has been happening on it will clearly mean that the new residents will not have a bin and may have little or no knowledge of the service. Changes in people paying Council Tax, caused by house moves, would be one obvious opportunity to have advertised and promoted the food waste service to new residents surely.

Clearly this is a step backwards in terms of recycling/environmental progress in the Borough as much as it seems to have been a publicity vacuum too. But my A&M Champion has just dropped through my letter box and the cessation gets a mention in it, although clearly it points towards the lack of notice as being an issue that has upset folk.

And to think that Government is thinking of/consulting on making food waste collections compulsory for all Councils.

Not a good week for Sefton Council……

Northern is going to the wall according to TSSA trade union

The Liverpool Echo has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/northern-rail-crisis-likely-go-16414510

Northern Rail Class 319 electric unit at Liverpool Lime Street Station

Well the indications keep on coming that Northern Assist is at best struggling and let’s be honest none of us will be surprised or indeed disappointed if the company has to pull out of the Northern Franchise.