Why I am backing Carl Cashman to be Merseyside Metro Mayor

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Yesterday I attended a hustings meeting at Dovedale Baptist Church Hall in Liverpool to hear prospective Lib Dem Mersey Metro Mayor candidate Carl Cashman speak. Carl is an impressive young man who seems to have that ‘X’ factor that many other politicians simply don’t.

So what are Carl’s assets? Well youth is one, being in his 20’s brings us a candidate unburdened by the baggage that many older politicians carry with them. He has a fresh perspective and one that folks seem to like.

Carl has not had a privileged upbringing; he was brought up a a Merseyside Council estate.

He is big on green issues and has been a thorn in Labour’s side as they keep trying to build on Green Belt and green spaces. This is a huge issue across Merseyside.

He’s already a Borough Councillor on Knowsley Council regularly taking on the appalling record of Labour in running that Council. This is the Council that was staring down into the abyss of potentially having no schools where young people could take A Levels recently!

He wants more social housing built. The Merseyside housing crisis is at it’s worst in terms of the supply of such properties.

He wants to find a way of improving the income of those living on the Minimum Wage. A Merseyside initiative to try to address our low wage culture – Why not give it a go?

The people of Prescot and Knowsley have taken this young man to their heart and I hope he gets selected as the Lib Dem Metro Mayor candidate so that more electors can find out why Carl Cashman is going places.

Oh and by the way, yes I know that the vast majority of us don’t want another politician running our lives but this new post (Merseyside Metro Mayor/Liverpool City Region Mayor) is being imposed on us in 2017 whether we want it or not.

It’s a result of the Tory Government and Merseyside Labour doing a second or even third rate deal which supposedly devolves significant powers to Merseyside from Whitehall. The powers are far too limited though and Westminster will still be calling the vast majority of the shots, surprise, surprise!

Carl wants to renegotiate that shabby deal so that we have real power over our own affairs locally. And he does not want power for himself but to push that power down to local communities wherever its possible to do so.

Carl is not a man to be told what to do by Westminster, neither is he a slave to a party political machine. Watch this young man go places.

Whiston Delph Ward By-Election – Labour cling on as their vote collapses over Green Belt building

Whiston Town Council Delph Ward – 18th August 2016

Labour 159 [36.1%]
Lib Dem – Paul Shaw 157 [35.6%]

Lab Majority: 2
Turnout: 20.26%

Wow this was close with a number of recounts I hear. This was solid Labour territory but no longer.

Reminds me of the Maghull Town Council North Ward by-election in February of this year. My previous blog posting refers:-

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Labour then lost the following Maghull Sudell Ward election in May to an Independent and you know what it was on the same major issue – A Labour-run Council (in this latest case Knowsley Borough) sanctioning building on the Green Belt!

Lydiate Green Belt – Turnbridge Road site – A further Update

I hear from Maghull & Lydiate Action Group sources that they are of the view that the tree felling on the site at the end of Maghull’s Turnbridge Road was not licensed but that it should have been. This information comes, I am told, directly from the Forestry Commission.

This view of the site is from the Leeds Liverpool Canal towpath. Uprooted tree stumps can be seen on the far side of the site. Click on the photo to enlarge it.

This view of the site is from the Leeds Liverpool Canal towpath. Uprooted tree stumps can be seen on the far side of the site. Click on the photo to enlarge it.

Should this turn out to be the case, which is seems it does, then the Forestry Commission will have to decide what the come back will be on those responsible for the felling.

No news at present on whether Sefton Council should have acted when it first became aware of what looks like illegal felling.

I should add for clarity that the whole of the site is in fact in Lydiate and is only accessed from Maghull.

More news when I have it.

Merseyside Metro Mayor – Cllr. Carl Cashman’s launch event

For someone who thinks that the devolution deal that Merseyside got from our present Tory Government was at best 2nd rate and who doesn’t think a Metro Mayor is a sensible way forward for this region you may wonder why I went to launch event of one of the potential candidates for the job earlier today.

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Well I went, as did many other of Carl’s supporters, because the candidate in question thinks as I do. He is standing to be a candidate because he knows the devolution deal is poor and he is concerned, like me, about putting too much power in one person’s hands. What’s more I like Carl Cashman and have been supporting him as he has moved through the political gears to becoming the present Lib Dem Leader on Knowsley Council.

