Carla Lane Animals in Need, Melling – Issue of fundraising stall at Maghull Square

I was not able to attend the meeting of Maghull Town Council yesterday evening but as this highly popular local animal charity was proposing to lobby the Council at the meeting I put together the briefing note below for the rest of the Council.

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Dear Council members and Animals Need representatives,

As I will not be at the Maghull TC meeting tomorrow evening when the charity is attending to ask for the Town Council’s support in their fight to continue to hold their fund raising stall somewhere in Maghull’s shopping centre I have put this short note together because I have been trying to help the charity in their hour of need.

When I became aware that the owners (Maghull Group) of the northern side of Maghull’s shopping centre had in effect given the charity notice to quit I lobbied the company to see if I could get them to reconsider. They made it clear that their mind was made up and they would not be allowing the charity to pitch their stall on Maghull Group land in future.

I then spoke a number of times to Margaret Brady of the charity, Jerry McConkey (a Highways Officer at Sefton Council), Alex Scott (a Neighbourhoods Officer at Sefton Council) and passed on the contact details to Margaret Brady of the owners of the southern side of the shopping centre (London and Cambridge Properties).

My hope was that either Sefton would allow the charity to pitch their stall on Sefton Council owned land or that London and Cambridge Properties would.

Sefton were not unsympathetic but then it became clear that any application to pitch a stall on public land on the northern side of the shopping centre (i.e. northern side of Westway) would be objected to by Mason Owen the agents for the Maghull Group. On that basis Sefton via Jerry told me and the charity that if they applied for permission it would in all likelihood be refused due to the anticipated objections from Mason Owen.

After a lot of discussions it became clear to me that the only way forward would be for the charity to make the formal application and then try to appeal against the expected refusal. I think any appeal would need to go via the appropriate Sefton Cabinet member i.e. Cllr. John Fairclough and I have sent a note to John recently telling him to expect the charity to make contact with him. I have not heard back from him as yet.

The last I heard London and Cambridge Properties had not responded to the charity in terms of whether they would allow it to pitch a stall on their land but if there has been any movement here I am sure the charity will update the Council.

I think we all know how well supported this animal charity is and how devastated their supporters are by the recent turn of events. My hope is that the Council will back the charity and try to put pressure on the Maghull Group, Sefton Council and London and Cambridge Properties in an attempt to try to find them a suitable fund raising pitch for their stall.

Best wishes
Cllr. Tony Robertson – 28th May 2013

Animals in Need Melling – A little bird tells me…………….

Still no further forward I am sorry to say with regard to the charity’s fund raising stall in Maghull Square but I hear that a shop had volunteered the space outside its premises on a Saturday for the charity to pitch its fund raising stall. However, I am also told that the managing agents, presumably acting on behalf of the property owners, put a stop to the offer.

Assuming all this is correct, and I stand to be corrected if it is not, it would indicate to me that the shop keepers who are sympathetic to the cause of the charity are finding themselves in a position where they can’t volunteer the space outside their shop to assist the charity.

There must have been more letters in the Aintree and Maghull Champion newspaper about this than any other subject of recent memory. The animal charity has a great many supporters. And this reminds me of Bill Bryson’s excellent book – Notes from a Small Island, which details his trip around the UK from the perspective of an American by birth.

Bill finds himself outside the Ludlow and District Cats Protection League, which intrigued him. Whatever, he wondered, did the people of Ludlow do to their cats that required the setting up of a special protective agency? And he goes on to write that, there is almost nothing, apart perhaps from a touching faith in the reliability of weather forecasts and the universal fondness for jokes involving the word ‘bottom’, that makes me feel more like an outsider in Britain than the nation’s attitude to animals. Did you know that the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was formed sixty years after the founding of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and as an offshoot of it? Did you know that in 1994 Britain voted for a European Union directive requiring statutory rest periods for transported animals, but against statutory rest periods for factory workers?

The British love of animals is very clear, if very odd, to Bill but he sums us up well.

Animals in Need, Melling – Their fight to regain a pitch for their fund-raising stall in Maghull Shopping Centre goes on.

Since the owners of the northern half of Maghull’s shopping Centre gave the charity notice to quit their regular pitch a few weeks ago the charity have gamely been fighting to find another site for their stall.

And they are well thought of too as 5 letters in the last three week’s editions of the Aintree & Maghull Champion, backing the charity, show.

I have been into bat for the charity discussing options with Sefton Council officers and liaising with the charity but so far a sustainable solution has not been found.

The Westway battle ground where the Animals in Need charity want to pitch their regular fund raising stalls.

The Westway battle ground where the Animals in Need charity want to pitch their regular fund raising stalls.

There are still two options on the table but one, using a small area of land owned by Sefton Council, seems to be an uphill struggle as I am told that as soon as the charity makes a bid for the site the managing agents of the northern side of the Shipping Centre are likely to register objections on behalf of their shopkeeper tenants. The other option, gaining permission from the other major land owner, remains a possibility but nothing has been heard from that land owner.

You could have put money on local residents rising up to support the charity when they were told to hop it but even I have been taken aback by how many people have mentioned this issue to me.

It looks like this battle is going to rumble on with those who are holding the charity at arms length gaining nothing good from their stance. Come on, taking on a British animal charity was always going to create a storm.

Animals in Need, Melling – An update

The struggle of this animal charity to keep a pitch for their fund-raising stall in Maghull’s shopping centre seems to be drawing support from far and wide.

I have had e-mails from residents asking me to do all I can to help the charity and of course I will do that.

I await a detailed response from Sefton Council which seems have refused to issue a street trader license to the charity for a pitch on public land. The charity had always pitched their stall on land which presently is in the ownership of a the company (Maghull Group) that owns the shopping centre buildings on the northern side of Westway but it has been asked to move on by the owner.

The obvious alternative site would be on a part of the land in the shopping centre that is under the ownership/control of Sefton Borough Council but I am told that the Council has refused to allow this and I need to get to the bottom of why the Council has refused. I am told that the Council’s initial view was that it would agree to the charity using public land but that it then changed its mind.

As a further alternative I have put the charity in touch with the other major land owner in the shopping centre (London and Cambridge Properties) to see if they can offer a site for the fund-raising stalls that have become such a feature of Maghull over the last 15+ years.

More news when I get it.

Animals in need – An animal charity based in Melling

I was surprised when I heard that the charity was being asked to move on; they have been a fixture at Maghull Square shopping centre with their pavement stall on a Saturday for well over a dozen years now.

I know the charity is well thought of locally for its work with animals and I worry that their fund raising efforts will take quite a hit. I have tried to intervene with the private owners of the Square but clearly they are not for changing their mind.

Flea market type stalls used to be a part of many town centres but they are slowly disappearing from English towns these days. I suppose it is the power of the corporate companies who demand that our town centres all look the same; it is all rather sad.