From debate on Green Belt in Westminster Hall, 18/11/2011:
Bill Esterson: The hon. Member for Broxtowe mentioned the potential for councils coming forward with plans on the green belt, and gave some examples. There is an example in the village of Lydiate, where recently plans were proposed. They were for a development in the green belt outside a clearly defined urban area, and had the support of planning officers. The Leeds and Liverpool canal runs through my constituency, and the plans were for a marina on the canal. On the face of it, it was a sensible development suggestion, but it was in the green belt and would have broken a clear barrier between the urban and green belt areas. It was worrying to see planning officers recommending its approval. Fortunately, the planning committee turned it down and the planning inspectorate appeal upheld the decision, saying that it would clearly be an inappropriate development in the green belt.
Now this raises a very interesting point in that Mr. Esterson seems to be attacking his own Labour Party councillors because at the Planning Committee Labour members voted for the application to be approved! It was a Lib Dem proposal to turn the application down that ensured it was stopped in its tracks.
Just a brief update on that carry on at Maghull Railway Station that I mentioned yesterday.
I went to pick up my daughter again again tonight and met her at 6.00pm. No sooner had I parked in the area for pick up/drop off than an Ace Maghull circular bus pulled up behind me and stated to blow his horn to usher me out of the way!!
It would be funny if it were not so uttery ridiculous.
I feel the urge to come back to an old chestnut i.e. where the circular buses that serve Maghull & Lydiate drop off passengers (sorry I am too old to call them customers) and then park up in the Maghull Station Interchange area.
It has always been a muddle and that’s putting it politely! To recap the buses come into the Interchange, go to the bus stops to drop off their passengers and then retire to the area meant for cars to pick up and drop off folks. In turn this means that at busy times the cars have to drop off in the bus stops as the buses are blocking up the drop-off area! Of course the bus drivers then get upset when they can’t get back to the bus stops when they want to pick up passengers to leave the Station. And a merry dance is had between cars and buses.
I have raised this more times than I have had hot dinners and recently Lydiate Parish Council raised the same matter and received a helpful reply from Merseytravel saying they were sorting it out. Well sorted out it is not!
Tonight I was picking up my daughter at 5.45pm and I parked in the pick-up/drop-off area as I should but behind a bus that was also there. Then another bus came into the Interchange and parked alongside me and let off a passenger. I must say that letting off a passenger in what is effectively the middle of the road instead of going to the bus stop struck me as being odd but Ace Travel must know what they are doing; at least I hope they do.
Anyway, the train came in, my daughter came to the car and I wanted to move away. However, there was the big bus blocking me in so I gestured to the bus driver to let me out. He did so but the cheeky beggar said ‘you are parked in a bus lane’. I could not believe my ears and made my point of view quite clear; I was not polite at all!
Please Merseytravel get this sorted out with Ace Travel the bus operator; it’s not too much to ask is it?
Oh dear, the Stags got a good thumping from the Sandgrounders at Field Mill yesterday.
I hear that Southport were good value for their victory so I am just a little worried about the return game at Haigh Avenue which the Stags won 2 – 1 last year.
My dear chum Haydn Preece, who is Southport Football Club through and through, was unsurprisingly the first to let me know the ‘good’ news last night. What with fellow Lib Dem councillors Richard Hands, David Rimmer and Iain Brodie-Browne being big Southport fans it looks like I am in for a number of reminders in the next few days about how my team was turned over by the Sandgrounders!
I am beginning to wonder when a standing item will appear on Town Council agendas entitled ‘Opportunity for Labour members to have a pop at the Lib Dem opposition’ because sadly the Town Council seems to be degenerating that way.
Some months ago on this blog I tried to describe how I hoped for a reasonably positive relationship with the new Labour majority and made reference to how the hand of friendship had initially been extended to us 3 opposition members just after Labour took control last May. However, reality has been very different and the 3 of us have felt more like a barely tolerated minority than real members of the Council. So we have reacted accordingly by fighting fire with fire. We don’t want to do this in Council meetings; we would rather have a more constructive face to face relationship with the Labour majority because after all this is parish pump politics not the rowdy and embarrassing House of Commons.
Yes, we reserve the right to disagree with the Labour majority but as my good friend Cllr. Andrew Blackburn said to me only yesterday ‘if they could just stop having a go at us we could work with them more often than not’. And Cllr. Jane Day said ‘I just don’t feel that that I am a part of the Council; I feel like an outsider’.
So the challenge is there for Labour; stop having a go and let’s really see if we can get along most of the time. Keep having a pop and you will keep on getting the kind of responses that you clearly don’t care for. The choice is yours but please remember this is a parish council.
Today, Sefton Council’s Cabinet, where no one party has a majority, agreed to publish the list of cuts put forward by the Labour Leader of the Council.
We felt it would be churlish to stand in the way of Labour’s proposals being scrutinised by the public. However, we Lib Dems will be looking at all the proposed areas of cuts and will make our views known in due course.
Our initial comments are that we remain very concerned about proposed tourism budget cuts as our Southport and wider Sefton economy has great reliance on tourism. To cut the Council’s input into this vital area could well put in jeopardy our local economic recovery across Sefton and into West Lancashire. The tourism economy supports many local jobs in. We are also concerned about proposed cuts in public toilets, management of the coastline & highway maintenance. But this is just our initial view on the list and much more detailed scrutiny is required over the coming weeks.
We continue to welcome comments from the public of the Borough, special interest groups etc.