We had another excellent Steering Group meting today. Having been asked by the volunteers to chair this group some time ago I really do find it a rewarding experience.
Today we discussed the following issues:-
* A piece of public artwork theamed on Frank Hornby and his world famous products. We were joined by my fellow Frank Hornby Trust member and Chairman Les French. If all goes well a piece of public artwork will be designed to sit outside of Meadows Leisure Centre and the work will mainly be done by Asjhworth Hospital. There is a long way to go with this project but let’s hope it comes off.
* The proposed redevelopment of Maghull Square Shopping Centre and the challenges that will create for the area where some of the Maghull in Bloom major displays take place each spring and summer.
* Adding Maghull in Bloom signs to the Town’s boundary signs.
* Resurrecting the project, that Maghull Town Council had offered to fund some time ago, to create two major displays just off the A59 (Northway) at the Alt traffic lights and on School Lane adjacent to the entrances to Ashworth Hospital and Kennet Prison.
My good friend Cllr. Cliff Mainey was behind the push a few years ago to commemorate the fallen in war on the 11th of November at 11.am each year (i.e. separate to the Sunday church service) in Maghull.
This year many people turned out and here are a few photos taken by Cliff. His Sudell Ward Lib Dem coleague Councillor Bruce Hubbard is quite an expert on those who fell in war across Sefton. Bruce has written books on this subject.
Yesterday I went to a fascinating drop-in session held by the Environment Agency in the Punch Bowl Pub in Sefton Village.
The event was to update Lunt and Homer Green residents on the Agency’s planned work to tackle ‘over-topping’ of the River Alt and to create a wildlife habitat in the and around the flood storage area.
This project goes back many years and previously the Environment Agency had been planning for a bigger and more environmentally intrusive solution. However, the experience of the Alt over-topping its bunds in 2010 led to the computer modelling of the consequences of such flooding being scaled back. In other words it now seems that the works do not need to be so intrusive on the landscape.
Whilst I was at the event, for around half an hour, I spoke to a couple of residents who had turned up to see what the news would be and from my assessment of things it looks like folks are happier with the scaled back works. The habitat creation was also being looked at favourably and I understand that Lancashire Wildlife Trust will manage such things.
I have lived in Maghull for 43 years so I can claim to be almost a local now! I recall the Alt flooding (and Dovers Brook) over the years and that the area around it was, in my lifetime, either agricultural or tip land. Now the tipping has stopped and the area that took up has been landscaped. Agriculture has also been scaled back and some farm land sold to the Forestry Commission who have planted it and the former tip land with trees, bushes etc. So times move on and land uses change but the Alt, which is the main ‘drain’ for surface water for miles around, still continues to perform that function as it will for many more generations.
Some years ago I new an elderly gentleman who had been born in Sefton Village and he told me how when the Alt flooded in the winter locals would skate on the frozen fields. I think this activity would have gone on in the early part of the last century.
So an enjoyable time was had at the drop-in session by me and I have asked the Environment Agency to let me have a note of the comments made by residents throughout the 4 hours they were running the event.
My Lib Dem colleague and MP for Southport, Dr. John Pugh, has been asking search questions about about ‘Fracking’ for gas/oil. It is presently taking place in West Lancashire but the activity could well be spreading out and getting closer to more of Sefton’s communities.
Check out my good friend Ian Brodie-Browne’s blog (see my link to Birkdale Focus) for more information. After the earthquake in the Blackpool area which was, we are told, a consequence of ‘Fracking’ strong assurances are clearly required!
For the first year in very many I was not at this year’s display, then again at one point no one was going to be there as the Town Council, under Labour, had threatened that it was not going ahead.
I am told by those attending, whom I have spoken to, that it went very well and I am genuinely glad about that. Yes, Labour made a right old mess of things with their threats about this annual community event not happening in 2011 but thankfully they did a ‘U’ turn.
Yesterday, I ran into a resident in Maghull who came up to me and said ‘thanks for saving the fireworks display; we all know it was the Lib Dems who fought to keep it’. Such comments are both welcome and very interesting in that clearly, despite Labour’s ‘U’ turn and even their denial of their own original statements about the display not going ahead, the message picked up by Joe and Jane Public is one Labour would rather they had not picked up.
Every year this event happens and every year I think of how it started off as a voluntary community effort organised by the Round Table. Long may their good works in Maghull be remembered and long may Maghull Town Council take the lead in making the display happen as it promised it would when the event got too big for the Round Table to take forward in 1990’s. Please no excuses in 2012, let’s just get on with it and be proud to be doing so.