Maghull – Where once there was farmland – Green Lane/South Meade

People who know me will realise how hard I have fought over the years to try to protect the character of the community around Maghull & Lydiate and indeed across wider Sefton Borough from what I see as inappropriate development.

Building on high grade agricultural land has long been an issue with me and it’s why I have opposed much of the land development that has recently been given the green light by Sefton Council.

The other day I drove past the building site off Green Lane/South Meade in Maghull where houses are presently being constructed. When I was a Sefton Councillor I voted against this site being developed. Sadly, I and my then fellow Maghull Councillor Andrew Blackburn were in a minority and permission was granted.

The land had until reasonably recent times been in agricultural use but that was not the only reason I was unhappy to see this particular site being concreted over. What Maghull has been losing over quite a number of years now has been the unique parkland landscape of the former Maghull Homes, now the Parkhaven Trust. This landscape once covered many, many acres over the two sites of the Maghull Homes off Deyes Lane/Damfield Lane and Sefton Lane/Green. I think it’s really sad that so little of it is left and for how much longer will what is left be there?

Yes I know that the Parkhaven Trust does all kinds of essential work (I worked for them myself in the 1980’s and early 1990’s) looking after the elderly and people with disabilities and I also realise that they have been selling off the land to develop that work, but the parkland type landscape has still been lost and two marvelous green lungs in the Maghull community are now much reduced.

Here’s how the Damfield Lane site is now looking as development takes place:-

Maybe it’s called progress but at what cost to the wider environment?

Stop Press – The recent announcement (In the Champion Newspaper) that building on site off Green Lane and adjacent to South Meade is to be extended further is a concern obviously, even though it is said to be for ‘affordable housing’. Of the many definitions of ‘affordable housing’ I wonder which it will be and how ‘affordable’ the houses will be?

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Maghull – It’s history on-line

A pictorial representation of the ‘M’ Maghull logo by Keith Page of Lydiate.

www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/lancs/vol3/pp215-221

British History on Line has details of Maghull’s
past which all Maghullians will want to know about – see link above.

The various changes to its name and how it was pronounced are fascinating. Just look at this quote from the web site:-

‘Magele, Dom. Bk.; Maghul, Maghyl, Maghale, Maghal, Mauhale, 1292; Maghhal, 1303; Mauwell, 1351; Maghull, Maghell, 1353. These last two forms and Maghale most general. In the xv cent. the name was contracted to Maile or Male, which shows the local pronunciation. Sometimes the article was prefixed, ‘The Maile.’

The logo above is in its basic form as designed by Andrew Blackburn in the 1990’s and adopted as the Town’s logo by the Town Council. The blue is for the Leeds Liverpool Canal, the grey for the Red Lion stone canal bridge and yellow represents the Mayweed flower, once common in the area.

Lydiate – A new youth club? Well let’s hope so and that it’s a success

I was pleased to read, via the Maghull Community Facebook Page, recently that some folks are getting together to try to launch a new youth club at Lydiate Village Centre on Lambshear Lane.

Here’ a scan of the publicity leaflet which I picked up at the Village Centre last Thursday:-

But apart from doing my bit to give this excellent youth initiative a plug, there’s a bit of local history in all this too. You see the site where Lydiate Village Centre sits was once the site of Lydiate Voluntary Youth Club.

The old youth club was based in a large wooden building which if memory serves was donated by the Ford Factory. It was set up by parents who probably had similar aspirations for their local youngsters back in the 1960’s. My old mate Phil Davidson was one those involved in LVYC. Here’s a photo of the old building with former Parish Councillors Pat Foster and Tony Fenton outside it:-

Former Lydiate Parish Councilors Tony Fenton and Pat Foster outside the old Lydiate Voluntary Youth Club

Sadly the building was burnt to the ground, but that unfortunate incident also kindled a desire amongst Lydiate Parish Councillors of the day to erect a more substantial building for the use of all ages and sections of society. From that idea Lydiate Village Centre rose from the ashes some 15 years later with a big National Lottery grant to help the project on the way. Former Lydiate councillors Dave Russell, Andrew Blackburn together with the then Parish Clerk Brian Beaven were the driving force behind the Village Centre.

So what goes around comes around and let’s hope that the new youth club initiative will be a great success.

Jane Day – Leaving Maghull after 50+ years

Jane Day will be known to many people as a former friendly helpful local councillor, as Mayor of Maghull (2002/2003), as a leading light of Maghull Folk Club and as a member of Lord Street Parade choir.

Jane has been a friend of mine for 20 years or more and when she recently announced that she was moving down to Ware in Hertfordshire to be near her daughter I thought something had to be done to mark her many years involvement in the local community. And it transpired that another friend, Andrew Blackburn, was having similar thoughts.

