1968: The last steam passenger service runs on British railways, hauled by the locomotive ‘Oliver Cromwell’.
My photo of a steam engine at the East Lancs Railway
I was reminded of this by the BBC website and being a railway enthusiast it obviously got my attention. I was 10 in 1968 and having been brought up in a Nottinghamshire mining community, where railways were at the end of most streets, I found the end of the wonderful steam engines impossible to understand. Even today the smell of a steam engine brings back memories; it is a unique but wonderful smell.
Obviously, experience has helped me understand why the steam engine had to go as a form of traction for British Railways but thankfully the many volunteer railways that have sprung up across the UK have kept the steam engine alive for children of all ages.
Here is the latest move forward by the Frank Hornby Trust, the Maghull based charitable trust formed to celebrate the life and works of world famous toy maker Frank Hornby who lived in Maghull for most of his adult life.
Today we started to fill the new display cabinets, in the Hornby Room at Meadows Leisure Centre, and erect story boards that depict the life of Frank Hornby and the products of his Liverpool Binns Road factory. An opening event will be held soon. These are pictures that I took today as we were setting things up.
Lib Dem campaigners in the East Parishes part of Sefton have submitted 430 signature petition, which local residents helped us to gather, to Sefton Council calling on the Council not to allow any building on Grade 1 and 2 agricultural land. Our campaigners wish to thank everyone who helped to gather the signatures.
Readers will know that I have been posting for months about the need to protect such land from development. Virtually all of the Green Belt land around Melling, Aintree Village, Lydiate, Sefton and Lunt Villages and Maghull is both Green Belt and Grade 1 or 2 agricultural land!
THis photo shows Lib Dem campaigner Sylvia Mainey checking out the 100's of responses to our special Green Belt Focus leaflet issued in Park, Sudell and Molyneux Wards
I can honestly say that I have never been lobbied or contacted about any matter as I have about the threat to Green Belt and agricultural land. Yes, Council cut backs, caused by Labour beggaring up the economy when in Government, brought in many issues of concern but despite those savings being massive it is this issue of protecting the Borough’s green lungs, wildlife habitats and pleasant countryside that has got people campaigning in their thousands.
Park Ward Lib Dem Cllr. Robbie Fenton with our petition
Only today I have been contacted by campaigners from Hightown and Southport who are fighting to preserve green spaces around their communities.
To end this latest of many postings on this subject a little anecdote from a resident who rang me today. In the context of why Sefton Council is pursuing this hugely controversial Core Strategy process he said to me ‘I don’t like option 2 at all and option 3 is terrible but I also know that if Labour had still been in power option 2 (480 new houses per year) was to have been imposed on us without so much as a by your leave.’ [in fact Labour’s plan was for 500 new houses to be built in Sefton per year but the numbers are so close as to be virtually the same]. Now of course in opposition Labour no longer believe in their own policy and try to ensure it is never raised!
Yesterday whilst driving down Liverpool Road South in Maghull I came across a road closed sign so had divert along Sefton Lane on my way to Aintree. Not long after I started to get phone calls from folks asking what was going on around the Meadows area of Maghull as a number of roads were closed and the Police were out in force.
The rumour mill was running fast and I was being asked was it right that there was a chap on top of the Town Hall/Meadows Leisure Centre who was threatening to jump off?
It turned out that that what had actually been going on was that a chap had broken into a shop unit in Liverpool Road South, opposite the Meadows Pub, the Police had caught him at it and he had ‘escaped’ onto the roof of the shop unit. It seems he then refused to come down and I am told he chucked slates at the Police who brought in a negotiator to try to get him down.
It certainly caused a stir in that part of Maghull for a few hours as folks gathered to watch things unfold. I am told that he came down into the arms of the law but it shows how one daft burglar can in effect ‘hold up’ a big section of the community. As one resident said to me ‘they should have just left him up there; he’s just an idiot’.
Today I had an early meeting with a Council Officer regarding matters within my Sefton Cabinet portfolio associated with community safety, then it was on to Lydiate Parish Council to help with interviews for a new caretaker at Lydiate Village Centre.
Between these two events I drove from Bootle to Lydiate via Maghull and found myself at the zebra crossing outside Maghull’s former Library on Liverpool Road North. This is a busy road and one where it seems that some drivers don’t seem at all keen to stop to let pedestrians use the zebra crossing. Today I stopped at the crossing whilst travelling northwards and 3 car drivers travelling southwards just could not be bothered to; they drove straight across whilst a lady was starting to cross! I have seen this type of bad driver behaviour at this crossing before and it is worrying. Clearly it could just be an accident waiting to happen.
Good advice for the pedestrian especially in Liverpool Road North Maghull!
I am taking my concerns up with Sefton’s Traffic Engineers as I feel that this crossing could do with being made into a Pelican or Puffin Crossing with traffic light control.
Whilst Merseytravel really have been feeling the heat recently about their councillors allowances having no independent scrutiny and expense accounts on the public purse one important matter has been swept under the carpet. It is quite a straight forward one but you will understand why Conservative politicians (yes I did say Conservative) would rather it not be raised.
The bottom line is that for a number of years recently Labour did not have a majority on Merseytravel but they did have a small Conservative Group who gave them a majority and kept them in power!
So when we hear Conservatives going on about wasted public money etc. etc. they really do have only themselves to blame.
On an ironic note we are also told that the Labour Chairman of Merseytravel will be attending the Conservative Party Conference this year to lobby on behalf of Merseytravel. Well how about not going and using the money to help Merseyside’s hard pressed travelling public instead.