Waste, fly-tipping & The Cheshire Lines Path in Maghull

Right on the western edge of Maghull, there’s an industrial estate on one side of Sefton Lane and a waste disposal/recycling centre together with a garden centre and a few houses on the other. Leaving Maghull you go over a significant mound which is the remains of a railway bridge taking Sefton Lane over the former Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway, now the Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine Trail. You then pass by the industrial estate (on your left) and recycling centre & garden centre (on your right) before a small bridge takes you over Dovers Brook, which is the boundary between Maghull and Sefton Civil Parishes.

The area has two significant problems, flooding at times of heavy rain being the most obvious and well known one which I’ve blogged about many times. The other problem is less obvious unless you walk around the perimeter of the waste recycling centre which backs onto Dovers Brook and open countryside. The problem? Rubbish, waste, litter strewn around. Here’s a couple of photos I’ve taken recently:-

View of rear fence of Sefton Meadows Recycling Centre

Rubbish stewn along the eastern bank of Dovers Brook.

When you see the rubbish your first thought (or at least my first thought) is how did it get here? You see where it has been dumped is not close to Sefton Lane so it surely can’t be casual fly-tipping. Having visited the area, twice now, with other concerned local residents and an environmental officer of Sefton Council there’s a possibility that the waste is coming from within the recycling centre. Yes, I know at face value that may seem odd but one theory is that scavengers operating within the recycling centre, out of hours, may be dragging stuff out of the centre and sorting through it on the other side of the fence, taking what they find to be of value whilst leaving everything else.

The problem could do with getting to the bottom of with Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority (MWDA) and their site operator Veolia. If the waste is being brought from inside the recycling centre compound then shouldn’t MWDA/Veolia take action to collect it up on a regular basis? Again, if it is coming via the route suggested does this not mean a beefing up of security is required?

It will be interesting to see how the Sefton Council environmental officer gets on with her piece of detective work. She seemed keen to get to the bottom of the growing environmental mess around this area.

And then just yards away you can walk over to the Cheshire Line Path/Trans Penning Trail which is maintained by the Merseyside North Volunteers and you see the other and very much positive side of our local environment:-

Maghull & Lydiate – The other serious knock-on effect of flooding

I’ve commented many times previously about the regular flooding of Sefton Lane/Bridges Lane due to the backing up of Dover’s Brook when it can’t empty out into the River Alt. This was the scene in December 2015 along Bridges Lane:-

A flooded Bridges Lane between Dovers Brook and the River Alt – when it all got too much in December 2015

Of course the flooding has happened a number of times since then, most recently within the last week. This is my most recent blog posting on the matter:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/09/29/river-alt-everything-drains-into-around-these-parts/

Cliff Mainey

But my reason for raising the matter again now, just after another really bad flooding event, is that I’ve been contacted by one Cliff Mainey. Cliff’s a former Maghull councillor and indeed former Mayor of Sefton Borough but it’s his experience as a local fireman which is relevant here. You see Cliff is of the view that an emergency call for Maghull/Lydiate answered from Buckley Hill Fire & Ambulance Station may have up to 6 extra minutes added to its journey if Bridges Lane/Sefton Lane is closed as it has been for a few days. If I’ve understood Cliff correctly this extra time will be caused by the emergency vehicle having to travel from Buckley Hill via Switch Island.

The point here is that this particular flooding site is far from new; I can recall floods there going back to the late 1960’s (when I moved into Maghull) although they were nowhere near as bad as they have been in recent years. So the question is why have the powers that be not been able to resolve the matter? And when you add in the angle which Cliff is now raising………………..

Cliff Mainey’s photo of Showrick Footbridge over the River Alt & flooded fields – Taken 26 01 21.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Maghull – More on its challenging land drainage issues

My posting of a few days ago (see link below) regarding the consequences of heavy rain locally was picked up by our local Champion newspaper and in turn a resident contacted me with regard for the potential of flooding in the future associated with Whinney Brook/Dovers Brook.

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/02/24/maghull-heavy-rain-reminds-us-of-the-potential-peril-of-building-on-agricultural-land-locally/

To explain I’ve taken a few photos of where 3 brooks/streams combine yards away from the Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine Trail on the western edge of the Town:-

Cheshire Lines Path crossing Dovers Brook & looking towards Meadway/ Old Racecourse Road

Footbridge across Dovers Brook where it is joined by Whinney Brook at the far corner of the Maghull High School site.

The confluence of Whinney Brook and Dovers Brook as seen from the blue bridge in the 2nd photo. Whinney Brook crosses Maghull east to west.

Another confluence just few yards further back up Dovers Brook – the stream on the left has come down from behind Fouracres.

The photos above were taken after the recent floodwaters had subsided on 29th February. There are of course other tributary streams joining Dovers Brook and eventually about two thirds of a mile north of the 1st photo Dovers Brook spills into the River Alt.

