Rimrose Valley – Sadly it’s under threat but here’s a lovely tribute to it

Rimrose Valley Country Park map.

Some years back Sefton Council’s then Technical Services Traffic Services Unit produced, in conjunction with The Countryside Commission, a quite beautiful set of walking booklets* which are pieces of artwork in their own right.

I blogged about another of the walks (No.7 in the series – The Maghull Trail) not so long ago – here’s a link to it:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/02/06/whats-the-connection-between-mellings-waddicar-lane-and-maghulls-woodend-avenue/

But back to the Rimrose Valley, which I cycle through regularly. The threat is of course a new road to the Port of Liverpool that Highways England says it is going to build down through the County Park despite almost total opposition across the community and political spectrum locally to the project. But this posting is not another of my rants against the ruining of this lovely countryside oasis but a celebration of this green lung in the densely populated southern part of Sefton Borough.

Here’s the cover of the walking booklet:-

And two pages which to me are a lovely tribute to Rimrose Valley Country Park:-

The Rimrose Valley Friends are a volunteer group who promote the Valley and who lead the campaigning against the new road, here’s a link to their work:-

www.rimrosevalleyfriends.org/

Click on the map and the scanned pages of the walking booklet to enlarge them for reading.

An idyllic view of Rimrose Valley Country Park

* Sadly the booklets are out of print now

Switch Island – The accident hot spot where the obvious seems to have been all but ignored?

I’m probably getting near to doing this one to death but with Highways England having just spent a few £m on ‘upgrading’ it for safety reasons I’m struggling to see how they have effectively tackled speeding.

To my mind, one of the major issues at this junction has always been the approach speed of vehicles coming off the M57. Yes, I know that unfamiliarity with the junction (by infrequent users) and the complexity of it leads to accidents as well due to drivers veering from lane to lane. And it seems to be this aspect that Highways England has tried to address with new signage (although some say it has made things worse), lane lights etc. BUT the vital speeding aspect has seemingly been ‘addressed’ by just putting up large (and largely ignored) 50mph and 40 mph signs towards the end of the M57. That they are ignored is sadly a given.

The other day I was traveling from Maghull to the Aintree Retail Park so had to cross the end of the M57. As I waited at the lights to cross the M57 traffic two cars literally flew past at goodness knows what speed and the drivers must have been banking on having green lights right through to the junction and onto Brooms Cross Road because the speed they were going meant there was no way they were going to be stopping.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the M57 needs speed cameras at the end of it just like the M62 has at the Liverpool end just before the Rocket junction. So the question Highways England is why has this obvious safety aspect been ignored?

Oh and by the way, having spent all that money how come a street lamp has not been moved out of the middle of the cycle path yet around Switch Island? Highways England were informed of the need to sort this out well before they started the project by me and indeed by Sefton Council’s Rights of Way Officer.

Over to you Highways England…………

With thanks to Keith Page for the lead to this posting

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Sefton Focus Review of 2018

It’s always interesting to look back at a year just ending – lessons can always be learned from history (even very recent history) but that’s a piece of traditional advice many of our present-day politicians really seem to struggle with.

So let’s look back at the past 12 months via 12 Sefton Focus postings – each month has a link back to my original posting. It’s my personal take on 2018:-

January – A celebration of everything Hornby:-

In the Hornby Room at Meadows Leisure Centre Maghull – Michael Portillo with Frank Hornby Trust Chairman Les French as seen on TV this year.

Well, I had to start this review with the TV programme which put Maghull firmly on the map. I refer of course to the Town being a part of one of Michael Portillo’s Great Railway Journeys celebrating the life and works of Maghull’s most famous resident – Toy maker Frank Hornby:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/01/18/maghull-hornby-as-seen-on-tv/

February – Pavement Politics:-

We Libs are known for our ‘pavement politics’ so it’s no surprise that in February I was going on about pot-holes! Sadly, as we shall see later, a pot-holed/poorly maintained road which I mentioned back in Feb’ ended up being a contributory factor to a cyclist’s death later in the year.

