Lydiate – The racetrack called Southport Road

Cllr. Edie Pope outside her Southport Road farm shop. The notorious accident black spot is in the background.

This week’s Champion newspaper is highlighting the dangerous nature of Lydiate’s Southport Road and they are to be congratulated on an excellent article by reporter Danielle Thompson.

The vast majority of Southport Road has a 30mph limit – that’s not a target but a maximum! Frankly, the reality is that the road is little more than a racetrack from the Maghull boundary with few vehicles keeping to the maximum speed. The part of it which is 40mph runs from Lydiate Abbey to the Merseyside boundary just past St Thomas’ Church where the road becomes Mairscough Lane. It is this latter section where Cllr. Edie Pope has her farm and shop and where she fought to get the speed limit reduced to 40mph a few years back due to the number and regularity of serious accidents. Despite Edie’s efforts, this 40 mph section is also a racetrack and not so long ago Lydiate Parish Council called upon Merseyside Police to take enforcement action to try to curb excessive speeding.

Here’s Danielle’s excellent article:-

Nice to see a really good piece of local journalism – the late Jim Sharpe would have been proud of Danielle.

Rimrose Valley Country Park – Bikers against road plan

Readers of this blog site will know that I have been posting for a long time now against the plan of Highways England to build a new access road to the Port of Liverpool right through this lovely Country Park. I was delighted therefore to read in the Champion newspaper (3rd April) that a Cycle Safari organised by Merseyside Environmental Trust/Merseyside Cycling Campaign stopped in this South Sefton Park to register their objections to the road building plan.

Nice to see fellow cyclists getting involved in trying to stop the Highways Agency bulldozers.

An idyllic view of Rimrose Valley Country Park

That 133 bus issue – Some clarity but questions remain

I understand that Merseytravel has told the Champion newspaper that it isn’t the case that they are reducing the service based on the publicly available tender document/service specification that is doing the rounds on this and at least one other website where a Maghull resident first spotted it.

They say that the cut-back timetable [in the service specification that I hold] was one of the options considered when the tender was put out, but it wasn’t the one taken up and that there will actually be no change to the present timetable.

They have however confirmed that a new operator (Hatton’s) will be taking on the route as of April.

So we now know that the service spec’ found by the local resident and passed to me was genuine and that it was one of the options being considered. What any additional options were, other than stay as is, of course, if there were more than two we do not know.

That Merseytravel was seriously considering a reduction in the 133 is a given as they had gone well down the planning route to the point of having a draft timetable to implement. But why consider reducing this route other than for the rather obvious reason of not enough money to spread around the publicly subsidised bus routes across Merseyside?

Was some extra funding found for the route at the last minute? Was Merseytravel aware of a negative backlash if they took the reduction plan further? Did the tenders to run the route come in lower than the price they had been expecting thereby creating the scope to keep things as they are?

I guess we are unlikely to get to know the back story to this matter but however, we got to the point of no service reduction in the 133 bus route it looks like it was a close shave but a very welcome one at that.

Oh, and by the way, the service spec’ that has not now had the timetable reduction within it implemented says that the start of the new contract is on 28th April 2019 and that it ends on 1st September 2019. Is that still the case and if it is will there be another challenge for the 133 bus route later this year?

So where does Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson stand over Brexit?

My letter to the Champion newspaper following it publishing a photo taken by the MP in the ‘No’ lobby of fellow MP’s voting against Teresa May’s appalling Brexit Deal:-

*****

Dear Sir,

I notice that MP Bill Esterson photoed fellow MP’s in the ‘No’ lobby during the defeat of PM May’s Brexit Deal.

So whilst we know that Mr. Esterson does not like May’s Deal what Brexit solution does he like? I ask because to date I have contacted his office 5 times in recent weeks asking him to let me know where he stands over Brexit. Sadly, I have received no response at all.

Is it too much to ask your MP for their view on a matter and to expect a reply?

Yours sincerely

Tony Robertson

Stop Press – I think I am now up to 9 contacts – 6 by e-mail, 3 by Twitter. Could be wrong though, I’m losing count.

The letter was published in the Champion Newspaper on 13th February

Mr. Grumpy goes to see George Benson’s green check shirt at the Phil’

Having forked out £60 for a ticket to see George Benson at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall last night I must say it was a mixed experience for a number of reasons.

Of course Benson was a great performer as I had expected him to be although oddly his must have been the first concert I have ever been to where no encore took place. It just seemed to end quite abruptly.

