Maghull – Alan Charnock RIP

Having read in this week’s edition of the Aintree & Maghull Champion that Alan Charnock had passed away my thoughts went back to 2012 when I nominated him for Maghull’s Civic Award. Here’s the nomination detail:-

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Nomination of Mr Alan R Charnock for Maghull’s Civic Award

Alan has been involved in helping to run Maghull & Lydiate Homewatch for many years and has been its Chairman/Leader/Coordinator for a long time. He cares about our community and always tries his best to help and support it.

If the Council chooses to honour Alan with its Civic Award it will also be saying a big thank you to the many volunteers who have worked alongside Alan over many years to try to make our community safer and raise awareness of the things that householders can do to make their homes more secure. Presently there are 4,618 households that are members of Homewatch across Maghull & Lydiate; a significant proportion of our local community.

Homewatch is a vital part in making Maghull a pleasant community where people want to come alive and we can be rightly proud of the work of our local group.

Under Alan’s Chairmanship Maghull & Lydiate Homewatch has thrived and unlike many other similar groups operating under Homewatch/Neighbourhood Watch banner they have consistently and regularly delivered Homewatch newsletters to as many local properties as they can year in year out.

Alan has often approached councillors for help and advice or sometimes funding to assist with a Homewatch project such as Smartwater protection for the homes of elderly residents.

By the time the Civic Award Committee meets to decide on this year’s award Alan will have retired as our Homewatch Chairman at his Association’s October AGM.

But Alan has been involved in other community issues as well. His long term friend John Johnson (himself a local C of E lay preacher, Scout Master and volunteer for Sefton based charity Autism Initiatives) tells me that:-

* Alan has previously fund raised for Guide Dogs for Blind in Maghull by organising raffles, sponsored walks etc. with at least 8 guide dogs being handed over. The former Everest Pub displayed photo’s of Alan’s endeavours for this charity.

* Alan successfully worked to try to resolve problems with the A59 underpass.

* Alan is a life Governor of the RNLI

I think that to present him with Maghull’s Civic Award in his retiring year from Homewatch would be a fitting tribute to someone who really does fit into the ‘Mr Maghull’ category for his hard work and dedication to our community.

Cllr. Tony Robertson
1st October 2012

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History tells us that Alan did indeed win the Civic Award that year and his name is on the honours board in the Council Chamber of Maghull Town Hall.

I also recall Alan, as does Keith Page, from his Friday evening visits with a group of friends to the Derby Arms Pub where we often had a laugh and a joke with him about many things. And talking of pubs Alan would regularly have a meal at the Stanley Arms and I know how the staff there looked after him especially in his latter years when he was far from well.

RIP Alan, ‘a quiet guy who just got on with what he had to do and was respected in the community’ to quote his friend John Johnson who gave me background information in 2012 that I included in the Civic Award nomination.

Lydiate – Wrong person identified over pavement parking

I covered a story that first saw the light of day in the Liverpool Echo recently about the problems that parking vehicles on pavements causes for those with disabilities etc. The matter was also covered in the Aintree & Maghull Champion. Here’s a link my blog on the matter:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/09/01/lydiate-maghull-pavement-parking-and-people-with-disabilities-dont-mix/

Since all this publicity and the fact that the person who originally raised the issue was said to live in Lydiate folks have seemingly jumped to the wrong conclusion i.e. they have assumed it was raised by former Lydiate Parish Councillor Tony Fenton who’s a well know local wheelchair user – IT WAS NOT. And before anyone asks who then?, I have absolutely no idea.

Time for NHS to step up & provide state of the art facilities for Maghull & District

My media release to the Champion newspaper following yet another NHS letdown statement in the Aintree & Maghull edition of the paper dated 11th October 2017

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The former Lib Dem Leader of Sefton Council Tony Robertson, who now sits on Lydiate Parish Council, has stepped into the debate about a Health and Wellbeing Centre that is being proposed for the Town.

Tony says he is angry that after numerous failed attempts to upgrade local NHS facilities little if anything has changed at all. He sights the fact that when Meadows Leisure Centre was being planned it was designed to incorporate a GP practice which would have had on-site health, fitness and wellbeing facilities provided by the Leisure Centre. Sadly the NHS walked away from that opportunity and Maghull Library moved into the space the NHS could have had.

“But it does not end’ there says Tony “When Lydiate Village Centre was being planned the NHS was invited to become a partner with Lydiate Parish Council to deliver health services from the Centre. Again the NHS decided not to take up the opportunity.”

“And to put the tin lid on it the Champion has recently been asked to run an article saying that the Health and Wellbeing facility that looked like it may be coming to the Town is now only a vague possibility. This is deja vu for me because when I was given the green light a few years back from a senior Sefton Council Officer to the effect that the NHS were going to rebuild Maghull Health Centre and provide a Walk-In facility within the new building the NHS said ‘oh no we are not’ and they walked away. The Champion was asked to print a retraction back then!”

