Been out in Melling & Aintree today with 3 chums delivering FOCUS and picked up quite a bit of casework. People often stop me in the street to tell me their troubles but delivering FOCUS leaflets means that you get to walk your patch and pick up on things before a resident has to get in touch. 5 items came from today’s session.
Being a champion of Parish Councils I am delighted to see that both Maghull Town Council and Lydiate Parish Council are leading the local agenda when it comes to seeking out greener ways to manage their respective buildings i.e. Maghull Town Hall and the excellent brand new Lydiate Village Centre. Both are working up schemes to install photo voltaic cells on the buildings to generate electricity. Well done to this often ignored level of grass roots democracy for taking up the green challenge. By the way I know that Formby Parish Council is also into green issues.
Fighting and campaigning for a second railway station for Maghull is a big issue to me so recent bizarre events need to be put on record. My former councillor colleague Roy Connell ensured that the Prison Service (now called NOMS) put £480,000 in the pot to help build our new station which will go next to their prison. By the way for the benefit of those who don’t recall the prison was foisted upon the community via a combined Labour/Tory vote with us Lib Dems opposing the prison but fighting for a commerce park instead on the Ashworth South Site. We lost that battle but gained the money to help build the station.
Construction of the prison has started but out of the blue in July the Labour Party suddenly announced at a Sefton Council meeting that the station would not be built as there was now no money. We thought that was odd and odd it turned out to be! The rest of the money was due to come from a combination of Network Rail and Merseytravel but Merseytravel had not even put the project in their list of capital works despite the fact that they had issued a round-robin to councillors not so long ago saying that if all went well the station could open in December 2010.
Moving on we then get to a meeting of the Sefton East Parishes Area Committee in September where out of the blue Labour say that as the Prison Service need no longer pay over the £480,000 (because the station is not going to be built) they have been in negotiations with the Prison Service to see if they will agree to put some of the money into a local firework display! Mouths agape all round as you might expect.
The next move is that Labour launch a campaign to get Maghull its second new railway station in the local press. Talk about being all over the place; Labour start off by saying it will not be built, to lets spend some of the money on fireworks, to let’s build a new station and all in the space of 3 months.
So where exactly are we? Well, we do have £480,000 in the bank and no it will not be spent on fireworks! The next step is to get Merseytravel to drive the project forward as we always thought they were doing, until July 2010 that is. With Labour being in such a tangle it looks like only we Lib Dems have a clear view of what needs to be done i.e. do all that is possible to get Maghull’s second station built to take the pressure off the presently over-loaded station and its surrounding streets. More news as things develop.