Southport – Children’s Play Area – Council want to close it!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=pe1PCseFDGQ&feature=player_embedded

That’s Lancashire has a video about the troubles of this Ovington Drive children’s play area on youtube – see link above.

Well known environmental campaigner and Southport (Kew Ward) Lib Dem Councillor Fred Weavers.

My good friend Cllr. Fred Weavers is backing the locals who are fighting Sefton Council’s removal of play equipment and the threat of closure of the play area.

Sefton Council – So this is the Bootle Bunker

Last Thursday Cllr. Fred Weavers and I went to observe a meeting of Sefton Council’s Cabinet at Bootle Town Hall, known to some as the ‘Bootle Bunker’.

The meeting lasted all of 27 minutes by my watch but some important issues were on the table before the 7 person Cabinet (all Labour, all representing Bootle Constituency), which for the record is made up of 6 middle aged men and one young woman. I mention gender balance as I understand that Labour has previously had a pop at Aintree Village Parish Council for a perceived gender imbalance. Those who live in greenhouses should not chuck stones comes to mind……..

Sefton's Bootle Bunker

Click on the photo to enlarge it.

A Sefton Cabinet meeting is never likely to be entertaining but they are all open to the public to attend. So what happened at this one? Here are a few highlights:-

Item 4 (Public Health Annual Report 2014) – Page 15 of this document (Page 35 of the Cabinet meeting papers) annoyed me as it tried to say that the Sefton Local Plan ‘promotes accessible open green space so children and families can enjoy the outdoors’ – That is of course if you ignore the acres of green fields that are to be built upon under our Labour ruler’s plan!

Item 5 (Adult Substance Misuse Contract Extension) – Some ‘underperformance’ by the present contractor was in the Key findings but the Cabinet did not ask for details, which I thought odd.

Item 7 – (Child Sexual Exploitation) Quite a bit of discussion over this report and it is also going to the Council’s Overview & Scrutiny (Children’s Services) Committee on 31st March. A Council officer spoke at length about it and answered the Cabinet’s queries but what stood out for me was the use of Merseyside-centric speak.

It was as though it had not occurred to the Council that places like Southport and Lydiate have huge boundaries with Lancashire and that child exploitation does not recognise council boundaries. From what was said you could only conclude that there is little or no liaison with Lancashire (shades of the Local Plan)! I fear the Sefton Council Bootle bunker has its face turned only to look at things from a Merseyside perspective when, as I have said many times before, Lancashire needs to be just as important a partner for Sefton Borough.

The only mention of Lancashire was that they, as a neighbouring authority, do not need to tell Sefton if they are placing children in homes within Sefton. There is clearly a concern about the number of private children’s homes within the Borough as the young residents of them are seemingly potentially more vulnerable to child exploitation than other sections of child population. As far as I could understand Sefton has only a very small number of children who are subject to child sexual exploitation plans. Clearly this report was very much written on the back of those horrible events in Rotherham. Frankly, I thought the Cabinet dealt with this most serious of matters well but oh if they could only open their eyes to encompass all the local authorities surrounding Sefton!

There were no confidential items on the agenda so we sat through all the meeting.

Tour de France – What about it starting in Southport?

Those who take an interest in cycling will know that the most famous cycle race on the planet is this year starting in Yorkshire!

A recent holiday in York brought this home to me because there were yellow painted cycles everywhere as temporary pieces of public artwork. A fine sight they made too all across historic York. Here are a couple of shots I took and there are more on my flickr page at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

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But it got me thinking that Southport is a ‘Cycle Town’ so how about a bid being put in to start a future Tour de France in Southport? It could even be a project that Sefton Council and the Liverpool City Region could take up so to include the likes of Liverpool too – so long as it is not hijacked by Liverpool of course!

Just a thought but why not promote Southport this way. If Sefton Council does not aim high it will never get off the ground.