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

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!

Esterson backed loser Burnham

So Andy Burnham the chap from Aintree, who was backed by Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson was soundly beaten in the Labour Leadership election.

Would it have been nice to have a national party political leader from Sefton? On one level I suppose it would but on many other levels it was for the best that Labour members rejected Mr Burnham. Why? Because he came over as a popularist to me who would bend what he stood for to fit what people who may vote for him would want to see and hear.

I am no Labour supporter but at least they now have a leader who is a socialist and is that not what Labour are supposed to be, socialists? Certainly their literature locally has been all anti-austerity whilst nationally their leaders have been bashing those unfortunate enough to need welfare. Maybe now we will see a consistent message. One can only hope.

By the way can I make a plea for Labour Party members to take notice of MP Esterson. His Sefton Councillors seem to vote the opposite way to which he has publicly called on them to vote (Green Belt, library closures and Formby Parking charges) and now the wider Labour membership has voted the opposite way to his pleas in his party’s leadership election. Come on Labour members give Bill a break.

Stop Press:- Bill is now backing Jeremy Corbyn who won the contest!

Brooms Cross Road – My letter to the Champion newspaper

Dear Sir,

One of the hoped for benefits of the new Brooms Cross Road was that not only would it assist with the traffic jams and pollution in Green Lane/Lydiate Lane, Thornton but it would also lead to less through traffic travelling via Maghull and Lydiate along Liverpool Rd Sth, Liverpool Rd Nth and Southport Road.

The initial evidence of my eyes, as a Southport Road, Lydiate resident, is that this is happening and a Liverpool Rd Sth area resident said something similar to me a few days ago. Time will tell when things settle down and drivers get used to the new road.

But one thing has to be said though; congratulations to those Thornton residents and their Parish Council who around the year 2000 relaunched the campaign to get the road built. Without them this project would never have happened.

Tony Robertson
Lib Dem Lydiate Parish Councillor

PS. The letter had not been used by the newspaper as I published this posting but it was used in the edition dated 16th September.