Maghull/Lydiate – My letter to the Champion newspaper in respect of the Turnbridge Road site

The letter below is in response to the article on page 9 of the Aintree & Maghull Champion newspaper on 24th May where Labour councillors complain about a developer when their party on Sefton Council voted for the site to be developed via the Sefton Local Plan!

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That the developer of the Turnbridge Road site in Lydiate (which will be accessed from Maghull) is not engaging with locals is indeed an outrage. I wrote a detailed objection regarding this development to Sefton Council as part of the planning process. I also opposed the Sefton Local Plan which designated this site for development.

But just hang on a minute the councillors protesting about this in the Maghull Champion article belong to a political party – Labour – which voted for that site (amongst many others across the Borough) to be developed! Do I hear the sound of stable doors being slammed shut after the horse was allowed to trot out?

Yours sincerely

Cllr. Tony Robertson
Lydiate Parish Councillor

Lydiate – An NHS back water with little in the way of public transport to get to major NHS facilities

There are no GP’s or dentists in Lydiate, the only dentist closed not so long ago. That in itself is unfortunate but if you look at the direct public transport links from Lydiate to the major local NHS facilities the picture is also poor.

This is me with the Lydiate & Maghull resident's petition in 2015 at a 311 bus stop in Lydiate. The petition was not collected by me I would add but by the hard work of locals concerned about the loss of this Arriva route to Ormskirk. The battle was sadly lost.

This is me with the Lydiate & Maghull resident’s petition in 2015 at a 311 bus stop in Lydiate. The petition was not collected by me I would add but by the hard work of locals concerned about the loss of this Arriva route to Ormskirk. The battle was sadly lost.

Lydiate (along with Aintree Village & Maghull) lost the 311 bus route in 2015 which linked it with Ormskirk and of course its hospital. Yes the 310 Liverpool – Ormskirk route just skims the eastern edge of Lydiate but its a long trek for most Lydiate residents to get to a bus stop for it on the A59.

Lydiate (together with Maghull, Melling and Aintree Village) has no direct public transport link to Litherland NHS Walk-In Centre, indeed it never has had such a link despite calls for one. I recall saying, when the Walk-In Centre first opened in the early 2000’s, that it could not reasonably be seen to serve the Eastern Parishes of Sefton Borough because of the lack of direct public transport links to it. Of course we were also fighting for a Walk-In Centre to be provided in Maghull at the time and even got to the stage of the NHS allocating money to rebuild Maghull Health Centre with provision for a Walk-In facility. But then out of the blue the NHS pulled the plug on the project for reasons that have never been satisfactorily explained. I was of course pleased when Maghull Councillor Matt Gannon relaunched the campaign for a Walk-In Centre in Maghull in 2016. I also understand that Maghull Town Council will be including such an aim in its draft Neighbourhood Plan for the Town.

Lydiate’s link to Fazakerley Hospital has been via the 236 bus route in recent years. However, this route is no longer serving Lydiate as a consequence of Merseytravel confirming their Sefton Bus Review proposals recently. This is quite obviously a blow to Lydiate folks visiting friends and relatives by bus in that hospital.

Now the Sefton Bus Review proposals have been confirmed Lydiate’s only direct bus link with a major NHS facility will be via the 300 bus route to Southport and of course its hospital.

The last Chairman of Lydiate Parish Council, Dave Russell, tried every possible way possible to get an NHS facility within Lydiate Village Centre when planning for the new centre was at an early stage but the NHS managed to slip from his grasp there too.

Yes for me Lydiate is sadly an NHS back water both in terms of facilities in the community and with regard to direct public transport links to local hospitals and Walk-In Centres.

Stop Press – I had written this posting a while back but had not got around to finishing it of for publication. Then last night at Lydiate Parish Council’s Neighbourhood Plan meeting the very same issues came up and there seemed to be broad consensus that another attempt to gain NHS primary care facilities within Lydiate had to be made. Let’s hope such a plan will win the day this time around.

Building on high grade agricultural land – My letter to the Champion newspaper

The vast Maghull East site as seen from Poverty Lane, Maghull

Dear Sir,

Your headline ‘Plan to Build 1,650 Homes On Farm land’ (Aintree & Maghull Champion 26 04 17) was one of the saddest I have read in a long time.

Sad because the building is to take place on some of the 2% highest grade of agricultural land in England. How on earth can it be environmentally sustainable to build on land that grows our crops and our food?

Yes I know we need housing but surely building on the very best agricultural land is just ridiculous. I realise that previous generations did it as well but how come we have not as a society protected high grade land from building now we know how precious such land really is?

As an environmental campaigner I despair, I really do.

Cllr. Tony Robertson
Lydiate Parish Councillor

Maghull – 2017 will see work start on construction of its new railway station

After years and years of being talked about (some say it was first mooted after the Second World War!) Maghull is to finally get its long promised second railway station to be called quite unimaginatively ‘Maghull North’.

It will be on Merseyrail’s Northern Line from Liverpool to Ormskirk and will be sited between the two over-bridges on School Lane and Park Lane. Here’s the site before construction starts from both bridges:-

Site for the new Maghull North Railway Station. Photo taken looking north from School Lane road bridge. The former Moss Side Hospital site is to the right and Mersey Avenue to the left.

