Ashworth South site & the proposed Maghull North Station

This site is rarely photographed as it is surrounded by fencing but the railway bridge that takes School Lane over the Liverpool – Ormskirk Merseyrail line gives a decent view.

The first photo shows a train passing the proposed Maghull North Station site. Just look how close the gardens on the left hand side are to the railway line; it’s going to be a squeeze to get a platform in there! I would not be surprised if, when the station gets to the detailed planning stage, that this will be a sticky problem to resolve. The photo is looking northwards with the Park Lane railway bridge in the distance.

rsz_maghull_north_station_site

The second shows the wider vista of the Ashworth South site that was once where Moss Side Hospital stood. It was then down, under the last Labour Government, to be the site of a new prison but the Coalition decided not to build one there.

rsz_ashworth_south_&_proposed_railway_station_sites

Of course the Ashworth South site is where Labour refuses to say whether they support house building on it or not. Odd this especially as they are determined to build a truly massive urban extension to Maghull just across School Lane. Maybe they have other plans for the Ashworth South site? Whatever, they are not for saying despite local environmental campaigners and the Lib Dem Party openly supporting development on Ashworth South whilst opposing Labour’s vast urban extension across the road. Ashworth South has been developed before so building houses on it seems a sensible thing to do especially as doing so will provide a financial contribution towards the cost of building the new railway station.

I will return to Maghull’s proposed urban extension in due course.

The photos above are amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

What on earth does the Aintree & Maghull Champion think it is up to?

Last week I posted on this site about an appalling meeting of Maghull Town Council where its Labour rulers voted, amongst other things, to restrict the kinds of petitions that can be brought before the Council by Maghull residents. Not only that but they also stopped opposition Lib Dem members from moving an amendment to this terrible policy.

This is what I said last week:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/07/04/an-appalling-maghull-town-council-meeting/

So we move forward a week to the edition of the Champion that followed the meeting and guess what no mention of those matters what so ever! Not only that but the paper publishes a front page lead article all about the Labour candidate in the Maghull North Ward by-election that takes place on 31st July together with a second lead article all about the supposedly wonderful things that the Labour Party are going to do for Maghull.

The best I can say is that the Champion is seemingly not trying to hide its political leanings just before a by-election which was caused by the 8th (yes I did say 8th) Labour councillor resigning from the very same Council since November 2011.

I thought the job of a local newspaper was to hold our local rulers to account not act like a publicity machine for them.

Only recently the Champion ran a story all about the proposal of Peel Holdings to build on high grade agricultural land in Melling and they asked me to give them a quote over the matter. I gladly did but when the article was published my comments were excluded. Odd I thought so I asked the journalist why they had asked me for a comment and then not used any of it. The response was that it had been used but had been taken out before publication. So I sent the same comment in again via the letters page and guess what it was not published this week. For the record this is what I said:-

‘These additional sites for potential building are hugely unpopular in Aintree and Melling just as the similar but previously consulted sites are on areas of high grade agricultural and Green Belt land around Maghull & Lydiate.
Labour-run Sefton Council is playing a dangerous game. By giving way on some areas of Green Belt for development they are simply encouraging more speculative developers to have a go. If Labour have their way we will end up with acres and acres of concrete and tarmac rather than high grade agricultural land producing food. As an environmental campaigner I am desperately concerned.’

Sorry but I have had a gut full of the Aintree & Maghull Champion. What a sad state of affairs indeed.

Brownfield Sites – Is the Penny finally dropping about the foolishness of building on high grade agricultural land and Green Belt?

HOUSING – Pickles promises a better use of brownfield sites

Up to 75,000 homes are to be built in 30 new “housing zones” across England after George Osborne announced £400m of funding. Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, writing in the Telegraph, says that there is enough brownfield land in Britain to build 200,000 new homes. He comments that the UK has been facing a serious housing shortage, and supply has got to be increased in line with demand. He explains that he is determined to do so without building unnecessarily on undeveloped land and proposes the better use of brownfield sites. He highlights plans to consult on a package of proposals including converting former warehouse and industrial space into new homes for families, this summer, and to work with councils to get brownfield land ready for housing as soon as possible. James Kirkup, in the paper, says that the focus on brownfield sites has pleased former critics such as the National Trust, however, the Town and Country Planning Association expressed concern at the prospect of councils losing more power over development decisions.

It seems that those of us who have been trying to put the environment first may be getting through to Government but the big test locally is will Labour-led Sefton Council back off from it’s massive Green Belt house building plans?

With thanks to the LGiU for the lead to this story.