After a bit of thought we decided to put together a book filled with photos of Jane and her life and times in the Maghull area. Between us and with the help of Roy and Beth Connell we got together a selection of photographs and Andrew set to putting together the book via the web site of a company that specialise in such one off hardback books.

The result of Andrew’s hard work (front cover displayed below) was presented to Jane at her Mayhall Court flat a few of days ago and to say that she was shocked, surprised and delighted would be putting it mildly.

Here’s hoping for many happy times in Ware with your daughter and grandchildren Jane. We will miss you.

Maghull – Youth facilities – I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry

Readers of this blog site will know how I and others supported the ambitions of local youth when they created Maghull’s unique Youth Coffee Bar within Maghull Town Hall some 20+ years ago. You will also know how distressed I am about Maghull Town Council closing down the facility in 2016.

Inside the Youth Coffee Bar after a refurb' a few years ago

Inside the Youth Coffee Bar after a refurb’ a few years ago

But having read in the Aintree & Maghull Champion a quote about youth facilities in Maghull I did not know whether to laugh or cry! – ‘developing an appropriate youth offer to engage young people in productive activities is the right thing to do’. This was said, according to the Champion, by Town Council Leader Patrick McKinley.

Now what was the Youth Coffee Bar meant to do? Yes you have guessed it, just what the quote above says! So why run it down over 3 or so years and then close it? Why not have taken it to the next stage, whilst engaging further with local youngsters and getting them to take the lead yet again?

It was the idea of local youngsters in the first place, the Town Council of the day just helped them develop it, fund it and put in place the management processes to ensure it worked. Setting up Maghull & District Youth Council was a part of this process.

It was not something imposed on youngsters by adults, it was their plan which adults aided them, only as required, to fulfill.

Now the facility is mothballed (although Maghull CAB still use it I guess as they always have done) and it may even become a Police Station if that’s the part of Maghull Town Hall the Merseyside Police are moving into.

Sorry Patrick, I hear your words but I despair, I really do.

The Champion newspaper printed an edited version of a letter which I had sent to them about this matter in its edition dated 18th January.

Jim Byrne RIP

Jim with former local councillor Sylvia Mainey at the site of the former Lydiate Voluntary Youth Club prior to Lydiate Village Centre being built.

Jim with former local councillor Sylvia Mainey at the site of the former Lydiate Voluntary Youth Club prior to Lydiate Village Centre being built.

A am sad to have to report that former Maghull councillor Jim Byrne died on 31st December.

Jim had been a local councillor on Maghull Town Council, Sefton Borough Council and Lydiate Parish Council over many, many years. Indeed, he was first elected to Maghull Town Council in the early 1960 if memory serves.

Jim and I sharing a moment together.

Jim and I sharing a moment together.

Jim was fun to be around as he would often have some amusing remark to make about any situation. I recall his legendary old Ford Cortina car. Well put it this way it was old, probably one of the first off the production line, but he kept it going for years. Andrew Blackburn, Robbie Fenton and I thought he had bricks in it for suspension as the ride across The Moss to Southport for Sefton Council meetings was like a fairground ride!

Jim at the then derelict site of the former Albany Cinema, where Lidl is now of course.

Jim at the then derelict site of the former Albany Cinema, where Lidl is now of course.

I understand he had been a county level table tennis player in his younger days. Later in life he would really enjoy the quizzes that used to be held at Maghull Town Hall each Wednesday night where he could often be found deep in conversation with Charles (Uncle Albert) Walker about their time doing National Service. Yes, neither of them were actually taking a great deal of notice of the actual quiz, that was left to Andrew Beattie, Andrew Blackburn, myself and whomever else had turned out for our ‘Nutters’ quiz team.

Jim was a Maghull Town Council member when Maghull Town Hall was planned for and built and if you ever pop in there look out for the photo of the opening of the building in the foyer as Jim is on it.

He was also a member of Lydiate Parish Council when the successful campaign was launched to build what is now Lydiate Village Centre on Lambshear Lane, on the site of the former Lydiate Voluntary Youth Club. And he was a member of both Maghull Town and Sefton Borough Councils as we fought to get Meadows Leisure Centre & Library built by Sefton Council.

One part of the work of local councils that Jim loved was dealing with planning applications and he rose to become the Chairman of Sefton Council’s Planning Committee. I think he enjoyed that more than anything.

There can be few people indeed who have been involved in the work of local councils in this area from the 1960’s to early 2000’s who will not have known Jim. I think it is fair to say that I have never come across anyone who did not like Jim.

He often said that he was no politician and in many ways never a truer word has been spoken as Jim just liked doing things for the community. From my perspective it is nice to celebrate the life of a really nice chap who did his bit for his community.

Jim leaves behind a loving family whom he would constantly chatter about when in company. He clearly thought a lot of them and them of him.