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.
Yesterday I posted about the last gasp attempt to get Arriva Buses to think again about ceasing the 311 bus route which runs from Liverpool through Aintree, Maghull & Lydiate and on to Ormskirk and Skelmersdale.
I have also been contacted by another local resident, one who knows a great deal about the local bus industry. He raised one pertinent question and made a suggestion which I have followed up.
His question was why have Arriva, who withdrew buses from the east of Maghull not that long ago, now increased the bus services in that area? When they removed services there they said there was not enough business yet that same area is getting a better service now. Curious indeed, I wonder if Arriva will explain this apparent partial U turn, which will of course be welcomed by folk on the eastern side of Maghull.
His suggestion was that I approach Stagecoach Merseyside to see if they would be willing to look at running the 311 route. Well it may be a long shot but why not have a go said I. An en e-mail was duly sent to Stagecoach yesterday and I await their response.
On the wider issue to the Bus Deregulation Act, which was a Tory move in the early 1980’s, I have never thought it served a useful purpose and did not lead to the competition the Tories said it would. Indeed, a brief few years of competition was quickly replaced with all the big bus companies taking over the smaller ones so to remove their competition. Here in Sefton Borough Arriva rule the roost with a few Stagecoach operated routes but competition, well I can’t see much or any of it myself.
Also bus companies don’t seem to have been brought into the modern world as they do not advertise their routes much, if at all, via the internet and newspapers. Neither do they seem to innovate much either. You still hear tales of bus users with £10 notes being treated poorly on buses when you would have thought any money would be welcomed.
Stop Press: Sadly, Stagecoach have responded today to say they are unable take over the 311 route.
My press release to the Champion newspaper – sent 23rd August
I have been working with Lydiate resident Pat Breckell of Southport Road, Lydiate who has collected a 340 signature petition against Arriva Buses plan to withdraw the 311 bus at the end of August.
Pat says “A lot of older people have to attend Ormskirk Hospital and they like to go to Ormskirk Market. My husband attends the hospital regularly and if the bus is withdrawn he will have to get the 231 circular bus to Maghull Station and then a train to Ormskirk as well as the Wigan bus out of Ormskirk to the hospital.
But if the bus has to go why not try to keep it running on Ormskirk’s Market days (Thursdays and Saturdays)?
My petition had over 300 signatures on it but I could have collected more had I had more time. I am well into my 70’s and used this bus to do my courting as my husband comes from Ormskirk.
Lydiate seems to be the poor relation as we have lost 2 Post Offices, butchers, green grocers and hardware store. We have no doctors or a bank in Lydiate. Yes such facilities are in Maghull but they are not in Lydiate and if you have walking difficulties, like myself, we have to get a bus to access them.”
Added Cllr. Tony Robertson “I have been happy to assist Pat and I ensured that her petition was sent off to Arriva. She is right to point out what Lydiate has lost over the years be it bus services or other facilities. I campaigned long and hard to try to stop Lydiate’s Post Offices being lost.
I hope Arriva will take note of this eleventh hour plea from Lydiate and Maghull residents and reconsider its decision to axe this long-standing bus route to our nearest market town.”
Cllr. Tony Robertson
Lydiate Parrish Councillor
PS. Sadly the Champion newspaper decided not to use this in their 26th August edition although they did print a letter that Pat Breckell had written to them previously. However it did make the 2nd September edition.
Rumours of Arriva withdrawing from Southport have been taken up by Lib Dem Councillor John Dodd and a firm response to the speculation has come back from the bus company:-
I can tell you quite clearly that Arriva have no intention of withdrawing from Southport now or in the future. We have a successfully business in Southport and therefore it would be ludicrous to pull out. If anything we wish to strengthen our services in Southport and surrounding areas. To this end next Friday, 3rd October at ECO Centre at 11:30 am, we are launching 9 brand new state of the art Double Deckers which come with Free Wi-Fi and E-Leather seats. This is an investment of £2 million pounds in new vehicles for our Southport to Wigan service.
Furthermore the following week , we will announce a fare reduction for all our local services. We will be undertaking a local Marketing campaign to advertise this.
I hope the above shows Arrivas’ commitment to Southport and our customers.