Another perspective on the Switch Island – Thronton Relief Road

Let’s for once ignore the party political battles over this road. Today I received a letter in the post (not an e-mail, a hand written letter!) from a person who has lived in Maghull since 1939, the letter recalls the history of this long awaited bit of highway right back to 1939! I am told that folks back then expected a road to be built northwards from the small island which is now known as Switch Island which would connect with the road to Southport. My correspondent thinks that the Second World War put a stop to it then and also goes on to say that a subsequent attempt to build the road had Thornton residents opposing it! You just can’t imagine that now can you as when I got involved in campaigning for the road in the late 199o’s it was Thornton residents leading the fight for the new road. So there you have it a bit of history and I am pleased that the resident shared it with me.

Maghull’s Art and Photography Competition

I have just been to Meadows Leisure Centre, Hornby Room to be precise, to have a look at the entries in Maghull Town Council’s competition. There is some excellent work on display (until Sunday 17th) from local artists and photographers. It just goes to show what hidden talents there are in any community. The winning photo was an entry from a mate of mine and shows otters at play. I would add that I had no hand in the judging but will try to ensure that the fame does not go to his head. Thanks to Cllr. Geoff Howe and Town Clerk Barry Smith and his small staff for their work to put this competition and exhibition together.

Lydiate Village Centre

Times are hard so some good news. Lydiate now has an excellent new community hall that is up and running. In line with my determination to promote the good works of parish councils let me say how well colleagues on Lydiate Parish Council have done. They brought in just short of £500,000 in Lottery funds, they have produced a really great building and I think that is really good news. It just shows what can be done when a community puts in the effort to change things for the better.

Spin – Labour just can’t stop it – Link Road again!

Bill Esterson MP does not know when to give up or more to the point
that he should stop digging when in a hole.

Can I once and for all state that the previous Labour Government did
not give full approval for the Switch Island Link Road. It gave initial
approval known as ‘Programme Entry’. I realise that Mr Esterson is
trying to spin this to say that it was full approval but he is wrong
and I think he knows it. Not only that but it was a senior civil
servant from the Dept. of Transport working for a Labour Government
who told Sefton’s Chief Executive that the project was being shelved on
12th February, three months before the election.

Sadly Mr Esterson is breaking down the all-party support for the Link
Road by his continual sniping. Give it a rest Bill and put the spade
away or you will have dug to the centre of the earth soon.

Railways – Let’s plan for the future

Anyone who knows me realises that I think railways are a great form of transportation and they are greener too. However, we seem to be rather lost with railways in England these days compared to Wales and Scotland who have clearly been getting it right with numerous new stations, line re-openings etc. in recent years.My focus is on northern Sefton and West Lancashire where we have the Southport – Wigan and Ormskirk – Preston lines crossing each other at Burscough but which have not been connected since Beeching days. A small (in transport terms) targeted investment could reinstate Southport – Preston trains and Ormskirk – Southport as well but the campaign which OPSTA (Ormskirk Preston & Southport Travellers Association) keeps on the boil is not moving forward despite their great efforts (I am an OPSTA member by the way). So what can we do to bring back the ‘age of the train’ locally? Clearly, a combination of Lancashire County Council, West Lancashire Borough Council, Sefton Borough Council, Merseytravel – working with OPSTA – needs to be able to fight a common and well run campaign instead of the well meaning but unsuccessful individual ones that have been the case for as long as I can remember. I hope to play my part in such a campaign and will return to this subject again…….

Has the Tory Axe fallen again on a loyal councillor?

Strong rumours seem to indicate that well liked and well respected Formby Conservative Borough Councillor Anne Ibbs (Ravenmeols Ward) has been chucked out to give a former Crosby Councillor, who stood down from Manor Ward of the Council only last May, a way back onto the Council. Anne is a very hard working councillor who commands respect across the political spectrum and maybe that is the problem as we have seen a number of Tory Councillors in Sefton made to stand in the corner because they have been willing to work with non-Tory members of the Council. Strange really as Sefton is a balanced council with no party in power and it has an all-party Cabinet where parties working with each other is the norm rather than the exception. I do hope the rumours are not true, Anne does not deserve to be treated in a shabby way.