A cycle ride of contrasts – Spurriers Lane – Outlet Lane – Melling & Simonswood

I’m still cycling during our health crisis although always on my own and not stopping at cafes etc. anymore….

A lane I cycle now and again is Spurriers Lane/Outlet Lane which joins Prescot Road at the Animal Sanctuary in Melling (Merseyside) and then goes through to Simonswood Civil Parish (Lancashire) to join Simonswood Lane. It’s single track lane for its whole length but traffic is light to non-existent virtually all the time.

Sadly, and probably because of the remote nature of the lane it is often a site for fly-tipping. Sights such as this are far from unusual sadly:-

What is it about fly-tippers using their junk to block steams at the side of such lanes? They love tipping in water for some bizarre reason! As you can see this is basically domestic rubbish that simply needed taking to the nearby Sefton Meadows Recycling Centre. I despair I really do.

The lane also has what is turning out to be a near permanent flood (close to Hesketh Farm) which I have nick-named ‘Simonswood Swimming Pool’:-

I’ll give Lancashire County Council a nudge as it’s been like this for quite some time now and is clearly an obstacle for pedestrians and cyclists.

Only yards away from this flooded part of Outlet Lane there’s a sharp left turn and in the distance there are quite a few old brick built buildings which are well spaced out. I’ve often wondered what purpose they serve or used to serve:-

They clearly have flat roofs and a gander at an Ordnance Survey map shows them to geometrically spaced with connecting tracks – around 8 of them and the nearest noted building to them is Basford Farm. Just out of curiosity does anyone know what the buildings were erected for?

When I reach Simonswood Lane I usually turn left and head towards Royal Oak where there’s a crossroads with Cunscough Lane. Royal Oak is part of Bickerstaffe Civil Parish. To reach Royal Oak you have to cycle over the M58 Motorway:-

From single track road to motorway within a few yards. In fact Spurriers Lane/Outlet lane effectively parallels the Motorway. the photo is looking towards Skelmersdale.

This was just a part of my circular route from my Lydiate home through Maghull, Melling, Simonswood, Bickerstaffe & Aughton Civil Parishes – around 10+ miles to keep the old legs turning and to get a bit of fresh air in these troubled times.

Click on the photos to enlarge them although the first one is probably frightening enough without enlargement!

Downholland – Eagar Lane/Greens Lane resurfacing outside Lavender Barns

Back in August 2019 I called on Lancashire County Council to resurface the stretch of Eagar Lane/Greens Lane outside Lavender Barns just yards into Lancashire from Lydiate, and I blogged about the state of the lane – see link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/08/15/greens-lane-downholland/

If I recall correctly that prompted more patch repairs but the message must have got home to LCC (maybe others raised the matter with them too?) as a couple of days ago they did a significant resurfacing job:-

Editor’s note – ‘Thanks for that LCC, much appreciated, but sadly there’s another very poor stretch of Greens Lane which has deteriorated significantly of recent months. It’s around the entrance to the 2nd fishery, past Green’s House and near to the row of houses further into Downholland Civil Parish. I’ll pop a note on your website about it.’

Aughton – A traffic cone per year?

There’s been a broken gully grid in Formby Lane, just east of the junction with Clieves Hill Lane and outside of Broad Oak Farm, for as long as I can remember and it’s had a traffic cone placed by it to warn road users (particularly cyclists) of the hazard.

But I’m beginning to think that another traffic cone is added for each year the problem has existed as it’s now got 3 around it.

Time to raise the issue with Lancashire County Council me thinks before the traffic cone family expands further in 2021, 2022 etc. etc. 🙂

Update 08 02 20 – Two of the traffic cones have been removed

Update 04 03 20 – Back up to two traffic cones!

So is Skem’ to get linked to Merseyrail? It’s still a wait and see

The old Skelmersdale Station – now long gone in the name of 1960’s progress!