Sefton Central Area Committee meeting held yesterday

Don’t worry, this is not another rant about the ridiculous size of this enormous Area Committee, it’s a report on a few of the interesting things that happened at the meeting held in Formby.

In reality the agenda was rather dry but the questions from the public were of more interest:-

LIBRARIES – Independent Aintree Village Parish Councillors Peter Gill and Bill Honeyman asked questions about the future of the now closed (by Labour) Aintree & College Road Libraries. The answer Peter Gill got, drafted by an officer of the Sefton Council, was something along the lines of we do not know what we are going to do with the buildings or when. Frankly, the 3 line written answer was insulting to campaigners in Aintree and Crosby who have done all they can to both save their local libraries and run and them with volunteers. Labour had already ensured that neither would happen.

What’s more Bill Honeyman had submitted his question on the 14th April and he still awaits an answer after being told last night that investigations would take place as to why he had not been sent/given a response!

You got impression that the Labour councillors at the meeting found Peter & Bill and their questions about as welcome as snow at Harvest! I told the meeting that they were entitled to a proper answers but I wonder if and when that will happen?

ELECTION OF INDEPENDENT CLLR. MARIA BENNETT – A member of the public from Formby asked whether the main political parties would work with Maria. A bland answer from a Labour member was followed by me saying yes, I and my Lib Dem Group on the Council would work with her, indeed we welcome her election.

GREEN BELT – A member of the public from Maghull asked if the Labour dominated Area Committee would listen to the public of the Borough and oppose the draft Local Plan for Sefton which proposes to build on acres of Green Belt and high grade agricultural land.

This question also seemed to go down like a lead balloon with the Labour members, a representative of whom said in effect said they would not comment as they may be perceived as pre-judging the issue. In other words he got no answer.

A similar question from a Formby resident got a similar response.

At the end of the public questions it seemed to me that the Labour comrades had seen off another attack by impertinent members of the Sefton Borough community with the score being Labour at least 10, residents Nil. As an exercise in local democracy where the public try to hold their elected representatives to account it was far from inspiring.

Meet Cllr. Maria Bennett

Maria is an independent councillor elected on Thursday to represent Formby’s Ravenmeols Ward. The BBC has the story via this link:-

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-27538691

rsz_maria_bennett

Maria is a formidable environmental campaigner whom I have got to know over the past couple of years. Indeed, we Lib Dems were so impressed with the work of her FRAGOFF environmental group that we decided not to put up a candidate against her in the elections.

It is pleasing that she won and by a substantial margin too. You can imagine how delighted Sefton Labour Party were to see her elected to Sefton Council!

May I wish Maria all the best and my congratulations on her well deserved victory.

Local Election results – Sefton splits its votes in a rather odd way

Local elections about local issues…………

SOUTHPORT & FORMBY PUNISHES LABOUR FOR ITS LIBRARY & ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES

We Lib Dems held all our seats that were up for election in the Southport part of Sefton but we lost 3 seats in the Sefton Central part of the Borough. All the losses were to Labour and I have been struck by how voters went out to support a Party who are openly going to trash our Green Belt and potentially charge for the emptying of Green Bins in the Borough. And of course Labour has also closed many of the Borough’s Libraries.

CROSBY, BOOTLE, MAGHULL, LYDIATE, MELLING & AINTREE EMBRACE LABOUR

As an environmental campaigner who has worked to defend the Green Belt against Labour’s attacks on it I must say that I am surprised that the electorate in places like Maghull, Aintree Village, Melling and Lydiate has now backed the party of Green Belt destruction. But, there was a single glimmer of hope for the Green Belt as the voters of Formby elected Maria Bennett who, like we Lib Dems, stood on a platform of stopping Green Belt building.

Questions:-

* Is the cause of Green Belt protection in Maghull, Lydiate, Aintree Village and Melling now dead following Labour winning all 3 Sefton wards in this area?
* Why did the electors of Southport & Formby vote for Green Belt campaigners but elsewhere they elected a Party (Labour) that wants to build on the Green Belt?
* Why did electors give Sefton Labour a green light (except in Southport and Formby) to bring in their threatened £46 Green Bin Tax?
* How has Labour got away with closing Libraries in Crosby, Aintree Village and Bootle whilst they were firmly rejected in Southport where they also closed libraries?
* Why did the electors of Maghull vote in Lib Dem Cllrs. Bruce Hubbard and Jen Robertson last July, because of their opposition to Labour’s Green Bin tax and their fighting for the Green Belt, but reject them both today for continuing to campaign on these issues?

These were local elections about local issues…………