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/02/26/the-state-of-our-road-surfaces-on-your-bike/

March – Youth and CAB make way for Police:-

The move of Maghull’s Police Station from Westway into Maghull Town Hall, facilitated by Labour-run Maghull Town Council, made my blood boil because a successful CAB help point (still not replaced when we were told it would be) and a unique youth facility (a Youth Coffee Bar run by local young people) were both lost to make way for the boys and girls in blue.

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/03/24/maghull-cheering-on-the-new-police-station-no-remembering-what-we-lost-to-rehouse-the-police/

April – Oh for decent services on the Southport-Wigan-Manchester line:-

Departure board at Southport Station.

Railways have always been of great interest to me and I’ve been a member of OPSTA for many years now. Their campaigning to bring about a decent train service from Southport to Wigan and Manchester has been long-running and as I type it still is. This was the state of things back in April BEFORE the complete melt-down of the May timetable changes. Note – I think it fair to say that Merseytravel have now upped their game a little regarding services on this line but the reliability of it (It’s run by Northern Trains) is still very poor indeed.

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/04/18/southport-loss-of-trains-to-manchester-airport-and-piccadilly-seems-merseytravel-has-form-here/

May – Did Merseytram burn Merseytravel’s fingers?:-

This promotional Merseytram bookmark is about all that Liverpool City Region has to show for its big tram ideas.

In May I mused about the lack of significant public transportation developments across the Liverpool City Region and pondered on whether the failed Merseytram project burnt Merrsytravel’s fingers too hard.

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/05/25/merseytravel-did-merseytram-knock-the-stuffing-out-of-innovative-progressive-transport-planning-in-the-city-region/

June – Canal Breach in Melling:-

The Leeds Liverpool Canal breached in the Waddicar part of Melling during June, stopping the many pleasure boats that use the canal during the summer season. The canal was closed for quite a few weeks whilst repairs were undertaken by the canal and River Trust.

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/06/13/melling-canal-breach-this-mornings-photos/

July – How accessible is the new Maghull North Station?:-

I penned this posting a few weeks after the new station was opened. The level accessible route into the station has now been provided although there’s still no dropped kerb for cyclists off School Lane.

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/07/23/maghull-its-new-north-station-an-accessible-interchange/

August – The sad death of a local Councillor and cyclist:-

The August posting links directly back to the one I highlighted in February i.e. the fatal accident involving Melling Parish Councillor Alion Doyle who was cycling on one of the lanes in Aughton which I raised concerns about back then. A stretch of this lane, maybe a 100 yards or so, is still in terrible condition this December and I have raised this with Lancashire County Council. Such a sad loss of life. RIP Allison Doyle.

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/08/20/aughton-fatal-accident-on-bold-lane/

September – The battle against fracking:-

Being an environmental campaigner the battle against Fracking is important to me as it is to many others. This month’s chosen posting is about Lydiate Parish Council gaining information from the volunteer campaigners against fracking. And yes, Lydiate PC did subsequently agree to put £500 to one side to help the volunteer Moss Alliance with their legal costs.

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/09/27/lydiate-parish-council-gets-insight-into-fracking/

October – Building on high-grade agricultural land, which feeds us, is the politics of the madhouse:-

The vast Maghull East urban extension (presently high grade agricultural land) site as seen from Poverty Lane, Maghull

Another environmental campaign that I feel passionately about. That governments and councils (of any political colour) can allow building on the highest grades of agricultural land, which grows the food we eat, is utterly mad to me – a subject I have blogged about many, many times…..

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/10/15/we-import-50-of-our-food-now-do-opposition-politicians-get-why-i-keep-banging-on-about-saving-high-grade-agricultural-land-from-development/

November – Ormskirk to Preston Line – The worst performing in the UK?:-

Ormskirk Station – The train in the foreground is Preston bound (when it’s not being replaced by a bus). The one behind it is Liverpool bound.

