Whilst at face value the announcement of Aurora Energy Resources that they are withdrawing their application (too Lancashire County Council) to be allowed to commence fracking in Great Altcar is excellent news, my feeling is that it would be premature to put out the bunting and celebrate victory.
The link below to drillordrop is very informative:-
My understanding (please correct me if I’m wrong) is that Aurora have also indicated they may well be take legal action against the government’s fracking ban. That must surely mean that if they follow through with such legal action and are successful then they could well be back. Of course government could also relax it’s present ‘ban’ on fracking which has never looked to be a permanent policy position.
So yes another battle has been won by The Moss Alliance and other environmental campaign groups but I think it would be foolish to say that the war has been won.
My thanks to The Moss Alliance for all their hard work, work which Lydiate Parish Council was willing to back with financial assistance for legal advice and challenges.
Great Altcar Civil Parish in West Lancashire remains a predominately rural community to this day. It lost its very rural passenger service along the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway in 1952, well before Beeching came along.
The trackbed is now a part of the National Cycle Network, the Trans Pennine Trail and is known as the Cheshire Line Path.
The two light and shade shots in this posting were taken just to the north of the site of the former Altcar & Hillhouse Station. Both are looking south and from the same location – the next bridge north of the B5195 Wood Lane.
If you click on the photos to enlarge them you will see more detail. The first one shows the next bridge south (Wood Lane) and the former station would have been just the other side of it where a sewerage works now stands at the side of the Cheshire Lines path.
I love the stone and brickwork in these shots, built to last you might say. The line opened in September 1884, so these bridges are over 130 years old and still looking pretty much as good as the day they were erected.
The first shot is also amongst my Flickr photos at – www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/
The photo above is of Altcar & Hillhouse Station on 6th June 1959
Altcar and Hillhouse Station was on the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway that ran from Aintree Central to Southport Lord Street Stations. Altcar is in the present Borough of West Lancashire. The station was between Lydiate and Mossbridge Stations. It opened on 1st September 1884, closed from 1st January 1917 to 1st April 1919 (due to the First World War) and finally closed altogether on 7th January 1952. A private siding on the site remained in use up until 1960 so the track from the southbound (Aintree) direct remained in place until then.
The people on site in this 1959 photo, as shown above, were part of a rail tour.
Some of the stations along this line were of a unique design and Sefton & Maghull Station (two stations south) was similar to this one.
The site of the station is still undeveloped as it is in a remote rural location. The modern day Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine Trail passes it and the road overbridge that would have been behind the photographer (W A Brown I understand) is still standing and in use.
The photo has scanned from a photo I recently purchased.
The photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-
I have not touched on this controversial subject for a while now as little has been happening. However, wheels are in motion and my understanding is that a planning application is now before West Lancashire Borough Council, although not all the required paperwork had been filed as typed this posting by Coriolis Energy (the applicants).
The land in question whilst being in West Lancs is actually sandwiched between Ince Blundell and Lydiate both of which are in Sefton Borough.
The environmental pressure group HALT continues to lead the opposition to the proposed wind farm of 12 taller than Blackpool Tower turbines. It was originally for 24 turbines in the previous proposals which were withdrawn.
My view on this proposal has always been that the land is high grade agricultural land so to compromise any of it for other uses is simply not acceptable. I am not opposed to wind turbines and certainly do not subscribe to what seems to be the Daily Mail view that they are all evil or some such nonsense. Indeed, I often go walking in the hills of Lancashire and I find the turbines on the moors to be quite majestic; but not on high grade agricultural land!
Here’s a link to HALT:-
And a reminder of the position that Lydiate Parish Council has adopted under both Lib Dem and Labour administrations:-
September’s meeting went on for over 2 hours but that seems to be par for the course these days.
We had a presentation from Protect Aughton Landscape Together who are campaigning against high grade agricultural land in their Parish being potentially taken out of crop growing use only to be replaced by solar panels. Aughton is to the north of Lydiate so the issue is of interest and concern to Lydiate residents. Here’s a link to the campaign group’s facebook page:-
Lydiate Parish Council had already sent in an objection to West Lancs Borough Council to the proposals on the similar basis as the one we sent in about the wind turbine plan for Altcar Parish to the west of Lydiate. This was a unanimous view of the Parish Council i.e. Labour rulers and us Lib Dems in opposition. And it’s not because we Lib Dems oppose renewable sources of energy, quite the opposite in fact, but it’s because of that old chestnut in this area of the high grade agricultural land. Building anything on it either in Sefton or the surrounding parts of West Lancs that have the same quality of land is just not on when only 2% of England has such high quality food/crop growing land. I do wonder though about Labour as their troops on Sefton Council have consistently voted to build on Sefton’s high grade agricultural land yet Labour oppose it happening on West Lancs land surrounding Sefton. Very odd.
We had a discussion about doing a Neighbourhood Plan for Lydiate and this forms a separate posting to follow soon.
Tennis Courts and caged play areas – We approved some significant expenditure on the tennis courts at Sandy Lane Park and the other caged ball areas at Coronation Park. We are talking quite a few thousands of Pounds but patching up the fencing around these areas is no longer cost-effective. Best to bite the bullet and do a major job. The tennis courts will probably need resurfacing in the not too distant future too but that’s a worry for another day. Lydiate has had quality parks in recent years and I hope we all want to retain such standards.
The Leeds Liverpool Canal is celebrating its 200 year old birthday (Bicentenary) next year (2016) and we agreed that as the canal is a significant feature and leisure facility in our community that we should take part. Hopefully Mersey Motor Boat Club who operate out of Lydiate will be keen to promote celebrations as well.
A blast from the past a former Ribble Lydiate bound 321 bus in model form. Obviously not the 311 but sadly it’s another lost route for Lydiate residents.
311 Bus – We also discussed the sad demise of the 311 bus route previously run by Arriva and before them Ribble Buses for many years. It ceased on 31st August, because Arriva said they could no longer make any money out of it. I asked that we write to Pat Breckell who ran the community campaign to try to save the bus. She deserves some recognition for her efforts and I am glad the Parish Council agreed.
These were the highlights for me anyway.
This follows up a number of previous postings about the long-gone railway from Aintree Central to Southport Lord Street which closed well before Mr Beeching had a hack at Britain’s railways.
This station, on the old Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway, was between Lydiate and Mossbridge Stations. It opened in 1894, closed for a couple of years during the First World War (along with a number of other stations along this line) and survived until the line was closed in 1952. Rail access was still retained until 1960 to serve private sidings on the Station site.
The photo above was taken in June 1959 when a railway enthusiasts special was run.