And here’s a shot looking from the Park Lane over-bridge towards the bridge on School Lane from which the first photo was taken:-

The most recent and successful campaigning for the new station goes back to the decision to close the former Moss Side Hospital. The site it occupied (also know these days as the Ashworth South Site and by the housing developer that has recently started building there as Poppy Fields) was down to be sold off. Here’s a couple of shots of the triangle shaped site which is bounded by Park Lane, School Lane and the railway line:-

Looking at the site from the School Lane over-bridge.

Looking at the site from the only road access to it off School Lane.

Whilst houses are presently being built on Poppy Fields/Ashworth South the original plan was for a prison, possibly a Titan-type prison to be built there in 2007. Plans were drawn up but then the Government changed in 2010 and the prison idea was ditched. But it was whilst the plans were being processed for the prison that councillors of day, led by Roy Connell, waded in saying they wanted a site for Maghull’s second railway station secured via that process. They succeeded in that aim and despite the prison being ditched in favour of housing the station site was preserved from other developments. So that’s how the site was secured.

The next stage was to get Government to stump up a large amount of cash to build the station – it did. The rest of the cash would need to found locally and Merseytravel/Sefton Council had that task.

And the unimaginative station name? Well campaigners who know the historical significance of the former Moss Side Hospital did try to get a more appropriate name adopted but the railway powers that be were having none of it. One idea was rename the present Maghull Station as Maghull Hornby and the new one as Maghull Moss Side. I quite liked the historical ring of those names but railway authorities have no soul you know and probably little interest in local history. Moss Side Hospital was world renowned for its pioneering treatment of soldiers with shell shock during World War 1 and the world famous toy maker Frank Hornby lived literally yards away from the present Maghull Station. It’s really frustrating that two world-wide historical events/figures can be so easily ignored.

But despite a sadly missed opportunity of station names Maghull will soon be getting its second and much needed railway station as the present station is beyond capacity at peek times. Maghull North station should be open in 2018 we are told.

Click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Melling/Maghull – Photo of that odd M58 Motorway junction by Ashworth Hospital

Click on the photo to enlarge it

I posted about this ‘one way’ Motorway junction back in March this year but did not have a photo of it at the time, so here’s one now.

What you are looking at is where you would expect there to be a slip road down onto the M58 to travel towards Switch Island. But of course there never has been one as you can only use this odd junction to travel east towards Skelmersdale or leave the M58 here if travelling west. This is in fact where the gated Giddygate Lane finishes presently and it will have to be moved to accommodate the upgraded junction.

My previous posting that talks about when it is likely that this junction will become a full junction is accessible below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/03/19/mellingmaghull-m58-motorway-junction-1-upgrade/

The War against Labour-run Sefton Council’s Green Belt busting Local Plan has been lost but there were many local battles where Labour was bloodied.

This is what a recent letter said to those who had taken part in the Sefton Council Local Plan process:-

Dear Sir or Madam

Examination of the Local Plan for Sefton – Receipt of Inspector’s Report

The Council has received the Inspector’s Report into the examination of the Local Plan for Sefton. This is has now been published by the Council and is available at the following locations:

Online at www.sefton.gov.uk/localplan
At each of Sefton’s libraries
At the Planning Offices at Magdalen House, Bootle

Following receipt of the Inspector’s Report the Council now intends to adopt the Local Plan at its meeting of full Council on Thursday 20th April 2017 [6.30pm at Southport Town Hall].

The Council will notify people when the Local Plan is adopted. Following adoption the Local Plan will be used in the determination of planning applications in the borough

Kind Regards

Local Plan Team

In many ways it says so little after so many pitched battles between environmental and community campaigners on one side and Sefton Council, Sefton Labour, property owners and developers on the other. It was a long war and the environmental campaigners lost, although they gave Sefton Labour a number of bloody noses along the way.

I was one of the environmental campaigners and yes I am still angry. Angry because much of the land that has been taken out of Green Belt protection around the Borough is amongst the 2% highest grade of agricultural land in England. To build anything on the land that grows our food is utter madness to me.

But we all remember the heady days of the start of the Local plan process when both Labour and the Lib Dems in Sefton pledged to defend the Green Belt. The Lib Dems did that but Labour, who by then had a majority on the Council, bailed out and started to vote for building on the Green Belt.

The bloody nose was that they lost 4 seats on the Council because of their say one thing, do another approach to this matter. But sadly despite such losses Labour have got their way and what was previously Green Belt land in some parts of the Borough will be designated for building on following the final vote on 20th April.

And yes I know that housing is required but no I am not at all sure that the kind of housing we need will actually get built even though we are chucking away for ever the highest grade of agricultural land. Will there be accessible homes for the elderly, will there be starter homes for young people to get on the housing ladder, will there be social housing for rent?

What do I fear? That the majority of new homes will be 3 and 4 bedroomed properties for the well off which will price out those who need housing.

Sad, yes you bet I am but you know what we have learned is that if there were any ‘green’ credentials locally within the Labour Party there certainly aren’t any more.