As the year dragged on for the poor long-suffering passengers of Northern Rail questions began to be asked about whether the line from Ormskirk to Preston could possibly be the worst performing in the UK. The question was taken up by BBC News with particular reference to a whole week without a single train running on the line. Performance can only improve in 2019, it just could not get any worse.

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/11/23/northern-trains-could-the-ormskirk-preston-line-be-the-most-poorly-performing-in-the-uk/

December – The battle to try to save Rimrose Valley Country Park from Highways England’s plans for a new road:-

Idyllic view of Rimrose Valley Country Park

And to close 2018 a subject I have oft-blogged about, the campaign to try to stop Highway’s England building a new road to the Port of Liverpool through Rimrose Valley Country Park. There have been many angles which I have reported on but the bizarre tangle Sefton Council’s Tory Group have got themselves into takes a lot of beating.

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/12/04/rimrose-valley-country-park-are-sefton-tories-backing-highways-england-plan-for-new-road-through-it/

Switch Island – Lots of public money spent BUT will it be any safer?

Anyone who tries to negotiate the hugely complex Switch Island will have seen that the recent upgrade/safety works by Highways England have all but been completed. The big question now is will it be any safer?

I’ve commented on this matter many times before as both a driver and indeed as a cyclist as I have witnessed driver behaviour.

To sum up, the problems as I have seen them are:-

* Too higher speeds approaching the junction
* Red light running/jumping
* Confused drivers veering from lane to lane
* Impatient regular users not allowing for the confused/lost drivers

One issue that comes quickly to mind is that towards the end of the M57 the speed has recently been reduced to 50mph and then even nearer to Switch Island to 40mph. That these new speed restrictions are almost completely ignored, you will not be surprised to hear, is pretty much all of the time. Indeed, the other day I reached the 50mph section, I slowed to 50 mph and had a horn blown at me because I had slowed down a fellow driver! My point being why are there not speed cameras on the approaches to Switch Island like at the end of the M62 as you near the Rocket in Liverpool?

Oh and another thing, this time from a cyclists perspective. Why have the street lamps which foul the cycle path around one part of Switch Island not been re-sited? Highways England have known about the problem for quite some time now:-

Rimrose Valley Country Park – Are Sefton Tories backing Highways England plan for new road through it?

Rimrose Valley Country Park map.

Defending Rimrose Valley Country Park from having a new road forced through it is a matter close to the hearts of many local people in Sefton Borough. To me, it’s always been an obvious and firm no on environmental grounds.

And then Keith Page brought my attention (see link below) to this article on the Liverpool Echo website:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/tory-councillor-wants-new-road-15499566

Rimrose in the foreground and its threat in the background

Does this mean that the official policy of Sefton Tories is to back the new road or are the comments of the Formby Conservative Councillor just his own views?

But what about the reason given for wanting the new road! Really, keeping our local country park free from vehicles is a far, far higher priority. Time for Sefton Tories to clarify their stance on this new road project – Are they backing it?

Rimrose Valley Country Park – Where’s that unwelcome new road proposal up to?

Rimrose Valley Country Park map.

The things you find when Bob is deep into transportation research in this case via the Built bEnvironment Networking web site.

www.built-environment-networking.com/manchester-metro-expansion/

Tucked away in an article about Manchester’s expected 2040 strategy refresh (see link above) this quote pops up:

“Tim Gamon, regional delivery director at Highways England said the agency is currently developing scheme for Road Priority 2, which will cover its investment programme from 2020 to 2025.

Projects due to start work in March 2020 are a £135m congestion relief scheme on the A585 between Windy Harbour and Skippool, £52.8m improvements to junction 19 of the M6 and a £242m upgrade of west –east Trans-Pennine road links.

But he said that £227m plans to improve access for the Port of Liverpool via the A5036 Princess Way have hit a setback following a court challenge.

Opponents argue that Highways England had not considered tunnelling a section of the road, but Gamon said the £1.5bn cost of a tunnel would not have met the agency’s cost benefit analysis.

Idyllic view of Rimrose Valley Country Park

More news on this big local issue when I get it.

With thanks to Bob Robinson for the lead to this posting