Aughton – At last Lancs County are to resurface Bold Lane where Melling Councillor Alison Doyle was killed last August

Well, I mentioned in my review of 2018 that Bold Lane in Aughton had still not been resurfaced so imagine my surprise when I was out cycling in Aughton yesterday and my eyes fell upon this sign in Bold Lane:-

You can make out some of the poor surface in the shot below but the worst of it is further up the lane on both carriageways

Obviously, I’m glad that Lancashire County Council are finally getting around to resurfacing a lane that in recent times has been in pretty awful condition. However, I still wonder whether if the lane had been resurfaced a year ago (at least) Melling resident and Parish Councillor Alison Doyle would still be with us.

Notes:- My understanding is that a pothole in Bold Lane was a significant factor in the accident when Alison Doyle was killed whilst cycling with Sefton Velo Cycling Club.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Robins Bridge Meadows – Is it just me?

First a bit of personal history; we had our wedding reception at Aughton Chase in 1982.

If memory serves it then closed down in the late 1980s/early 1990s with the building subsequently burning down and becoming derelict. The site was in West Lancs Green Belt and it took many years for it to be released from that for development.

In the past 3 years or so houses, very big houses, have slowly been built across the site with big price tags on them. The site, I might add, is all within Aughton and therefore West Lancashire but it abuts the Lydiate/Sefton Borough boundary.

So why am I rehearsing this 30+ years of history? Well, it’s because of the impression I have gained whilst travelling past this prominent site next to the A59 Northway. Probably best if I illustrate things:-

Do you see what I mean? The high wooden fencing around the site is hardly appealing, is it?

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Aughton – Littering of Clieves Hill and the A59

The other day whilst on a cycle ride I stopped at the top of Clieves Hill to catch my breath and fell into conversation with a West Lancs Council street cleansing chap who was emptying the bins and picking up litter.

View from Clieves Hill towards the Sefton Coast.

The first thing to say is that he was doing a great job but as I had seen the extent of the littering up there previously I asked him how often the area was litter picked and the bins emptied. Expecting to hear him say something like weekly I was surprised when he said virtually every day!

He went on to tell me about the littering and the behaviour of a minority of folk who drive up Clieves Hill for the view. Sadly, he recounted that chucking food waste and packaging out of car doors was a regular thing despite there being a couple of bins to use. He also indicated that people in flashy expensive cars were often the worst behaved. But what really struck me was when he said that these anti-social people even do it when he’s there and that he has to challenge them to get out of the car to pick their rubbish up.

But if that was not enough he then went on to tell me that when he is litter picking the nearby A59 the odd driver will blow their horn to gain his attention and then a window comes down and rubbish is chucked out for him to clear up!

I can’t tell you how a felt for that poor chap doing his bit to keep our countryside tidy and litter free whilst others deliberately do just the opposite.

Cycle Routes – They are generally poor

The BBC has the article on its website – see link below

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46179270

As a cyclist, I find this article interesting and to the point. I’ve commented before along the similar lines by highlighting local cycle route inadequacies which I have encountered.

Often segregated cycle routes do not have logical ends and are in effect bits and pieces between destinations. The route from Switch Island to Ormskirk along the busy A59 is an example. From Switch Island to the Maghull boundary there’s a brand new cycle path but it stops well short of Liverpool Road South. Yes, I know that Sefton Council intends to address this but really it should have been done in tandem with Highways England doing the first stretch.

But then moving north through Maghull & Lydiate a safe cycle route has yet to be sorted out. It’s either the busy dual carriageway or pavement for cyclists.

A59 Cycle path becomes narrow pavement at Robins Island.

Then at Robins Island, a cycle path appears again, on both sides of the A59. Generally, it is in good condition but parts of it are not – patches of grass, poorly completed surface repairs & tree roots make the later stages of these cycle lanes poor. But then as you climb into Aughton the cycle route peters out altogether just like through Maghull & Lydiate. This makes the last mile or so into Ormskirk a cycling challenge.

This was the state of the Cheshire Lines Path through Great Altcar Civil Parish in the winter of 2017 – it’s not got any better.

I could illustrate other problem routes where cycling facilities in Sefton and West Lancashire are inadequate but will settle for just one. The Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine Trail. This former railway track is in very poor condition through West Lancs because since it was created there has not been the regular maintenance that is clearly required. Some of the route is now really only suitable for mountain bikes and a once wide path where cyclists could pass each other is presently very narrow in places.

There is much to do to make our cycling routes safe, logical and well maintained.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

Aughton – Empty shop unit at Town Green – Surely a coffee shop opportunity?

The shop unit above, which is next to Town Green Station, has been empty for some months now ever since the previous occupant (Spar) closed down.

I regularly cycle this part of the world and usually stop at the small parade of shops. This empty unit has made me ponder, bearing in mind we are taking of an affluent area which I have heard referred to (obviously jokingly) as Ormskirk’s stock broker belt. And the ponder? Why has it remained empty for the past 6 months or more?

My first thought when the Spar shop closed was that within a very short time it would probably become a coffee shop, maybe yet another branch of the Costa franchise. But no, so far no such move but considering the affluence in that part of West Lancs surely I’m not the only one to have had that thought am I?

A cycling weekend

This great weather has to be taken advantage of so I have been out on my bike every day recently riding through Netherton, Aintree Village, Lunt, Thornton, Sefton Village, Maghull, Lydiate, Melling, Aughton, Down Holland, Bickerstaff etc.

Saturday saw me in a cycle race. Well that’s putting it a little strongly as I found myself cycling the same road in the same direction as what looked like a professional cycling outfit. They were very polite as they whistled past me doing twice my speed at least. This happened on Prescot Road in Aughton – I think I came 117th out of 95 riders:-) Here’s a shot of them:-

Sunday saw me off through Lunt Village where I respectfully doffed my cap (cycle helmet actually) outside the house of the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury – Bootle MP and an old sparing partner of mine on Sefton Council Peter Dowd. Private Eye tells me he has been in China in recent times so he may not have been at home.

Some of the fields around Lunt Village have changed immeasurably over the past 20 years as some farmland has been replaced by woodland – Part of the Mersey Forest. Sadly though the back lanes of Lunt are used to dump all kinds of rubbish – a subject I have commented on many times before on this blog site. Just look at this recent photo:-

Oh well more good weather more cycling………..