Maghull – That pond/grotto on the former Ashworth South Site

Not so long ago I had a good look around the Poppy Fields new housing site adjacent Maghull North Station.

I was particularly looking to see what had happened to the pond/grotto that had long been within the grounds of the former Moss Side Hospital/Ashworth South Hospital. I found it and took this shot through a building contractor’s fencing:-

I recall my old former Maghull Town Councillor colleagues John Sharman and Bill Chambers talking about it, as at the time they both worked at Ashworth Hospital. I refer of course to before the Ashworth South Site closed.

I then went searching for some background information about it and came across this in a Ecological Impact Assessment of the Ashworth South Site conducted by Atkins in May 2014 as part of the planning application process for the house building*.

‘Pond 3.4.5 A large pond is located within the woodland and is approximately 400 m2 in size and considered to have poor suitability to support great crested newts (HSI score 0.47, rated poor). At the time of the survey mallards were present in the pond as well as wrapped straw bales located within the pond which are understood to be a method of controlling pond algae. A stone built grotto approximately 10 metres long is connected to the pond (TN 29). The grotto has high bat roost potential and is a known bat roost (see 3.5.2 for more details). Peacock butterfly and moth species were recorded in the grotto at the time of the survey. No evidence of bats was recorded.’

* There had been a previous planning application process as the original intended use for the site was to have been for a new prison. Indeed, the access road into the site and the traffic island on School Lane were both constructed for the new prison. However, government changed its mind and decided to stop the prison construction with the site being sold off for the housing, which is presently being built.

Click on the photo to enlarge it

Out on the campaign trail – Boy it was cold (all our) yesterday(s)

Was out on the campaigning trail and leafleting over the weekend with my old chum Roy Connell.

It was a bitter cold but well worth the effort to fly the Lib Dem flag.

Bruce, Tom, Bill, Roy & John

Roy and I go back a long, long way and we speculated about how many times we had been out on the campaign trail together and how many leaflets we had delivered. The conclusion was that it must be hundreds of thousands – far too many to count. And this got me thinking…….

In the photo above, taken by me outside Maghull Town Hall @1992, Roy is the tall one second from the right. Like me and indeed our fellow Lib Dem campaigners in the shot (Bruce Hubbard, Tom Smith, Bill Chambers and John Sharman) we were all a lot younger then! Sadly, Tom has passed away since this photo was taken. Bill now lives in Spain I understand but Bruce and John, like Roy and I, are still about and both Bruce and John are stalwarts of Maghull and Aughton Rotary.