Lydiate – Our canal towpath

I don’t cycle the towpath of Leeds Liverpool Canal through Sefton and West Lancashire often for two reasons. It’s narrow and rough to ride on and the narrowness means I need to stop frequently to let pedestrians pass. However, the other day I decided to cycle the section from Greens Lane swing bridge in Downholland through to Bells Lane swing bridge in Lydiate.

The ride was pretty much as I expected i.e. only really suitable for mountain bikes due to its rough and uneven nature. I would add that as the weather had been dry for quite some time I didn’t encounter any of the usual boggy areas that can, during winter months, make the towpath all but impassable in places north of Lydiate Hill Bridge/Billy’s Bridge.

Joining at Greens Lane the swing bridge was just closing as I got to it from the Aughton direction:_

Greens Lane swing bridge

You arrive in Lydiate on the towpath when you cross Sudell Brook (it forms the Lancashire/Merseyside & Lydiate/Downholland boundary) which flows under the canal just north of Jackson’s Bridge where Pygons Hill Ln/Hall Ln cross the canal. This is the view from atop Jackson’s Bridge looking northwards towards the Lancashire boundary. This section of the towpath is reasonable, in dry weather:-

Looking north from Jackson’s Bridge

The towpath southwards from Jackson’s Bridge, past Lollies Bridge, Pilling Lane Bridge, and through to Bells Lane swing bridge is variable but mainly poor especially if the weather has been wet.

This is where the ong-term collapse of the towpath into the canal has been diverted past – Between Billy’s Bridge and Lollies Bridge.

The repairs required to the collapsed section of towpath were, when I last asked the Canal & River Trust, due to take place during the 2021/2022 financial year i.e. any time soon but I don’t have an update on those works.

One of the problems with the same section of towpath between these two bridges is that the land abutting the towpath is higher and there’s a continual run-off of groundwater across it. This photo illustrates the problem but after weeks of virtually no rain. It’s not hard to imagine how the situation deteriorates after heavy rain or through the winter:-

Finally a nice view of Pilling Lane bridge with a narrowboat traveling towards the camera:-

The Maghull/Lydiate boundary is roughly halfway between the Bells Lane swing bridge and the Green Lane swing bridge. It is this section of towpath that is down to be resurfaced with the Canal & River Trust gaining the money to do it via the new Rose Hill Gardens housing development at the end of Maghull’s Turnbridge Road. The new houses are all in Lydiate, not Maghull. I still have no news as to whether the Canal & River Trust is prepared to use some of this money to address worse sections of the towpath through Lydiate.

Lydiate – Outdoor Leisure Park – No news yet

I keep getting asked if I know whether the planning application has gone in yet for the proposed outdoor leisure/water park that has been put forward for building on farm land at the junction of Southport Road and at the back of properties in Hall Lane Lydiate.

The last time I looked there was no sign of an application. My previous posting of 2nd March details the events at a Lydiate Parish Council meeting on the matter in late February this year.

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/03/02/lydiate-a-lot-of-folk-at-parish-council-meeting-to-hear-about-a-leisure-sporting-facility-being-proposed/

As soon as I become aware of any movement over this matter I will post again here.

Click on the photo to enlarge it

Lydiate – That outdoor sporting/leisure site proposal & its relationship to a designated Conservation Area

One thing that slipped my mind when I put together my report on the presentation to Lydiate Parish Council about this proposed development (my immediately preceding blog posting refers) off Hall Lane/Southport Road is the relationship of the site to Lydiate’s Conservation Area.

The matter was raised at the meeting but as I say this aspect slipped through the net when I was writing the posting up. Having been reminded of it now I have been onto Sefton Council’s web site (see link below) where the boundaries of the Conservation Area are defined:-

maps.sefton.gov.uk/webmaplayers/?x=336440&y=405089&resolution=1&epsg=27700&mapname=smbc&baseLayer=ColourMapping&datalayers=Sefton%20Boundary%2CConservation%20Areas%2CselectFeaturesControl_container

As you can see the site is right up against it where Hall Lane joins Southport Road by Our Ladies RC Church. On that basis this close association with the conservation area will surely be a restricting factor in how the site can be developed other than for agricultural use.

Lydiate – A lot of folk at Parish Council meeting to hear about a leisure/sporting facility being proposed

Last Tuesday’s Lydiate Parish Council meeting was a full house so to speak as over 30 residents from the Hall Lane/Southport Road area turned out to hear a presentation to the Council from a local landowner who wants to develop outdoor leisure/sporting facilities on what is presently agricultural land in Green Belt off these roads.

It had not been intended as public presentation by the land owner but as word got around of the presentation locals turned out in force from what is a sparsely populated rural part of Lydiate Civil Parish.

We were told that the land owner wanted to diversify and use the 22 acres of land for water sports activities, nature reserve, mountain bike track, zip wire etc. Access would be off Southport Road with a car park on the site. A pre-planning application had been submitted to Sefton Council in late 2017 and the owner said he had been asked to provide evidence of support and need for the facility.

Soil taken from creating the lakes would be used on site to mound up the mountain bike track around 1m. The present idea is that the site would potentially attract up to 200 visitors on a good summer day with a charge of around £5 for access to what seems to be planned to be an unfenced site. Not much winter use is envisaged and no floodlighting is planned. Over a year 15,000 to 20,000 people visiting the facility seems to be envisaged.

The facility would be run by a staff of around 6 people engaged with training, maintenance and water sports supervision.

I think it fair to say that the developer’s plans got a frosty reception from the attending residents with many questions being asked about a myriad of concerns. Having said that we were told that the developer had letters of support from some local schools, business and the scouts.

I got the impression that the developer was testing the water and looking for ideas to develop his plans from locals and that things may well change prior to any formal planning application being made to Sefton Council.

The fact that the land is firmly within Sefton’s recently revised Green Belt and that it is high grade agricultural land means to me that Planners are going to have a very critical eye on the matter. The other thing that struck me was that I don’t recall any proposals being made to take this piece of land out of Green Belt or to develop it during Sefton Council’s controversial Local Plan process which has only just ended. To me that process was the obvious time to have raised such plans.

I have the feeling that this matter is going to be hugely controversial should a formal planning application follow on from the presentation to Lydiate Parish Council. I would add that the Parish Council will respond to any formal planning application that is submitted when the full facts surrounding the matter are known.

Lydiate – Beware of Hall Lane – Mud on road

There’s a lot of mud on this lane just after the junction with Eagar Lane going towards Jackson’s Bridge. Presently and for the past few days it has been thick and sloppy mud due to rainfall but if it freezes it will become treacherous – brown rather than black ice.

Guess it’s caused by the movement of large agricultural machinery coupled with heavy rain but watch out as many of our local lanes have mud on them and either rain or freezing conditions can turn them into ice rinks.

Lydiate RC Church – Parking restrictions now in place

Double yellow lines now in place at Hall Lane/Southport Road junction to aid road safety.

The saga of the the type of parking restrictions outside Our Ladies Church in Southport Road Lydiate has been covered before on the is blog site and previous postings are available via the link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/10/16/lydiate-rc-church-parking-restriction-compromise-seems-to-win-the-day/

The agreed solution is now in place which will hopefully improve road safety (driver views along Southport Road when exiting Hall Lane) whilst not compromising the activities of the church.