Looking back towards Bridges Lane and Sefton Church from the confluence of Dovers Brook and the River Alt. This photo is from 2013

Having said that the problem, faced at times of heavy rain, is the long-standing one of the Alt being too high for Dovers Brook to empty into it, which in turn backs up Dovers Brook to flood. As I’ve said previously, there’s nothing new about this problem it’s just that we see it happening more often these days. The next photo shows what happens when things get really bad:-

A flooded Bridges Lane between Dovers Brook and the River Alt – when it all got too much in December 2015

The purpose of this posting has been to try to illustrate the problems on the western side of Maghull due to its low lying land and the drainage system that, other than in flood conditions, keeps in drained. The worry of the resident who contacted me most recently is that with future rainfall expected to more regular and even heavier will the Maghull area suffer bigger flooding events especially as more agricultural land is built upon (as part of Sefton Council’s Local Plan) which presently soaks up much of the rainwater.

Of course I’m no drainage engineer or climatologist but you won’t be surprised that I share such worries……..

Maghull – Heavy rain reminds us of the potential peril of building on agricultural land locally

The recent heavy rain got me thinking about the soon to be built and vast urban extension to Maghull of @1700 houses. I went to have a look at the site on Sunday 23rd February. The photos below really speak for themselves as they start with the waterlogged site as I saw it followed by where the water eventually drains to i.e. Dovers Brook and the River Alt.

Maghull East Site from Ashworth Motorway junction 23 02 20

Maghull East Site from Poverty Lane 23 02 20

Dovers Brook at Sefton Lane looking north 23 02 20

Dovers Brook at Sefton Lane 23 02 20 – the bridge is all but lost under the floodwater.

River Alt 23 02 20 looking south from Bridges Lane.

Having lived locally for over 50 years I can’t say I’m surprised by this situation as our low-lying land has always been liable to flood after heavy rain. Of course climate change is making those floods more regular and at times worse than they have been in the past.

What has not, in my opinion, been effectively resolved is how the floodwater is dealt with as flooding of Sefton Lane is far from unusual each year these days. What worries me is how the local drainage network is going to cope after a vast area of presently agricultural land (the Maghull East Site) is put under concrete, brick and tarmac. The implications will not be just on that site, if the drainage issues are not fully addressed, but potentially to the west of it to the River Alt which takes a great deal of Maghull’s surface water run-off.

That the Maghull East Site site will be developed is a given as Sefton Council’s Local Plan has already designated it for building on but, and it’s a very big but, what guarantees are going to be put in place that this building will not make a presently unresolved flooding problem even worse?

Sefton Council and the developers of the land have to get this right otherwise those of us who fought against the vast site being designated for building will be reminding the powers that be that they were warned about the consequences.

My thanks to Andrew Blackburn for the lead to this posting

River Alt – Everything drains into around these parts

Following all the heavy rain of recent days it’s sadly no surprise that the River Alt is struggling to to deal with all the water flowing into it from the land and other drainage brooks, streams and ditches. In turn this means flood alerts for parts of Maghull as the river water rises.

The first shot below was taken yesterday from the aqueduct which takes the Leeds Liverpool Canal over the Alt near to Aintree Village:-

Just back towards Melling there’s a runoff for the canal to keep it’s levels down and I could see it was in use. I’m guessing that this runoff also goes, eventually, into the River Alt.

The second shot below was also taken yesterday where the A59 (Northway) crosses the Alt in Maghull:-

Then we move on to today and the consequential flooding of Sefton Lane/Bridges Lane on the Maghull/Sefton Village boundary. Here the Alt flows under Bridges Lane and this is how it looks:-

At face value the river looks to be coping until you move a little further east along Bridge Lane to where Dovers Brook is crossed by Bridges Ln/Sefton Ln. It looks like this:-

The first shot is looking north with the adjacent houses on Sefton Lane* clearly visible. The second shot looks like the Dovers Brook has been halted by a stone wall but in fact it’s the bridge under Sefton Ln where the arch of it has been covered by the floodwaters. The houses here are being affected as is sadly often the case when Dovers Brook backs up.

My understanding is that the Alt being so high stops Dovers Brook from emptying into it, hence the backing up. Although there’s nothing new about this problem (I recall Sefton Ln flooding here when I was a lad living on the Lane in the 1960’s /1970’s) it’s all the more frustrating that after many years the problem has not been resolved. You have to feel for the residents of this isolated row of houses and elsewhere along Dovers Brook when it over-tops.

With more rain anticipated tomorrow, well I don’t need to say any more do I………

*Sefton Ln/Bridges Ln has already been closed during the present foul weather although it was passable this afternoon. However, this is what it looked like in December 2015 when the section of road between Dovers Brook and the River Alt was a river in itself:-

A flooded Bridges Lane between Dovers Brook and the River Alt – when it all got too much in December 2015

Flooding – Why do new houses keep getting built in flood risk areas

www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/25/mps-to-debate-planning-bill-to-protect-homes-from-surface-flooding

The Guardian has the story – see link above

This is a very important issue yet for reason that do not bear close examination more and more new homes seem to be getting built in flood risk areas.

The Maghull area flooding pressure points

The Maghull area flooding pressure points

Only yesterday in conversation I heard of a Maghull family refused flood risk insurance due to the location of their property. This particular property seems to be caught up in the concerns about the River Alt and Dovers Brook over-topping problems at times of very heavy rain.

With thanks to my research assistant Roy Connell