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

Maghull – Sustainable Urban Drainage at Poppy Fields

Here’s my latest photo of the SUD pond between School Lane and the new houses on the presently being built Poppy Fields estate:-

We will see more of these SUD’s appearing as Maghull’s eastern urban extension starts to be built on what is presently agricultural land on the other side of School Lane, where 1,600+ houses and an industrial park are due to constructed:-

Maghull/ Lydiate – last night’s rain storms

That was some heavy rain we had last night and cycling around Maghull and Lydiate this morning I ran into the consequences of it. The first shot is of Millbank Lane, the unadopted road/public right of way that runs from the junction of Dodds Ln/Kenyons Ln/Park Ln to the boundary with Aughton. The surface has been breaking up in the latter 3rd of it for some time now (my previous posting refers – linked below) but today it was impassable for cyclists and pedestrians. I had to turn back and find an alternative route into Aughton.

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/08/20/maghull-millbank-lane-is-unadopted-says-sefton-council/

The second shot is of Pygons Hill Lane near to Jackson’s Bridge. Not too clear in this shot but it was running like a stream down the hill towards the canal bridge.

I noticed yesterday afternoon before the really heavy rain how high the River Alt was, where Bridges Ln crosses it between Maghull and Sefton Village. Reminds us all of how vulnerable to flooding we are when major rain storms hit low lying Sefton.

Maghull – Flooding – When the Environment Agency turned down volunteers

Quite a number of years ago, I suppose it must have been around the turn of the last Century, Maghull Town Council (then Lib Dem run) held a number of meetings with the Environment Agency about flooding. This was when the Lib Dems were warning about ‘climate change’ at a time when the Environment Agency line was that once in a hundred years events should be treated as such.

Of course this was well before the terrible flooding of Maghull’s Fouracres in 2012 and the events of Boxing day 2015 but it was clear back then that Maghull would be facing serious flooding issues in the future.

I raise this again now following a chat with my old chum and former Maghull councillor Cliff Mainey because it was Cliff who reminded me what had happened back then.

You see what had slipped my mind was that during those discussions it had been suggested by councillors that volunteers should be trained up who would know where to go to clear blockages in water courses in the event of very heavy rain.

Cliff, a retired Fireman, tells me that the Environment Agency rejected this idea. Now roll on to Boxing Day 2015.

Hall Lane, Maghull with a Merseyside Fire & Rescue worker trying to clear debris from Whinney Brook on Boxing Day 2015.

Hall Lane, Maghull with a Merseyside Fire & Rescue worker trying to clear debris from Whinney Brook on Boxing Day 2015.

At one specific spot the debris brought down Whinney Brook in the raging water blocked the grid/grill at the start of the culvert that takes this stream under Liverpool Road South at the Meadows shops. I photoed the consequences of this blockage and published those shots on Boxing day and reproduce them today. However, what I did not know was that the emergency services did not seemingly have this grid/grill within their emergency plan for flooding in Maghull so did not check it for a blockage until the water had back-flowed under Northway to flood the section of Hall Lane from the A59 to Old Hall Road.

Hall Lane, Maghull between the A59 and Old hall Road

Hall Lane, Maghull between the A59 and Old Hall Road.

This explains why the fireman that I saw clearing the debris from the grill/grid told me that he had seen the water level fall by 3ft after he had cleared it.

It was for this very sort of flooding scenario that Lib Dem Maghull Town Councillors had suggested that it appoint and train volunteers with local knowledge to help combat flooding problems all those years ago and as, I say, the Environment Agency poured cold water on the idea!

It strikes me that if they had been appointed and trained the grid/grill on Whinney Brook would have been kept clear and the water may well not have back-flowed up Whinney Brook.

I wonder how the Environment Agency feel about the matter now?

Addendum posted later on 24th January 2016 – How odd, I have just seen last week’s edition of the Aintree & Maghull Champion where there’s an article very much along these lines in terms of Maghull Town Council trying to get something similar up and running! I wrote this posting about 10 days ago and had no idea that MTC had been working up a new initiative some 16 or more years since Cliff Mainey had been thwarted the first time around. What an odd coincidence.

Flooding and its causes – Lessons for Maghull & Lydiate and Sefton Borough generally?

July 2010 Seaforth Floods

July 2010 Seaforth Floods

www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-35199963

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

The Maghull area flooding pressure points

The Maghull area flooding pressure points

Sefton Borough – So building thousands of new houses on land that can cause flooding is such a great idea? I think not

Another aspect of the recent flooding which I covered in my Radio Merseyside interview yesterday is the barmy quest of Sefton Council, via its Local Plan, to build thousands of new 3 and 4 bedroom houses on land which will potentially cause more flooding for local communities like Maghull & Lydiate.

The pedestrian bridge over Dovers Brook, Sefton Lane Maghull, became a river itself on Boxing Day 2015..

The pedestrian bridge over Dovers Brook, Sefton Lane Maghull, became a river itself on Boxing Day 2015..

Not only is all the earmarked land high grade agricultural on which we grow our food (and of course its Green Belt) but it will also in my view have a further negative effect on drainage issues around Maghull, Lydiate, Formby and elsewhere in the low lying Borough of Sefton.

Lambshear Lane, Lydiate - Boxing Day 2015

Lambshear Lane, Lydiate – Boxing Day 2015

I wonder what notice of such concerns the Planning Inspector, who is presently reviewing Sefton’s draft Local Plan, will take of such concerns. Was the inspector out and about in flooded Maghull & Lydiate on Boxing Day taking the inability of the local watercourses to cope into account? Will Sefton Council sober up and realise their mad plan to concrete over vast swathes of land could well make future flooding events even worse?