This week’s Maghull & Aintree Star and a propaganda leaflet circulating in Park Ward from the comrades has Labour trying to claim credit for the new pedestrian signals that have been incorporated in the traffic lights at Sefton Lane/Liverpool Road South in Maghull. My blog of a few days ago refers to the campaign to get these pedestrian lights installed and the work Cllr. Andrew Blackburn and local businessman and resident Scott McCubbin put in helping me with this project. In all the discussions and meetings we had about the crossing there was certainly no Labour person there and none was ever mentioned. Make your own mind up………..
But let’s have a look at another couple of ‘claiming’ examples.
How about Aintree Davenhill Primary School’s rebuilding. Labour jumped on that band wagon when the campaign wagon actually belonged to Aintree Village Parish Council and the Chair of Governors assisted by the 3 Lib Dem ward Councillors. Labour showed no interest at all when we fought and won the funding for stage one of the rebuild but when stage two came along they acted like they had been leading the campaign for years!
And what about the Playbuilder children’s play equipment grant from Government? Well surprise, surprise you know who claimed credit for that as well. Yes, the grant was brought in by the last Labour Government but who was it that spotted that Sefton Council was seemingly trying to keep it all for parks in the non-parished parts of the Borough? In fact it was the Lib Dem Cabinet members who spotted this and insisted that Borough Council Officers work with the Parish Councils that have their own parks and gardens with the aim of helping them make successful bids. This happened but were Labour bothered, did they show any interest??………………… BUT then out of the blue the the propaganda machine of the comrades started to say how great Playbuilder was and how locally Labour had promoted it and how the new play area in Aintree, at Harrow Drive, would not have happened without their campaigning or words to that effect!
One wonders what will be next on Labour’s ‘Claim’ list and I have not even mentioned their claiming to have sorted out the adoption of Satinwood Crescent in Melling (along with UKIP!) or other minor works that others have fought for.
But what about the Lib Dems, do we indulge in claiming credit for the work of others? Never knowingly. However, let me quote you an example of where things can be going on without us knowing it. Recently, we were asked to help get the grounds of an electricity sub-station tidied up. We took up the matter and it appeared in FOCUS our regular local newsletter, twice in fact. The second article led to a call from a local resident asking whether we really had been involved. Our answer was yes of course, if it is in FOCUS we have been dealing with the matter. The reason for the question? The resident had been pursuing the very same thing herself in parallel with us! This has happened before, at least twice to my knowledge but each time our team has been able to reassure the enquiring resident that our involvement was real and genuine.
One thing Labour don’t seem keen to claim credit for, for some strange reason, is the fact that their voting on Sefton Council would have led to a 29% increase in Council tax this year. Well I suppose you would want to hide that!
My previous post on this subject was a couple of weeks ago and it brought back what may be a potentially useful piece of advice.
A chap contacted me and suggested that instead of pursuing the cars (by slapping penalty notices on them) the Council should, in effect, be pursuing the individual or company responsible for selling cars on the highway via the Anti Social Behaviour route. He said that a similar situation (not quite the same) had been dealt with in Liverpool via this method.
I have now put that suggestion to Council Officers to investigate and thank the chap who contacted me for his suggestion.
By the way a car that had been given a penalty notice at Green Lane Maghull was found in Seafore Close Lydiate still for sale only last week.
At Sefton’s Cabinet meeting last Thursday there was a report from the Planning Dept. all about housing requirements i.e houses to be built. Readers will recall that the Green Belt is under threat and has been ever since Labour, when in Government, imposed a house building target of 500 houses to be built each year on Sefton. That figure would mean building on the Green Belt in maybe 5 years or there abouts.
Residents, especially those in the East Parishes part of the Borough, are very keen to keep their Green Belt and so am I. In late May the Council is going to start consultation about house building with the public of Sefton and you can bet your bottom Dollar that building on the Green Belt will be a big issue in that Planners will want to and residents will NOT!