Carl is a bright young free thinking Liberal politician whom I greatly admire and if anyone has to be our Metro Mayor I quite frankly could not think of a person more suited to the role. He is strong on environmental issues, such as stopping Labour-run Councils from building on the Green Belt, and he has a keen sense of social responsibility. He cares about people and unlike the vast majority of politicians he really does put people before party politics.

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Watch out for this young man he is going places.

Lydiate – Labour’s first Green Belt development site is being cleared for building

Land clearance machinery had been seen and heard on the site off Maghull’s Turnbridge Road over the past few days so I went today to check it out.

Trees taken out at the end of Maghull's Turnbridge Road

Trees taken out at the end of Maghull’s Turnbridge Road

Whilst this site, which Labour-run Sefton Council has earmarked for house building, will be accessed off Maghull’s Turnbridge Road the site is in reality all within Lydiate as Maghull Brook forms the Maghull/Lydiate boundary right at the end of Turnbridge Road.

I had a chat with one of the men doing the clearance work, which seemed to entail the removal of trees (some of them mature), bushes, scrub etc. The work was well advanced when I saw it and a large area had been cleared.

If I understood the contractor I spoke to correctly he was telling me that the initial reason for the work was an attempt to eradicate vermin from the site following complaints from residents. I assume he meant Turnbridge Road and Greenbank Avenue residents? He said Sefton Council had asked the land owner to address the vermin issue and that clearance was the best way of doing this? He went on to say that as the land was down for development the whole area was being cleared.

I took a couple of photos whilst I was there which are in this posting.

Land clearance machinery at work on the Lydiate site released from the Green Belt via Sefton Council's nearly complete Local Plan.

Land clearance machinery at work on the Lydiate site released from the Green Belt via Sefton Council’s nearly complete Local Plan.

In reality this is by far the smallest site in Maghull/Lydiate that is being released from the Green Belt for housing or industrial use across the joint communities. If all the released land is developed both Maghull & Lydiate will vastly increase in size/population.

I opposed building on the high grade agricultural land that surrounds Maghull, Lydiate, Formby, Southport etc. when I was a Sefton Borough Councillor. Labour said they opposed such development as well but then voted to build on the Green Belt! Labour lost 3 Council seats to Independents last May, in Maghull/Lydiate & Formby, on the basis of their say one thing but do another approach to the Green Belt.

PS. By the way the fact that the land is being cleared does not mean that the building will start very soon as I understand that there is presently no agreed planning application for the site.

Lydiate – Not many take up offer to express views on Neighbourhood Plan

Returning to an old chestnut here, Neighbourhood Plans and in this case the one Lydiate Parish Council is presently trying to put together.

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As I have sad many times before, I am not opposed to them but neither am I at all convinced that they serve much of a purpose either. I suspect that Lydiate residents must be of a similar view as only 96 (3,6% of the households in Lydiate) had responded to the first round of consultation when the Parish Council met to review progress with its Neighbourhood Plan on Tuesday 28th June.

But to be fair there were we were told around a dozen extra responses are to come in for the Girl Guides and it is hoped Lydiate Scouts will get involved too.

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It’s not that the consultation process was poor, indeed I felt it was pretty good with every house in the Parish getting a newsletter (see photo above) about a month ago.

The trouble is that the major issue in Lydiate of recent times has been the proposal to build on its Green Belt and high grade agricultural land. The problem being that this battle has already been lost due to Labour-run Sefton Council deciding to go ahead with the building and Lydiate’s Neighbourhood Plan can’t change that. Yes I know that Labour sources have been trying to say for ages that a Neighbourhood Plan can change it but IT CAN’T no matter how much they may wish it.

My point being that from the 96 responses (so far) to the first round of consultation on Lydiate’s emerging Neighbourhood Plan it is reasonably clear that there are few other matters causing huge concern in the community.

Yes there are some and I will outline some of them here:-

* Lack of Dentists seems to be a concern
* The need for 2 and 1 bedroomed properties
* Lack of affordable housing to buy
* Requests for a Post Office to be re-established in Lydiate
* Concerns about building on the Green Belt were an issue of course but as I said our Borough Council has already sold that pass.

I must admit though that I was surprised that social housing for rent is not showing greater demand in Lydiate via this survey as it is a big concern. However, that may be because of the age profile of the majority of respondents – 45 years +.

There’s a long way to go in putting Lydiate’s Plan together and it will culminate in it being inspected by a Planning Inspector and be subject to, wait for it, a referendum of Lydiate electors.