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:-

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.

Lydiate – Arriva’s 311 route is to be no more from 30th August

I was contacted recently by a concerned resident who told me that he had heard from an Arriva driver that the 311 bus route was changing through Maghull & Lydiate and that he was concerned to hear that the bus would probably no longer serve the vast majority of Lydiate.

He told me that he had been told that it would cease to run along Southport Road and Moss Lane in Lydiate and could I try to get to the bottom of what was going on.

Mm, now who knows more about local buses than just about anyone else in Maghull & Lydiate? My old chum Jim Sharpe who is also the local reporter for the Champion newspaper. But no, on this occasion Jim knows nothing of any 31ll bus route changes so he starts to put out feelers within Arriva.

I the mean time I find a note about the proposed change of route of the 310/311 buses on the Merseytravel web site but there are no details of the actual changes to the route just that they are going to happen from 30th August. This is what it says on the Merseytravel web site page:-

Bus number: 310/311
Run by: Arriva
Going between: Liverpool – Skelmersdale
Date service changes: 30 August 2015
What’s changing? The route and times are changed
New timetable available? No

So off I go to the Arriva web site and I take the opportunity to have a web chat with them, trouble is it gets me nowhere at all! This is that web chat:-


Please wait. An operator will be with you shortly.
Operator says:
Hello Tony Robertson. My name is **** [I have taken out the operators name] how can I help you?
Tony Robertson says:
I am looking for details of the changed route for the 311 bus which presently runs through Lydiate. I am told that the revised route misses out most of Lydiate from 30th August?
Operator says:
Where in the NOrth West are you
Tony Robertson says:
I am a Parish Councillor representing Lydiate. It is a community south of Ormskirk and north of Maghull. I have been asked about this change by concerned residents who became aware of the change via your drivers.
Operator says:
I will just check for you
Tony Robertson says:
OK thanks. The change does appear on a recent Merseytravel notification but there is no detail at all and it is the new route detail I need to be able to respond to the residents queries.
Operator says:
We’ve not been made aware of any changes to this service
Operator says:
If you contact us nearer time and we should have more info on this
Tony Robertson says:
OK, who should I speak to to get to the bottom of this as it does seem to be a reality from the Merseytravel web site of proposed bus changes. My e-mail address is could you get the appropriate person to come back to me?
Operator says:
I’m afraid that you would need to contact us nearer the time and we should have further information regarding any upcoming changes
Tony Robertson says:
OK, but that is not at all helpful to me I am sorry to say.


My next port of call is via a councillor (John Dodd) who sits on the Merseytravel Committee to see if he can help unravel this mystery for me. John also starts to put out feelers for detailed background information about the 311 bus.

Then Jim Sharpe gets back to me with news that is hardly welcome for Lydiate folk. Arriva have told him that the 311 will be no more and that the 310 will be the Ormskirk bound bus. Oh dear, my worst fears are realised and indeed those of the resident who originally contacted me, Lydiate is sadly going to lose yet another bus service.

I hear that Arriva are saying that the 311 was not picking up many passengers in Lydiate, which I find surprising as I would have thought that on a Thursday and Saturday in particular Ormskirk market would be a draw. Indeed, Ormskirk is the next larger shopping centre to Maghull/Lydiate.

A blast from the past a former Ribble Lydiate bound 321 bus in model form

A blast from the past a former Ribble Lydiate bound 321 bus in model form

Thinking back to Lydiate buses of the past the 302, 321 & 345 come to mind that have all been taken off. Some folk say its because so many of us have cars these days and I am sure that is right but some also say that we have to have cars because there are so few buses about these days.

So the dye seems to be sadly cast as the 311 service is a commercial one run for profit. The only possible alternative would be to get Merseytravel to subsidise the 311 bus but with all the cut backs in public expenditure I fear this would be a very long shot indeed.