Maghull – Hedges has anyone at the Council noticed how desperately they need cutting?

The hedge along Northway (A59) just north of Maghull Town Hall and KGV Park has been a problem for a long time with residents often complaining that it does not get cut often enough. When I was a councillor representing Maghull (I now represent Lydiate) I often complained and pushed Council officers to have it cut, but without councillors complaining it would seemingly never be cut for reasons no one seemed to understand!.

It used to be quite a contrast because Maghull Town Council would regularly cut the section it owned (the part that borders KGV Park) whilst Sefton Borough Council was always having to be pushed to cut back its section (running from KGV Park to the Leeds Liverpool Canal bridge). Oh, and by the way this Sefton Council lack of cutting goes back well before any public sector budget cuts and well before the first photo below was taken.

This was back in July 2012 when my old friend and then Cllr. Andrew Blackburn was trying once again to get Sefton Council to cut their hedge back as it was forcing pedestrians to walk on the grass verge right next to the very busy A59

This was back in July 2012 when my old friend and then Cllr. Andrew Blackburn was trying once again to get Sefton Council to cut their hedge back as it was forcing pedestrians to walk on the grass verge right next to the very busy A59

But now Maghull Town Council seems to have ‘bettered’ (surely worsened!) Sefton in not cutting their hedges very often either. This was the scene on 14th July 2015:-

This was me just a few yards away from where the previous photo of Andrew was taken but by the section of hedge owned by Maghull Town Council.

This was me just a few yards away from where the previous photo of Andrew was taken but by the section of hedge owned by Maghull Town Council.

Then last Friday night I was out in a local pub with my mate Keith and was asked by a Maghull resident with significant sight problems why Maghull Council was not cutting its hedges on Eastway. It turns out he had walked into the overgrown hedge and got a face full of hawthorn because he could not see that it was overgrowing the pavement.

I had noticed just before I went on holiday that the Town Council’s hedges along Eastway were getting in need of a cut but that was over two weeks ago, so clearly they had not been tackled whilst I had been away. And this is the state they were in on Saturday 22nd August!

MTC's Whinney Brook Field hedge 22 08 15

Yes, folks who can see that hedges are overgrown can say walk on a grass verge (although on the A59 that is hardly a safe thing to do) to avoid them. But what about the blind, those with other disabilities etc.? I am told the chap with sight difficulties had telephoned the Town Hall but had not got much joy other than a response along the lines of the hedges will be cut in September.

And irony of ironies a check of the hedges along the A59, on the same date, showed that Maghull Town Council’s stretch was well overgrown whilst Sefton Council had actually been out to cut their stretch! This was the state of Maghull TC’s A59 hedge!:-

MTC's KGV hedge 22 08 15

I have of course made Maghull’s Town Clerk aware of the concerns expressed to me by the chap with sight difficulties.

Oh, and one other point that may be relevant. When Labour took control of Maghull Town Council they started a process whereby the grounds maintenance staff would be sent to work on some outside contracts which we were told would bring in money for the Council. The consequence of this would be a reduction in the maintenance standards across the Council’s many parks, gardens and play areas as the staff would be working elsewhere. At the time I became aware of this move I voiced concerns about not allowing the maintenance standards to drop too far and the evidence of the photo’s in this posting seems to be that they have dropped too far.

I don’t know whether the Grounds Maintenance staff are still working on outside contracts. If so then we probably know why the hedges are not being cut. If not then why are the hedges not being cut?

I think Maghull Town Council needs to reassess its priorities as their lack of hedge cutting could well be putting local residents at risk from hawthorn barbs.