MIke & Viv Penn and their recent award

There’s a lovely write up on the front page of this week’s North Liverpool Champion newspaper all about Mike and Viv Penn being nominated for and indeed winning a BBC North West Christmas Star award.

I’ve known Mike for many a year and count him as a friend so I’m delighted that he and Viv have won such a prestigious award for their efforts on behalf of those who are less fortunate. What’s more this award follows one they were given by Rotary quite recently.

I first got to know Mike when we were both governors of Green Park Primary School many years ago and it quickly became apparent to me that Mike was at heart a volunteer who just wanted to help people and his community. As a team Viv and Mike have established a great facility for people with disabilities and what a Christmas present for them to be handed a BBC North West Christmas Star.

Every community has people like Viv and Mike doing their bit to make things better but when when you know them and you have a personal insight into their work it makes you so pleased that they have been recognised for their efforts.

Well done Mike and Viv, we are all so proud of you.

Maghull – Where once there was farmland – Green Lane/South Meade

People who know me will realise how hard I have fought over the years to try to protect the character of the community around Maghull & Lydiate and indeed across wider Sefton Borough from what I see as inappropriate development.

Building on high grade agricultural land has long been an issue with me and it’s why I have opposed much of the land development that has recently been given the green light by Sefton Council.

The other day I drove past the building site off Green Lane/South Meade in Maghull where houses are presently being constructed. When I was a Sefton Councillor I voted against this site being developed. Sadly, I and my then fellow Maghull Councillor Andrew Blackburn were in a minority and permission was granted.

The land had until reasonably recent times been in agricultural use but that was not the only reason I was unhappy to see this particular site being concreted over. What Maghull has been losing over quite a number of years now has been the unique parkland landscape of the former Maghull Homes, now the Parkhaven Trust. This landscape once covered many, many acres over the two sites of the Maghull Homes off Deyes Lane/Damfield Lane and Sefton Lane/Green. I think it’s really sad that so little of it is left and for how much longer will what is left be there?

Yes I know that the Parkhaven Trust does all kinds of essential work (I worked for them myself in the 1980’s and early 1990’s) looking after the elderly and people with disabilities and I also realise that they have been selling off the land to develop that work, but the parkland type landscape has still been lost and two marvelous green lungs in the Maghull community are now much reduced.

Here’s how the Damfield Lane site is now looking as development takes place:-

Maybe it’s called progress but at what cost to the wider environment?

Stop Press – The recent announcement (In the Champion Newspaper) that building on site off Green Lane and adjacent to South Meade is to be extended further is a concern obviously, even though it is said to be for ‘affordable housing’. Of the many definitions of ‘affordable housing’ I wonder which it will be and how ‘affordable’ the houses will be?

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine trail through West Lancashire

It’s many years now since the Cheshire Lines Path was created on the trackbed of the old Cheshire Lines and Southport Extension Railway and of course it subsequently became a part of the Trans Pennine Trail.

Sadly the part of the Path/Trail through the Great Altcar part of West Lancashire has not been maintained and the surface is now rough and narrow considering that it is for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The photo above illustrates one particular part of the path where agricultural vehicles regularly cross over it – this particular site is the extension to Cabin Lane off Altcar Lane in Great Altcar. After the recent heavy rain it’s a horrible muddy mess for walkers and cyclists.

Yes I know austerity will have played into the lack of maintenance but in reality the decline in the surface well predates the financial crash. In terms of cycle riding areas of the path are now only really suitable for mountain bikes in my view. I fear that if something is not done reasonably soon this long distance path is going to be compromised such that folks will stop using it especially in the winter months.

I have made my views known to those who have responsibility for the path in the hopes of some plan to redress the decline.

Click on the photo to enlarge it

My thanks to Champion Newspapers for publishing an article based on this blog posting on 7th February

Maghull – It was the Frank Hornby Trust Open Day yesterday – What a day!

Wow what a day. On the back of the BBC plugging our small Frank Hornby Heritage Centre within Meadows Leisure Centre via an edition of Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys (screened last Thursday) we held an open day and the world turned out to have a look at our display cases and a visiting Hornby tinplate O gauge modelrailway layout.

Here’s the model railway being set up on the previous day:-

The layout, as seen on TV with Michael Portillo wanting to take it home, was set up by a couple of good friend of the Frank Hornby Trust.

Here’s a shot of visitors (we think around 500 turned out to see the displays) enjoying the day:-

Thanks the Champion newspaper for giving our Trust such great publicity and the staff of Meadows Leisure Centre who were only too willing to assist us.

Time for NHS to step up & provide state of the art facilities for Maghull & District

My media release to the Champion newspaper following yet another NHS letdown statement in the Aintree & Maghull edition of the paper dated 11th October 2017

*****

The former Lib Dem Leader of Sefton Council Tony Robertson, who now sits on Lydiate Parish Council, has stepped into the debate about a Health and Wellbeing Centre that is being proposed for the Town.

Tony says he is angry that after numerous failed attempts to upgrade local NHS facilities little if anything has changed at all. He sights the fact that when Meadows Leisure Centre was being planned it was designed to incorporate a GP practice which would have had on-site health, fitness and wellbeing facilities provided by the Leisure Centre. Sadly the NHS walked away from that opportunity and Maghull Library moved into the space the NHS could have had.

“But it does not end’ there says Tony “When Lydiate Village Centre was being planned the NHS was invited to become a partner with Lydiate Parish Council to deliver health services from the Centre. Again the NHS decided not to take up the opportunity.”

“And to put the tin lid on it the Champion has recently been asked to run an article saying that the Health and Wellbeing facility that looked like it may be coming to the Town is now only a vague possibility. This is deja vu for me because when I was given the green light a few years back from a senior Sefton Council Officer to the effect that the NHS were going to rebuild Maghull Health Centre and provide a Walk-In facility within the new building the NHS said ‘oh no we are not’ and they walked away. The Champion was asked to print a retraction back then!”

“Only recently I backed Independent Cllr. Matt Gannon in his attempt to get an NHS Walk-In facility back on track for Maghull. Matt was right to try to get this long promised but never delivered facility back in the mind of the NHS service commissioners.”

“I said at the time Sefton Council backed the opening of the Litherland Town Hall NHS Walk-In facility many years ago that I would support it on the basis that a similar facility was also subsequently provided for Sefton’s East Parishes (Maghull, Melling, Lydiate, Aintree Village & Sefton and Lunt Villages) – we are still waiting 10 years or more on!”

“Too many promises have been made, too many opportunities have been missed and my view is that those who plan for the location of NHS facilities in Sefton, be they the former Primary Care Trusts or the present Clinical Commissioning Groups, have let this part of the Borough down badly. It’s time to put that right rather than keep telling us that the answer is always NO!”

*****

My statement published by the newspaper in its edition of 7th November 2017.

Aintree & Maghull Champion Newspaper – ‘Fury as trees felled in woods’

Nice to see the Aintree & Maghull Champion covering this environmental issue on the Maghull/Lydiate boundary.

They certainly gave the story big prominence in this week’s edition (24th August) and used some of my photos too.

Ground and tree clearance Lydiate development site 08 16

Now everyone knows what has gone on and what the Maghull & Lydiate Action Group and I have been doing about it.

Let’s hope the Forestry Commission’s Woodland Group publish the result of their investigations soon.