Maghull – It must now be 20 years+ of blooms in the shopping centre

The long view of 2016 winter planting down Westway looking from the Leighton Ave junction towards the A59 Northway.

The other day I got to thinking about how long floral displays have been going on in and around The Square/Westway. Well it must be around 20 years or more.

It all started with a former Maghull Town & Sefton Borough Councillor by the name of Roy Connell. Forgive me if my memory is not fully correct but here goes.

Summer 2009 there were both hanging baskets & barrier planters

Roy realised that in some other parts of the Borough Sefton Council put up hanging baskets (outside the Strand in Bootle was one such place) and he asked for them to be erected in Maghull along Westway too. His request was eventually agreed to but Maghull Town Council wanted to join in too. What came out of this was a partnership between Sefton and Maghull Councils, brokered by former Town Clerk Barry Smith, whereby Sefton would pay for so many hanging baskets and Maghull Town Council would both pay for the extra ones they wanted (along part of Liverpool Road North & up Stafford Moreton Way) and they would do the watering of all of the baskets using their in-house parks/grounds maintenance team.

This carried on for a few years but then problems started to emerge with regard to the strength of the aged street light columns which had had two hanging baskets fixed to each one. We were told that some of the street lights were no longer safe to hold hanging baskets so those along Liverpool Road North and on Stafford Moreton way were removed. Subsequently, as a cost cutting move, Sefton stopped funding all hanging baskets across the Borough but for a while the Town Council kept going with the ones along Westway. But then the same issue arose with the strength of street lamps there too so after about 8 years or so they were no more. You can still see some of the brackets which the hanging baskets were suspended from as they’ve not been removed.

A circular prize winning flower planter on Maghull’s Westway.

I think it was around this time, about 12 years ago, that the Maghull in Bloom volunteers were established and I recall them attending a Maghull Town Council meeting (at the time I both lived in Maghull and was a Maghull councillor) asking for support. The Town Council agreed to fund MinB to the tune of £5,000 per year (reduced to £2000 in the past few years) and it also agreed to take on the watering of the summer planting along Westway which would from then on take the form of pavement planters and pedestrian barrier baskets as opposed to hanging baskets.

MinB volunteer’s hanging baskets at Treeview Court

Maghull in Bloom volunteers went on establish themselves as one of the Town’s most high profile voluntary groups with additional displays at Treeview Court (summer hanging baskets & year-round pavement planters), Deyes Lane shops (summer hanging baskets), Leeds Liverpool Canal (Planters at bridges & weekly canal towpath litter picking), The Fruit Meadows & flower beds/planters on KGV Park/outside Meadows Leisure Centre.

In 2019 Maghull Town Council passed the responsibility for watering the Westway summer displays onto the owners of the shopping centre London & Cambridge Properties and they completed the summer 2019 watering season. And that is pretty much the story of the blooms in Maghull shopping centre over the past 20+ years.

Lydiate – Will a volunteer ‘In Bloom’ type group take off?

Well I would like to think so as it could build on the work of Lydiate Parish Council which created the lovely garden area at Southport Road/Nedens Lane and the grassed/planted area outside St. Gregs Church on Liverpool Road. My previous blog posting about the gardens at Nedens Lane refers at:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/02/10/lydiate-a-lovely-oasis-amongst-its-urban-surroundings/

And here’s a shot of the flower beds outside St. Gregs Church:-

Of course Lydiate Parish Council also used to provide beautiful hanging baskets along Southport Road and outside the Coronation Road shops but it stopped them a couple of years ago due to the cost implications. If a way could be found to reinstate them that would be a great.

And now a bit of history. Maghull in Bloom and its award winning volunteer groups used to be called Maghull & Lydiate in Bloom but became Maghull in Bloom due to the vast majority of its volunteers coming from Maghull. That volunteer group together with Maghull Maghull Station Volunteers has been going for 10 years now.

Sheila and I whilst living in Lydiate these days have been volunteering for Maghull in Bloom for two or three years now and we maintain the Lydiate/Maghull boundary planter on Southport Road outside Astor Court flats.

Helen Jones is trying to pull together a Lydiate volunteer group and she can be reached via this e-mail address:-

lydiateinflower@outlook.com

If you want to get involved please get in touch, Sheila and I have found working with Maghull in Bloom a real treat as you get to meet locals who also care for the local environment and make new friends too.

Maghull – Tyred of hanging baskets?

This amused me:-

Tyred of hanging baskets

Seen in Maghull’s Stafford Moreton Way this week two old tyres have been placed on the brackets that once held hanging baskets – kids or drunks the perpetrators I assume?

It’s easy to forget that Maghull used to have displays of hanging baskets all around its shopping centre. Those in Liverpool Road North and Stafford Moreton Way were ‘outlawed’ a few years ago by Sefton Council because they said the lamp posts were no longer strong enough to carry the weight of them. The brackets were never removed though and someone clearly thought of a new display item to make use of them!