Maghull – An old chestnut – Gardens fronting Royal Mail Sorting Office

This is me at the Liverpool Road North site back in January 2013 when I was a Maghull Councillor

Well this one has done the rounds many times before and I’m talking about the general state of these once regularly maintained gardens which in recent years have been a right old mess. In case you’re not aware of the site it’s in Liverpool Road North close to the Red Lion canal bridge.

I’ve blogged about them before as the Maghull in Bloom volunteers had a go at tidying them up a few years back working with the former Kennet Prison. I say former as the prison (it was on the same site as Ashworth Hospital in Maghul) closed down a few years ago. Having said that it was only ever intended to be a temporary prison. With the demise of the Category D Prison and its available prisoner workforce the project came to naught sadly.

Prior to that I recall that Royal Mail were saying the land was adopted by Sefton Council for them to maintain but that turned out not to be the case.

So why raise it now? Well a local resident raised the matter with me as they are frustrated by the state the gardens are in. To try to make some progress I contacted Royal Mail asking them what their intensions are with regard to maintenace of the site which is prominent within Maghull’s shopping area. I’m informed by the way, by a reliable source, that Royal Mail indicated pre-COVID that they did have plans for the site of these gardens.

The response I received from the Royal Mail said that the matter had been reported ‘to the manager of the delivery office and have recorded your complaint under reference 201228-004476. The manager will take appropriate steps to arrange any required maintenance work for the Collection Point.’

We shall see…….

Maghull – It took over 3 years but someone has finally cut back the overgrown shrubs blocking the Westway pavement.

westway-hedging-cut-back-at-last-11-16

I could not quite believe what I was seeing recently when I realised that the overgrown shrubs that had significantly narrowed the pavement in Westway adjacent to The Dell & L’pool Rd Nth Traffic lights had actually been cut back!

I commented on this back in September 2013, see link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2013/09/20/westway-maghull-dangerous-narrow-pavement/

I wonder who did it, an NHS or Sefton Council contractor?

Note:- The reference to Maghull in Bloom offering to take over the management of The Dell came to nothing sadly. It was meant to be a project where Kennet Prison would be involved too but first it was recategorised from an open prison (Cat C) to a closed one (Cat B) and then of course the prison closure was confirmed.

HMP Kennet – Melling’s prison is closing and the only surprise is that it is 7 months early!

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/hmp-kennet-prison-to-close-12232990

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

This has been a odd story for a while now in that the closure of the prison is still often talked about as being a ‘shock announcement’. It really is not as it was always meant to be a temporary prison from when it first opened. In fact the only ‘surprise’ is that it is closing 7 months before the originally stated closing date.

My last relevant posting on this subject, from the 8th of June, is below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/06/08/melling-when-is-a-shock-not-a-shock-at-all-closure-of-kennet-prison/

It is also in Melling Civil Parish not Maghull but that fact does not seem to settle with folks either.

Melling – When is a shock not a shock at all? – Closure of Kennet Prison

Recent Liverpool Echo and Aintree & Maghull Champion newspaper stories refer:-

If you lived in Melling or Maghull when this prison was originally foisted on the community you may recall that that undertakings were given back then (2006/2007) that it would only be a temporary prison and that the land had only been leased for 10 years. This information is no state secret and was readily available back then and it’s less than 10 years ago that it all happened.

Yes the government of the day has since changed twice since 2007 first to the Coalition and more recently to a Tory one but as far as I can see all the present Tory Government has done is to carry out the undertaking made by Labour when they opened the prison, nothing more, nothing less.

So where is the shock? Surely the shock would have been if the Tories had decided to extend the lease or even make the prison permanent, would it not?

As for our MP who seems to want to scrutinise the present Government’s decision to close the prison, what is there to scrutinise? We are told it is overcrowded and unsuitable for a prison due to its layout etc. Yes, the unsuitability of the buildings seems to me to be correct. As for the overcrowding, it either has too many prisoners in it or it does not. If there are too many then that is clearly unacceptable.

So what does the MP want to scrutinise? Does he think it is suitable to be a permanent prison or at least to be kept open for a longer period? Does he think that the overcrowding needs to be investigated? Does he feel that the undertaking of the last Labour Government was wrong and that the present Tory Government should not have stuck to those undertakings? It would help if he was clearer as to what shocked him about the recent announcement and what he feels needs to be scrutinised because at present there has been no shock and things have proceeded as they were seemingly meant to.

Is this story just a reflection of the 24/7 news environment we seem to live in these days where even ordinary run of the mill stories are ‘bigged up’ and put before us by the media on the basis that we can’t recall what happened last week so will be shocked by information that is no shock at all?