Anyway, at Cabinet last Thursday, which I chaired, we got to item 14 and I heard a Labour member say agreed. My response was no we should not agree the report. So what was it? It was the ‘Study to Review the Regional Spacial Strategy Housing Requirement Figure for Sefton – Final Findings’ – what a title! In effect it was the conclusions of consultants who had modelled all sorts of things to assess housing demand in the Borough and we were being asked to ‘endorse’ their key findings. Well the key of all key findings was that we need to build 480 houses per year, almost back to Labour’s imposed target of 500!
Here I am at Lambshear Lane Lydiate checking out farm land that may come under threat from house building
Sorry, no I was not going to endorse it and persuaded the Cabinet to simply ‘note’ the findings. Not only did I feel it wrong to endorse findings that would inevitably impact on the Green Belt but if the Council is genuinely to consult Sefton residents having already endorsed a figure of house building it is not consultation; it’s telling them what we going to do and dressing it up as consultation! My good friend Cllr. Iain Brodie-Browne missed this Cabinet meeting, as he had urgent business in London, but he has previously scolded officers for poor consultation and it nearly happened again.
So why were Labour Cabinet members seemingly ready to endorse 480 houses being built each year when elsewhere Labour say that they are opposed to building on Green Belt land? Where do they think the houses will go if not on Green Belt? Maybe they were simply recalling the imposed Labour target and thinking 480 is near enough!
You know when you have been bashing your head against a brick wall (or maybe a sandstone one – read on) for a long time but then it finally becomes worth the headaches, well I have had one of those ‘finally worth it’ moments this last week.
For longer than I care to recall I have been be campaigning for a pedestrian phase to be incorporated in the traffic lights at the top of Sefton Lane where it joins Liverpool Road South. The junction is very busy and pedestrians are unsighted by an historic red sandstone wall belonging to the Parkhaven Trust.
This is me checking out the construction work during March
When Sefton Primary Care Trust decided to make what was only going to be a temporary GP surgery into a permanent one on the Parkhaven site my good friend Cllr. Andrew Blackburn helped me reignite the campaign to get the pedestrian lights installed. After a lot of pushing and shoving we have done it and the lights are now up and working.
What’s more we were helped by the pressure from Scott McCubbin who owns ‘It’s the Little Things’ children’s nursery which is also on the Parkhaven Trust site. So at last the worst junction in Maghull (unless you tell me otherwise) for pedestrians has been addressed with red and green men signals incorporated in the lights. I will have to find another brick wall to bash my head on now!
And to cap it all I have had a lovely card through the post today from Scott and the Nursery thanking me for getting the problem sorted. And thanks from me for taking the effort to send me a card; it is very much appreciated.
Have a look at this striking display of flowers that I saw whilst out campaigning in Lydiate
It makes you realise that Spring is very much here.
Last Tuesday I was invited to a meeting at the House of Commons to discuss economic development challenges and opportunities in the North West of England. The event was organised by my good friend Dr John Pugh the MP for Southport. It was facilitated by Gordon Lishman (recently retired Chief Exec’ of Age Concern which has just merged with Help the Aged) and sponsored by United Utilities.
Dr. John Pugh Lib Dem MP for Southport
Now before I go any further may I make it clear that I paid for my own train fare to and hotel in London.
The meeting was very interesting as we had a broad range of people attending who could all reflect what economic challenges and opportunities were like at present and what may need to happen in the future to support local economies across the North West of England.
It did not take long before we got around to jobs, the reliance on public sector jobs and how to encourage more young people to set up their own businesses. Another interesting fact and a sobering one as well is that United Utilities is, I understand, the only FTSE 100 quoted company that is based in England’s North West.
I hope we will be able to develop the relationships that were formed at the meeting as the North West has to become the master of its own destiny and be less dependent on Government if we are ever going to turn the tide and be a more prosperous region.
My thanks to Dr. Pugh MP on his initiative and I hope to be able to return to this subject in the future.