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………..

Corbyn – What drives his cult-like following or what makes a Corbynista?

Well yes of course I’m no supporter of Corbyn as I’m a Radical Liberal but none the less the almost cult-like following Corbyn has is something I’d really like to at least understand.

That some people think he is the saviour of the left is undoubtedly the case and that he is idolised by some is also a given, but let me throw a few things out there for debate.

Firstly, in the last local elections as I was out and about campaigning and indeed cycling through West Lancashire and Sefton one thing really struck me; it was the Labour poster boards on properties of the well to do houses in fashionably expensive places like Aughton and Ainsdale. And I’m talking about communities where you all but had to have a Conservative Party membership card to buy a house in recent times. Yes I know there are many ordinary semi’s in these leafy communities but it was the Lab’ posters on the larger more expensive properties that struck me.

Labour has always had members/supporters whom the left have called ‘Champagne Socialists’ but they were almost always Social Democrats and most of them would not have put Labour posters up on their properties for fear of upsetting neighbourly relations in predominately Conservative voting areas. Now with a Labour leadership and membership well to the left (whilst the mast majority of Labour MP’s are still Social Democrats) some of the wealthy Corbynistas are bedecking their high-end houses to flaunt their support for him.

Now here’s a link to how Labour and indeed Corbyn did is those recent local elections

www.markpack.org.uk/154799/labour-opposition-leaders-local-elections-record/

The obvious interpretation, to me anyway, is that despite a section of the left being utterly devoted to him Jez is actually not making the big impression on voters that you may expect, especially with us having a completely incompetent and fractured Tory Government at present. Of course this lack of a Corbyn bounce must surely be linked in some way to his bizarre support for the Conservative’s Brexit.

Unless you are a unthinking disciple of Brexit we all know it will lead to a more poorly funded NHS, a weaker economy, job losses and the poor being made poorer. Not end results that you would expect socialist leaders to sign up to, yet by backing Brexit that is indeed what the present Labour Leadership is doing despite it also saying not a job will be lost via Brexit. What an utterly bizarre position for any party adopt, but for a supposedly progressive party! Words fail many commentators…………..

And here’s another link, which is more about the man himself and a book written about his surprising rise to become Labour’s leader.

www.markpack.org.uk/137508/comrade-corbyn-rosa-prince/

The other thing (you could say contradiction) about Corbyn is the support he allegedly has amongst young people; the very people who probably have the most to lose (other than the poor) because of his support for Brexit. I’m guessing here that they like his reinvention of 1970’s left wing policies such as a much larger welfare state with many state provided ‘free’ things paid for by taxpayers. But don’t those same young people want to travel outside the UK into EU countries to live and work there as they please? Don’t they want a stable economy that is able to support an enlarged welfare state? You can’t back Brexit and have a flourishing economy that puts money in the Treasury’s coffers to make a ‘most things for free society’ actually work in any rational way.

Maybe re-nationalisation of the railways is a big hit with the young and indeed the wealthy? I personally have some sympathy with this policy although to hear some of the proponents of it looking back at British Rail through very rose tinted spectacles is a little bizarre as BR had as many bad things about it as it had good. That the organisation of our railways needs a big overhaul to get things right is a given but just recreating BR is probably far too simplistic an answer.

So Corbynistas what drives you? Does it feel like a cult more than a political party? If you are old enough did you feel the same way about Michael Foot? What indeed is the Jez ‘X’ factor or is it something that can only be seen from the inside of New(er) Labour?

Aughton – Gorse Hill Nature Reserve

www.facebook.com/events/227208221377516/?notif_t=event_calendar_create&notif_id=1526975458190728

An event there on 3rd June is advertised on the Reserve’s Facebook Page – see link above

I have walked some of the public footpaths through this nature reserve in the past and a pleasant area it is too.

There will be a free guided walk on 3rd June to parts of the Reserve not normally open to the public from 1 pm to 2.30 pm under the the theme ‘Contrasting Woodlands’. Access to the reserve is via Holly Lane.

The reserve is run by the Northwest Ecological Trust and their web site can be accessed via this link:-

nwecotrust.org.uk/