The Liverpool Echo has the latest in what is clearly going to be a very long saga with at present an uncertain outcome – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/skelmersdale-could-finally-merseyrail-station-17549470

Fracking – Lydiate Parish Council backs Moss Alliance with hard cash

I’ve mentioned this many times on this blog site because of the threat of fracking locally via a well site that is proposed for Altcar Moss between Lydiate and Formby in West Lancashire.

Without wishing to rehearse all the issues again I think the letter below from The Moss Alliance to Lydiate Parish Council sums up the current situation very well:-

Lydiate Parish Council,
Lydiate Village Centre,
Lambshear Lane,
Lydiate,
L31 2LA

5th November 2019

Dear Councillors,

AURORA’S PLANNING APPLICATION – FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Further to our presentation on 5th September and our request for financial support we would like to thank the Parish Council sincerely for its agreement to grant £500 to The Moss Alliance to assist in funding the appointment of expert planning consultants to object to Aurora’s planning application to frack at Altcar Moss.

Notwithstanding the “moratorium” announced on 2nd November 2019 our planning consultants are in the process of preparing an objection report for submission to Lancashire County Council. We have spoken to the Team Leader and case handler at Lancashire County Council Development Management and Aurora appear to have several options whilst the “moratorium” is in place which our consultants are also analysing with a Barrister:

* Withdraw the application (unlikely);
* Leave it in and let it be refused in the light of the moratorium and deficiencies in their EIA (then appeal);
* Write fracking out of the application and drill the wells to “obtain more data”.

We have no idea how long the “moratorium” will last and therefore we will be submitting our consultants’ objection report to Lancashire County Council when finalised.

For the Council’s information, Lancashire County Council has already (on 25th October, see attached) written to Aurora’s agents in detail expressing the deficiencies in their EIA etc. However, we cannot be complacent, and must be aware that the effect of the “moratorium” is still very unclear and therefore we intend to carry on “business as usual” in our opposition.

Once again, thank you for your extremely valuable support. The Moss Alliance bank account details are: TMA Fund Account – Sort Code 01-06-45 Account No.: 45755825

Yours faithfully,

On behalf of: The Moss Alliance

How Preston’s transport plan could benefit Southport & the Ormskirk Merseyrail Northern Line

The graphic above*, which you will need to click on to enlarge for reading, is an extract from the recently published Preston City Transport Plan. It’s an important document because it discusses much needed transport, in this case rail, improvements to the south and west of Preston.

If you look closely the document is promoting the re-connection of the Burscough North Curve so that trains can once again travel between Preston and Southport. This is what the curves looked like when they were in place in the 1960’s:-

The Burscough Curves are in West Lancashire. This historic shot of them is from when they were in place, in 1960’s.

OPSTA, the Ormskirk, Preston & Southport Travelers Association has been promoting the re-connection of the Burscough Curves since the 1980’s and they have been the driving force behind improving the Ormskirk – Preston Line and the reopening of Midge Hall Station. But it’s been an uphill struggle with Lancashire County Council (the Transport Authority) seeming being at best lukewarm about the line the present train operator (Northern) struggling to deliver the present basic service reliably.

Ormskirk’s Station where Merseyrail and Northern trains meet.

Another way forward is for Merseyrail to run trains all the way from Liverpool Central to Preston via the removal of the buffer stops at Ormskirk and other signaling/track improvements. To me this has always been the most sensible solution to bring the Ormskirk – Preston Line up to its true potential, together of course with the introduction of Southport – Preston trains. The fact that some of Merseyrail’s soon to arrive Class 777 Stadler rolling stock will now have battery operation facility (this had been in doubt previously) then them operating on the line without the need for expensive electrification equipment opens up real opportunities.

A mock-up of a Class 777 – The new Merseyrail trains that will soon replace the Class 507/508 EMU’s

Graphic Notes:-
* ‘P’ is Preston – Numbers 2, 3 & 6 are points along the Ormskirk – Preston Railway Line – 2 is the proposed new Coote Lane Station – 3 being the proposed reopening of Midge Hall Station and 6 is where the connecting Burscough Curves are situated i.e. where the Ormsirk – Preston and Southport – Wigan lines cross each other.