My letter to the Champion newspaper which followed up the Liverpool Echo and Champion ‘shock’ stories is below:-

Dear Sir,

The closure of Melling’s Kennet Prison is far from the massive shock that local Labour MP Bill Esterson seems to believe.

It is of course a huge concern for the prison employees and as a trade unionist I share their worries but let’s not forget that Kennet was only ever intended to be a temporary Prison. Indeed, it was the last Labour Government that told us it would be temporary when they opened it nearly 10 years ago via a short-term lease from Merseycare NHS Trust. Mr Esterson may not recall this however as he was a councillor in Medway, Kent back then.

As for Mr Esterson’s over the top claim that the closure ‘undermines the safety and security of our country’ this really does stretch the imagination too far.

But underneath the MP’s political hyperbole Kennet has indeed had a positive effect on its local community because it has for example assisted with Maghull in Bloom’s work. So as it is wound down lets remember it for its positive contribution.

The reality is though that what has happened is the present Government has carried out the pledge of the last Labour Government i.e. that the prison would be only temporary – where is the shock in that Mr. Esterson? Don’t you want the Tory Government to honour the Labour Government commitment? Do you feel that the Labour pledge was wrong?

Yours sincerely

Cllr. Tony Robertson

Lydiate Parish Councillor

What Labour & land owners/developers have planned for Sefton’s East Parishes – Green Belt building on a massive scale – Posting 3 Eastern Maghull & Melling

Postings 1 covered north east Lydiate where Labour is promoting 2 sites and a developer 1 site for building on high grade agricultural land and Green Belt. Posting 2 covered western Maghull & Lydiate where land owners/developers are promoting a huge Green Belt site for building.

This posting covers the eastern part of Maghull where Labour’s vast urban extension to Maghull cuts into Melling Civil Parish as well.

First lets orientate ourselves. Here’s a map of the area in question. Click on it to enlarge:-

The large red area is where Labour want to build houses and industrial premises. The orange area is the Ashworth South site. The large blue area wraps around Ashworth Hospital and Kennet Prison. The small detached blue area is behind the Liverpool bound platform of Maghull Station

The large red area is where Labour want to build houses and industrial premises. The orange area is the Ashworth South site. The large blue area wraps around Ashworth Hospital and Kennet Prison. The small detached blue area is behind the Liverpool bound platform of Maghull Station. The red line is the boundary between Maghull and Melling Civil Parishes. The thick grey line is the M58 Motorway with the thin black line being the Liverpool – Ormskirk railway Line.

The large red area is the very same site that Maghull Lib Dems led a successful campaign to protect from development in 1998 when they ran Maghull Town Council. This time Labour, who now run the Town Council, just rolled over and, by default, agreed to it being developed seemingly on the orders of the all-powerful Bootle Labour Party. Labour then voted for this site to be developed in the draft Local Plan for Sefton.

The orange site is the one Labour are in a right old muddle over. Local environmental campaigners are backing the building of houses and a new Maghull North Railway Station on it but Labour are seemingly opposed to the housing. Why, no one seems to know. The site has been developed before (Moss Side Hospital was on it) so building on it now is a reasonable compromise to most folk. What’s more if the houses are not built the missing money to fund the new station will not be in the pot! Come on Labour you are promoting a huge building site on farm land just across School Lane surely you don’t want to scupper the new station because you can’t make your minds up about the Ashworth South site?

The large blue are is effectively split in two and the smaller part is similar to the Ashworth South site as it has been developed previously. The larger blue area is mainly agricultural land of high quality so of course it should remain in that use. A careful look at the map shows the words Ashworth Hospital (East). This is in fact out of date because that site is now Kennet Prison and not a part of Ashworth Hospital.

The white area which is effectively surrounded by the red, orange and blue areas is the Beechway estate in Melling.

The completely detached blue area next to Maghull Station is where the Maghull Group want to build a small number of properties.

The obvious question is what on earth do Labour think they are doing voting to build on the massive red site. Why would you ever build on high grade agricultural land that will be needed to feed future generations?

My next posting on this subject will cover Melling and Aintree Village.

Royal Mail Sorting Office Gardens – Maghull

My previous posting refers at:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2013/08/05/royal-mail-sorting-office-maghull-2/

Sadly things have slipped back at this Liverpool Road North site as the regular maintenance that was suppose to take place has not happened.

My understanding and indeed that of the Maghull in Bloom volunteers was that Kennet Prison had obtained a license from the Royal Mail to do the original work and to conduct regular maintenance with the work to be undertaken by Kennet Prison’s rehabilitating offenders.

I am trying to get to the bottom of this matter and will report back when I know more.