“Only recently I backed Independent Cllr. Matt Gannon in his attempt to get an NHS Walk-In facility back on track for Maghull. Matt was right to try to get this long promised but never delivered facility back in the mind of the NHS service commissioners.”

“I said at the time Sefton Council backed the opening of the Litherland Town Hall NHS Walk-In facility many years ago that I would support it on the basis that a similar facility was also subsequently provided for Sefton’s East Parishes (Maghull, Melling, Lydiate, Aintree Village & Sefton and Lunt Villages) – we are still waiting 10 years or more on!”

“Too many promises have been made, too many opportunities have been missed and my view is that those who plan for the location of NHS facilities in Sefton, be they the former Primary Care Trusts or the present Clinical Commissioning Groups, have let this part of the Borough down badly. It’s time to put that right rather than keep telling us that the answer is always NO!”

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My statement published by the newspaper in its edition of 7th November 2017.

Can you help Bill?

I must admit to being quite shocked this week when the Aintree & Maghull Champion newspaper dropped through my letter box, indeed it was something that was not in it that really concerned me.

There was no picture involving Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson and that disturbed me so I wonder how Bill must feel.

But we can all do something about this by looking for photo opportunities for our MP, so there’s a challenge for those of us who flicked through every page this week looking for Bill.

You would think he would have an employee whose job it would be to find the photo opportunities, but if he’s not got one maybe be should recruit one soon. Just a thought:-)))

Aintree & Maghull Champion Newspaper – ‘Fury as trees felled in woods’

Nice to see the Aintree & Maghull Champion covering this environmental issue on the Maghull/Lydiate boundary.

They certainly gave the story big prominence in this week’s edition (24th August) and used some of my photos too.

Ground and tree clearance Lydiate development site 08 16

Now everyone knows what has gone on and what the Maghull & Lydiate Action Group and I have been doing about it.

Let’s hope the Forestry Commission’s Woodland Group publish the result of their investigations soon.

Melling – When is a shock not a shock at all? – Closure of Kennet Prison

Recent Liverpool Echo and Aintree & Maghull Champion newspaper stories refer:-

If you lived in Melling or Maghull when this prison was originally foisted on the community you may recall that that undertakings were given back then (2006/2007) that it would only be a temporary prison and that the land had only been leased for 10 years. This information is no state secret and was readily available back then and it’s less than 10 years ago that it all happened.

Yes the government of the day has since changed twice since 2007 first to the Coalition and more recently to a Tory one but as far as I can see all the present Tory Government has done is to carry out the undertaking made by Labour when they opened the prison, nothing more, nothing less.

So where is the shock? Surely the shock would have been if the Tories had decided to extend the lease or even make the prison permanent, would it not?

As for our MP who seems to want to scrutinise the present Government’s decision to close the prison, what is there to scrutinise? We are told it is overcrowded and unsuitable for a prison due to its layout etc. Yes, the unsuitability of the buildings seems to me to be correct. As for the overcrowding, it either has too many prisoners in it or it does not. If there are too many then that is clearly unacceptable.

So what does the MP want to scrutinise? Does he think it is suitable to be a permanent prison or at least to be kept open for a longer period? Does he think that the overcrowding needs to be investigated? Does he feel that the undertaking of the last Labour Government was wrong and that the present Tory Government should not have stuck to those undertakings? It would help if he was clearer as to what shocked him about the recent announcement and what he feels needs to be scrutinised because at present there has been no shock and things have proceeded as they were seemingly meant to.

Is this story just a reflection of the 24/7 news environment we seem to live in these days where even ordinary run of the mill stories are ‘bigged up’ and put before us by the media on the basis that we can’t recall what happened last week so will be shocked by information that is no shock at all?

My letter to the Champion newspaper which followed up the Liverpool Echo and Champion ‘shock’ stories is below:-

Dear Sir,

The closure of Melling’s Kennet Prison is far from the massive shock that local Labour MP Bill Esterson seems to believe.

It is of course a huge concern for the prison employees and as a trade unionist I share their worries but let’s not forget that Kennet was only ever intended to be a temporary Prison. Indeed, it was the last Labour Government that told us it would be temporary when they opened it nearly 10 years ago via a short-term lease from Merseycare NHS Trust. Mr Esterson may not recall this however as he was a councillor in Medway, Kent back then.

As for Mr Esterson’s over the top claim that the closure ‘undermines the safety and security of our country’ this really does stretch the imagination too far.

But underneath the MP’s political hyperbole Kennet has indeed had a positive effect on its local community because it has for example assisted with Maghull in Bloom’s work. So as it is wound down lets remember it for its positive contribution.

The reality is though that what has happened is the present Government has carried out the pledge of the last Labour Government i.e. that the prison would be only temporary – where is the shock in that Mr. Esterson? Don’t you want the Tory Government to honour the Labour Government commitment? Do you feel that the Labour pledge was wrong?

Yours sincerely

Cllr. Tony Robertson

Lydiate Parish Councillor