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

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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!”

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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.

Maghull North Station – My letter to the Champion Newspaper

Site for the new Maghull North Railway Station.  Photo taken looking north from School Lane road bridge. The former Moss Side Hospital site is to the right and Mersey Avenue to the left.

Site for the new Maghull North Railway Station. Photo taken looking north from School Lane road bridge. The former Moss Side Hospital site is to the right and Mersey Avenue to the left.

Dear Sir,

I read your article where Bill Esterson MP told us all about the new Maghull North Railway Station that is soon to be built on the Liverpool – Ormskirk line.

Trouble is what he told us is in the public domain already.

Would I be being too cynical to suggest that our MP is simply trying to attach his name to the project so that when it gets built he can be seen as a champion of the project?

Yours sincerely

Tony Robertson

The letter had not been published at the time I posted this blog piece.

Maghull & Sefton Borough – The Champion’s Jim Sharpe is on the mend

Jim Sharpe will be known to many for his quirky ‘One Man and his Dog’ columns in the Champion series of newspapers across Sefton and West Lancashire.

I am not aware of many pictures of Jim as he is always stood beside the press photographer (usually Martyn Snape) but here he is in 2014 caught on camera press notebook in hand with Cllr. Edie Pope.

I am not aware of many pictures of Jim as he is always stood beside the press photographer (usually Martyn Snape) but here he is in 2014 caught on camera press notebook in hand with Cllr. Edie Pope.

Jim collapsed a few days ago whilst aptly walking his dogs and has been in the Intensive Care Unit at Fazakerley Hospital ever since. I visited him tonight and can confirm he is doing OK after giving all of us a real fright. Oh and before you ask his dogs are being well looked after.

Jim (on the right) notebook in hand as always talking to Don Billington and Doreen Prescott of Maghull in Bloom - December 2013

Jim (on the right) notebook in hand, as always, talking to Don Billington and Doreen Prescott of Maghull in Bloom – December 2013

I enjoy our long chats putting the world to rights and hope we will be having many more when Jim is fully recovered.

Peel Ports new container terminal at Seaforth – Champion article ignores the transportation scandal

Buried away on page 18 of last week’s Champion newspaper was an article all about a visit by a little known government Shipping Minister (Robert Goodwill) to Seaforth Docks and the Port of Liverpool.

Red and blue cranes at Seaforth Docks

The article was in connection with his visit and how the expansion of the docks is we are told attracting new businesses to the area. All well and good except for the fact that this project has seemingly been put together without much in the way of credible transport planning, by responsible public authorities, to get the extra projected traffic that the expanded docks may generate to and from Seaforth.

I am not really pointing a finger a Peel here because if the transport infrastructure challenge is not successfully resolved they will be one of the victims of what to me has been an appalling planning processes.

I have commented on this many times before and yet the transport issues are only now being addressed (Highways England have just started public consultations) whilst the Champion tells us the port’s enhanced facilities are opening later this year. Just think how long it will take to put the controversial transport infrastructure solutions in place!

So yes dear Minister tell us what a great thing the expanded port may well be but what’s the point of saying all this when the planning for the the movement of freight to the from the port has in no way been progressed at anything like the pace it should have been to match the building work at the container terminal. I fear the press has just been used to shower us with the good news in the hope we will not worry too much about those transportation issues.

And they are utterly immense! A new road down the Rimrose Valley and Country Park, widening of the A5036, but probably very little extra freight by train as transport planners can’t really be bothered about that method.

The fact is that Seaforth Docks are hemmed in by residential housing to the east and north so whatever road transportation solutions are eventually proposed they are bound to have negative effects on residents living in Netherton, Seaforth, Litherland etc.

The fact that this has all been left to the very end of the project and effectively to chance is of no credit what so ever to Sefton Council, Highways England and Network Rail.

This may be a good news story but it has got a huge amount of grief attached to it that the powers that be have all but ignored. If this is an example of integrated planning for a project of regional significance I’m a Dutchman as they say.

Cliff Mainey

Cliff Mainey

I recently chatted about this with my old friend and former Sefton Councillor/Borough Mayor Cliff Mainey and another posting will follow. Cliff tried to burrow into the impacts of the port expansion and to put it bluntly he was blocked at every turn. Read on when I publish Cliff’s take on all this……

Maghull – So Labour closed the Youth Coffee Bar because tennis lessons are a better alternative facility? Now just run that logic past me again!

Readers of this blog site will know how angry I am about the closure of Maghull’s unique Youth Coffee at Maghull Town Hall, but I was certainly not prepared for the reasons Labour have given for the closure.

Maghull TH Youth Coffee Bar

To be honest I thought they would try to blame it on cuts to Council grants from Government etc. even though as a Parish Council Maghull Town Council does not get any such grants. Certainly that’s a line Labour have used before i.e. playing on the fact that Joe and Jane Public will not know what’s really going on. But hey, no such defence this time and they went for the utterly ludicrous ‘explanation’ instead!

When I read the Aintree & Maghull Champion last week my first thought was how did reporter Jim Sharpe keep his face straight when Labour told him they were replacing an all year round indoor youth facility with tennis coaching lessons? OK, this is not funny, but it is certainly very peculiar!

But what’s this about the numbers dropping at the Coffee Bar? Well they would because Labour has had a habit of randomly closing it in recent years. And then there’s some talk about anti-social behaviour but hang on a minute that is exactly what the facility was attempting to combat. The adults who used to help out at the Coffee Bar were all capable of helping youngsters who were troublesome due to poor family backgrounds etc. And yes there had been successes, I am told, in helping local youngsters with their problems. But this sort of thing needs dedication and working at. Where on earth are the youngsters needing such help in Maghull going to go now?

Sorry, in my view, this is abandoning young people who need help and offering tennis coaching and a Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme as an alternative. That’s not the way forward for a progressive community that looks after it youngsters, it’s tuning your back on them.

Having sat on Maghull Town Council for 30 years until I stood down in May 2015 (because I had moved to Lydiate) I must say that I never thought I would see a day like this. After all the years of dedicated input into local youth by people such as Nickie Smith, Nova Rimmer and many others who would have thought that this unique and successful project would be tossed on the scrapheap.