And what about the Phil’ itself? Well for some odd reason (I would love to know why) they kept turning very bright lights on the audience. It happened on a number of occasions and I mean very bright lights especially when, as you’d expect, the audience was mostly in darkness during the performance. One chap I spoke to said he was glad he had brought his sunglasses! Very off putting indeed being almost blinded randomly. Please stop it Philharmonic Hall assuming it’s a regular thing you do at concerts.

It was not possible to order drinks for the interval before the concert started so you can imagine how mad the bar area was at half time; not worth the hassle to get a drink, but why set things up like that I wonder? The answer became clear, the bar never closed so it was another reason for the audience to be in perpetual motion.

Then there was the audience made up, I would guess, mainly of people like me well over the age of 50 – there were clearly quite a number much older than me too. But did a large number of them think they were at a Weak Bladder Convention? It was like an audience in perpetual motion with people in and out of the auditorium by the second. Having paid top Dollar for a ticket you’d have thought they would cross their legs to try to get some value for their money:-)

And what about George Benson’s green check shirt? Well for around a third of the concert he may as well have been wearing one as that was all I could see because a mature gent in front of me had decided to stand up thereby blocking my view completely.

A lady just along from him was photoing the concert on her phone, which was supposedly against the Phil’s rules. She got some ‘advice’ from a steward but seemed to take little notice and it was apparent that the signs saying don’t take photos or film the concert, or words to that effect, were seemingly not meant to be taken seriously as folks all over the audience were snapping and videoing to their heart’s content. Trouble is people doing this tend to light up the area around them with their phone screens, which you could do without.

Was the concert worth £60, on balance no not really, there were too many distractions which took the edge off seeing a world famous jazz singer and guitarist.

Stop Press:- Thanks to the Champion newspaper for printing my letter on this subject in their edition of 16th October 2019

Maghull – Stafford Moreton Youth Centre demolished

My previous posting about the the demolition of this and the old Maghull Library refers – see link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/06/09/maghull-old-library-and-youth-centre-are-demolished/

Maghull's former Stafford Moreton Youth  Centre boarded up.

Maghull’s former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre boarded up.

The Youth Centre was a 1960’s building named after a prominent local councillor called Henry Stafford Moreton, indeed the adjacent Stafford Moreton Way is also named after him of course.

I did not know him as my time in local politics (starting in 1980) coincided roughly with him retiring from it. I do know his nephew Chris Bayliss though and Chris’s Uncle Frank Bayliss was also a local councillor during my early years on the council.

Many Maghull folk will have memories of attending the Youth Centre although I am not one of them. For some reason, despite the fact I came to live in Maghull in 1968 at the age of 10, I never set foot in the place as a youngster although I don’t know why.

I became aware of it though in my years as a Maghull councillor with various of my councillor friends being members of the Management Committee. Phil Watterson and Andrew Blackburn, Merrick Stott, and Cliff Mainey come to mind but I am sure there were others.

The Youth Centre bobbed along although the opening of the Youth Coffee Bar in Maghull Town Hall some 20 years ago, which became very popular, must have had an effect on the numbers of youngsters attending it. I also recall that Stafford Moreton YC had a local group for youngsters with disabilities meeting there each week for many years.

Then the recession hit us and Stafford Moreton was slated for closure, this must have been late 2010 or early 2011. Indeed, you may recall that Labour led a march around the Maghull to try to stop the closure from happening, which is quite ironic based on what actually happened later on.

My view was that the Youth Coffee Bar, a specifically developed (by young people) modern youth facility in Maghull Town Hall, could have been used more often and Stafford Moreton’s groups moved there but the powers that be seemed more concerned with just closing things down.

Youth facilities across Sefton Borough continued to decline with the Youth Coffee Bar being a beacon of hope in Maghull because the Town Council funded it rather than Sefton Borough Council.

Of course Labour then took control of Sefton Council and what did they subsequently do? They closed down Stafford Moreton Youth Club which they had marched young people around the streets of Maghull to stop the closure of!

And it has stood there rather forlornly for a number of years awaiting someone to buy the land. Readers who are close to local issues will recall that at the very time Labour-run Sefton Council was meeting to sell the Youth Centre and Old Library land to the highest bidder (which turned out to be Netto) Maghull’s Labour Party commenced a sham consultation exercise about the future of the site in community use via the Champion newspaper! Yes, you could not make it up but it happened. Of course the consultation was was never heard of again as it was just a Labour publicity stunt.

Stafford Moreton Youth Centre gone - June 2016

Stafford Moreton Youth Centre gone – June 2016

So here it is being demolished for a supermarket to take its place. What’s even more sad is that Labour has recently also shut the doors on the Youth Coffee Bar in Maghull Town Hall for the last time. Now which political party marched youngsters around Maghull to fight for local youth facilities? Oh yes, that’s right, the one that closed them all down!